Thursday, 31 August 2017
…pray without ceasing,
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer is a precept which Paul writes about many times. He says in Colossians to “devote yourselves to prayer.” He says in Romans to be “faithful in prayer.” In Ephesians, he tells us to “pray in the Spirit,” and to do so with “all kinds of prayers and requests.” There he also specifically says to “keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Such examples are all tied up in the thought of praying “without ceasing.”
We are to pray constantly, fervently, consciously, and purposefully. In so doing, we will then be able to fulfill the previous words of this sentence which say to “rejoice always.” It is through constant communication with God (through Christ Jesus) that we are able to remember the very things God has done for us, and those things which He has promised to us.
But what does it mean to “pray without ceasing?” Does it mean we are to lock ourselves away in a monastery and mumble chants all day long, swinging censers full of incense and eating bread and water? No! Praying without ceasing is a state of life. We can pray out loud or in our minds. We can pray as we work, and as we walk. We can pray alone, and we can pray with others.
Prayer is communication with God. When we are thinking about something which blesses us, and we say in our souls, “That is so beautiful, Lord. Thank You,” we are praying. When we are distressed over some terrifying occurrence in our life, or because of some issue which has saddened our souls, we can open our hearts and cry out to God in prayer which is audible and painfully woeful to others’ ears. And any communication between these extremes – indeed, any acknowledgment of the Lord’s presence in our lives which is mentally or audibly communicated to Him – is a type of prayer.
Therefore, to “pray without ceasing” is to always have the Lord on our minds. This is the life of faith that is pleasing to God. Let us then be obedient to this precept, living our lives in His presence, acknowledging that presence at all times. May our lives be constantly filled with words transmitted to God, rising to Him as the fragrant smoke of incense; always pleasing to Him.
Life application: If you are reading this commentary and thinking about the Lord, thanking Him for an analysis of His word, then you are in the process of prayer. Now, let this state continue always. Pray without ceasing.
Lord God, help me to be obedient to the exhortation to “pray without ceasing” which is found in Your word. May my mind be connected to You at all times, acknowledging You through thanks, petitions, and praises. And may these prayers also flow out from my heart, through my lips, and rise to Your ears as if the sweetest of incense. I pray this to Your honor. May our connection stay open at all times as I truly “pray without ceasing.” Amen.