How To Pray Without Ceasing
You have probably met that type of church brother or sister before.
It seems like they are talking but the only problem is that you can’t see anyone they are talking to. You are sure that they are muttering something under their breath at every moment.
You are not really sure what they are up to but eventually, you get a hang of what they are doing. They seem to be praying. You wonder how they keep this up and realize that that is how they practice praying without ceasing – (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
A part of you begins to ask – Is this what I am meant to do?
The 20th Century Pray-er
I assume you are probably one of the few Christians who is always trying to find ways of living out anything they find in the Bible.
So, if the scripture said “pray without ceasing”, it must mean that. The only problem is that you haven’t found a way to do it while keeping yourself in sync with everything else happening around you.
There are probably times you wonder if everything written in the bible makes sense in the 20th century. I mean, how does the Bible expect you to keep a 24-7 praying tempo?
Would you have to be muttering something under your breath every time and everywhere?
Anybody Know What Prayer Is?
We all have notions about what prayer is. I wouldn’t want to add more definitions to the mix – I might end up adding to the confusion you are already facing.
Well, if I can’t tell you what prayer is, let me interest you with a couple of things about prayer:
1 – It is meant to show your sense of dependence – you pray because you think you don’t control everything – your life, the things around you, the things you wish didn’t happen, the things you wish happened etc.
2 – It is meant to show your worldview – how you pray tells me if you have confidence that everything works out or not
3 – It is meant to tell if you really believe the Bible – okay, you are probably wondering why this is here. Well, sometimes, your prayers are more like complaints. A little faith in the Bible might actually change your prayer.
If you really look at these things on prayer, they probably tell you that prayer is more than just the words you say.
Yes, it’s the words and more. Prayer would not be complete if they were just words made to God. They also include words and actions made to events and circumstances.
When Joshua Stole A Day
Anybody remember the story of Joshua telling the sun to stand still?
It’s a pretty straightforward story. A couple of kings (five of them) came together as a merry band to beat up on the Gibeonites.
The Gibeonites was a city of smart alecs who made a protection deal with the Israelites instead of going out to fight on the battlefield.
Unfortunately, not everyone was happy with the sweet deal they tricked the Israelites into giving them. So, the most annoyed of the other kings decided to take out their anger on them.
Trust the Gibeonites, they quickly sent an S.O.S to the Israelites.
Joshua shows up with the Israelite army and all the five bullies start to scatter.
Joshua had been given the wipeout order by God on these kings but it looked like some of them would escape under the cover of the evening.
And then, Joshua does something for the record books – he prayed to God.
Actually, most of us wouldn’t call it praying to God. He prayed to God by talking to the sun and moon.
On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:12.
Talking To God By Talking To The Sun
This is a really interesting turn of events – Joshua prayed to God by talking to the sun & moon.
I don’t think we should get caught up on the “talking to the sun and moon” part of the story. To do that would be to miss out of the juice of the story.
Joshua brought “the God perspective” into the situation and simply made declarations to align with “the God perspective”.
He was sure that there was no get-out-of-jail card for the 5 kings, so it would not be the Godly thing for them to escape under the cover of the night.
He responds the only way he thinks the situation would get resolved – keep the night away so I can execute the wipe-out directive from God.
How To Pray Without Ceasing
Reading this Joshua story sort of gave me an additional perspective about what it means to pray without ceasing.
It doesn’t only mean that I have to always be making conversations with God 24-7.
It also means that I must respond to every situation in life with God’s perspective. The “God perspective” I bring into every situation is the prayer I am making.
To pray, would be to declare God’s view on the situation.
Make My Life A Prayer
This has given me new energy to respond to life in a way that aligns with what I find out from scripture.
When I see a situation that does not align with that way of life from scripture, I respond in a way which shows that I believe the scripture.
For example, in conversations with others where people complain the failures of the country, I agree with that and in addition, choose to express the conviction that there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. This conviction is premised on the assurance that God redeems situations.
I am not an optimist – I am simply one who chooses to express the God-view of things. These are my prayers. I don’t deny the present situation but like Joshua, I choose to tell the sun and moon to take a chill pill so that God’s people can work out God’s action on the current situation.
In a simple way, I am letting my life say amen to the prayers my mouth is making.
I am living a life of prayer.
I am praying without ceasing.