There are some verses I’ve had a very difficult time with. One of them is “Pray continually.” 1 That verse is often on my mind, and I’ve learned how important it is to pray. I pray a lot, but I don’t pray continually, so I’ve often felt guilty about not praying enough.
No matter how good my intentions are, my mind often gets caught up in other things. I shoot up a quick prayer before I drive or eat or sleep, or when I wake up. I pray when someone asks me to pray for them. I have a prayer list of things I pray for every day. I pray for people when they come to mind. But no matter how much I pray, or how long or well I pray, it’s never going to be “continually.”
My daughter recently flew to Europe. It was a long flight with various connections and I really wanted to keep praying for her along the way until she arrived safely at her final destination. I found a scented candle called “Angel’s Whispers” and I liked the thought that even though I couldn’t be praying continually, her angels would keep praying for her. So I put the candle in a safe, visible place, lit it, prayed for her trip, and then went about my day. Every time I walked by the candle I’d pray for her. The candle kept burning until she arrived safely.
Maybe our prayers are like that candle. Our faith and trust in God is like sweet-smelling incense rising to His throne. Maybe He enjoys the fragrance of our prayers like I enjoyed that candle. It’s beautiful to think that the fragrance of our prayers may fill the halls of heaven like the candle’s aroma filled my home.
So I decided to stop worrying about all the times I hadn’t prayed. I’ll do what I can and try to be as prayerful as possible. When I’m especially desperate, I’ll light a fragrant candle and entrust my thoughts and prayers to God. Then I’ll trust Him with all the rest, with my life and the lives of those I love, casting all my cares on Him, because I know He cares for me. I’ll put the verse “Pray continually” in context. I’ll do my best to pray continually, but I’ll trust in God’s mercy when I fall short of “continually,” and I’ll give thanks in every circumstance.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV