Pray without ceasing…this is a phrase we like to throw around. “Oh, you are going through some tough times?” After we get done telling others that God will work all things for their good (When You Need More Than A Band-Aid Verse,) we tell them to pray without ceasing. Or we guilt people into prayer. “How is your prayer life? How long do you spend a day in prayer? You know, we are called to pray without ceasing.” So what does this even mean? I am glad you asked. Here is my take on it…
What I believe this verse to be talking about is a lifestyle, an attitude. Prayer is so much more than us thanking God and then dumping a list of requests at his feet. This attitude is relational. Praying without ceasing is letting God into your day. It’s including Him, throughout the day, thinking of Him, thanking Him, meditating on His promises, asking for His help, and worshiping Him.
Pastor Matt Chandler has a wonderful take on this. He talks about the rhythm of our day, this ebb and flow of communication that should be happening. Pulling aside time to spend in prayer and in God’s Word are integral but so are what he calls the “rifle shot prayers.” These are the prayers we throw heavenward during the day. This is when you say, “Hey God, this is it. I prayed about this earlier. I really need you to be with me now as I face this co-worker, this trial, this temptation, you fill in the blank.” I would venture to guess that most of do better with the “rifle-shot” requests than recognizing and offering thanks for the blessings, both those big and small throughout the day. It’s this constant flow of communication, carrying God with you throughout your day. Both forms are necessary for the vibrancy of your relationship. One type feeds the other.
Today, make a concerted effort to pray without ceasing. Invite God into your day. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to pray and know that God is with you and for you. And if you don’t do so well? It’s ok, tomorrow is a new day.