Pray Continuously

Pray Continuously | August 23, 2023

One of the Bible's more comforting yet challenging verses is First Thessalonians 5:17, which says, "pray without ceasing." There is solace in knowing God tells us to talk with Him continuously. However, keeping up with a schedule of praying without stopping seems impossible.

In his 2003 book, Lord Teach Me To Pray, Author John MacArthur offers a practical perspective on the matter when he states, "Perhaps the best way to illustrate the idea of ceaseless prayer is to compare it to breathing. Inhaling and exhaling is so natural for us that it often seems totally involuntary; it's actually harder to hold your breath than to breathe." The same should be true of prayer for the Christian. Prayer is like breathing for us. The natural thing for us to do is commune with God. When we don't pray, we're holding our breath spiritually, fighting against God's very existence and presence in our lives. Prayer should flow naturally and continually from our hearts.

When Paul commands us to pray without ceasing, he doesn't expect us to walk around with closed eyes all the time, nor does he mean every prayer should last an hour or more. What he does mean, however, is that we should be in "constant communion with God."

I like the comparison between prayer and breathing because prayer is the lifeblood of the believer, meaning there is an essential nature when it comes to praying. A healthy and sincere desire to talk with God will emerge when we connect prayer and necessity. So, how is "praying without ceasing" possible at work, school, traveling, in a crowd, or dealing with a difficult person?

A practice that I have adopted, which can be helpful, is called breath prayers. These are prayers that I can say rather quickly and quietly. For example, I may pray a verse and change the wording to personalize it, "Lord, you are my shepherd, and I will not stray from your path by going after my wants." Or, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." These prayers help set up extended dialogues with God. Think of prayer more like a conversation than a command.

Therefore, use breath prayers throughout your day when you're busy, stressed, on break, or just relaxing. Remember, you will never regret talking with God!

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