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Amen is the Beginning of Discipleship
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12 NIV).
One of the more challenging scriptures for me has been from 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” The first time I read this I wondered how can I get anything done if I am constantly praying? As I grew and matured spiritually, I began to believe that it is indeed possible to pray nonstop. It’s possible because we can cultivate a spirit that is habitually devotional, keeping our hearts attuned to God. The Greek word for “without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonian 5:17 is “adialeiptos,” which doesn’t mean nonstop — but actually means constantly recurring. In other words, we can punctuate our moments with intervals of recurring prayer.
Part of learning to pray continually, or constantly recurring, is to stay open in prayer. Sometimes after we say amen, we check off prayer on our to-do list and shut down the
conversation. But God has invited us — called us — to pray without ceasing, to keep the conversation going all day, every day. Constant prayer becomes a lifestyle. The more you understand that God is love, the more you will be drawn to him in prayer.
Jesus did not pray constantly but he did live a prayerful life. He modelled for us how prayer can and should be used to connect us to the Father. Prayer is always the first step to anything. So, it follows that prayer is also the first step to discipleship.
One of the greatest evangelists of all time was the Apostle Paul. He was committed to preaching the good news and making disciples. He also understood that there is an essential link between prayer and discipleship. Paul told the Ephesians to pray for one another and asked them to pray for him. “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19). Paul recognized the power of prayer and called upon that power to fulfill the Great Commission.
Prayer: Dear Good and gracious God, Thank you for the blessing of prayer. Help us, dear God, to live a life of constant prayer. A life that is lived in you, for you, and to glorify you. May all that we do help fulfill the Great Commission and may all of our activities begin with seeking your Face through prayer. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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