“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

“Pray Continually”

(Please read 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

December 8

People have different ideas as to the meaning of the word “continually” in our text. Some make an easy grammatical mistake of confusing it with a related word, “continuously.” For an idea of the meaning of “continuously,” just look at your watch; around and around it goes without stopping until its battery dies. That’s continuous operation.

“Continually,” though, means regularly. Its use in Hebrews 10:1 indicates that very quality – regularity – when it speaks of “those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually” (KJV). The sacrifices, of course, were offered at set times throughout the year, and their repetition year after year made them “continual.”

Then Paul didn’t mean for us to pray every minute of every waking hour, but he did mean pray often and pray regularly. Christians should never let a day go by without prayer – and prayer and prayer.

That said, we must avoid slipping into such a routine that we will merely utter a set of words as a regular formality, without actually opening our hearts to God in fervent prayer. Remembering that God actually wants to hear from us and promises to answer prayers prayed in faith, we can simply pray about whatever is on our minds at the time – troubles, problems, victories, happiness, thanksgiving and so on.

Another essential and regular component of our prayers is described in this related exhortation: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).

We hope you experience the joy and the great benefits of continual prayer to the Father.

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