I read a devotion from Charles Spurgeon recently that I can’t get out of my mind. It’s a meditation on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Here’s the text: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Spurgeon makes this comment based on that text, and it’s the one I’ve been thinking about: “When joy and prayer are married, their firstborn child is gratitude.” He also says this about the marrying of joy and prayer: “Prayer gives a channel to the pent-up sorrows of the soul; they flow away; and in their stead streams of sacred delight pour into the heart.”
I think he’s saying that the way to a joyful heart is to pray continually. So when our heart isn’t joyful, it’s probably an indication of prayerlessness – the result of being consumed by our circumstances, rather than looking up.
I’ve found this to be true. I don’t know about your levels of joy right now, especially given your current condition, but if it is lacking, pray simple prayers throughout the day. Ask God for physical help. Ask him for spiritual help. Ask him for opportunities to tell others about the saving work of Christ. And thank God continually.
I don’t think any of us has received everything we wanted or expected in this life. I know I haven’t. And at times, I get overwhelmed with my current physical limitations and I vent that frustration to people, rather than taking it to God in prayer. After being a Christian for so long, I ought to know better.
I shared all of this recently in a letter to an ailing friend. I have no idea if it meant anything to him. But it helped me process the truth of these three key verses. Maybe it’ll do the same for you.