Along with "Jesus wept" (John 11:35), this has to be one of the shortest verses in the Bible. But for me, it has some of the most important significance. Within context, this short verse, spoken by the Apostle Paul to the church at Thessalonica, is part of a letter of encouragement to recent converts. Throughout both the first and second letters to the Thessalonians, the Second Coming of Christ is emphasized.
Apparently the church was undergoing persecution and trials. In addition to admonishing the new believers to pray continually, Paul urges them to rejoice, to give thanks in all circumstances, to keep the Spirit kindled in their hearts, and to not despise prophecy, but test it diligently to discern the Truth from the false [the Geneva Bible].
All these suggestions can have profound effects on our faith life. But I have found that prayer is the one thing that keeps me closest to my Lord and Savior.... and the most grounded. Especially since, just as at the time Paul wrote this verse, the Second Coming of Christ is at the forefront of my thoughts. I find myself seeking a connection to Him through the reading of His Word, and it is such a powerful guide in my life. I feel that I am beginning to understand His character more and what He desires from me. I am gaining an understanding of what His purpose for my life is to be, and how I can serve His kingdom. But when I pray to Jesus, I feel as if I am in a most personal conversation with the One who knows me the best. He understands me! And I need that connection!
Without it, I stray from His purpose and become focused on myself. The affairs of the world pull me away from my dependence on Him and I can soon fall into seasons of worry, self-absorption and defeat. Prayer brings me back to Him. Through it, I can't hide anything from Him. He knows my emptiness that comes from the world, and when I commune with Him, He replaces that vacant void with His presence and I am able to dwell in the sufficiency of Him once again.
For me, prayer is vital, and it is not some formal ritual that I conduct each night before I go to bed. There is no specified time for prayer. To me, prayer is any heartfelt expression of devotion to my Redeemer. Sometimes it is a request; other times it is joyful thanks for the blessings He has bestowed. And it can just be sharing my thoughts of what He means to me and expressing how close He feels. But the important thing is this: Jesus loves to hear from us! He longs to hear from us! He's never too busy and always interested in what we have to say. Today's verse tells us what to do .... Pray! And it tells us how .... Continually! Start now. He's waiting to hear from you.