Pray Without Ceasing
Much of the Bible vexes me. I suppose most of my biblical apprehension has to do with the language barrier -- or perhaps, some insecurities over my lack of linguistic prowess.
Other than a random smattering of Spanish phrases that enable me to find the nearest hospital, haggle over prices, or hurl taunts at sporting events, I'm utterly reliant upon the English language. This raises questions in my mind when I read the Bible.
That passage says one thing in English, but what about the Hebrew or Greek? Which English translation most accurately conveys what the original folks were trying to say? What about the historical context of that story? Is this supposed to be symbolic or taken literally?
This is not to say that the Bible is merely a bunch of esoteric perplexities. I believe it's all "God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." Plenty of Scripture rings just as clear as a bell, throughout all ages and translations. One of those passages I find not the least vexing or mysterious is the verse in Thessalonians that says to "pray without ceasing."
Who doesn't benefit from regular, consistent prayer? That's something that cannot be obscured by any language barrier.
In Spanish (which I've been trying to learn more of lately, beyond just the sports insults and restaurant verbiage), this exhortation to pray without ceasing has an added bonus of being easy to remember: orar sin cesar. What a great mantra for us all, no matter what language you speak!
Clearly, there's a lot about the universe and the afterlife we aren't able to fully understand or predict. Some spiritual questions are and will remain mysterious and unfathomable to our human minds, beyond our comprehension.
In the meantime, I think one of the best things we can do, one of the best usages of our time, is to pray. All the time. Pray for wisdom, pray for forgiveness, pray for peace. Pray for the coddled athlete whose hasty abandonment may indeed merit a barrage of heated, multi-lingual scorn, but is a human being worthy of prayer nonetheless (just joking LeBron, no hard feelings).
Pray for everyone and everything. Pray for our broken, chaotic world. Pray without ceasing. Orar sin cesar.