His name is Randy Gardner, and in 1964 then a 17-year old high school student from San Diego, CA, went without sleep for 264 hours (11 days), breaking the previous record of 260 days. The results of his sleep deprivation marathon are well documented as he had severe changes in moods, problems with concentration and short term memory, paranoia, and hallucinations. Just as in our physical lives we take for granted certain aspects that must be included for our health - sleep, our spiritual lives also require consistency, especially in the area of prayer.
In chapter 5 and verse 17 of Paul’s instruction to the church in Thessalonica, we read the often-quoted passage, “pray without ceasing”; however, do we ever ask the “Why?” behind the instruction? What is so special about prayer that Paul would go out of his way to strongly urge and plead with the Christians (see v. 14) to remain in a continual attitude of prayer? What’s the BIG DEAL with prayer?
Simply put, prayer is a demonstration of one’s faith in God. As the Hebrew writer penned, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (11:6). Through prayer, we confidently acknowledge God’s existence and His place as God, the Creator and Sustainer of all. By laying our cares and concerns at His discretion, we admit His will and His way is far better than ours, showing our complete reliance on Him in all things.
By looking at Randy’s study, we can see just how valuable sleep is. In the same sense, when it comes to your spiritual life, you cannot survive without consistent prayer. You might be able to coast by for a time; however, you will never thrive and grow in your walk with Him if you don’t stay in a continual state of reliance upon Him. Beginning today, let’s purpose to “pray without ceasing”.