Category Archives: February 2023

Pray Continually

Pray Continually

The day before we left for our Guatemala trip, we learned that one of the participants had just been diagnosed with a large mass in her stomach. She and her husband would not be coming because they immediately scheduled follow-up appointments with an oncologist and a surgeon. This news created a bit of panic in everyone who heard it.

Her surgery took place on the Wednesday while we were in Guatemala and so that morning we gathered in a circle to pray. It was a subdued prayer. Of course, we had already been praying non-stop and most of our prayers had been quite glum based on the initial prognosis. When we returned from our day of work we were told that the surgeon had removed a mass the size of a softball – and it was NOT cancer!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.” The context around this verse surprises me. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

I often pray out of desperation and the mood of these crisis prayers is often somber – maybe even depressed. I wonder what it would look like to be able to pray about all things with rejoicing and thanksgiving. Would that change my attitude about prayer?

This year I am asking God, “Teach me to pray continually with gladness, joy, and gratitude.”

Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

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    God’s One Liners

    God’s One Liners

    One of my spiritual goals this year is to make time for listening prayer—but also not overcomplicate the listening process.  So I started a notes file in my phone, and put this question on the top:

    “Lord, what’s on Your heart today that You want to tell me?”

    Then I add today’s date, ask the question, and wait patiently for an answer.

    It doesn’t take long before an impression fills my mind.  Part of not overcomplicating this process is me going with the first thing I ‘hear’, the first thing that impressed in my mind.  Here are some of the things I’ve heard this year.

    “Pray for your boys.”

    “Keep affirming words on your mouth.”

    “Don’t just go about your day any longer.”

    And so I’ve done my best to be faithful to these words and small tasks God has given me.

    My great desire is to be able to hear God with greater clarity! I’ve been in His word, I’ve been memorizing His word, and now I want to know His voice in the way Jesus did—to receive my daily bread, my daily instructions, and walk more greatly in the things He has for His Church.

    This feels like just the beginning and sometimes feels like I’m still using my training wheels, but it’s amazing how much God can say in a one-liner.  I understand the heart behind each line, the greater picture of what He means, and even the details of what these little one line answers are referring to. 

    I’ll admit I haven’t been faithful to do this every day!  Getting into a new habit (even though it takes only about 60 seconds!) has been a bit of a challenge.  Even as I type right now, I’m going to stop and put a reminder in my phone…

    There. Done.  Hopefully that will keep me on course to hear more of what is on God’s heart this year with greater clarity!

    Leah Carolan
    Director of Worship & Media


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