Ephesians 6:18 “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints …”
Key Words: at all times
What does “at all times” mean, anyway? Good times? Bad times? Inconvenient times?
How about sleepy times? Tired times? Frustrated times? Times of celebration and joy?
Considering God created a beautiful garden for Adam and Eve and *visited them among the flora — green lazy leaves, blooming lilies, lush grass — the three must have had exhilarating conversations. I close my eyes and try to imagine what the visit and talk must have looked and sounded like. Did the conversation move easily from one topic to another? Did Adam or Eve pepper God with questions about life or His purposes in creating their new world? Did God take the lead? Or did Eve do all the talking?
Did the three walk together and stop near the perennials, marvel at the continuous life cycle? Were perennials even perennials – never dying back?
As my imagination develops the scene, I’m convicted about the one-sided, self-focused conversations I have with the Lord. I don’t walk with Him in an unrushed manner through the garden of my personal blessings, but rather send short text-type messages of needs and wants. I treat him more like a gift-giving vending machine than a person I enjoy spending time with.
I want to spend my days doing prayer like Paul encourages – at all times. I think of the word, abide.
I want to try and be conversational with Him. The presence of the Holy Spirit through Christ’s atoning act allows us to once, again, commune. Lord, did you see that homeless person? Does it hurt your heart like mine? Lord, as the sun pops up over the Sandia Mountains this morning, I think of the risen Christ. Did you paint the scene this way on purpose?
Another point in this Scripture is that Paul makes a distinction between prayer and petition. We know we are to ask the Lord for the things we need, but here, Paul seems to say prayer is something apart from petition. Perhaps we are to enter into a two-way conversation with the Lord, along with presenting our requests. Like the original plan with Adam and Eve in the garden with God, this could be what prayer is really all about. Try imagining yourself in a garden with Him, observing, chatting, thanking, and receiving His wisdom.
Breathe it in friends. This is where we abide.
“Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
“… behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20
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- Genesis 3:8 tells that after Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God in the garden. This brings me to the conclusion that God came to the garden, and the post-sin visit was likely not the first.