Thursday, June 30, 2011

Train Rides And Prayers

I take the train everyday to go to work and to go back home except on weekends. Each ride lasts for about 45 minutes, one way. That's an hour and 30 minutes per day. To my estimation, it totals to around 7 hours and 30 minutes of commuting each week. Or almost 1 day and a quarter of being on the train within a month. It does add up, doesn't it? So now the question is, what to do with those 16 days (more or less) every year I spend on train rides?

Too bad for me, I'm one of those people who doesn't like listening to music blasting on my eardrums from an iPod or some similar gadget. I like to enjoy my music communally, where I can sing-along aloud or sway to the melody. I guess I can do that with an iPod, if I don't mind people looking at me like I've just lost my marbles. I also don't like watching movies or any kind of shows on a teeny-weeny screen from an iPod, iPad, iPhone, or any other kind of i-gadget. Don't we watch a lot of television and movies at home already? I think that's more than enough for me.

One thing I do like on my train rides is reading. I read a lot and I'm so glad I'm not like my husband who is so sensitive to motion. If he is not the one driving, he is usually a "nauseated passenger" of anything --cars, buses, trains, airplanes, you name it. Not unless he's driving he will be sick and because of that he can't enjoy reading while in motion. I'm so thankful I'm not that way at all because reading is what I do when I'm on a moving vehicle. Well, I should say most of the time, because I also do other things, like using my phone, "people-watching," and I pray.

"Pray without ceasing." -1 Thessalonians 5:17
It is commanded by God that all Christians pray, non-stop! That's what "without ceasing" means, right? Wow, what an impossible command, a lot of people will say. How can anybody, even the most religious and spiritual among us, can pray without stopping? Maybe that's why several people are disillusioned and we feel discouraged when we try to assess our prayer life. It's simply not going to happen. We all need to rest, eat, work, do other things than just pray. How can God even think that we can follow this particular command? Did He make a mistake? Didn't He know what "without ceasing" means?

Of course you realize these are just rhetorical questions I'm asking on here because I already know the answer. God never makes any mistakes. He knows what He's doing all the time. And He knows that what He's asking of us is for our own good. There is nothing impossible with Him. Nothing. So, how do we do this? How do we even begin? For me, it begins with obedience. I know it's not going to be easy but I also know that I have to obey. Obedience is better than sacrifice, the Bible says. God is pleased when His people make the decision to obey Him no matter what. Then His grace will shine through and gives us the possibility for the impossibles. It's hard to explain since no words are enough to encompass His greatness and the things He can do. Christians all over the world give accounts and testimonies of His power and mercy, of miracles after miracles happening to them and around them with no plausible explanation available except to say that it's of divine nature.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." -Jeremiah 33:3
On those train rides, God has shown me that prayer can be a part of my lifestyle if only I will obey first. I do not claim that I pray non-stop now. Oh, I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn from Him on this area in my life. It is my hope that He will guide me as I make that decision everyday to obey Him. How wonderful it is to experience a conversation with my King and my Lord knowing that He hears me and He listens to me. The Bible tells us that prayer is a conversation. It is not a one-way street where I get to talk and tell Him what I need and what I want Him to do for me. Prayer is a wonderful privilege given to God's children to communicate with Him. When we read the Bible, we allow Him to speak to us. When we listen to the preaching of His Word, we learn from Him. Sometimes, He also speaks in a "still small voice" within us, and if we are quiet enough we might hear Him telling us great and wonderful things we haven't known before.

"And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." -1 Kings 19:12

I do understand now that it is indeed possible to pray without ceasing. It's when in my every waking hour I have His commands and promises in my thoughts, it's when in my every move I try to follow and obey Him, and it's when by every word of my mouth I shall praise and declare His holy Name forever. Amen.

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