Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
These are three spiritual habits that we should practice daily: rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. Our reason for rejoicing is found in Jesus. When he guarantees eternal life, what more could we possibly need? Our troubles are temporary, but he is permanent and he invites us to join him and his work.
When we pray, we have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with him. Prayer is a voluntary effort to stay connected with God, by seeking him out and listening to whatever he has to say. The Bible is always a good prayer reference because it is the voice of God in print. When we read Scripture, it is an act of prayer. Do you realize that you are having an encounter with God whenever you read his word? Certain passages and verses may suddenly stand out and give you the insight or guidance you need, and it is often timely.
Also, many of the psalms provide excellent examples of expressive prayers. They show us that God gives us permission to speak freely. Nothing we say is ever a surprise or shock to him. I like to believe that what we offer from our hearts is what he treasures, granted that it is done in a reverent manner. Yes, he is our friend and we can call him Abba. But let’s also remember that he is God, and he deserves our honor and praise.
Giving thanks in all circumstances means that we carry a heart of gratitude wherever we go. Even when we have hard days, there is always something that we can be thankful for. Retiring into your evenings with a list of thanks can really calm your mind and spirit because you get to a point when you realize that God was behind all those good things.
These three spiritual habits are simple but powerful ways of strengthening your faith in the Lord. You can start by setting a few minutes each day to practice them. Perhaps you can try writing things down in a journal or on your device. The main takeaway here is to just do them. “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”