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.
You want to be remarkable? Then here is the first question I have for you. How far can your car go on empty?
No doubt we have pushed it to its limits sometimes. The low fuel light comes on in our vehicle and we either aren’t near a gas station or we think we can make it just a little ways further. Eventually, if we don’t stop to refuel, our car will come to a sputtering halt alongside the road. Like our vehicles, we need fuel. Obviously we have physical needs, rest and nourishment, but spiritually we also need to be refilled. How do we do this? By spending time with God.
Our relationship with God is based in our prayer life. Prayer is our way to communicate with God, and without communication how can we have a relationship? As Christians we often treat prayer as something to be checked off a list and we miss the part where we are building our relationship with the Creator of the universe. We miss out on the refueling that happens when we commune with God. Prayer is a stepping stone to worship, to devotional time spent in His Word, and then to outwardly reaching towards others. We have to start our road to a remarkable life internally. If our cup isn’t overflowing with the love and Spirit of Christ generated in our time spent with Him, how will we have enough to share? Maybe you don’t feel like you know how to start a conversation with God. It’s been so long or you don’t know what to say. Mother Teresa says “We want so much to pray properly and then we fail. We get discouraged and give up. If you want to pray better, you must pray more.” God is waiting and He just wants you, not a fancy prayer. Mother Teresa goes on to say “If we don’t pray, our presence will have no power, our words will have no power.” Without prayer we will not be remarkable.
I could never do justice to the extensive topic of prayer in this sitting, volumes and volumes are dedicated to it. So for today, let me bottom-line it for you. Prayer-just do it. Talk to God as you would a friend. Build your relationship with him and begin the journey towards remarkable. Enjoy the light-hearted look at prayer through the eyes of The Skit Guys below and see if you can identify with any of it. I know I did.
Cease Striving…Be still…Know God (Ps 46:10) Sounds peaceful, right? Peace-filled is more accurate. "Still" has little to do with activity and everything to do with state of mind. Welcome to my crazy life!