New Year's Resolution: Pray More
Paul commands us in 1 Thess 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” What does he mean by this? It would seem, from the way that we normally talk about prayer, that Paul wants us to continually be talking. The problem comes, though, in that a cursory glance at the lives of holy men, even our Lord Jesus, this cannot be what Paul is meaning. Even Paul does other things than utter prayers and Jesus’ life is filled with many events and only a handful of recorded voiced prayers. So, what exactly does Paul mean by “pray without ceasing”?
As one starts to look at exactly what Paul, Jesus, and countless other NT and OT saints think about prayer we start to get a clear picture. Many commentators want to downplay the command to just “an attitude” of prayer, which to some degree one can understand, but it seems that Paul is hitting on something deeper. Paul is calling the Christian to learn to live life in dialogue with God. When we think of prayer as something that is primarily me uttering things to God we see prayer as primarily a monologue, but prayer at its very core is dialogical. Thus learning to pray continually is learning to be in a constant conversation with our Lord.
How does one do that? Well, once again looking at the examples in the Bible it seems that it is a simple process of learning to have Scripture in our very bones all day everyday. Scripture is God’s words to us. It is quite literally God speaking and we must learn to read it. As we learn to have Scripture embedded in our very DNA we start to roll it over in our heads and speak it back to God. As we speak it back to God we start to live it out in everyday life.
As we learn to read, meditate, speak, and live God’s word we learn to live in dialogue to God. We learn to “pray without ceasing.”