Several years ago, I was part of an active and spiritually rewarding Bible study with a sweet group of ladies. The leader of this Bible study was a gifted teacher, and excellent example of a godly woman. She had some beautiful insights and many of the things I learned in that study have stuck with me, and become Ebenezers of sorts.
One such lesson was from our study in Romans chapter 1:
Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers…
This passage reminds me of a couple other passages, because of the use of the words all, always, without ceasing, etc.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
First of all, this passage from Philippians is a beautiful prayer to adopt and pray for your own fellow brothers and sisters. What a rich blessing these sentiments of deep faith, hope and love hold for the one(s) being prayed over. I will be copying this one down in my prayer journal to pray on a regular basis.
Second, and the reason for the title of my post today, is this question that was asked in our Bible Study. How could Paul truthfully say that in all his remembrances, and always in every prayer, he was praying this for those he loved? Was it an exaggeration? I don’t believe it was, as you can see, he swore to it by God as His witness… but if not, how could he make such a bold statement? The answer is simple, and is tied to Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians: to pray without ceasing. We can (and we should) train our minds to turn thoughts into prayers. So that every remembrance becomes a prayer, and to remember is to pray.