â€œPray without ceasing.â€ (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
his is, no doubt, the shortest commandment in the Bible, and seemingly the most difficult to obey. How could anyone possibly pray without ceasing? What about sleeping, or working, or other necessary pursuits?
Paul himself claimed to pray without ceasing. For example, he wrote to the Roman church: â€œFor God is my witness, . .Â . that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayersâ€ (Romans 1:9). To the Thessalonians he wrote: â€œWe give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faithâ€ (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3). In his very last epistle he wrote: â€œI thank God . . . that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and dayâ€ (2 Timothy 1:3).
It is obvious from such references that Paul did not mean we should be uttering prayers continually, but rather to be continually in a prayerful attitude and never to stop the regular practice of prayer. In like fashion, the Lord Jesus said: â€œMen ought always to pray, and not to faintâ€ (Luke 18:1). In the parable following this command, He spoke of Godâ€™s â€œown elect, which cry day and night unto himâ€ (Luke 18:7). This would further imply that our prayerful attitude and regular practice of specific prayer should be taking place every day and every night. We should never â€œfaintâ€â€”that is, â€œlose heartâ€â€”if the answer isnâ€™t what or when we hope, but keep on praying anyway. When itâ€™s the right time, He will, indeed, answer â€œspeedily,â€ and in the right way (Luke 18:8).
To pray without ceasing means simply to be free to communicate quickly with Him, night and day, always in an attitude of prayer. â€œIf ye abide in me,â€ He said, â€œand my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto youâ€ (John 15:7). HMM