To Pray without Ceasing
The other day this quote from Brother Lawrence came in my Quotemeal daily email: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” That’s easy for a monk to say. What did Brother Lawrence have to do all day but be in “continual conversation with God.” But how does one do that with a full time job, kid, and other commitments?
And yet, scripture calls us to do just what Brother Lawrence suggests. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray continually,” “pray without ceasing,” or “Never stop praying,” depending on the translation you choose. Prayer is basically a conversation with God. I love this verse, but I used to have a hard time figuring out how to put it into practice.
If you think of prayer as the time during which you get on your knees and ask God for all the things you need or want, and tell Him about your family and friends who are sick or in trouble, and plead with Him to fix all your problems. Then you get up and go about your day. There’s no time for continual conversation.
One day it occurred to me that this is the wrong way to think about prayer. Instead, I began to think of prayer as spending time with my best friend. When I spend time with a good friend, we can both be in the same room doing different things and not even talking. But I always know that if I have something to say my friend will listen. And if my friend says something to me, I will be there to hear.
God’s Word tells me that He is always there for me; He is everywhere and wherever I am. If I always remember that, then I can easily “pray without ceasing.” Wherever I am at anytime, if I need someone to talk to He will listen because He is my friend. I also need to be aware that He may have something to say to me and be always ready to listen to that “small still voice.” Continual prayer doesn’t require constant words; it requires only continual awareness of the presence of God. In this way, even the busiest life can be sweet and delightful.