How We Can Pray Without Ceasing

Our friend, the apostle Paul, gave this advice to the disciples in Thessalonica, “Pray without ceasing.”

That sounds so simple.

But wait, how can you do that?

You wake up in the morning. Think of that first cup of coffee. Grab the newspaper or check news sites on the Web. Think of the commute to work. Get the kids ready for school.

We wake up and we’re already swamped with tasks, worries, planning.

Where is prayer?

Same with the day. We have things to do, people to see, places to go. Pray? You’ve got to be kidding me. Didn’t the first Century Christians have life a lot easier? A slower pace?  More time for contemplation?

The anonymous pilgrim in one of my favorite books, The Way of a Pilgrim, pondered that question as he traveled the Russian countryside. He discovered that realistically you cannot literally pray ever second of every day. But his continual praying brought a number of important people into his life just at the right time.

Brother Lawrence, a 17th Century Carmalite brother recorded in The Practice of the Presence of God, was another man who sought to pray without ceasing. He talked of praying while cooking, baking.

Paul linked praying with other commands (tips, suggestions?). 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 records, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

These do not describe separate commands. They describe a way of life. We can call it attitude–the way we approach living. It could be habit–our response to life. It becomes imprinted on our DNA.

The most important thing is to start the day well. Rise 15 minutes earlier. Go straight to your favorite chair. Open your Bible, read for a few minutes. Pause, pray for a few minutes. Now you are ready for the day. Pray as we tend the kids. Pray as we fix breakfast. Pray as we commute.

Prayer means more than talking aloud. It can be done on knees, lying in bed, walking, driving, whatever we’re doing.

Talking is good. Listening is better. Attitude toward God–priceless.

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2 Responses to “How We Can Pray Without Ceasing”

  1. josephruizjr Says:

    Good post Gary. I have been working on this for some time. I appreciate the references, I have downloaded the book. I find asking the Holy Spirit to prompt and remind is helpful. I’m also trying to be more aware of signals like anxiety, worry etc that signal a loss of signal if you will. 😉

    • Gary Mintchell Says:

      Good thoughts, Joseph. Charles Duhigg writes in “The Power of Habit” about the importance of signals.

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