How to Pray Without Ceasing: Embracing Thessalonians 5:16-18

A daily habit of prayer can be transformative.

By Angela Guzman

Christians are called to prayer for all situations. Praying for continued provisions, healing for the sick, hope for the hurt, and answers for the unthinkable. Christianity calls for followers to shift their thought process and turn everyday moments into prayer. The idea to pray unceasingly can be confusing. The pray without ceasing verse comes from Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

At first glance, it may seem impossible to never stop praying. However, the Greek word for “without ceasing” is adialeiptos and it literally means constantly recurring. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson articulated how to pray without ceasing perfectly. In his sermon “Pray Without Ceasing” he made a great observation. “It is not only when we audibly and in form, address our petitions to the Deity that we pray. We pray without ceasing. Every secret wish is a prayer. Every house is a church; the corner of every stress is a closet of devotion.” Our adoration for our Savior has the ability to continuously make us aware of His presence and thus create a desire to transform our lives into a better, more fulfilling existence. Prayer doesn’t just take place in a church or amongst an official group of pastors, prayer occurs wherever Jesus’ children are.

Pray unceasingly isn’t meant to be a marathon of prayer. In actuality, it is meant to translate into the exact opposite. Praying is a practice that helps you become an obedient follower of Jesus Christ. Careers will peak and fall, relationships will become tiresome, meals will become redundant, and material possessions will break. Nevertheless, in those times of despair, we turn to prayer to rejuvenate and renew it all. And, we have access to God 24/7. If our God can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, then His followers can pray unceasingly. A truly religious life is one of constant joy and we can only rejoice more, if we pray more.

Before we dive into ways to learn how to pray without ceasing, we must accept that prayer matters. Not only does prayer matter when enduring tough times, but continuous prayer is how we face daily issues, victories, and make decisions.

What does the Bible say about praying always? It says you should 100 percent do it! Why is it important to pray without ceasing? Because you shouldn’t only go to God when your world has been flipped upside down. You should have a relationship with God, and like any relationship you need to devote and invest time – in this case, pray incessantly.

Now for the big question, how does someone pray without ceasing? It is not something you’ll achieve overnight, in a week, or in a month. Praying unceasingly means you’ll need to make prayer habitual. Here’s how you can create the habit.

1. Pray in the morning.

Imagine you’re on a diet. You would never cheat on the first day, right? You would never miss a Monday, right? Approach prayer with the same mindset and fortitude. Beginning each day with prayer creates a structure and system within your mind, body and heart. Before you pick up your phone, begin your morning routine with prayer. Place your trust, for the day, in the Lord and lean on him to gain a better understanding of what you are supposed to achieve. Ask Him for him and guidance, but also thank Him for what He has provided.

If you are new to praying in the morning, here are eight morning prayers to use daily.

2. Pray around meals.

Stay consistent and cultivate an attitude of gratitude by centering prayer around your meals. In a lot of cases, we pray when we’re sharing meals with others; however, praying when you’re eating by yourself is a good and intentional practice. We eat meals and snacks throughout the day; thus, these times are great benchmarks to remind us to pray without ceasing Scripture and/or other prayers that focus on blessing meals.

If you’re subconscious about the others around you at work, you can bow your head, close your eyes, and pray silently. Prayer isn’t about a huge display; it is about maintaining an open discussion and connection with God.

3. Rejoice in prayer.

We are all guilty of falling into the instances where we only pray during the tough times. Oftentimes, we forget about thanking God and using prayer to bless the joyful moments. Prayers of rejoice do not need to be big or elaborate. Engage in rejoiceful prayer when you see a beautiful sunset, when someone displays an act of kindness and thoughtfulness, when you are met with an unexpected blessing from a stranger, or when your loved one hugs you for an extended time.

4. Pray in the moment of a mistake.

Did you make a personal error? Do you need forgiveness? Pray immediately – don’t wait until your nightly prayers or church service on Sunday. Sometimes our inconsistencies cause us to be ashamed, but God welcomes his children to repent and turn to Him. Take a deep breath and pray without ceasing.

If you are new to praying in the moment of a mistake, here are prayers for forgiveness that you might find helpful.

5. Research and get educated on praying without ceasing.

It may sound like a big undertaking but educating yourself on the Bible and prayer can help you develop a better understanding of what you’re praying for and how to communicate with God. You should never give up on God because he will never give up on you. Connecting with God repeatedly throughout the day will help you possess a more positive mindset and equip you with the tools to better handle difficult times.

Now you know why it is important to pray without ceasing. Thessalonians 5:16-18 is a theme that all Christians should incorporate into their daily lives. By learning how to pray without ceasing, Christians are establishing a stronger relationship with God and giving themselves a better chance at a happier and more joyful life.Angela Guzman is a Writer at Large and a Huffington Post contributor.

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