Pray Without Ceasing

This has been stuck in my head. All morning it has been stuck in my head, and I’m going to note it as something significant. “God’s not dead, He’s surely alive, and he’s roaring like a lion.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Life had become incredible. I was working out, I’m doing Tough Mudder on Saturday, Guatemala for a mission trip at the end of September, I have a publishing deal and possibly another, I was writing rapidly and improving my craft by leaps and bounds, and I felt incredible. I smiled, I uplifted people, I was, quite honestly, amazing. I get this lacks modesty, but at the end of the day it was all because God moved me to become this person through a horribly traumatic experience. Most people would scoff at the experience, but to me it was devastating and I was on my knees for days, praying. And God answered in a way I could never imagine.

A month ago things were going really well. Again I thought God had answered prayers in ways I never would understand, and I ignored numerous warning signs. I ignored the wise council of those around me. I ignored the fact I was acting against the wisdom of the Bible. I ignored emotional abuses being levied against me repeatedly. It was not a godly situation, but I reasoned and was convinced I needed to love patiently and it would change. With how things were, they couldn’t change and there was nothing I could do to change it.

A month ago it became painfully apparent this was destroying me. I had to let go and I pushed hard. But instead of being free, instead of feeling lighter, instead of feeling like I was amazing and in God, I felt displaced. I felt God had turned away. I felt alone and scared. I felt abandoned by everyone and everything. I’ve felt that way for the past month. I’ve felt alone, bitter, angry, and filled with the dark side. I truly thought this is the path to the Sith. This is the path away from God. And I couldn’t figure out how to get back on the path I had been on. It was terrifying.

Last night was the beginning of my break through. I recalled a verse, a favored of an old friend. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I hadn’t done it since my major melt down a little over half a year ago. So I did it again. It helped last time, so why not this time? Last night, for a good twenty to thirty minutes, I put on worship music and just prayed. I prayed for the depression to lift, for me to gain my motivation back, that I’d want to go to church instead of it feeling like a chore, and that I would get my act together. I was struggling, and the more I moved, the more my life felt futile, when a month ago the world was my oyster. I wanted that attitude back.

This morning I did my routine, praying throughout it. I hopped in my car and turned on the radio to KLove. I felt great. I was smiling. I was giddy. I was alive again, and my motivation returned. I knew what story I had to write. I felt I could truly move forward. I didn’t cease praying after this epiphany. I kept praying throughout the day, driving to accounts, singing worship music as loud as I could and with amazing energy. Weeping a little (there’s some shame, but all the greats in the Bible did it, so why not). It wasn’t a sad weeping. It was a joyful weeping that I was finally becoming healed. That I was finally on a path of God’s choosing. The depression no longer loomed over me. There was some hurt, some sorrowful thoughts, but there wasn’t the great burden crashing into me.

KLove’s verse of the day was Exodus 14:14. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” I stopped hunting for purpose. I stopped paying for happiness. I stopped coming up with whatever quick fix story I could. I stopped jumping from one idea to another of how to get back on track. I stopped. I sat there. For a good chunk of time all I did was pray and ask for guidance. I waited. I listened. My yoke was lifted from my shoulders not by my hand, not by my efforts, but by me stopping. By me letting God lift it off my shoulders. The Lord fought for me when I finally became still, just as He did originally, around seven months ago, when all I could do was drop to my knees and pray.

So I pray again for mercy, love, and guidance. I pray to God that He will take my burdens from me and the burdens from those I love. I know I’m not the only one struggling. I know it’s possibly short sighted for this to be so focused on the self. But I share this with you in the hopes that God can use it to move you to prayer. That He might show you the path you’re to take. Stop what you’re dong. Give Him your time. Pray and be still. Listen and He will guide you. Listen and He will make your burden light. I’m just overjoyed He has brought me back to Him and made mine light after a very difficult time.

Blessings,

Paul

Edit: So I was looking through my old papers to find a board game for tonight and found some old letters she wrote me. “I just want God to reclaim this relationship, I don’t want a deathly tight grip on it.” People change in such strange ways. I pray God does reclaim it, that it is pleasing in His eyes, but it wasn’t and there was nothing I could change to make it pleasing in His eyes. However, to dwell is destruction. Time to go play some fun board games!

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