Have you ever witnessed a breathtaking sunset that makes you stop and reflect on how beautiful life can be and how incredible God is? If you’ve seen such a sunset, it likely wasn’t taken in quietly because, though you may have been coming home from soccer practice with a car filled with kids, you still feel a sense of peace wash over you.
Seeing it prompted you to marvel at the majestic nature of God, opening your heart to Him. Perhaps you’ve encountered times when you can only stare in awe at particular moments. The rush of emotions overwhelms you in a way that makes you crave God’s closeness. Maybe it’s the scene of lovebirds as they recite their vows on their wedding day. Perhaps it’s the wind’s whisper as it meets the leaves and creates a pretty song as you hike a familiar trail. Maybe it’s sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying its goodness as you have some time to yourself, or it’s a sunset or sunrise.
In those moments, God often meets with us, and we can sense His peace or feel His presence. Being connected to God is nothing like we’ve ever experienced, and we crave it. We long for it, desperately needing connection, especially to God. Still, what about the times when God feels distant, or we don’t have those awe-inspiring moments when we feel immersed in His presence? What about when our faith wavers or we slip into a pattern of connecting with others, hoping they’ll fill the void within us, only to find that they won’t?
This is where a devoted prayer life becomes our lifeline. This is when we put our hurts, hearts, and hang-ups at Jesus’ feet, asking Him to draw near and renew our faith. Still, what does a prayer life look like? In 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, three parts help you acquire a more significant way to connect with God. Here’s what a prayer life looks like.
Rejoicing in the Lord.
If we want to connect with God, we should first recognize who we’re praying to. We can have a personal relationship with God, and He’s a compassionate and loving Father who knows us intimately. We should remember that He deserves our utmost honor and respect. Deuteronomy 13:4 tells us we show respect and honor to God by rejoicing in Who He is. We can do that in song or praise. We can also do that by delighting in the blessings He’s graciously bestowed upon us taking in the beautiful sights around us.
Rejoicing in the Lord is the first step and opens the doors to our prayer life. Next time you see a beautiful sunset, take it in. When you have a special moment with a loved one, acknowledge that God brought you together. When you meet a goal, give God the glory. In time, whether you’re experiencing hardships or happiness in your life, you’ll be able to rejoice in the Lord and in His faithfulness and promises to see you through every season.
Continually talk to God.
Having a deeper relationship with God means constantly communicating with Him. Just like you talk with your best friend at lunch and discuss what you’re excited about or voice your concerns. Instead, we can take everything to God first. Paul tells the church at Thessalonica that to connect with the Lord on a deeper level, we should posture our hearts for prayer and approach Him with a willing attitude. Like any relationship, they only grow when we make time for them and give them our attention and love.
We shouldn’t only make time for God and give Him our time, but we should make Him our priority. As we go on with our day, we can stay in touch with God by letting Him be part of it, talking with Him about the minor and significant things and sharing the sorrow and pain and the joys and blessings. When we give our hearts to God and invite Him into our lives, we come to a place where we can foster a more meaningful and deeper relationship with Him instead of a surface-level one.
Give Him thanks.
A prayerful life puts our desires and needs in front of Jesus, asking Him to step in and give us the desires of His heart. Essentially, we put God in charge of our dreams, hopes, wants, and needs and our hurt, pain, and sorrow while giving Him thanks in every circumstance. Giving thanks to God in every situation allows us to surrender it all, knowing that we can’t do this life and live amply without Him navigating it. John 15:5 says we fully recognize that we’re nothing apart from God.
As we grow in our relationship with God and see how He’s moving in our lives, we realize that His ways are always better and His purpose and plan for our life are indeed good. That plan unfolds for us in the gospels when we face and meet Jesus, hear His story, countless acts of love, and, ultimately, His sacrificial death for you and me. That should cause us to stop and reflect, allowing us to give God our sincere praise and thanks.
As with any relationship, if we want it to thrive and grow, we must invest our time and pour energy into it. Regarding our relationship with God, the most critical of all relationships, we must strive to speak with Him throughout our day. Even if we don’t feel His presence or sense His closeness, we should remind our hearts that He’s still with us. If we want to have a life devoted to prayer and honestly seek the Lord, we must choose to see Him and meet with Him in every part of our lives.
The next time you see a beautiful sunset spread across the sky, rejoice in the Lord. When you have quiet time, seize that moment and talk with Him. When you have a precious moment with a loved one that warms your heart, thank Him.