Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message)
Some of you may remember a programme called Blockbusters in which contestants were asked to pick a letter and then answer the question on that letter to win prizes. Whenever the contestant said “Can I have a P please Bob?” it invariably produced laughter, hopefully, you know what I mean!
Well there are two P’s which are significant in the verses above and they are praise and prayer and when they are connected I believe they too will produce prizes.
There are often strange combinations, for instance, fruit and nut in a certain chocolate bar. For me who dislikes nuts, this prevents me from buying such a bar.
That could be true of the verse above – the combination to praise and pray to God in all circumstances. I find it easy to do one but the other not so much. Guess which one is easy? Yes, I can handle prayer but praise (cheerful) in all circumstances? (Hmmm I hear myself say) particularly having endured the last few weeks.
I confess I did praise (cheer) yesterday when I heard Scotland had no reported deaths associated with the virus.
Even the news that there may be some light in the re-opening of churches (to what extent is still a mystery) but there appears to give some hope.
You will notice it says “This is the way God wants”. That stopped me in my tracks. As a follower of Jesus, I have to take note not only on what is said but also what is required of me too.
Praise the Lord!” Let us understand one thing which is so important. The giving of thanks in all things does not imply that all things are good. Rather, followers of Jesus are charged with the giving of thanks because of Confidence in the purpose and the providence of God in any and every circumstance of life.cf. Romans 8:28-39
With that in mind, this week let us try to unpack the aspect of praise in relation to all circumstances. I guess the prayer aspect is very much self-explanatory. Pray at all times.
To that end tomorrow we look at an account (Jehoshaphat’s Prayer in 2 Chronicles 20) which I hope will help you, a situation which seemed hopeless or as as a character in Dad’s Army would say “we’re doomed”.
I leave you today with a verse from Philippines 4:6:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.