Theme of the Week: Prayer
Bible Verse: “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
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:28-39
The pastor at my church keeps a gratitude journal in which he records, every day, three things he’s grateful for. These things can be small, like a tasty cup of tea, or large, like a wonderful conversation he had with an estranged family member. He says he keeps this journal so that he doesn’t end up a crotchety old man. He is training his heart to be grateful.
At the end of his first letter to the Thessalonian believers, Paul tells them to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The final phrase, “in Christ Jesus,” is the key to the entire statement, but what does it mean?
In Christ, God treats us according to what Christ in his righteousness deserves, not according to what we in our sins deserve. In Christ, we are saved from the wrath of God, and as a result our circumstances are never a punishment from God. The opposite in fact is true: in Christ, all of our circumstances come to us through the loving hands of Almighty God.
One very practical result of this is that even in the hardest circumstances, we can thank God. We can pray, and we can rejoice! Even the hardest circumstances of our lives God uses lovingly for our good, to transform us so that we might share in His holiness.
This week we’ve looked at various parts of the Bible to find out what should we be praying for. God’s Word shows us, however, that God doesn’t always answer our prayers how we would like. What God does do is far better: In Christ, he rescues us from sin, lovingly meets all our needs, leads us along the path to life, gives us peace when we are persecuted, and uses all things for our good. These are blessings we can be grateful for every day!
Prayer: HGod, no matter what my circumstances are today, I thank you for them, because I know in Christ you are using them for my good.
Reflection: How can I experience gratitude to God every day?
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