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Paul's command in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing," can be confusing. Obviously, it cannot mean we are to be in a head-bowed, eyes-closed posture all day long. Paul is not referring t...
Bible admonishes, "Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind" (Col 4:2). Prayer is the underlying power to effectively wield any weapon of the whole armour of God (Eph 6:13-18). Therefore the devil does all that's possible to weaken our knees or divert our mind. Here's how you can defeat his mind-oriented strategy. Apart from maintaining a spirit of prayer "always" and "without ceasing," choose that hour for prayer when you are really fresh. Prayer involves mind, spirit, soul and all. Jesus often chose the early hours of the day for His secret communion with the Father. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), the Founder of China Inland Mission, spent several hours in private devotion each morning before sunrise. He testified that the sun had hardly seen him on knees! Prayer means going to the Throne of Grace. We have access to the same by the blood of Christ. A conscious acknowledgment of the power and the merits of the blood gives us a strong footing against the enemy. Satan trembles when we appropriate the blessings of Christ's blood and make positive confessions (Heb 4:14-16; Rev 12:11). Our prayers must be wrapped up in praise and thanksgiving. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psa 22:3). When the presence of God becomes more and more real, we get absorbed in the spirit of prayer and distraction is overcome (Phil 4:6). I have found switching over to praying or praising in tongues quite helpful (1 Cor 14:14). When there is no focus in prayer, your mind will begin to wander. Be definite and specific about your requests. Keeping a prayer list and praying over the items one by one is helpful. There is no command in the Bible to close our eyes in prayer! Dr.Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986), that great Canadian missionary statesman, used to walk up and down in his prayer closet with his eyes open and praying aloud. As far as possible one must choose a place where there is least disturbance and noise from the outside world. Jesus has taught us to shut the door of our room before we begin to pray (Mt 6:6)! Prayer is a conversation. I have found praying with an open Bible extremely helpful (Dan 9:1-3). In spite of following all these principles, you still may have the problem of distraction. The moment you get a distracting thought, arrest it at once. "In the Name of Christ" is not phrase just to begin or end a prayer but our very authority and foundation for praying. Therefore pray with this consciousness throughout.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. I believe that this is a statement Paul made on how we should view our relationship with God. It would be very hard if not impossible to pray 24/7 but it would not be difficult to take God with us everywhere we go.It would take some practise but in the end, your prayer life will been greatly enhanced. For example: When we go hiking with a friend, we might say: hasn't God created the most beautiful landscape you have ever seen here? Or I am in awe of the glorious sunset I see before me. God has created it and also given me the eyes to enjoy it! In short, we should take nothing for granted and praise our Father for giving us so many things to enjoy on this earth and in the heavens. I started to do this by thanking him for the very air I breathe years ago and now I include God "rightfully" in all. I experience as a form of praise or even deep prayer. When I do not, I realize right away there is something missing? (God.) It does not have to be something on the scale of seeing the Grand Canyon, it could be anything you stop to admire, just remember where it came from and who made it and a state of prayer is not far off. All good gifts come from our Heavenly father. Our God created everything, if we start to take the time to stop and truly thank him (include God) it will also bring us much closer to our heavenly Father and will greatly enhance our personal relationship with him. Year's ago, I used the ACTS formula (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) to try and get everything into my prayers. Now that I am concious of the fact I want to "include" God in all I do, see, think, eat etc: I am day by day, understand a little bit more what Paul meant in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. You may even want to start by thanking God for the air he has given us freely to breath.
My current understanding of to "pray with out ceasing" has developed to include several things. It's all about maintaining and pursuing a continuing and ever growing relationship with the 'Trinity'. To maintain my relationship to the Trinity I have to look outside myself at the same time I am looking within myself 'continually' as in 'pray without ceasing' as it regards to my relationships to my church, my bible, my family, my city, society, nature, sin, truth, holiness, open and frequent confessions to others of all sorts to keep myself in the game....praying with ceasing is a living relationship you form with the Trinity and the community of believers and everyday society that breaths into you and gives you life on a daily basis. My relationship has developed into that level of maturity...I don't recommend my walk to everyone right at the start. It has to be developed and it's personal...it's a journey when you attempt to 'pray without ceasing'. An active lifestyle.
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