Rejoice always, pray unceasingly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Paul says we are to pray unceasingly, to blend prayer into our lives in a way that everything we do is a form of prayer. This seems impossible to do in this jangling, modern world. I so often run amuk in my efforts to pray, entertaining thoughts of everything but what I was praying about. Prayers for family are interrupted by my grocery list. Intercessions for friends become mixed in with my worries about my unpaid bills. And even petitions for my own concerns become mired in frustrations about things over which I have absolutely no control. I don’t just entertain stray thoughts; I invite them in, give them a comfy place on the couch, and lavish them with my full attention for longer than the nanosecond I just spent praying. My prayer life is interrupted so often by my regular life, but that is exactly Paul’s point.
I’m not alone. Sixteenth century theologian Teresa of Avila admitted to having nomadic notions during her prayer time. The quest for a more fulfilling prayer life lies not in how much time we devote to prayer, but in how we embrace the concept of “praying unceasingly” as part of our very spiritual being. When my husband and I are home together, I may enter the room where he is reading and have a brief conversation with him before moving to another part of the house do something else. So it is with God. We can pray each time we think of something to talk to God about, and listen in between, just as we would with a human loved one. And if we seek His will by reading and studying His Word, soon everything will remind us of our passion to run to Him for a little talk.
Paul wrote to the church at Colossae about a “servant of Jesus Christ” named Epahras who was “wrestling in prayer for (them), that (they) may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12). How comforting to know that others “wrestle” in prayer for us too, each day, as we remember to pray for those on our hearts and minds.
God the Spirit, fill me with the desire to talk to You often. Amen