Over the last couple of years we have been blessed to have Bill Elliff as our guest for our Renewed Weekend. As you know, his life, his ministry and his church have been built on prayer and the power of God. It should come as no surprise that many of his books are based upon the subject of prayer and its centrality to the life of a believer.
With that in mind, I wanted to bring to you a couple of thoughts from his devotional book entitled Prayer with No Intermission. This book delves into God’s point behind the familiar admonition in 1 Thessalonians 5:17—“pray without ceasing,….”
The first chapter very straightforwardly looks at the meaning behind the phrase “pray without ceasing.” We know that we are not called to be in a sort of semi-conscience, meditative state chanting to an aloof deity. Rather, as Elliff states, “Prayer is to be the running dialogue we are now offered with the God of the universe and His Son who loves us with perfect, unceasing passion. It is not merely one of the things we do as followers of Christ. It is a description of the atmosphere in which we can now love. The life-giving air we can now breathe.” It is a lifestyle of turning to God rather than turning inward for the big or small moments of life.
In another chapter Elliff brings to mind a common experience for us all—sorrow. The night before His death, Jesus stares down the future of the cross, a trial incomprehensible to us. We also see that the disciples are facing their own version of sorrow. From their perspective they are seeing a supposed end of the cause to which they dedicated their lives. However, Elliff shows us two different approaches to sorrow on the Mount of Olives, “When the disciples were sorrowful, they slept. When Jesus was sorrowful, He prayed.”
Highs and lows, sorrow and joy, are the commonalities of the human experience in a broken world. Take to heart the admonition of the Father, and the example of the Son. Pray without ceasing. Pray in the midst of joy; pray in the midst of sorrow.