Can We Really Pray Without Ceasing?
One of the shortest “play calls” in the Bible often seems to be one of the most difficult to execute – even if it’s only 3 words long.
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
How do we find time to pray – like all the time, without interruption? God, who is all-knowing, must understand that we’re busy, right? We have to work, take care of kids and loved ones, we have to eat and sleep. Yet, somehow praying is something that could be as natural to us as breathing?
Well, yes, it can!
Don’t worry. When God says it’s not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit – He means it (Zechariah 4:6). We don’t have to rely on alarms or elaborate prayer schedules in order to pray without ceasing. God has literally given us full, unwavering support through His Spirit.
Build your prayer stamina and consistency with these 5 tips!
Pray Without Ceasing, AND Without Being Trapped in Your Prayer Closet
1. Sing a Prayer.
The Word of God encourages us to sing and make melodies in our hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). Did you know you can write songs or curate a playlist with lyrics that are prayers to God?
Ever have a tune get “stuck” in your head – your mind is singing it, but you really didn’t realize it? Well, give your heart and subconscious mind room to welcome a prayer song there, and let your spirit sing that infectious tune all day long.
2. Acknowledge God by inviting Him to speak to you.
In a 24-hour period, we have many choices presented to us and we make many decisions. As we acknowledge God in ALL of our ways (Proverbs 3:6), invite Him to have a conversation with you and actually take time to listen to what He says.
“What’s the answer, God?” “How should I handle this situation?” “I messed up that conversation, how can I do better and make it right?” Consultation with Abba Father is an act of prayer. It’s not so much about checking off the specifics on our prayer list, but an opportunity to hear and learn from the Father. The Holy Spirit’s class is always in session, guiding us into all truth. And remember, listening is just as important in prayer as speaking.
3. Bless others continually.
As you go about your day passing strangers and interacting with people you know, bless them. You don’t have to do so audibly or let them know “I’m praying for you RIGHT NOW…”, just speak to God in your heart on their behalf.
No money to give the homeless as you drive by – say a prayer for them: “Lord, keep him safe tonight.” See an ambulance or fire truck going by – “Jesus, help whoever’s in need to hold on until help arrives.” Watching a sad news report, the drive-thru lady looks stressed, see a “missing dog” poster – God gives us countless opportunities to pray and bless others, we just have to seize the moment.
4. Keep it short and sweet with 10-second prayers.
Do you think that “pray without ceasing” requires your prayers to be lengthy and “thorough”? Have you been told that any prayer to God, for that matter, requires a specific prayer format – an intro of praise and thanksgiving, 60-second preamble, repentance for every sin, the core ask, a closing hymn, more thanksgiving…? Teammates, don’t believe the lie.
Two of the shortest, ANSWERED prayers in the Bible took less than 10 seconds to utter.
In Matthew 14:30, when Peter began to sink as he saw the boisterous waves around him, he simply prayed, “Lord, save me.” Did you know the next three words in verse 31 begin with, “And immediately Jesus“! So, a 3-word prayer got the immediate attention of Jesus? Yes, it did! Need another example?
Ask Moses about his prayer for Miriam, when her skin turned white after speaking against Moses because he married an Ethiopian (Cushite) woman (Numbers 12:1). Standing in the midst of the congregation, Moses did not lay hands on Miriam, call for corporate prayer, nor did he make a prayer speech before the people; he simply prayed, “God, please heal her.” (Numbers 12:13)
So, don’t miss your opportunity to pray without ceasing because you think the prayer has to be long and you’re pressed for time. Make good use of those 10-seconds! God still answers prayer – even when we get right to the point.
5. Just moan, sigh, mumble, or grunt.
Now, you may be thinking, “Those are just sounds of frustration, Kim, that’s not praying.” But, remember when I said we have the full support of the Holy Spirit at our disposal? Here’s how.
Even when we don’t know what to say, we can’t find the words, or the words we know come out all jumbled, the Spirit of God works as an Intercessor on our behalf (Romans 8:26). When we’re too weak to utter a word and only moans, mumbles, and groans come out, the Holy Spirit helps us and prays for us when we can’t pray for ourselves. His prayers are drenched in the will of God, for the Spirit can only pray what is true, being the Spirit of Truth.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Keep a prayer in your heart. And, whether you’re praying for yourself or others, in an hour-long prayer or just 10-seconds, whether you’re using words, silence, moans, or music – always go boldly before the throne of grace and find mercy and grace to help you in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
As you pray without ceasing, Teammates, cease from coming to God with eloquent and reserved speech. Lay aside all ambiguity and circular talk that we use with each other, and let your heart speak openly, in transparent petition before the Father.
I pray you always know how much God loves you, and how He can’t wait to hear and answer your call – no matter how it reaches Him. In Jesus’ name, amen.