Does Always Mean Always?

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; 

For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 

There is a simple theme that runs through this brief section of Paul’s writings. These five words explain it all: always; without ceasing; in everything. 


With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 

Ephesians 6:18 


The theme is amplified with the phrase at all times.


No one can do something always

These verses have overwhelmed at times. Maybe you too. For one to go from being a typical American Christian; overwhelmed with busyness, anxious over the responsibilities of life and riddled with various stresses and doubts — to one who communicates always in joy and gratitude; abiding at all times in the presence of God???  


Well, come on! That is just overwhelming to consider. 


Small, incremental progress

For me, the only way to process this principle of always is to allow my spirit the grace to progress ever so slightly, one day at a time. Brother Lawrence addresses this simple concept of small, incremental progress in his fourth letter contained in the book, Practicing the Presence of God. Following are simple encouragements from the book. 


Keep it simple

He encourages his readers that if they want to overthrow the power that presently governs [their] life and replace it with a better Power, then take steps toward the following — 


He does not require a great deal of us; all He asks is a little remembrance of Him from time to time, a little worship. Sometimes we should ask for His grace, and sometime we should offer Him our sufferings. At other times we ought to thank Him for the grace He has given us and which He is working in us.


In the midst of your work console yourself with Him as often as you can. During your meals and your conversations, lift your heart towards Him from time to time; the slightest little remembrance will always be very pleasant to Him. To do this you do not need to shout out loud. He is closer to us than we think.


We can make our heart a prayer room into which we can retire from time to time to converse with Him gently, humbly, and lovingly. Everyone is capable of these familiar conversations with God — some more, some less. He knows what our capabilities are. Let us begin, for perhaps He is only awaiting a generous resolve on our part.


So make it a habit little by little to worship Him in this way. Ask Him for His grace and offer Him your heart from time to time during the day in the midst of your work. Do not constrain yourself by rules or private devotions. Offer Him your heart in faith, with love and humility.



Friends, these words of encouragement were refreshing to my soul this morning as I considered the [sometimes] overwhelming phrases from God’s Word that call us to live in the Spirit — always; without ceasing; in everything; at all times


Father, we know that You are always with us. Encourage us to pause and whisper to you throughout the day; I love You; I need You; I thank You. We are grateful that you are so patient with us, in all things. We may be weak and needy but deep down in our hearts, we love You. You have been kind to pour Your love into our hearts so that we can love you back, in simplicity and earnestness. You are a great and loving Father and a loving and kind Savior of our souls. We are always thankful and grateful, even when we forget to say so. Amen.