joy is not dampened by affliction or other difficult situations because it's rooted in our relationship with Christ. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10b) In fact, joy may even thrive in trials when we discern the glorious purposes of God and trust in His love, grace, faithfulness, sovereignty, and promises (see James 1:2-4, 12). Such joy is not self-manufactured, but is the fruit of the Spirit.
- "Pray continually"--it's possible to have a prayerful attitude at all times. This attitude encompasses acknowledging our dependence on God 24/7, being aware of His omnipresence and His presence within us, and determining to trust and obey Him fully. It then becomes natural for us to have a constant communion with our God throughout the day by praying frequent, spontaneous, short prayers (in addition to our prayer time/quiet time with Him).
- "Give thanks in all circumstances"--Paul was not telling us that we should thank God for all circumstances that take place (evil things done in this world are from Satan and depraved sinners, not from God), but in all circumstances. Even in hardships, we can still be thankful for God's presence and for the good He will bring about according to His purposes.
- "For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"--"This"/God's will includes constant joy, continual prayer, and boundless thanks, made possible in Christ Jesus. Want to do God's will? Be joyful, be prayerful, and be thankful!