Listen to this devotional:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. (NRSV)
I remember the morning well. I was abruptly awakened in the midst of a frightening dream — a dream of fear and danger for my daughter who was in Athens preparing to sail to the islands. It was 3:10 a.m. Perspiration dotted my brow. A feeling of rigidity claimed my body. My heart raced as I gave way to panic and alarm. What was happening to Twyla?
Before I realized it, my clammy hands were tightly clasped in unuttered prayer.
Didn't God's Word say that we were to pray without ceasing? God's time to listen to us is limitless and boundless. "God, I pray for Twyla's safety as she travels," I gasped, "I claim Your protection from harm and danger." I was aware of God's presence. I was assured that His power is unlimited and His mercies unbounded as I finally drifted back to sleep.
I trembled in alarm when a telephone call later came from Greece. "Hello, Mom. This is Twyla," greeted me across the airways. I breathed a prayer of thanks when I heard her voice. My heart filled with gratitude to God for answered prayer as my daughter related her story. "I boarded a crowded bus that took me to the departure docks," my daughter rushed to tell me. "I was pushed against the door as the driver turned abruptly on the side of a steep hill." Her voice trembled, "Everyone gasped in shock as the right wheels lifted from the road. Mom, all I could see was the dark water lashing against the rocks far below!"
A thankful voice went on to say, "It was a miracle. There was panic, then hushed silence. Only a miracle enabled that bus driver to get those wheels, swinging in the air, back on the road. God protected me, Mom!"
My reaction was one of praise and joy to an almighty God Who had answered my prayers, unlimited by distance and unbounded by grace. I was humbled and blessed to realize that God spoke to me in the night and alerted me to pray.
God tells us to be joyful always, to pray without ceasing, and always to have a prayerful attitude. We are to acknowledge our dependence on God and to give thanks in all circumstances. Paul says in but not necessarily for all circumstances. Can't God accomplish some good out of our difficult situations? We are to be thankful, and we are blessed by God's faithful presence at all times.
Prayer: Lord, You have promised to be with us always. Thank You for hearing us in our fear and when darkness surrounds us. May our joy, prayers, and thankfulness be unlimited in all circumstances, just as Your mercies to us abound. Help us to be aware of Your presence every day, understanding that Your everlasting love is shown to us in all circumstances of our lives. Amen.