“What does it mean to ‘pray without ceasing’? I just can’t interrupt my life to stop
and pray all the time.”—Jay
This text appears in a passage where Paul is giving instructions for Christian living (I Thess. 5:13-17ff). “Live in peace with one another,” he says. “Admonish the unruly, encourage the fearful, help the weak, be patient with everyone . . . always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” Most of the verbs used here are present, active, imperatives; i.e., strong instruction to “keep on doing these things; don’t stop; make them a habit.” Paul continues, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing . . . in everything give thanks.”
The exhortation has more to do with attitude and condition of the heart than it does saying a particular set of words, assuming a certain position (e.g., kneeling) or being in a certain location. Fundamentally, prayer as communion with God is inherent in the believer’s daily life. Praying is beginning the day aware of His presence and gladly speaking to Him. It is submitting your plans for the day to Him, seeking His mind in decision making and bending your will to match His.
Prayer takes place as you marvel at the wonders of the world and perceive every blessing large and small as evidence of His hand in your life. Prayer involves recognizing trials and troubles as opportunities to deepen in your faith, even as you bring heartache and grief to the One who hears and cares and heals.
Continuous prayer flows from the conviction that He guarantees your eternal destiny with resurrection power, freeing you to live fully in the world (I Pet. 1:3-5). Concluding each day with Him, consciously grateful for His grace, provision and guidance—this is prayer without ceasing.