“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17).
Usually the exhortation above is remembered within its immediate context of commands: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (vs.16-18). And, when remembered, these verses appropriately function as imperatives that Christians ought to embrace at any given moment. Christians always have reason to rejoice; Christians ought to be in constant communion with the Lord; and, regardless of circumstances, Christians invariably have an ample array of reasons to give thanks. And as true as those realities are, I would like to briefly consider the glorious implication behind the middle exhortation: “pray without ceasing.”
Via the apostle Paul, the God of the universe is commanding His people to interact with Him non-stop!
Think about that. Could you imagine telling someone, “Please, don’t stop talking to me. Just keep going. Be unceasing in your conversation and interaction with me.” If you did tell someone that, and they took you up on the offer, at some point you’d reconsider and say, “Actually, relax, I need a little break.” Yet, the God who redeemed His people commands them to be relentless in their commune with Him.
I think that one of the best ways to heed the command “pray without ceasing” is to see the heart of God behind it. Rather than simply thinking, “this is what I have to do because it is the right Christian thing to do,” we ought to say, “God loves a wretched sinner like me so much that He not only sent His Son to die for me, but He likes me enough to want me to continuously commune with Him?” That kind of thinking sets God’s gracious disposition towards us right before our eyes. And at that point, the desire to pray will hopefully come as a response to such amazing love and kindness.
Therefore, may you be exhorted today to think upon the glorious implication behind the exhortation, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17); and then, in light of such magnificent love, humbly and joyfully respond to the imperative and invitation of your God.