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Pray Without Ceasing

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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Pray without ceasing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

For those of us who have been fortunate enough to be in love with someone very special, we can recall what it was like during the few weeks after we first met. It's impossible to be with that person every moment of every day, but they are still on our mind, day and night. Thoughts of this person pervade our entire life, even when they are not around. We find our mind drifting even while we are at work, wondering what they are doing at any moment. We imagine what our next moments together will be like. We dream of ways to surprise them or make them happy, and we can't wait to see them again and make them smile. We store up in our mind all the things we will tell them when we see them, and can't wait to hear what they were up to while we were apart. When we have joy, we wish they were there to share it, and when we have difficulty, we wish they were there to help us through. It seems like they are all we can think about, but it's wonderful and amazing!

Hold this picture of just how much that person occupied your attention. It was as if we carried that person with us everywhere we went, keeping them in our thoughts with every passing moment. They were all we wanted and all we desired. Everything else that happened in our life was just a distraction, keeping us from what we really wanted.

Now, we have an idea of what Paul is talking about. We cannot pray every second of every day any more than we could have been with that person every moment. But it is possible to love Jesus Christ so much that we carry Him with us wherever we go, just as we did with that true love. In this context, Paul is not talking about prayer as an action; He is talking about it as an attitude. It is an attitude that places Jesus above everything else in our life. Even as we work, spend time with friends or relax at home, He is ever present with us.

Unlike our earthly loves, which start out like a flame but often fade over time, our love for Jesus may start small but will grow into a wild fire if we fan the flames. For that to happen, we need to nurture our relationship by remembering Him in everything we do. We need to let Jesus occupy our heart and mind every moment we are awake. If we adopt this unceasing attitude of prayerfulness which Paul describes, our love for Christ and the joy we gain will eclipse anything we have ever known before.
 

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Comments


I have experienced times when it was hard for me to pray. And it was during those times when I was comforted by the words in the scriptures, "he hears even our moans and our groans." I find myself praying at the steering wheel of my car as I am on the road a lot. I pray when I am walking through the parking lot of a shopping mall. I pray when I hear the screaming sirens of police and/or ambulances. On the surface, it seems that I am in constant prayer. But deep down, I don't feel I have that commitment to be in prayer as some revealed, for hours on end. When we are praying for someone in particular and we have lited them up in prayer, are we to continue praying that same prayer day-after-day, or does faith say that once we have prayed for them, we have entrusted them into God's care know that he has heard us?
I have been in situations where I knew that a number of people were praying for me...and I knew their prayers were what helped me get through very difficult times. God hears and answers our prayers, of that I am convinced. But how many times to we need to remind God of our requests, praying the same things everyday?
12/17/2007 9:06:54 PM - anonymous


My wife is much more spiritual than I am - I have so much to learn from her. God frequently compels her to pray for things (often for the welfare of complete strangers). When that happens, she prays as often as she can think of it, often for days. She does not pray for hours at a time, but may pray for the same thing 20 times in a day. Eventually, she feels the Holy Spirit tell her, "alright, you can stop now." Usually this means that God has now intervened and resolved the situation.

I trust that if you keep listening for that voice and trusting that this guidance is available for you, you will eventually hear it.

I don't know why God uses us this way, or why God sometimes chooses to have people pray about a situation before He will intervene, but I am certain that our prayers do make a difference!
12/18/2007 7:05:08 AM - Michael Lane


Ileft my beloved savior in the late seventies but since comeing back like the prodicals son I am more in Love with him every day and regret all those waisted dead years liveing in sin and always by myself inside but now Through letting My Holly Redeemer in my heart to stay I have a deeper relationship than ever before with him.Every time I am in my room in the mourning I turn that blessed day for the lord to live for me for not by my strength but his will I live for all eternnity ever praiseing his name and praying for all for as Jesus Loves them so can I for now I Live by the Faith I have in my redeemer and all the lords people are Loved by me as The Lord gave his only begotton son for our sinns to be redeemed!God bless.Lance McCrae.
12/22/2007 3:45:52 PM - anonymous


Amazingly correct!!!! i have had some trouble with my boyfriend breaking up with me and i had held him on a pedistal high above everything else. my every thought was of him: what was he doing right now? O... i wonder if he would like this too? is he okay? and when he broke up with me i asked God " why?" this is a very generic question for us humans to ask when we hit a bump in the road. my friends ALWAYS told us that we were the perfect couple! i know now that God also ALWAYS has a purpose and a plan. my friend told me that the right thing at the wrong time still isn't right! i also have learned that ALL i/we need is GOD!!!! nothing else matters... other people's opinions don't matter... only God's opinion matters!!! God knows our every desire and He tells us that if we just tell Him then it will be our's but we have to be patient and let Him work in our lives the way He wants. then and only then will our desires come out for us!!! But God wants us to realize that we need Him. have you ever had something that you have been so excited about and you just want to tell somebody? God wants you to tell Him... He is the Ultimate listener He loves listening to how your day went. God has emotion... our emotions come from Him... When we get all giddy about something and we tell Him He gets giddy too.
12/25/2007 12:20:29 AM - anonymous


How true that Prayer can move mountains and change situations no matter now hard the mountain/situation is. Many a Christian have forgotten the basics and the Prayer example of our very own Lord Jesus Christ and the saints 2000 years ago. How silly! God, Lord Jesus & Holy Spirit never changes so why must the prayer model change! Some of today's prayer has too many words and not enough of HEART in it to make it count.
Celia
12/29/2007 5:51:45 PM - anonymous


To pray without ceasing is to speak in prayer with our Heavenly Father all day about all things. You are speaking to your best friend, HE understands you better and knows you better then anyone else. He knows your thoughts, dreams, desires. HE is always there ever present ever near and always listening. I speak with my HOLY FATHER all day long and about everything, we have a close and wonderful relationship. Everyone can have the same thing HE says, Come. Thank you LORD JESUS.
1/29/2008 1:31:06 PM - anonymous


THANK YOU GOD FOR HUMBLING YOURSELF TO BE LIKE ME,SO THAT I COULD UNDERSTAND YOUR DESIRE FOR MY GIVEN LIFE FROM YOU.I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.
2/26/2008 2:37:58 AM - anonymous


wow. this is really a good way to look at that verse.
2/26/2008 10:21:16 PM - anonymous


Should our love for our spouses fade? I have been married for 26 years and still think about my wife throughout the day. Yes, the intensity of those thoughts and the passion have softened some but I love my wife more now then when we met. I didn't lose the msg of the devotional however. The same principle applies to our relationship with God.
3/6/2008 3:58:52 PM - markp, Member of Delve into Jesus since 3/6/2008


i believe that we should pray, and ask God for help, and leave it in his hands, and trust that that he is going to take care of our situations. But do we have to pray everyday?
3/7/2008 11:55:37 PM - anonymous


Unconfessed sin and the pull of my busy life is the big barrier that prevents me from enjoying the intimate relationship I have experienced with God in the past. I know I need to deal with it but I guess there are some things I'm not letting go of. Pride is one of the big factors. I know if I can deal with this and just put God in His rightful place in my life, I would be back to the intimacy I enjoyed so long ago where I would talk to Him all day. I pray that as I read His Word more each day, He would speak to my heart. If only I could remember that I am here for His purpose - it's all about Him!
Sydney, Australia
3/12/2008 3:47:33 PM - anonymous


I want to respond to the comment two above, the one that asks, "But do we have to pray everyday?"

There are two things that I would like to say about that. The first is that I hope I have not given the impression that prayer is just about asking God for help, or asking God for things we want or need. That is such a small part of prayer. We need to say so much more to God than this, and we also need to listen as well. We need to thank Him, praise Him, tell Him what's on our mind and so much more. It needs to be a conversation, not unlike conversations you have with loved ones here on earth.

With that in mind, let me answer your question with question. In a marriage or other deep relationship, do you need to talk to your spouse every day? Perhaps there are days you don't, but if that becomes the pattern, then I think you would agree the marriage is in trouble! Having a relationship with Jesus is the single most important aspect of our lives. One of the the ways to keep that relationship healthy is to pray, and so I think daily prayer is essential. God understands if you miss a day now or then, but I think it would be concerning if daily prayer is the exception rather than the rule.

I hope that helps answer your question. Please feel free to email us, post a question or or start a discussion in the forum, and we'd be delighted to talk about this more with you.
3/24/2008 11:55:48 AM - Michael Lane


Great article, yet I also believe the love between Husband and Wife can also continue to burn brighter and not fade!
Arsindelve, I was very touched by your comment to Anonymous from Sydney, Australia.
You said;
"I hope I have not given the impression that prayer is just about asking God for help, or asking God for things we want or need. That is such a small part of prayer. We need to say so much more to God than this, and we also need to listen as well. We need to thank Him, praise Him, tell Him what's on our mind and so much more. It needs to be a conversation, not unlike conversations you have with loved ones here on earth."
-----------------------------
It made me wonder what kind of relationship a marriage would be if we just asked our Spouse for things that we needed all the time?
Lord help us thank our Husbands more, and offer sincere encouragement for all they are and do. Help us also sit still and listen intently while they talk...
I too have learned that I have come closest to the Lord, when my heart is overflowing with prayers of Thanks and Praise! I am also learning how to listen!
4/6/2008 3:31:41 AM - anonymous


I'm letting go so that He can take the reign!sometimes its tough to change our ol' self. Arsindale I liked your comment

Praying for you Anonymous from Sydney,Australia :)
4/22/2008 6:08:15 PM - anonymous


I think to pray without ceasing means pray consistently and always. If we have a child that is on his death bed, no one will have to tell us to pray.
If we are hungry and need food very bad no one will haver to tell us to pray. So let's just pray without ceasing for ourselves and our neighbors.
Let's talk to God as if it is a matter of life and death. Let's just love and seek him daily
4/27/2008 4:25:07 PM - anonymous


It is a life or death situation.
We talked about prayer in our Sun. School class today, and that we can not pray too much, God wants to hear our concerns.
I want to have an open line to God and have a voice activated connection to His throne so I can express my feeling and concerns and request His guidence as I go about my daily task, just as I would converse with someone riding with me or working close to me.

My Wonderful, Wonderful Lord.
gerald in tennessee
4/27/2008 9:23:49 PM - anonymous


To pray without ceasing. Some years ago we found out that my husband had stage four glioblastoma (spelling???). I would take respite occasionally where he went to the hospital while i did the errands as groceries, banking and whatever other needs that arised. I would go by the hospital to visit him as his mentality had become as a child and I didn't want him to think I had deserted him as to him, I was all he had. While @ the hospital I found this tract about talking with God and after reading it while my husband was sleeping I decided to try it. I didn't want my husband to die although the doctor told me he was terminal.
A voice told me to 'open the door' which at that time, I didn't know what was meant but found out too late that the term meant to 'pray without ceasing'.
At the time, my husband had become very timid and as time went on, when he was rested he would be more his age again but then he was ashamed of how he had become and I should have had the church group come to pray for him but didn't realize how close I was to losing him.
As for praying daily. God wants to share everything with you. The best friend, companion one could ever ask for.
4/28/2008 7:14:24 AM - anonymous


While I agree with everyone in theory, I suspect there is a much more concrete answer that is revealed when you 'delve' into this verse contextually. Its easy to take a verse like 1Thess 5:17 (Pray without ceasing) and theorize it to make sense. Theories that imply the verse means: we should be in constant communication with God- which is true; or that our lives should be in harmony with his word and will-which is true; or to the analogy of having a new special person in our lives who is constantly on our minds-which is true. but I belive that Paul at that moment was like a football coach who is trying to rally his players to victory. Oh and by the way the players aren't seasoned players and the team isn't riddled with all-stars. its just a team of vigorous, excited, determined people who WANT to play! Because we have to remember the thessalonians didn't know too much about Christianity; they had a culture that worshipped idols. So here we have Paul writing to a group of people trying to mobilize the church, literally! Paul is laying down all the ground rules to them like, "hey, we have alot of work ahead, these are the stakes, this is what we're up against" So he pulls out this exaggerative language to get them to understand the sense of urgency and importance of the situation. Also 2 other times in 1 Thess, Paul uses the term 'without ceasing' (1Thess; 1:3 & 1Thess; 2:13) so its a term they would not have gotten misunderstood. Read the verse prior to 5:17.....'Rejoice Evermore', another lofty, inflated term: but its understood. The Bible wasn't available like it is today; it was in the midst of being written so the apostles and prophets spread the word the ol fashioned way. I imagine smiles on the Thessalonians faces when they heard "Pray without ceasing".....cuz I sure had a smile on my face when my football coach was spitting and screaming (You have to hit the weights, practice and envision the game......Twenty-Four-Seven!!!!)
12/3/2008 5:20:31 PM - anonymous


Arsindelve, thanks for this topic. It's my absolutely most favorite topic to discuss. I would say that we should follow Jesus' example. He did take time out to be with the Father. Jesus would be our model for prayer. I pray for everything. Memorize scripture and pray. Kindling the fire, doesn't stay on fire without kindling it. I am sure if we had to have surgery, you would want your surgoen to be up to date with the newest technology, advances and treatments, so that we can benifit from it; spending time reading and studying. Why would we not expect that from ourselves personally? Going to God regularly, shows our dependence on Him. Not going to Him, shows our independence from Him. We must not allow our culture to infiltrate to our walk with the Lord. How will you know the Father's will without searching after Him and reading His word? Prayer is the number one thing we need more of in our country (USA). I bet if all of us here at this website, started a prayer for a specific thing, God would do immeasurably more than what we hope for or imagine. The less we pray, the dryer we get, spiritually speaking. There is this great book I pick up often and they have a website as well, Valley of Vision. It has been so helpful to look at these prayers and pray them for myself. Check this one out (don't be turned off by the old english - it is rich):

Meeting God

Great God, in public and private, in sanctuary and home, may my life be steeped in prayer, filled with the spirit of grace and supplication, each prayer perfumed with the incense of atoning blood. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise. Urged by my need, invited by Thy promises, called by Thy Spirit, I enter Thy presence, worshipping Thee with godly fear, awed by Thy majesty, greatness, glory, but encouraged by Thy love.

I am all poverty as well as all guilt, having nothing of my own with which to repay Thee, but I bring Jesus to Thee in the arms of faith, pleading His righteousness to offset my iniquities, rejoicing that He will weigh down the scales for me, and satisfy thy justice. I bless Thee that great sin draws out great grace, that, although the lest sin deserves infinite punishment because done against an infinite God, yet there is mercy for me, for where guilt is most terrible, there Thy mercy in Christ is most free and deep. Bless me by revealing to me more of His saving merits, by causing Thy goodness to pass before me, by speaking peace to my contrite heart; strengthen me to give Thee no rest untiI Christ shall reign supreme within me in every thought, word, and deed, in a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens me to Thee, and ever clings to the cross.
3/20/2009 6:39:53 PM - anonymous


Man i know exactely what he was talking about in this devotinal....im in love now with the woman i want to someday marry. And when we are apart she always on my mind as well as im on her mind. We wuld always ask what the other is up 2 or pray over txt, yahoo msgr, via phone. Share scriptures, go out and serve together. As my girlfriend she is who i want to be with for the rest of my life. Though he made a good point...Jesus needs to be on my mind so muhc than that and my love for him as a disciple needs to be growing each day and fullfilling out Gods commands so that i may 1 day get the oppurtunity to actually meet Jesus face to face. He needs to be on my mind way more than anything else on earth!!!!!! I really appreciate this devotional, it was a re eye opener for me as a disciple of God!
6/16/2009 7:38:30 AM - anonymous


I have experienced times when it was hard for me to pray. And it was during those times when I was comforted by the words in the scriptures, "he hears even our moans and our groans." I find myself praying at the steering wheel of my car as I am on the road a lot. I pray when I am walking through the parking lot of a shopping mall. I pray when I hear the screaming sirens of police and/or ambulances. On the surface, it seems that I am in constant prayer. But deep down, I don't feel I have that commitment to be in prayer as some revealed, for hours on end. When we are praying for someone in particular and we have lited them up in prayer, are we to continue praying that same prayer day-after-day, or does faith say that once we have prayed for them, we have entrusted them into God's care know that he has heard us?
I have been in situations where I knew that a number of people were praying for me...and I knew their prayers were what helped me get through very difficult times. God hears and answers our prayers, of that I am convinced. But how many times to we need to remind God of our requests, praying the same things everyday?
6/3/2010 1:34:40 PM - davidhamal010, Member of Delve into Jesus since 6/3/2010



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