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Pray Without Ceasing

Regina Irwin, Prayer Ministries Pastor

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

I have often, when reading this verse, wondered what Paul meant when he said we should "pray without ceasing." Is that really possible? In fact, all three of the statements in these verses seem pretty impossible to achieve.  

Most of the time I have the attention span of a toddler. I have always struggled with distraction. Every little noise I hear feels like a bad WIFI connection hindering my ability to pay close attention. Noise is not the biggest culprit. My thoughts frequently resemble the chaos of a Chucky Cheese before Covid-19.

Thinking a lot can be a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because God has revealed many mysteries to me through mulling over a scripture. Also, I am sure I have avoided many mistakes by carefully thinking things over before reacting.  It is not so great when the thoughts I'm dwelling on are trivial, negative or worrisome. Unfortunately, this is more often the case than not.  

So what do I do with my busy distracted mind?

I have a thought!

Maybe remembering that God is always with me, and inviting Him into my everyday conversations, could be the simplest way to "pray without ceasing."  What if I turn all my crazy distracted thinking into a conversation with God?  Psalm 139 says that God already knows my thoughts even before I speak, He knows it all. I often forget this and I approach prayer in a sterile way or reserve it for special times.

Setting aside time to pray is important and I have no plan to abandon my pursuit of spiritual practices of fixed prayer, but what could happen if I began to wrangle my busy mind into a conversation with God?

Instead of worrying about my children...I can talk to God about them. If I began to grumble to God like the Psalmist frequently did maybe something wholesome and life giving could begin to develop. Maybe in the presence of the living God my busy mind could be settled and my attention span can mature. Maybe this is what Paul meant when he said we should pray without ceasing.
 
I wish I could say I am a black belt level prayer warrior but, if I'm honest, on a good day I'm a green belt at best. But practice makes perfect, so
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 3:14 ESV

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