Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Okay, we all know that this is easier said than done, right? I can say with absolute certainty that from the moment you woke up this morning until the moment you sat down to read these words you were not praying non-stop. Does that mean when we don’t we are not listening to God’s instructions? Does that mean we have failed? Should we be walking around with our hands folded, head bowed down at all times?
Well, maybe not that last part – running into people in the streets is probably not the best way to minister to them. But really, how can you practically pray without ceasing when you can barely even concentrate on something for more than a few minutes? (Thanks, internet!)
The first step in “how to” pray without ceasing is to define it.
Do not look at it as relentless prayer but as recurring prayer. God’s command is a lifestyle change – it is about keeping a God-conscience mindset at all times. It becomes an intimate conversation, a continual dialogue.
To pray without ceasing means that when you are tempted, you speak it out loud to God and ask Him to help you. When you see something that angers you, when you see injustice, when you see something that disappoints you, you pray that the Lord makes it right. When you meet someone who does not know Jesus, you pray for them to meet Him, to be drawn to Him. When you encounter a difficulty, you pray for God to be your deliverer. When you have experienced something good, some sort of blessing, you give thanks and praise to the One who bestowed it on you.
The second step, and undoubtedly the harder step, is to do it.
Think about this for a second, how often do you text your best friend in one day? How many snapchats do you send them? How many funny stories, angry thoughts, and happy moments do you share with them? Ceaseless conversations are easy with the ones we cherish most – so why can’t you do it with the Utmost.
We live in an era where communication has become so convenient that we can do it without even putting much effort. If we are so willing to communicate so haphazardly with the world, let’s shift to intentional interactions with the Lord in prayer. Let’s actually practice what we preach. Let’s be a generation of believers so rooted in prayer that it flows off our tongues as easy as the next breath. If we commit to this, then life becomes a continual ascending prayer. All of life’s thoughts, deeds, and circumstances become an opportunity to commune with the Heavenly Father. In turn, we will set our minds “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).