Bible Readings and Devotion for August 4, 2020
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Devotion for August 4, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are encouraged to, “pray without ceasing.” This seems either wonderfully helpful or immensely difficult. It would be difficult to do nothing but overtly pray. How would we talk with our family? How would we get any work done? How would we engage in the broader ministry to which we are called by God himself?
Some have tried to take this instruction literally by a unique manner. They will make every sentence they say include a prayer or praise of God. An example would be, “I would like to order, praise the Lord, a Whataburger with cheese, Amen, no onion, fries, and Dr Pepper.” This is not hyperbole at all. I see that those who do this are striving to be faithful, but I would not interpret God’s Word to mean this.
Rather, it seems to be about having prayer throughout our day, every day. It could be short, silent prayers, daily devotions, worship gatherings, family prayer at mealtimes, and so much more. Instead of interrupting every sentence with prayer, it could be a model of prayer which is with us all day, bathing our actions and decisions in Holy Spirit guidance and thanksgiving.
Prayer is not just an action for the daytime. We can pray at other times, even when we are normally asleep. Our reading from Psalm 88 tells of this. We read in Psalm 88:1-2, “O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence, let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.”
One aspect of this prayer situation is those times when we awake in the middle of the night, especially when we wish to be asleep. We often fall back asleep, but sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we start thinking about things as we toss and turn in bed. Sometimes we may even start worrying about one thing or another or many things. A suggestion from author and pastor Michael Foss makes sense to me. He suggests that we use these sleepless periods to pray. It could be time to use memorized prayers to connect with the Lord. It could also be a time to pray for the people who come to mind, or to pray to God about the issues about which we are worrying. Since we are awake, then use the time to work with God to find resolution. Praying about our anxieties and problems during such waking times would be quite consistent with what the Psalm presents to us about prayer.
We pray as the psalmist prays, “O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence, let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry. Amen