So how was it? Trying to pray without ceasing? Easy? Difficult? Impossible?
I am sure the answer varies for each of us.
When I first read this verse many years ago, I admit, I thought it sounded impossible. How can I “pray without ceasing”? How can I possibly pray all the time, when I obviously have to have other thoughts going through my mind as I do life? How can I stay focused on prayer, and still focus on daily obligations?
Maybe this is my simple-mindedness showing through, but I narrowed it down to an answer that I could understand – which was simply – never say Amen.
Just think about it:
When we are finished speaking with someone on the telephone or in person, we say “goodbye”. The word “goodbye”, ends the conversation. Both parties disengage, and move on to something or someone else.
When we are involved in corporate prayer, with a group or another individual, the person praying aloud usually says Amen. This ends the corporate conversation with God, and people move on to something or someone else.
Do we ever want to be disengaged from God? Of course not! Do we ever want to end our communication with God? Of course not! Do we ever want to get up and move on, away from God? Of course not!
So why not just keep the conversation going? Throughout the day, as something comes to mind that you want to take to God – just say, “oh yeah, God, and I also wanted to talk to you about xxxxx”.
In doing this, we stay engaged with God, always communicating with Him, always praying, simply through the easy task of conversation. The more we do it, the easier it gets, and before long, it just becomes second nature.
God is always walking right beside us like a loyal and trusted friend, and all we have to do keep the conversation going is acknowledge that to be true, and keep talking to Him.
By not saying Amen until we fall asleep in our bed at the end of the day, we stay connected and close to God – and our faith stays strong – which is the reason He commands us to do this.
We pray not for God’s sake – because He and His kingdom will be the same whether we pray without ceasing or not – but we pray for our sake, because we will never be the same without Him.
Other than the fact that we are commanded to pray without ceasing by God, for our own benefit, there are many other reasons why praying without ceasing is crucial to our faith.
We need God’s power within us to face the difficulties and temptations of life, which we obtain through constant and daily prayer.
God wants us to live by faith, and prayer keeps us on that right track, as we stay plugged in to conversation with God.
Prayer strengthens us to stand firm against the games of the enemy, because the Holy Spirit keeps us grounded and intercedes for us as needed.
Through prayer we can hear God’s voice, speaking to our hearts as we struggle with decisions to make and which paths to take.
My pastor once said that Satan cannot keep God from answering our prayers, but he will do all he can to stop us from praying – because when we pray, the power of God is brought into the situation.
We are called by God to live our life in an atmosphere of prayer every day, and creating that atmosphere begins with acknowledging that God does not need us to pray, but we need to pray in order to keep our faith on fire.
Praying without ceasing keeps our faith red hot, just like throwing fuel on a fire keeps the blazes burning.
Praying makes us strong, on fire for God, inside and out. If we all commit to carrying that “torch” from His fire in our hearts, the world would begin to see a wildfire like never before.