Pray continually and always give thanks.

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be…], for this is the will of God for you … in Christ Jesus … (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)



My morning started slowly, as usual; stiffness and the beginnings of a headache hovered. With nervous anticipation, I waited for the face of a dear friend to appear on my laptop screen. Our chat was overdue – and other things were unsettling me. Unwritten words and unfinished projects left me tinged with guilt and embarrassment. There was so much I wanted to do that never seemed to get done. 

Then she connected. The smile on her face, the light in her eyes, and the spirit of grace surrounding her reached through the technology to cheer my anxious heart. Jesus had first brought us together, and He joined in every one of our conversations, I’m sure. Joy broke through in our Jesus connection.

Happiness is conditional and can be quite distant on hard days. Joy is a constant that can help us push through if we choose it. We need only acknowledge God’s abiding presence.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)


And even if the sun refused to rise
and even if the darkness closed in thick and heavy
and even if I could not count a friend among the living
and even if I wandered long with no direction
and even if I lost my words
my soul would yet rejoice
my heart would elevate in praise
You are worthy, more than worthy
greater still than “even if”



How do I pray without ceasing? Do I have to be desperate, locked in my room, weeping and begging? What would life even look like? When I remember that prayer is simply a conversation with the Lord, birthed out of joy in His presence, I realize that what sounds impossible is exactly what I already do.


From the day’s
first light
until eyes shut
for sleep
from heartbeat
to heartbeat
all is prayer.



 Returning to the virtual conversation with my friend, she asked if perhaps part of my difficulty writing (when writing is truly what I most love to do) had to do with a bit of depression. The question was reasonable since depression and anxiety seem to circle those living with chronic illness like hungry birds sensing a fresh kill.

 I laughed and exclaimed, “Thank God for my fibromyalgia! The meds I take for it are actually anti-depressants.”

 The laughter exploded between us, feeling so good and free.

 “You just thanked the Lord for illness,” she said. “Isn’t that wonderful?”

That is precisely what Paul meant when he wrote, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” – not waiting until you feel good or receive something you have been waiting for, but all the time, for all things.

Contentment settles deep
and deeper
with each word of thanksgiving
wrapping joy
prayers and praises
into an offering
fit for my King.



Father God, You carry us when we cannot walk. You give us glimpses of Your unconditional love every day. Let joy bubble up regardless of the circumstances surrounding us. Help us never to grow weary in prayer. May we grow quick to offer You sacrifices of thanksgiving, for You alone are God, and You alone are worthy. In Jesus’ name, amen


  • Which of these three commands do you find most difficult to put into practice?
    • Rejoice
    • Pray
    • Give thanks.
  • Think about a time you were surprised by joy. Journal (or write a poem) about that joy.
  • Take some time to think about how joy, prayer, and gratitude work together.
Yellow Bubbles
Karin Fendick

Karin Fendick

Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team

Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, His work in progress on the Potter's wheel. She is hungry for truth and amazed by love. After five years in Africa, Karin and Rick (her beloved husband of almost twenty-five years), are back in rural Canada, where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).

Sing! Dance! Praise! Celebrate!

Celebration is an essential expression of the character of God, a reflection of our Creator God in His creation. Give thanks. Make merry. Rejoice. Worship.

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