I’ve been a Christian most of my life, and there are times when I just want to know ALL the answers! I don’t want to read more or learn through mistakes or trials, but just KNOW what God wants me to do. Thankfully, there are many things The Bible makes clear to us. One of which is the Key to living as a true believer, and that is to pray! I know that many people may feel this answer is too simple, but it’s the truth. Continue to read and learn how prayer can guide and encourage us in our Christian lives.
This blog was written by Annie Weber. She is the author of Astounding Truths of the Bible. You can find her on her blog here. Learn more about her by reading her bio at the end of this blog post. You can also check out her book: Astounding Truths of the Bible*.
*This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.
Prayer: The Key to Living as a True Believer
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The Apostle Paul – the GOAT evangelist – loved to write letters. He thrived in his letter-writing ministry in the first century, and much of the New Testament of the Bible is composed of various letters he wrote to encourage the early churches.
Paul’s encouragement to Persevere
In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul addressed some pastoral issues that had risen in this young church.
He encouraged them to persevere through persecution, pursue sexual purity, and live their lives as people who believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 of this letter opens with encouragement and a reminder that Jesus is returning.
However, we won’t be given the opportunity to post this on our calendar.
Paul wanted his readers (including you and me!) to know that we should not be sleepwalking through life while we wait.
Paul’s teaching on prayer
Then, Paul lands the plane with his words about prayer after a long list of various exhortations.
- Verse 12 encourages us to love and respect those who are our spiritual leaders.
- Verse 13 reminds us to live in peace among the other followers of Christ.
- Verse 14 tells us we are to be patient and attentive to the individual needs of others. Verse 15 reminds us to see the best in each other.
Paul wrapped up his letter with bite-sized commands, completely trusting that the Holy Spirit would equip his audience with the knowledge they need to live these commands.
Verse 17 is where Paul makes a shift to discuss what our prayer life should look like.
The command on prayer looks different depending on which version of the Bible you prefer.
The NIV commands us to pray continually; pray without ceasing is used in the ESV version; never stop praying is found in the NLT version; and finally, pray constantly is used in the HCSB version.
Regardless of your preferred translation, the message is crystal clear. Paul wants us to know that forming a lifestyle of prayer is the goal that we should be striving for as followers of Christ.
Praying nonstop means we are having a continuous dialogue with God, coming boldly to the throne of grace to offer up praise, supplication, intercessions, petitions, and thanksgiving.
How can a follower of Jesus model the prayer life Paul described?
8 characteristics of a Biblical prayer life:
- Someone who prays continually is someone who does not rely on their own strength (Philippians 4:13).
- They desire to maintain a close and personal relationship with God by pouring their heart to God (Psalm 62:8).
- They acknowledge the Holiness of God (Matthew 6:9).
- They cast their anxiety on Him, acknowledging that God cares (1 Peter 5:7).
- They know that God can sympathize with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
- They know that God promises that if they ask anything according to His will, that He hears them (1 John 5:14).
- Living a life of continual prayer means a constant conversation with God is happening and that you acknowledge that He is a friend (Psalm 25:14).
- It also means allowing yourself to praise God for who He is Lord (Daniel 2:20).
The Bible tells us to always be in prayer- if this is something you want to grow in, you can pray something like this:
Equip me to do this. Bless me with a desire to have an ongoing dialogue with you, knowing that as I pray Your spirit will guide my words. Allow me to have a deep awareness of your character and your faithfulness. Guide my thoughts to be continuously aware of your presence in all circumstances. Align my will with Your will. Amen