How To Pray without Ceasing

Read This: "Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks." 1 Thessalonians 5:17


Some translations say to “Pray without ceasing.”

When I was younger and heard this verse, my first impulse was to think of Julius Caesar or Caesar Salads. I was all like, “Who are these people who are praying with salads?” It was a confusing time for me.

But once I studied this verse...I saw something else. And it scared me.

To me, prayer was this all-encompassing act of service and devotion. It required me being appropriately dressed, in a holy place of some kind and at a minimum, it was to go on for at least 45 minutes. Maybe even an hour because that seemed like a good round number. And I couldn’t even consider opening my eyes throughout the whole thing.

You can understand why the act of praying was such an intimidating thing to me. The talking to God part wasn’t so scary but it was more feeling like if I didn’t do it in just the right way, He wouldn’t listen and He might even get mad at me.

In my mind God would say:

“Look at him. He’s down there praying to Me and he’s already opened his eyes twice. Not to mention him zoning out and thinking about stuffed crust pizza for 45 seconds. I’m so mad right now”

But when I was a little older, I had a breakthrough. My youth pastor talked about how prayer with God wasn’t supposed to be this big ordeal, it didn’t need to be a ritual. And it wasn’t something we HAD to do. It was something we GOT to do. He compared it to talking with a friend, only that “friend” was also the Master and Creator of the universe, nbd*.

That idea changed everything for me.

Should prayer with God be given its proper respect? Absolutely! After all, you are talking to God. But don’t let the layers of what you think you’re supposed to do get in the way of what God wants most with us: relationship.

And don’t think of “praying without ceasing” as a task or a chore. Think of it as something we get to do. With or without Caesar Salads!

Ask: What are some ways you get hung up on prayer? What keeps you from praying? Seek out someone whose prayer life you admire and ask them what they do. Try out some of those ideas and figure out how you pray best.

Pray: God, thank you so much for being willing to listen to me. You want to have a relationship with me. You want to talk with me. You even desire me to pray about my thoughts, worries and fears. Help me to listen as much as I talk. And help me to pray without ceasing.

*nbd - means no big deal. It took me years to figure out that it wasn’t no birthday. Believe me, when I realized that it re-wrote years of my life.

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