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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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A Simple Rule | Rejoice Always

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!

Philippians 4:4

The last two years have seen an extraordinary level of change.

Our work patterns, social interactions, methods of communication, holiday arrangements, and family celebrations have all been impacted. When the ground of our lives shifts beneath us, it is natural to reach out for something stable to hold onto. A ‘rule of life’ provides such support.

The idea of a rule of life developed in Christian monastic communities, the best-known being that of St Benedict. It is simply a rhythm of prayer, reflection, or other spiritual practices that help us integrate our faith into our daily lives. Not only does it provide stability but, like a trellis supporting a plant, it helps us to grow and flourish.

In this three-part series of weekly reflections, we will focus on a simple ‘rule’: rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.

Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians was addressed to new believers who were suffering persecution. Given their circumstances, this command to ‘rejoice always’ has to be seen as a matter of obedient choice, not dependent on feelings: a choice to sing, and to express joyful worship, as Paul himself did when imprisoned. Sometimes we have to push through to joy in the Lord. We often see this in the psalms. The psalmist begins by crying out to God for help amid a life-threatening trial. But by the end of the psalm, he’s praising the Lord and rejoicing in him, even though his circumstances haven’t yet changed.

Paul is not asking us to ignore or neutralise our God-given emotions of sorrow or pain. The rejoicing he encourages goes hand in hand with hope. We hope because Jesus is now enthroned as Lord. When we trust deeply that God is present with us and holds us safe, we can let go of our anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. Instead, we attend to the many signs of God’s love within and around us – all of which are reasons to rejoice.

And so, in all the uncertainty of today, may we, with the psalmist, declare: ‘This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it’ (Psalm 118:24 ESV).

Our Lent prayer journey, A Simple Rule, begins on 2 March. Over 40 days we will explore the themes of rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances. Do join us!

Bev Shepherd
Bev Shepherd is Prayer Journeys Project Leader at LICC and an executive coach.

 

How might the exhortation to ‘rejoice always’ impact how you approach the daily tasks on your frontline today? Join the conversation in the comments below.

A Simple Rule: Lent Prayer Journey

Develop a rhythm of prayer that integrates your faith into your daily life, following Paul’s simple advice to the Thessalonians: rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. Learn to see your life through God’s eyes, develop fresh habits of prayerfulness, and grow more like Christ, shaped by time spent with him.

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A Simple Rule | Pray Continually

Comments

  1. Our Lent prayer journey, A Simple Rule, begins on 2 March. Over 40 days we will explore the themes of rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances. Do join us! – Yes, I would like to journey with you again, Beloved Saints of God, thank You Lord, amen.
    Isaiah 30:19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Amen
    Eternal and Prayerful Regards,
    Bill

    By Bill Saunders  -  14 Feb 2022
  2. Thank you, Bev, what a lovely and appropriate start to the working week… blessings on this message as it percolates throughout the soon-to-be-here Spring!

    By Jeremy Clare  -  14 Feb 2022
  3. How refreshing to take a moment to rejoice in a God who cares & engages.

    I often feel bruised by the one person I am in contact with who live enshrouded by a punitive mindset – mostly punitive towards me.

    I let her unhealthy outlook trouble me & awaken my sense of something being wrong. So I’ll try to join your lent course. Thankyou

    By Su  -  14 Feb 2022
  4. Thank you so much for this, I would love to join your journey through lent. When will it be available on youversion?

    By Leanne  -  15 Feb 2022
    • Hi Leanne, it’s great that you’d like to join! The journey will be available on YouVersion from 2 March.

      Matt Jolley
      By Matt Jolley Research & Implementation Manager
  5. Thank you for this – I have been feeling that God is prompting me to rejoice in each day that He has made through a difficult time as my husband is seriously ill.
    How can I join the Lent Journey ?
    Thank you.

    By Karen  -  15 Feb 2022
    • Hi Karen, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds like this series may be quite helpful in a really tough season. Visit https://licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/ and scroll down to ‘A Simple Rule’, clicking the ’email’ button to sign up.
      Blessings, Dave

      By Dave Benson  -  16 Feb 2022

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