1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 – Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. (KJV)
These verses suggest happiness! Every Sunday, after opening the service, we have a prayer, followed by repeating the Lord's Prayer. This is a good thing to do, but I often wonder whether God is that thrilled with our dutiful rendition. Do we sound like we are happy talking to Him?
And do we pray without ceasing? Do we mumble the first line and die out until about the middle, and then join in for a few words and die out until the final phrase? Is this "without ceasing"? Are we embarrassed about our own voice or about what others will think if we make a mistake? We are talking to God, not the rest of the congregation!
We can quench (extinguish or dilute) the Spirit by making a mumbo-jumbo of the Lord's Prayer, or a responsive reading from the Bible. When we participate joyfully, our life as Christians improves. God will bless all our prayers, but most often, even in a large church, we do not welcome rejoicing through our poor efforts and attitudes. Think what it would do for our church, if even just the officers of the church made this a part of their leadership in God's house.
Revelation 3:15 – I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (NIV)
Let's use this standard to decide our spiritual level!
Prayer: Father in heaven, we thank you for the many opportunities that we have to talk to you as individuals and as a group of believers. Use every prayer to draw us closer to you, and help us to rejoice in your Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour. Give us the confidence and faith to speak to you, knowing that you hear us. Amen.