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You have likely been told at some point or another to “pray without ceasing”, or to “always be praying”. This is something that can be difficult to grasp and feel impossible to do realistically. I mean, life is busy, we have things to do… how can we ALWAYS be praying?
pray without ceasing,1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
pray constantly,1 Thessalonians 5:17 CSB
pray continually,1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV
be unceasing and persistent in prayer;1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP
Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT
16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG
When I was newer in my faith I had a really hard time understanding this. I felt strange about prayer as it was and I had a hard time praying unless I was completely alone with nothing but quiet solitude. Any little distraction threw off my focus and left me feeling guilty for being distracted.
I now know that this is a really common experience not just for newer Christians, but for a lot of Christians. Prayer is tough and uncomfortable for a lot of us. So how can we pray without ceasing when prayer is such a challenge to begin with?
We have to start by asking another question first.
How can we pray better?
Exploring how to pray better is vital to improving our prayer lives. Seeking what God says about prayer is essential to a growing relationship with Him.
Prioritize your relationship with God
The first thing to address is our relationship with God. Do you have a relationship with your Heavenly Father? When we have accepted Christ as our Savior we invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and open up the direct line of communication and relationship with God.
Make it a habit
Making prayer a habit is probably one of the most challenging parts for all of us. Our lives are busy. We have things to do. We tell ourselves we will pray later, we don’t have time right now, we have other things to do. The thing is, all of these excuses are just that – excuses. This is our way of making it not seem so bad that we are putting God off and failing to prioritize God in our lives.
Making is a habit to pray doesn’t always mean scheduling time, but that is part of it too. When you create time in your day to spend with God you are telling God, yourself, and those around you that this time with God is more important than your to-do list.
It took me a while to get into a routine with God every day, but it has helped me in ways I never imagined. The other side of that is when I start my day with God I am able to focus more on Him throughout my day. This better enables me to pray all day, through all the events of my day. I pray while I do laundry, while I listen to my kiddo tell me stories, while I write, while I watch TV. I pray through all of my activities.
How does praying better help me to always pray?
I keep the line of communication with God open at all times, and I focus my attention and mind on Him. When I feel myself drift to stress, worry or selfish thoughts I discipline my mind to go back to God. I seek God’s council in every little-and-big thing I do, and I take the time to listen for His wisdom and direction.
Praying without ceasing doesn’t mean physically kneeling before God every day to focus on Him and neglect life around you. What it does mean is keeping your mind on Him and Heavenly things, even while you tackle your earthly responsibilities and entertainment.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.Romans 8:5 ESV
This study series is inspired by Battle Plan for Prayer by By: Alex Kendrick. For more encouragement about prayer, I would love for you to grab a copy of their book and grow even deeper in your prayer life and relationship with the Lord.