By Leon Morris
The Christian is one who has been born all over again (John 3:3, 7), he has been created anew (2 Cor. 5:17). He does not see things as the earthling sees them, but, as a child of the heavenly Father, he goes rejoicing through his Father's world. . . he is glad to live out the implications of his faith. . . His spiritual resources are so great that earthly things cannot disturb his composure, and he goes on his way with a song in his heart (Col. 3:16). It is natural for men to rejoice when things go well with them. But it is not this natural joy, dependent on circumstances, that is characteristic of the Christian. It is the joy that comes from being "in Christ." . . . They thought more of their Lord than of their difficulties; more of their spiritual riches in Christ than of their poverty on earth; more of the glorious future when their Lord should come again than of their unhappy past. So the note of joy rings through the New Testament . . . "Rejoice always."
The injunction to continual prayer springs out of the same great idea as that to continual rejoicing. Christianity is a religion which turns men's thoughts away from themselves and their puny deeds to the great God who has wrought a stupendous salvation for them in Christ our Savior. . . For living the dedicated life the power of the indwelling Spirit alone suffices. All along the way man is made to feel his own insufficiency. But alongside that is the power and the love of Almighty God. God will not leave man. He comes to him at Calvary and at Pentecost. He provides for the deepest needs of man's soul. . . .
If we live in this way, conscious of our dependence on God, conscious of His presence with us always, conscious of His will to bless, then our general spirit of prayerfulness will in the most natural way overflow into uttered prayer. . . Prayer was as natural to Paul as breathing. At any time he was likely to break off his argument or to sum it up by some prayer of greater or less length. in the same way our lives can be lived in such an attitude of dependence on God that we will easily and naturally move into the words of prayer on all sorts of occasions, great and small, grave and gay. Prayer is to be constant.
. . . . But when a man comes to see that God in Christ has saved him, everything is altered. He now realizes that God's purpose is being worked out. He sees the evidence in his own life and in the lives of those about him. This leads to the thought that the same loving purpose is being worked out even in those events which he is inclined not to welcome at all. When he comes to see God's hand in all things he learns to give thanks for all things (The First Epistle to the Thessalonians, pp. 173-174).