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  • Nathan Castleberry

Text Without Ceasing

Pastor confession: I'm not a prayer warrior. I wish I was. Personal bible study comes a lot easier to me than personal prayer. In all honesty, I have to fight to prevent my mind from wandering during prayers.

In 1st Thessalonians chapter 5 we are challenged to "pray without ceasing". That used to seem like a daunting task to me. I felt like I could barely maintain focus for a daily prayer. How could I focus on prayer throughout an entire day?

One day in a group text I realized we all are capable of constant connectivity. Almost everybody belongs to a thread that keeps them in consistent communication. The Lord impressed on my heart that I had been treating my prayers more like emails and I needed to start treating them like texts.

Advertising research has shown us that nearly 100% of texts are opened as compared to only about 20% of emails. On average, people respond to texts within 90 seconds. If people respond to emails, the average response takes around 90 minutes. This is why your text inbox is slowly becoming the target of marketing and promotions. Advertisers have learned this is how to become more connected to their customers.

Think about a text thread where you're always sending and receiving information. Maybe it's with family, friends, or coworkers. If something goes well, you celebrate with them. When something is frustrating, you send angry emojis. If my human relationships matter enough to text without ceasing, then my relationship with Jesus should matter enough to pray without ceasing.

I felt God inviting me into a daily, ongoing conversation. Whenever and whatever was on my mind was worth bringing to him in meditative prayer consistently throughout my days. I'm not where I want to be just yet, but there's something different and better about life when I find myself to talking to God beyond just a morning devotion. This may be the only relationship where the more I talk, the more I hear.

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My life is steadied by three anchors - Jesus, my family, and grilling. If you hang around here, I hope you'll see that to be true, not just an aspiration. You'll probably also see room for improvement in how I relate to all three. I'm a tremendous beneficiary of grace in just about every area of my life. Jesus has been my king for 20 years and for 15 of those I've been serving his church. I couldn't ask for a better job than pastoring. Erica stole my heart 10 years ago and we've been married for 8. So much of our world revolves around our 2 kids, Declan and Adelaide. Erica and I are both on staff at church in the Atlanta, Georgia area called More Life Change.


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