CAN­DLES AND PRAY­ERS

Activated - - NEWS - BY JOYCE SUTTIN

THERE ARE SOME VERSES I’VE HAD A VERY DIF­FI­CULT TIME WITH. One of them is “Pray con­tin­u­ally.” That verse is of­ten

1 on my mind, and I’ve learned how im­por­tant it is to pray. I pray a lot, but I don’t pray con­tin­u­ally, so I’ve of­ten felt guilty about not pray­ing enough.

No mat­ter how good my in­ten­tions are, my mind of­ten gets caught up in other things. I shoot up a quick prayer be­fore I drive or eat or sleep, or when I wake up. I pray when some­one asks me to pray for them. I have a prayer list of things I pray for ev­ery day. I pray for peo­ple when they come to mind. But no mat­ter how much I pray, or how long or well I pray, it’s never go­ing to be “con­tin­u­ally.”

My daugh­ter re­cently flew to Europe. It was a long flight with var­i­ous con­nec­tions and I re­ally wanted to keep pray­ing for her along the way un­til she ar­rived safely at her fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. I found a scented can­dle called “An­gel’s Whis­pers” and I liked the thought that even though I couldn’t be pray­ing con­tin­u­ally, her an­gels would keep pray­ing for her. So I put the can­dle in a safe, vis­i­ble place, lit it, prayed for her trip, and then went about my day. Ev­ery time I walked by the can­dle I’d pray for her. The can­dle kept burn­ing un­til she ar­rived safely.

Maybe our pray­ers are like that can­dle. Our faith and trust in God is like sweet-smelling in­cense ris­ing to His throne. Maybe He en­joys the fra­grance of our pray­ers like I en­joyed that can­dle. It’s beau­ti­ful to think that the fra­grance of our pray­ers may fill the halls of heaven like the can­dle’s aroma filled my home.

So I de­cided to stop wor­ry­ing about all the times I hadn’t prayed. I’ll do what I can and try to be as prayer­ful as pos­si­ble. When I’m es­pe­cially des­per­ate, I’ll light a fra­grant can­dle and en­trust my thoughts and pray­ers to God. Then I’ll trust Him with all the rest, with my life and the lives of those I love, cast­ing all my cares on Him, be­cause I know He cares for me. I’ll put the verse “Pray con­tin­u­ally” in con­text. I’ll do my best to pray con­tin­u­ally, but I’ll trust in God’s mercy when I fall short of “con­tin­u­ally,” and I’ll give thanks in ev­ery cir­cum­stance.

JOYCE SUTTIN IS A RE­TIRED TEACHER AND WRITER AND LIVES IN SAN AN­TO­NIO, USA. ■

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