"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes 5:16-18
Smith Wigglesworth, the Pentecostal pioneer, claimed that he never prayed for more than half an hour, but that he never went half an hour without praying. Is it possible for mere human beings to obey this command to pray continually?
Another famous preacher has said that God never asks us to do anything without giving us the resources to do it. The apostle Paul put it this way, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength," (Phil 4:13).
The Thessalonian passage makes it clear that these things are accomplished, "in Christ." As we abide in Him and He in us, these things become a possibility. In his book, Hungry For More Of Jesus, David Wilkerson makes this beautiful statement:
There is another kind of love that few Christians ever experience. It is an affectionate love with Christ such as occurs between a husband and wife. This love is expressed in the Song of Solomon.
Paul, talking about the union of the Lord Jesus with His bride, also makes the comparison with marriage (Eph 5:32). The act of marriage brings about the "one flesh" relationship, but being united in this way is just the beginning of what should be a growing depth of love, appreciation, care and affection for one another.
I know that it is possible to hold hands with my husband and to enjoy his company without a single word being spoken. Or we can be in the same room doing different things but aware of one another's presence and experience the simple acceptance of knowing there is a bond of deep affection. In the same way it is possible to be constantly in the presence of the Lord Jesus, enjoying His company in even the simplest things. It is possible to have the deep joy of knowing we are securely His, it is possible to be in prayerful communion, it is possible to maintain a truly thankful heart. This is what God wants for us because it is the abundant life promised in Jn 10:10.
How do we do this? How do we develop such intimacy with the Lord Jesus? By abiding in Him and by obeying His commands (Jn 15:9-11). Then we will experience the ultimate blessing of being loved by Jesus in the same way that He was loved by the Father as He walked this earth.
Prayer College Assignment
It is really very simple, ask the Lord to teach you how to abide in Him so that you can be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.