Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (MSG)
In this letter to the church in Thessalonians, Paul instructs the church to be cheerful no matter what and to pray all the time. Or, as other translations put it: Pray without ceasing.
It’s easy to glance over this verse while reading the Bible and think, “Oh, that’s nice,” but have you actually paused to think about the implications of what Paul is saying? To always be cheerful and to pray all the time? Who does this?! And more importantly, is it even possible?
Let’s break it down.
Pray without ceasing meaning
Prayer looks different in different religions. For some, it is an organized call of worship led by a leader. For others, it is a routine meditation. But, in Chrisitanity, prayer is the act of relating with and communion with God. It is not about trying to get something out of Him or to sway His will.
The key word above is “communion.” Prayer is not just communicating with God verbally or in meditation, although that can be part of it. It is about sharing intimate thoughts and feelings on a deep mental and spiritual level. This is communion, and it can be done in your day-to-day life.
Take a look at Jesus’ own life for example.
Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. If the definition of prayer is getting on your knees and closing your eyes and talking directly to God in the heavens, then Jesus Himself is guilty of not praying without ceasing. He did many things both recorded and not recorded in the Bible outside of verbal prayer to God. However, if prayer is living in communion with God, being in tune with Him on a deep and spiritual level, then Jesus absolutely lived in prayer and is our primary example of how we can pray without ceasing.
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