Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)
To “pray without ceasing” means to have our minds always on the things of God, to be in constant communication with him, so that every moment may be as fruitful as possible. How can we learn to “pray without ceasing?” Here is a practical step to consider:
Plan times for prayer: Striving to have an attitude of prayer can seem overwhelming.
To understand and develop the mindset of continual prayer, we must start with developing the habit of intentional prayer.
- At meals – If the practice of praying at meals is not something you were taught or do right now, I recommend it as an easy way to pray more. For those of us who follow this practice, it is likely that we quickly thank God for our food and get on with eating. However, being more mindful in our prayer takes little time and can immensely increase the effectiveness of it.
- When reading Scripture – Pray whenever you have time in the Scriptures. Start your daily Bible reading with prayer for God’s Spirit to give insight and clarity as you read; end your reading with a prayer inspired by what you’ve read. Recite Scripture as you pray and elaborate on how it speaks to you of what God is doing or wants to do in you. Do something similar when you sit down to do in-depth Bible study. Make any time you meditate on Scripture a time of prayer.
- At the start and end of the day – When you wake up, dedicate the day to God in prayer. Praying at the start of the day focuses your mind on prayerfulness that will help carry you through the day, while developing the habit of constant prayer. When you get ready for bed, thank God for his provision, and pray through your day. This will help quiet your mind and heart as you give over the things of the day to Jesus.
If you prayed at all these times, even for just a minute or two, you would pray at least six times a day. That may be more than you pray now, but it fits relatively easily into an existing schedule, and none of those times need to take too long.