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In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are exhorted to "pray without ceasing" -- HOw is that humanly possible?

Marketplace Chaplain Jim McManus offers a helpful perspective based on Paul's other uses of the original Greek term. Take a look then comment ...

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This is a great topic. I believe this can either mean don't give up praying or it can mean keep praying no matter where you are and what you are doing. If you are working and are about to go into a meeting, pray. If you are a salesman and are about to make a sales call, pray. If you are a teacher, pray before you enter the classroom. If you are a police officer, pray before you answer a call for help. If you are in retail sales, pray before you go out on the floor. Pray before answering the phone. Pray before getting in your car. Pray, pray, pray!
When I read this topic, I immediately thought of the beautiful old Keith Green song (wow, did Keith have a powerful ministry or what?): ''Make my life a Prayer for You".

In every action, every thought, he longed for his life to be a prayer to God, making "praying without ceasing" attainable for all of us. Keith speaks about taking his eyes off himself and keeping them focused on God.

The lyrics are:

Make my life a prayer to You
I want to do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise.

I want to shine the light you gave
Through Your Son you sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know you're really there.

Oh, I want to thank you now, for being patient with me,
Oh, it's so hard to see when my eyes are on me,
I guess I'll have to trust and just believe what you say,
Oh, you're coming again, coming to take me away.

I want to die, and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave to me
The love that set me free,

I want to tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I made up inside my head
You're God, The Son, you've risen from the dead.

Oh, I want to thank you now
For being patient with me
Oh, it's so hard to see,
When my eyes are on me.

I guess I'll have to trust
and just believe what you say
Oh, you're coming again
Coming to take me away.

I want to die and let you give,
Your life to me so I might give
And share the hope you gave to me
I want to share the love that set me free.
In the classic book "Practicing the Presence of God", Brother Lawrence describes his journey to being "constantly, consciously aware of the presence of God." This is a first step to praying constantly. You cannot pray to God without being aware of his presence. Frank Laubach added his experience in this journey in a more modern edition. They both stated that this is a very long term effort.
No better place to start than Brother Lawrence!

(hope the snow is melting in Cedar Rapids!)
When we pray, we are passionate about the things we carry in our heart that concern us. The more we begin the carry these things to our Mighty God, the more urgent and compelling things become in our spirit. Prayer changes us, because the more we are in His presence the more we desire to be in His presence....our Faith becomes stronger and our yearning for God to move in each situation. It is unimaginable to some but...Before you know it the attitude of your heart is continually in the spirit of prayer no matter what we are physically doing... to just live, breathe and cry out to God is natural.
I like taking a topic of prayer each day. I got tired of saying "Yes, I'll pray for you" and a week would slip by, and I completely forget until I see the person again. So here's what i try to do (not that I have 'attained' this by any means!):
Monday:Encouragement
Tue: Sickness and grief
Wed: The body of CHrist
Thur: Missions and world situations
Friday: Family life and families in crisis
I start the day with a specific, scriptural prayer for each day. Then, I review the list for that day.
This way, if I find myself with some mental time: Driving, laundry, lunch time etc.. I reflect to the 'topic' of this day and start praying through my list for each of those days. It also helps me to keep track of my mental / thought life. I can't say this works like clockwork, but who wants prayer to work like that? The best times in prayer are when God taps ME on the shoulder with an observation, or a co-worker's comment, or...or..or..At any rate that's been a helpful tool for me...
Pray without ceasing.. our life we live is a prayer also....When we have Jesus Christ living within our hearts, the Holy Spirit praying within us and for us wih groanings that cannot be uttered...If Christ is working through us and surely He is our righteousness, not of us, we have none.. Before Jesus died and before God sent the Holy Spirit to be our helper, prayers were mostly rituals and commandments.. Jesus gave us a new commandment, Love the Lord thy God................and thy neighbor as thyself.... Can you imagine the prayer going on between us, Jesus and the Holy Spirit without ceasing??? Praise the name of the LORD!!!!

Bob Heizman said:
This is a great topic. I believe this can either mean don't give up praying or it can mean keep praying no matter where you are and what you are doing. If you are working and are about to go into a meeting, pray. If you are a salesman and are about to make a sales call, pray. If you are a teacher, pray before you enter the classroom. If you are a police officer, pray before you answer a call for help. If you are in retail sales, pray before you go out on the floor. Pray before answering the phone. Pray before getting in your car. Pray, pray, pray!
Praying 'intellectually' without ceasing can't be done. If we are 'petition driven', or logically focused, we can get worn out very quickly. Spiritual things are discerned spiritually.

So, if we walk in the Spirit and live in the Spirit and lean not on our own understanding, we'll hear God, we'll discern what's pressing moment by moment. The radar will continually be on and we will be able to respond immediately 24/7.

It's common for many to wake up often in the night as God impresses them to intercede.. if we can pray in our sleep, we can certainly pray without ceasing as we go through our day.
I guess throughout my life, I've learned to look at this verse in different ways. I've viewed it as a verse encouraging fellow believers in their prayer life, as an exhortation to continue praying when life sometimes gets in the way. Now I feel as though I apply it differently than this. For me, to "pray without ceasing" is to be in constant communication with the Father. Yes, He knows my every thought, but it is different to actively engage yourself in a ''conversation'', whether that be in thought, or vocalized. I used to fall into the ''christian-speak'' of saying I would pray for someone, and then forgetting about it, as someone mentioned in a previous post, but now am finding myself saying, "I'll pray for you," and proceeding to enter in to a conversation with the Lord in my own mind. For me, this approach to prayer has increased the feeling of intimacy with the Trinity. I feel more as if He is indeed with me, for me, and IN me. There are still times, when I find myself approaching prayer in a more formal way... perhaps during times of meditation, or prior to an intense time of study, or in a group setting where we pray from person to person, but overall, the phrase "pray without ceasing" has come to mean an endless stream of conversation between myself and God.
"AMEN AND AMEN."

Cathy Peek said:
When we pray, we are passionate about the things we carry in our heart that concern us. The more we begin the carry these things to our Mighty God, the more urgent and compelling things become in our spirit. Prayer changes us, because the more we are in His presence the more we desire to be in His presence....our Faith becomes stronger and our yearning for God to move in each situation. It is unimaginable to some but...Before you know it the attitude of your heart is continually in the spirit of prayer no matter what we are physically doing... to just live, breathe and cry out to God is natural.
Seeing I live with our Lord and He promised never to leave me I carry conversations with Him all day . I do have specific intercession prayers in between for others.. If I am out doing errands ,etc., I do the same and even singing with praise. I have two grown children with cancer. Their father and another sibling died from cancer, plus another son., not of cancer. God has has been my daily strength and He is most precious and wonderful. My song in the night! My very breath I breathe, so it has become most natural to me to have Him in my mind most all times. We serve a Great Powerful and and True God!!!!! One of these days,years, He is coming for us to take us where there is no sickness or death and be with Him and our loved ones forever.. Praise The Name Of The Lord!!!!!!

C.J. Keef said:
I like taking a topic of prayer each day. I got tired of saying "Yes, I'll pray for you" and a week would slip by, and I completely forget until I see the person again. So here's what i try to do (not that I have 'attained' this by any means!):
Monday:Encouragement
Tue: Sickness and grief
Wed: The body of CHrist
Thur: Missions and world situations
Friday: Family life and families in crisis
I start the day with a specific, scriptural prayer for each day. Then, I review the list for that day.
This way, if I find myself with some mental time: Driving, laundry, lunch time etc.. I reflect to the 'topic' of this day and start praying through my list for each of those days. It also helps me to keep track of my mental / thought life. I can't say this works like clockwork, but who wants prayer to work like that? The best times in prayer are when God taps ME on the shoulder with an observation, or a co-worker's comment, or...or..or..At any rate that's been a helpful tool for me...
In the movie Ladyhawke [1985, PG-13], Matthew Broderick's character carries on a continuous conversation with God. While meant for comedic effect, this image of a non-stop flow of requests for guidance and petitions for help always comes to mind when discussing praying constantly.

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