1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What does God want? He wants me to pray continually. He wants me to be full of joy, to give thanks all the time.
I’ve heard that verse all my life, and my first thought is always, I can’t do that. I can’t do anything continually. How can I pray non-stop? That’s ridiculous. And I just kind of glide over that verse…
Then I decided to study that word “continually” more closely. The definition of continually is: seemingly without interruption, habitually, without end or stopping, steady.
It is the picture of something that recurs frequently. When I read that for the first time, it finally made sense. God isn’t saying that I have to be laughing and praying, and giving thanks every second of my life – but he is saying that I should be doing these things so often that it appears that I never stop. It seems to be without interruption. Suddenly, what God is asking me to do becomes possible.
Have you ever sat down at a piano keyboard and started playing a single note. You play it over and over and over until the sound seems to blend together, the sound of one note continues in the air until the next note is played? A hum begins to hang in the air until it sounds like there is no space in between the notes you are playing. It seems to be without interruption.
That’s the picture the Bible is painting in this verse. My life should be characterized by joy, by prayer, by gratitude so much so that it appears I never stop. One prayer should still be hanging in the air when I voice the next one. The result of my gratitude should still be felt when next I give thanks. My joyful smile should still be felt by one person when I share it with someone else.
That’s what God wants me to do. Live my life like that. It brings Him pleasure and it brings me pleasure too.