“pray without ceasing”
1 Thessalonians 5:17
I had a bagel & schmear with a friend this morning. We’ve been in Bible study together ~ in one form or another ~ for nearly 16 years. It hasn’t been that long since we’ve seen each other, maybe six weeks or so, but we had plenty to talk about. After all, during Bible study, we’re mostly talking about the Bible. Today we talked about our kids, and college, marriage and various “women’s issues”. We talked about different ways of studying and teaching the Bible, commentators and the joys of discovering “hidden” mysteries in the Bible. We talked about dogs and traveling and oh yeah… we laughed about a lot of memories, too.
I learned a few things while we talked. Her kids are older than mine, so I always pick up some valuable advice about what’s to come, in my life and in theirs. And maybe she learned a thing or two as well; God’s good that way.
But what I came away thinking was what I learned about what I already knew. I mean, even the parts where I was doing the talking, I kinda feel like I learned something there, too. There’s just something about saying things out loud, especially when it’s something you’re puzzling through. You hear your own words and your brain processes them and all of a sudden you have a new viewpoint on something you thought you were already seeing thoroughly. And that’s not even counting what your listener has to add to your thoughts.
Here’s the thing: I struggle sometimes, with praying. I love reading the Bible, and I love studying it in various different ways, but just sitting and talking to God can be hard sometimes. He’s not the most vocal conversationalist, after all… Sometimes we have to just say what’s on our minds, and then sit and wait and listen and meditate.
But there’s value in saying it out loud. There’s value in saying it to Him. It feels pointless to me, because I figure He already knows everything already. I sometimes feel like I’m just telling Him things He knows. Which, of course, He does. But in saying it, I’m hearing it. He’s helping my thought process, and I’m gonna make progress in the puzzling I’ve been doing.
There is value in prayer. So much more than we know. It is the key to our relationship with Him. And somehow, in the simplicity of the conversation itself, things become clear. Our muddled and conflicted thoughts part like clouds, and the joy and peace that He promises seem find their way into our hearts and minds.
Of course, truthfully, they were there all along. But prayer helps us see.