Paul urged the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) But what in the world does that mean? Are we to be constantly walking about with head’s bowed and reverently lifting up praise to God? That would be awesome in some ways but not very practical in other ways. We might have to assume a near monk-like existence to do that and it’s hard for me to believe that God wants us all to withdraw from the world into a ministry of non-stop prayer.
I have two takes on this mysterious snippet, “pray without ceasing.” The first is that in some ways perhaps, yes, Paul is saying we need to stay in constant communication with God, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are talking at God non-stop during our waking hours. To understand this passage’s possibilities we may have to expand our understanding of prayer.
One possibility is that our daily living becomes a prayer when we reflexive live in humble gratitude, This possibility first came home to me several years ago when I was mowing my lawn on a miserably hot day. I was begrudging the heat and the work, when I realized how blessed I was to have a lawn. Mowing meant I was extremely blessed. I was in an select minority of folks who had the privilege to own property. How humbling it was to realize I was essentially cursing my blessing.
The awareness caused a shift in me and the act of mowing became my thankful response to God for being blessed. Since that time I have had many moments of mundane chores becoming quiet grateful moments of communing with God.
Paul also told the Colossians, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17) If we truly were to commit all our words and actions with thanks to God in Christ’s name, at that point wouldn’t our daily living become truly daily prayer?
My second take on “pray without ceasing” is that this could have also simply been Paul urging the Thessalonians to not give up on prayer. The verse appears near the end of the last chapter of Thessalonians. That chapter begins with Paul urging the Thessalonians to stay diligent, to persevere. For example, he says, “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” 1 Thess. 5:6. Paul is not being literally here. He is being metaphorical and making the point that his audience needs to persevere and be vigilant.
The phrase “pray without ceasing” is nestled in between the instruction to “Rejoice always” and “Give thanks in all circumstances” Paul is urging his audience to stand steadfast in a time when others are not doing so. His instruction to pray without ceasing both comes as instruction to not give up and to carry a particular demeanor to all aspects of life.
Truth be told, I don’t think the issue of “pray without ceasing” is an either or choice between rather literal constant communion with God and an exhortation to stand steadfast. This is a both/and. We should live life prayerfully. Prayer shouldn’t be an activity we simply move in and out of. Our lives should be a constant prayerful response to God’s continual presence and blessings. AND…We should not give up on actively praying to God. We should persevere and actively praising and worshipping God in challenging times.
What’s your take on “pray without ceasing”? Please comment below.
Wondering What to Do for Daily Time with God?
Drawing upon God’s presence in tough times is easier if we spend daily time with the Lord. If you don’t have a daily discipline of prayer and maybe aren’t sure how to get started, I have a step-by-step guide, A Beginner’s Template for Creating a Daily Devotional Time.
Click Here for Your Free Guide
- An easy seven step sequence for a powerful daily prayer time that I’ve personally used for years
- Two simple strategies to keep your prayer time from becoming stale and lifeless
- Access to more great prayer resources
Download your free guide today by clicking the button below.
Click Here for Your Free Guide
Enjoy the podcast? Use the links below to subscribe:
Would You Like to Improve Your Prayer Life Quickly?
Get step-by-step instruction and take prayer to the next level.
Okay, so you’ve learned a few simple strategies to refresh your prayer life. They have worked for me. These are only the tip of the iceberg though. If you want more step-by-step instruction, then should purchase my ebook, “Tips on Prayer, A QuickStart Guide to Improving Your Prayer Life.”
In it you’ll discover...
- My personal 7 step sequence for a life-changing daily devotional
- How to create your own custom prayer routine, tailored to overcome your weaknesses
- The 5 factors of prayer that you ABSOLUTELY cannot neglect
- 10 tips to eradicate fatigue so you can stop falling asleep and start paying attention during prayer
- A sure-fire technique to ALWAYS remember a prayer promise and never feel guilty for forgetting again
- How to integrate prayer into your daily life, so you can move past knowing how to pray and into living prayerfully
- 3 ways to FAITHFULLY respond to answered prayer, so that God entrusts you with more
- And much, much more
You get raw instruction with no fluff to help you quickly improve your prayer . These are the best of the best prayer practices I have discovered after years of research and practice.
And the cost is only $9.
You can spend years of your life trying to learn to pray better or you can spend $9 and less than an hour of your time reading this book to start praying better today and harnessing the joy and power of prayer.
Click the button below to instantly purchase your copy.