“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
The sign outside the church said, “Treat prayer as your steering wheel and not as your spare tire.” It took me a minute to process this but once I did, it gave me lots of food for thought.
Without the steering wheel in good working order, I am either going to have great difficulty driving my car or I am not going anywhere. The steering wheel is essential to my being able to use my car. (I know there are driverless cars but that is a story for another day.) The steering wheel allows me to choose the direction in which I need to go, keeps me on the road and helps me avoid road hazards. How often do you use the steering wheel in your car? Obviously, every time you go somewhere in your car.
What about the spare tire? How often do you use it? I have never used the one in my car. (I am not even sure if it is usable!) Our spare tires are easy to forget because we only use them in a time of emergency.
Are you beginning to see the parallels with prayer here? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” That is like my steering wheel. I use it all the time just as I should pray all the time. Philippians 4: 6 (NLB) says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” Everything means everything, not just about some things or only in emergencies.
I can choose not to pray about anything. However, when I do, it is like not using the steering wheel of my car. The car is going to go wherever it pleases and will most likely end up in an accident. If I don’t pray and seek God’s wisdom and direction, I am going to go where I please and will most likely end up being disobedient and getting into trouble.
I can choose only to pray when there is a crisis in my life. God hears those “spare tire” prayers but He would much rather that I be in daily communication with Him about every aspect of my life. God wants to hear our prayers and He answers them. Psalm 34:15 says “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry.” Psalm 66:19-20 says “but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”
Just as a steering wheel is a must for my car, so prayer is a must for my life. Prayer shows me the direction I should go, it keeps me in God’s will and helps me to avoid temptation and trouble.
What kind of person of prayer do you want to be? A steering wheel or a spare tire?