3 Ways to Pray Without Ceasing

Not surprisingly, as my dad-in-law lays in the hospital, I've been thinking a lot about praying without ceasing. (1 Thes. 5:17) Clearly, God doesn't want us to talk to him about nothing; Jesus said, "When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matt. 6:7-8) So if we aren't supposed to "keep on babbling," what does God mean by "praying without ceasing?" And how can we effectively do so throughout our day?

1. Don't Give Up

First, I believe "without ceasing" means, in part, not giving up. In Luke 18, Jesus told the story of a widow who went before a judge over and over and over again, seeking justice. Though at first the judge was inclined not to bother himself with the window's problem, finally he relented so she'd leave him alone. Jesus encourages believers to come before God as the widow came before the judge, for "will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?" God wants us to always persist in our prayers, never giving up on Him, even when much time has passed - even when things seem hopeless.

2. His Will Be Done

When my water broke at 20 weeks into my first pregnancy*, my OB/GYN told me: "Most doctors won't tell you this, but scientific studies show prayer works. And the prayer that seems most effective is 'your will be done.'" I haven't tried to dig up these studies. (I have both faith and personal knowledge that prayer works; I don't need science to affirm it for me.) However, I've always kept my doctor's words in mind as I pray, and as I read about how Jesus prayed. "Your will be done" is a powerful thought, a powerful belief - and a powerful prayer I don't believe you can pray often enough. When at a loss for what to pray, "your will be done" is the perfect choice. It's also the perfect choice when you have plenty to say to God.

3. Don't Allow Self-Focused Thought

While we shouldn't babble to God about unimportant things, I've found that if I focus my thoughts, I can pray consistently throughout my day. Instead of just thinking to myself, I pray. (In fact, when I start having lots of thoughts directed to myself, I find I'm walking around way too self-focused.) 

For example, instead of worrying over a problem, I pray to God about it. ("Lord, you tell us that if we ask for wisdom, you will give it to us. (James 1:5) Please give me wisdom to resolve this problem.") When I encounter people throughout my day, instead of thinking about them in a positive or negative way, I pray for them. ("God, this person isn't treating me well. I pray that you will lift her spirits and enter her heart. Please soften it so she may know Christ as her Savior.") When I am doing something, I often pray about that, too. ("Father, doing dishes isn't my favorite thing. But thank you that I have a working dishwasher, and thank you that I have plenty of food to feed my family.")

How do you pray without ceasing?

* Despite what the terribly pessimistic doctors insisted, my daughter not only survived, but now thrives.

1 comment

  1. I find myself asking for things to be done a lot when I'm praying. While they are often things to be done for others, I still realize and then take a few minutes to just start telling the Lord things I'm thankful for before finishing out my "Please help.." list. I'm sure the Lord doesn't mind, but it keeps me from feeling selfish! Throughout the day, I just pray randomly when things hit my mind, but I do like to "really" pray before going to sleep that night, if that makes sense! :)