May 07, 2012

The Primary Habit

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Pray continually …
—1 Thessalonians 5:17


Throughout history, Christians have developed practices that help them grow in their walk with God. These have often been called “spiritual disciplines.” A general list of spiritual disciplines would include worship, prayer, tithing, meditation, fasting, study, memorization, and confession. The list of potential disciplines could grow to a point where we might feel we could never do enough.

The purpose of developing spiritual disciplines is not to add accomplishments to our spiritual resumes. If we believe that we somehow might earn credit in God’s eyes by mastering a list of spiritual disciplines, we misunderstand how these practices are beneficial. They are not ends in themselves but simply a means to help us grow nearer to God.

In our text for today, the Bible calls us to “pray continually.” This statement teaches us that prayer is the primary habit that we seek to develop in order to grow nearer to God.

Some of the people I admire for their spiritual maturity have never fasted. Some are not good at memorizing Scripture passages. Yet every person I think of as a mentor in my walk with God has developed the practice of seeking God in prayer. Spiritual disciplines make us aware of God’s presence, and there is probably no clearer way to acknowledge his presence than to approach God in prayer.

Holy Spirit, please help me to know the wonder of dwelling in your presence through a life of prayer. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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