“Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
One of the shortest verses in the Bible, but what seems like an impossible command to follow.
The part of the command that usually causes us to scratch our heads is the description of how we are to pray—without ceasing. We feign ignorance that we don’t know how to do something without ceasing. But I want to suggest that there are plenty of things that we do without ceasing. One of which is social media.
We know what it means to “social media without ceasing.” We rarely forget that our Instagram feed is constantly refreshing in the background. We post a picture, then check every couple of minutes to see who has liked or commented. We’re afraid we’re going to miss something big (like a candle giveaway), so we check Instagram waiting in the grocery checkout line, stopped at red light, and even at dinner with friends. Even as we’re taking a photo of a fun experience, we’re already thinking of the caption that we’re going to use (#InstagramOrItDidntHappen). And while few would admit the unsanitary practice, we even take our phones to the bathroom with us just in case something urgent gets posted in the two minutes we were gone. In almost every moment of our daily lives, we are thinking about our digital life.
What if we had that same intentionality about our prayers?
What if those moments in a grocery line we look up to our hurting neighbors around us and pray for them, even if we don’t know who they are or what they’re going through?
What if when we stop at a red light, we pray that God would give us wisdom and strength to do His work where we are going?
What if, at dinner with our friends, we intentionally ask those with us how we can pray for them and pray with them right then?
What if in those big moments in life, we first turn to God in praise?
In the bathroom…well, you can decide what to do there.
Let me be honest, I don’t do this all the time. Sometimes my first reaction to a blessing is to post it with a cute photo on Instagram (#blessing) and not turn to God in prayers of thanksgiving. But it’s something that God continues to convict me of as I scroll instead of kneel.
So don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t know how to do something without ceasing. You do it all the time. So instead of filling the cracks of your day with mindless tapping and scrolling, let prayer seep into every part of your day. Let everything be done in prayer, not with your Instagram story in mind.