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Concentrate Your Prayers

When individuals participate in a long conversation, you may reach a point where you lose focus. While some topics are so fascinating that discussions will last for hours, others get old fast as you try to slip away to avoid wasting any more time. The talks that I remember the most in life are the ones that I was captivated by someone or something. Your degree of concentration tends to make the difference between a boring and interesting conversation.

Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19.

Conversation is the action or power of focusing one’s attention by using a concerted mental effort. When Christians enter into a conversation with God via prayer, there are many distractions that may abruptly end this spiritual connection. The apostle Paul wrote two letters to the Church at Thessalonica. In each letter Paul makes a point to encourage believers to concentrate their prayers.

Furthermore, brethren, do pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed on (spread rapidly and run its course) and be glorified (extolled) and triumph, even as [it has done] with you, 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

The first mention refers to developing a prayerful mindset. When prayer become unceasing, a hedge of protection is formed so that you will be prepared for whatever circumstance comes your way. Meanwhile, if you begin to pray for the Great Commission to be fulfilled, Matthew 28:19-20, the Word of the Lord will continue to spread. Despite the rise and fall of emotions in this life, concentrate your prayers so that God will be glorified.

by Jay Mankus

Captivated or Captured?

Growing up in the 1980’s, arcades, malls and skating rinks were places teenagers congregated for social interaction.  Subsequently, I developed a soft spot in my heart for video games, longing to master the pattern for Pac-Man, flip Space Invaders from 999,999 back to zero on my Atari and complete every stage of Dragon’s Lair, one of the first games in 3D.  Looking back, I wonder if I was merely captivated by this new form of entertainment or was I captured by the devil, 2 Corinthians 4:4?

Compromise doesn’t happen over night.  Rather, the father of lies places subtle thoughts into your mind, hoping you will bite, James 1:13-15.  For the first 14 years of my life, I was hooked, spending countless hours on my Atari seeking to enter the hall of fame for each game I owned, taking a picture with a polaroid camera of my score or time.  However, with each accomplishment, excitement soon passed, creating a void in my heart that video games did not fulfill.  Breaking this habit was difficult, needing assistance from a higher power.

By the middle of my sophomore year of high school, I was ready, captivated by a man in wheelchair, claiming to be a famous athlete.  After receiving over 1,000 full scholarships in 4 different sports, a water skiing accident left Skip Wilkins paralyzed from the waist down.  Despite his humbling disposition, there was something different about him.  Whatever Skip had inside of him, I wanted.  Thus, when an altar call was offered, I was one of the first to come down, captivated by a godly witness and now captured by a forgiving Savior, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

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