Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.In the previous two posts (Here and Here) we looked at the reason we have to rejoice in our hope, and what it means to be patient in tribulations. Both of those things involve trusting God - we need to trust that his word is true, that Jesus has saved everyone who puts their faith in him and that he will keep his promises.
This command follows the similar thread: to pray to God is an expression of our trust in him. If we don't trust God then we won't pray for his help, we won't praise him for his grace and we won't be constantly turning to him with every need, fear and joy.
Why should we pray? We pray because it is us talking to God. When we read his word we are hearing God's words to us, and when we pray we are speaking to him. In doing so we are glorifying him by showing him we trust him. We are also (hopefully) being humble - realising that we cannot save ourselves and that we need his help for everything we do.
We also pray because it is God alone who can change things. James 1:5 says
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.The fact is that we cannot change our situation. We need God to change us, and we ask him for that help through prayer. As Christians it isn't our effort that changes us, it is God using our effort and working in us through the Holy Spirit to make us more like him. It's God through the Holy Spirit who initially saves us and convicts of sin (John 16:8-9, 2 Thessalonians 2:13), and it's him who changes us to make us more like him (Romans 5:5, Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, since God is the only one who can save us and change us, we need to trust him and pray for his help.
Praying to God also shows that we have faith in him - we wouldn't pray to him if we didn't think he existed or if we didn't think he ever does anything for us. Therefore by constantly praying we would be constantly trusting in God. Constant prayer is also about praying to God about everything - everything we face, everything we enjoy, everything we fear and struggle with. God wants to hear us praying to him about these things because he loves seeing us trust in him.
But we shouldn't just pray about ourselves. God isn't our personal genie who will give us three wishes if we have enough faith. We need to pray out of trust in him, but we should also pray as a way of praising God. We should pray to thank him for all he has done and for who he is. We should pray in tribulations to help us be patient, and we should pray as part of our rejoicing in hope.
The question for us is this: how much do we pray? Does that reflect our trust in God?
I find it easy to sit down and go through a prayer list, and that is useful, although I struggle to make it genuine and it sort of becomes routine after awhile. But how much do we pray at other times? It shouldn't be a chore to pray - it should be a joy and a privilege that we use constantly.
I hope they were some helpful thoughts!
Soli deo gloria!