Pray Without Ceasing: Embracing a Lifelong Conversation with God - Grounded in Truth Company

Pray Without Ceasing: Embracing a Lifelong Conversation with God

Prayer.  A simple yet powerful word.  A word that we tend to take for granted many times.  A simple act that we neglect until we are desperately in need of something.  The definition of prayer, according to Webster’s Dictionary 1828 is:

In worship, a solemn address to the Supreme Being, consisting of adoration, or an expression of our sense of God's glorious perfections, confession of our sins, supplication for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God for his mercies and benefits. 

Wow…what a definition.  So many aspects to think about for such a simple act.  However, despite the elegant definition above, prayer to me simply means a conversation with my Heavenly Father.  Philippians 4:6 says 

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

How Do You Pray Without Ceasing?

When we think of the many types of prayers, what typically comes to mind?  The blessing of our meals, bedtime prayers, catchy tunes or rhymes for kids to remember, prayer meetings or prayer request time in Sunday school?  While all these examples are excellent and appropriate times to pray, is this truly (and dare I say, sadly) the extent of our prayer lives? 

I Thessalonians 5:17 says to “Pray without ceasing.”  The term ceasing here, according to the Blue Letter Bible, means without intermission or incessantly.  Incessantly…now that’s a daunting word when you consider how many things we are tasked to do in a day.  Perchance, just like you, I am a wife and a mother.  My days are full of tasks that consume almost all my time.  When am I supposed to pray?  Well, the commandment in I Thessalonians is that I should pray all the time.  Does our Heavenly Father understand just how busy we are?  Of course He does; He’s omniscient, He knows everything.  How can He expect me to be in constant conversation with Him while I get kids ready for school, feed them breakfast, pack lunches, get myself ready for work, actually go to work, pick kids up from school, do homework, manage piano practice, chauffer them around to clogging, soccer, volleyball, prepare supper, eat supper, manage bathtime and bedtime routines?  The list goes on and on and can very often become overwhelming.  Honestly, I do not believe that this commandment to pray without ceasing means that we should spend every living moment of time going through the external motions or customs of prayer.  The bowing of heads, closing of eyes and making audible sounds are outward prayer customs.  These customs are great and when used correctly, indicate reverence for the act of prayer and ultimately for the deity of our Heavenly Father, however they are not of the utmost importance when it comes to our time in prayer with Him.  There is absolutely great value in these customs, but we should be in fellowship with Him even without the use of such customs.  For example, moms, make it a point to pray for your children during the act of packing their lunches, take a moment to pray with your child prior to piano practice, teach them during homework sessions that when the problem is too difficult (Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee…”), they can call upon their heavenly father to give them the understanding they need to ensure they come to the correct conclusion.  I believe that this is what it means to be in constant prayer.  Setting aside the time during the day to have quiet time with the Lord, in study of the Bible and in prayer is priority.  While also using the simple and mundane moments and tasks of our day to speak to our Father. 

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:  because he trusteth in thee.

Pray Without Ceasing When Life Gets Hard

Great, now we have established how to pray without ceasing during the many routines in life, but how about during the times when life is so overwhelming?  Take it a step further, how about during the times in life when we are so hurt that we can’t even form a sentence.  Times of severe pain or unbearable grief.  I would have to say that some of the most precious prayers ever prayed are the whispered prayers of His saints, in their weakest moments who can’t even gather the words or thoughts to express the state of emotion they are currently facing.  The Bible says in Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  The Holy Spirit knows our hearts, our minds, our thoughts, our feelings.  He understands them even when they are nothing but groanings.  Isaiah 65:24 gives us this amazing promise “…that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Before we speak, he knows and has an answer.  Hebrews 4:12 says “…[He] is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  We don’t even have to understand what we need or what we need to say, He discerns our thoughts and intentions even while they remain inside our hearts and minds.  

I heard the testimony of a widow who said during the darkest moments of her life, following the sudden and tragic passing of her 40 something year old husband, she laid it all out there for the Lord.  She said, “He already knows what’s going on up here (pointing to her head) so I might as well let it all out.”  It’s true though, and I had never really thought about it like that.  Whether all we can make are groanings and uninterpretable utterances or if we lay it all out there for Him or anyone else to hear, He already knows it and He already has a plan for answering our prayers.  

quote graphic He already knows what’s going on up here so I might as well let it all out.

How to Pray Scripture

One final thought I’ll leave you with is this.  We know how to “pray without ceasing” during the day to day, and we understand that during those incomprehensible times of pain, we don’t even need the words, but in the in between times, when we sit down and have communion with our Savior, this is the perfect time to pray the scriptures.  Prior to my quiet time with the Lord, I turn to Psalm 143:8 and I audibly pray the following: “Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust:  cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”  Praying these words out loud helps me to get into the right mind space to have true fellowship with the Lord.  Another scripture to pray during our quiet time is Psalm 25:4-5 “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth and teach me:  for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”  As a Christian, we should have a strong desire to commune with the Lord.  The more we do it, the more we crave it and the stronger our fellowship becomes with Him.  He is truly all we need.

What’s Next?

If you have read this as a Christian, we pray it was a blessing and encouragement to you.  For more encouragement directly to your inbox, sign up for Seeds of Truth, our weekly email. We’d also love to send you our Bibe study guide, Grounded in the Truth of Scripture, free when you sign up!

If you’ve stumbled across this article and you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please allow us to take a moment and introduce you to the wonderful Savior that this has been all about. We know He can change your life for the better!

If you’re interested in some more Bible verses on prayer, or Bible verses to pray back to God in your daily prayer time, check out Verses for Prayer and Verses to Pray, two of our Bible verse card sets.

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