ALL the time (without ceasing) pray;
In ALL circumstances, give thanks,
for this (all 3!) is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
The Greek text puts the “ALL” constructs at the beginning for emphasis. In the teaching on Pray without Ceasing (all sermons available here on the website) points to God’s goal of our constant communion with Him. Our cell phone, social media world provides an analogy of continual connection that we might not have thought possible a few years ago. (Sure, we often are more known for what one of my sons called “texting without ceasing” but it removes our excuse for thinking we can’t continually be in prayer! (Someone reminded me recently that technology CAN also be used to enhance continual -and prompt- prayer for people all around the world.)
To truly make sense of giving thanks in all circumstances, we need to embrace the will of God, as stated in 1 Thes. 4, as our sanctification or holiness. The ultimate purpose of God for us is our transformation into the image of Christ! God is in it all – in everything that we experience! Romans 8:29 in The Message captures the big picture well:
…we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.
If you would like to listen to the North Park lecture on PRAYER by Bishop Kallistos Ware that I referenced, it is available on the Ancient Faith Radio site here.