Q: #301. How can we "pray without ceasing" (1 Th 5:17)?
By: Steve Shirley
A: This does not mean that we spend every moment of our lives in prayer, as this is impossible, but rather, we should live in a continual state of prayer in our everyday lives. We should be praying all through the day. For example, if we see a wreck, we should pray for those involved. If we see on t.v. that some tragedy has occurred, we should pray for those who have been hurt and their families. If God saves us from something bad, or blesses us somehow, we should thank Him. We should pray when we sin, repenting, and asking for forgiveness. We should pray when we are worried, afraid, tempted, angry, or sad. We should pray when we encounter the unsaved, asking God to save them. The list can go on and on...
Praying in this way is a sign of humility, a way to show our total devotion to God, and our continual dependence upon Him. God asks us to do this: to TOTALLY trust in Him (Prov 3:5)(Isa 50:10)(Ps 37:3,5)(Jer 39:18)(Prov 28:25-26)(Isa 26:4), and SUBMIT to Him (James 4:7,10)(1 Pet 5:6)(Rom 10:3)(Ps 66:3)(Ps 81:15). This applies to ALL areas of our life, no matter how big or how small.
"Praying without ceasing" is also a way of acknowledging that God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives within all believers, and therefore, is with us in everything we do, and every place we go. He knows our hearts (1 Sam 16:7)(1 Kin 8:39)(Lk 16:15)(Acts 1:24) and our very thoughts. Do we realize this? Perhaps, keeping this in mind, we should live our lives in such a way that our thoughts and actions are kind of like a prayer to God since He knows the motives behind everything we do, and He knows if we doing things out of devotion, dependence, and submission to Him or not.
Are you "praying without ceasing?" Let me leave you with a question to ask yourself at the end of the day: How many times have I prayed today? If you can answer this, it is my opinion that you may not be "praying without ceasing." If the first response to everything that happens in your life in a day is prayer, I do not believe you will know how many times you have prayed when your day is done. How many times do you think Jesus prayed in a day? He is our example.