pray as you go (and a bit on praying in tongues)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

There is nothing more important in life than to be in vital communion with God. A key aspect of that is prayer. We might liken prayer to exhaling in breathing. We inhale as we take in God’s voice to us through his word. And we exhale in response to that. Yes, prayer ends up being as vital as the air we breathe. We can’t get by well without it. In fact it is part of our life, becoming no less than a part of who we are.

Admittedly and all too often it seems prayer seems to be an uphill battle. We can feel prayerless, not seeming to have the ability to do it at all. Perhaps that is a time when we need to be still before God in all our brokenness and lostness.

To pray continually or without ceasing simply means that prayer is to be ongoing for us, a rule of life so to speak. It is good to pray set prayers (see the Sunday posts on this blog) along with our own expressions of worship, confession of our sin, thanksgiving and petitions to God along with other prayers (see scripture).

I have the personality or bent of never feeling like I’m ready for anything. So I have no trouble thinking that I need to be in prayer at any given time. Actually praying can be another thing. But by God’s grace it is beoming much more habitual and ingrained in me.

It is good to pray short prayers. If someone brings a concern to my attention, I want to pray a short prayer at the time. We can pray in the Spirit in a number of ways, including “tongues” (see 1 Corinthians 14). I believe every Christian can pray in that way. But you’re neither more nor less spiritual if you do or you don’t contrary to some of the teaching out there. In my case I figure I need all the help I can get, so if that avenue is open, I’ll take it. You could simply ask God to fill you with his Spirit, and then you open your mouth and begin to speak as the Spirit gives you words. The words are unintelligible and may seem to be mere gibberish. But go on. This is not spoken of in the Bible for no reason. And see the distinctions of it again in ! Corinthians 14 along with 12, Acts 2 and in other places. Sadly this has been a divisive gift and a false marking of “haves” and “have-nots.” No, you are not more spiritual if you pray in this way. The Corinthian church according to Paul lived like those without the Spirit. But neither is this gift to be despised. As to the gift of tongues for the assembly along with an interpreter, it seems like this is a gift given only here and there. Perhaps not a so-called constitutional gift but a situational gift as I think John Wimber suggested.

Life is full of difficulty and can be overwhelming, more than we can bear. That is when we need to bear our hearts to God, look to him for ourselves and for others. But through good and difficult times we need to be in prayer. As we continue in this life in Jesus.

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