I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) – “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Verse 16 tells us to “be joyful always”: not easy to do, but the joy of the Lord conquers the toughest of trials, if we allow ourselves to trust in him.
Verse 17 tells us to “pray continually”: we’re not talking about constant, deep, time consuming prayers that would eventually impede on your daily life tasks. I think what Paul is talking about is developing a heart and attitude of prayer, where you constantly speak with the Lord throughout the day. Anything from small desires to dire needs can be addressed when we have an attitude of prayer throughout the day. There doesn’t need to be a specified time.
Verse 18 says give thanks in all circumstances. My bible notes make it clear that evil does not come from God. As I said last night, we live in an imperfect world. Evil is everywhere. But, I believe we need to thank God even while we are in the midst of the storm; we should thank him for walking us through the trials. It’s hard to see God when we’re in the middle of a struggle, but know that he is there beside us; guiding our steps and helping us to persevere.
The content of these three verses doesn’t come naturally to us. In fact, we have to diligently practice them. Learning to be thankful in all things teaches us to love and respect the God who created everything.