Verse of the Week:
Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
The quality and quantity of my prayer life reveals the status of my heart. Charles Spurgeon is noted to have said, “It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of heart; if you have the heart to pray, you will find the time.”
Paul exhorted the Thessalonian believers, and by extension, you and me, to pray without ceasing. Am I doing this? How can I do this?
My mother was an intercessor, and she rarely let a day go by that she did not pray for every single person in our extended family, by name, as well as for many other needs and people. That was her calling, her ministry, her gift. I admire the ministry of intercession.
Confession: I struggle sometimes to carve out a dedicated “prayer time” where I pray through a list of requests for myself and others.
However, that is not to say that I don’t pray much. I have come to know that praying without ceasing can manifest differently on each person and in different seasons of life.
Many years ago, the associate pastor at my church who was also the leader of my Sunday School Department, shared his strategy for living out the admonition to pray constantly. He called it arrow prayers. At any time of day or night, no matter where you are or what you are doing, you can send up a specific prayer to God like shooting an arrow at a target. I think of this as being in the readiness stance of a warrior. Your weapon at the ready to deploy when necessary. God is always there to receive our prayers and always listening to hear them.
There was a very godly woman at this same church who spoke at a young mothers’ group when my son was an infant. She shared that whenever someone asked her to pray for them about something or someone, she would do it immediately, either with the person, or in her heart, lest she forget to pray about their request. I had to admit to myself that I was often guilty of not praying for someone who had asked for prayer simply because I had forgotten to do it. It is easy to say we will pray for someone, but there are times we forget.
These two examples of prayer methods changed my approach to prayer. They shed a new light of understanding on how to pray without ceasing. Prayer is conversation with the Father. He is always with me, always listening. When I need to speak to Him, make a request, thank Him for a blessing, tell Him I love Him, I do not have to go assume a certain position, or go to a particular place to do so. If I keep the line of communication open and stay aware that He is always there with me, I can shoot an arrow prayer at any time, for any reason. Being the forgetful person that I am, I pray immediately for requests as I become aware of them, and as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.
I am not discounting the need for a carved out time of prayer where all our focus is turned to communicating with our Lord. Jesus separated Himself from the crowds and from His disciples to spend time (sometimes all night) in prayer. If He did that, we should to. There is also much benefit in praying with a small group, as well as congregational prayer.
What is the conclusion? When we maintain an attitude of prayer at all times, as well as the awareness that we are always in the presence of the One who hears our prayers, we will pray at all times, in all places, in all moods, in all situations. It will be as natural as breathing, as easy as speaking with a friend.
And it will move mountains.
Live it out this week
Examine your heart and see how it affects your prayer life. Determine to maintain an open line of communication with our Father, who listens to our every prayer and knows them before they ever leave our tongue.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always present with me. Remind me often that I can speak my needs, fears, laments, praises, and requests to You at any time and at any place with full confidence that You hear and respond in Your perfect way, at the perfect time. In the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen
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