Pray without ceasing.1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer is one of those things that is classed as highly important but then receives low attention. Why is that? We all pray at some stage but to pray without ceasing sounds like a tall order. So, let’s break this short verse down.
Pray – proseuchomai = (pros) towards + (euchomai) to wish.
Without Ceasing – adialeiptos = uninterrupted, to the extent that it is continually recurring.
There are different types of prayer. For example, there are prayers of praise, prayers of thanksgiving and prayers of intercession, but the prayer we tend to use the most, is the prayer for change. These prayers contain our wishes and desires, and all those things we long to see happen; the things that need changed from how they presently are. These are not one-off prayers.
Prayer is a huge aspect of our faith and is something we should be engaged in continually. Through the apostle Paul’s letters, we see this in practice in his own life. To the Ephesians he said, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” To the Philippians, “I thank my God always in every prayer of mine for you all.” To the Colossians, “We have not ceased to pray for you”, and to the Thessalonians, “We [are] constantly mentioning you in our prayers.”
Logic alone tells us that Paul could not pray 24/7 because apart from his time spent preaching, teaching and writing, he also had to work for money on occasion. To pray without ceasing means to pray about the same thing over and over; it is bringing our request before God on a continual basis. This is persistent prayer.
We know that prayer was important to the Lord Jesus and it was something that he wanted his followers to understand. He chose the parable of the unrighteous judge and the widow to show how we benefit when we pray without ceasing. Our prayers need to be heartfelt and not just ritualistic recitation, for how we pray reflects our relationship with our heavenly Father. It won’t be easy at times but He wants us to pray always, not lose heart and to never lose faith in what God can do.
Be patient in prayer but be persistent in prayer. Never give up on the power of God to change the unchangeable.