The Thought for the Week this week is written by Paul Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey

Why pray? (part 2) 

Pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17) 

            We pray because we need the breath of God.

            When the human race tries to put their plans into practice and to 'fix' what they see as wrong – it is often disastrous. A brief look at history will confirm that. It often comes down, not just to 'the rich and the poor', but to the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. It has been this way as long has humankind has inhabited the earth. Go a level deeper and you will find pride (the original sin of Lucifer that cost him heaven and God's presence); and, that pride is now resident in the fallen sons and daughters of men. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man...” (Mere Christianity). Even greater pride, are the (usually) men (but, women too) who believe that the hand of the judgement of God rests with them. We have seen it in history in Christians and we see it in our own day in ISIS, and the like – applying what they believe to be God's righteous judgements – and, to those looking on, we see only ugly, dark and sin-filled fallen human nature.

            We need the breath of God to change all this and protect us from it. The Christian Church needs to pray until the very breath of heaven fills our hearts, thoughts, lives and judgements, until our lives and Churches are 'sweet' with the fragrance of heaven; until visitors walking into our homes and Churches, or meeting us in a workplace situation will know that we live and move in the presence of God – without us having to speak a word. Prayer brings this: we open our hearts in prayer to find our Jesus – our Best Beloved – and, when we find Him in our spirit, we linger there and worship Him, simply beholding Him and letting His sweet fragrance and presence saturate us. Every aspect of life can be transformed by the touch of His breath.

            But, you may reply, “I am a working mother with young children, how can I possibly do this?” Or a busy student? Or an overworked father, holding down two or three jobs to support the family? There is a way! Let me explain...

            You must train your spirit to worship even when you are asleep or busy. Your spirit never sleeps (it doesn't need to). When you're working, or looking after children, or whatever it is you do, in the split second gap you get between one task and the next – even just the time to take a breath, pray something like, “Lord, I love You!”, or, “Lord, I praise and worship You!” Keep doing that, day after day and one lovely day you will turn in the same way to bring a second's worship to God in your heart and you will have the delightful experience of finding your spirit is already in worship! You can wake up in the morning with a living joy in your heart because your spirit has been in that communion with God all night, while you were asleep. It's possible. It's real. It's wonderful. How else could the New Testament tell us to “Pray without ceasing.” (1Thess 5:17).

Put it to the test. It's life-changing.