When I was much younger, I was quite confused by the command “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. My young mind couldn’t comprehend how we were to even manage that. “But we have to eat and have to go to work…when do we rest?!” I thought.
But the older I have gotten, I have come to realise the beauty of praying without ceasing. I remember once reading Charles Spurgeon say, “It was never the design of the Lord Jesus that our throats, lungs, and tongues should be for ever at work.” The way I have come to understand and live it is that it is to be continually in an attitude of prayer. Just like the health fanatics claim, “it is not about dieting, but about living a healthy lifestyle by changing your attitude towards health.”
Is God like us mortals where He eventually becomes bored with our constant babbling? No – I take comfort and peace in the fact that He never becomes weary with His children’s prayers! Even battling to thread cotton through the eye of a needle He takes an interest in.
Praying without ceasing does mean to make prayer constant and often. But how do we do that? I have learnt to make communication with my Lord intimate and even sometimes casual. This gives me the opportunity to talk with Him throughout my entire day even when I’m busy.
How do I do this? I keep my mind on God during my day. Colossians 3:2 states “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” I see everything as an opportunity for prayer, and as soon as I see it, my prayer is immediate. I involve God in every aspect of my life, even the small silly things, which makes it easier to talk to Him with every bit that passes.
The place of prayer also does not matter. What makes it so great to serve the God we do is that our prayers do not always have to be formal, kneeling on the side of our beds in a posture of stiffness. For example, this morning while driving on the way to work, traffic was a little heavier than usual on this one main road. If you have just one car that is stuck we will be backed up for about a kilometer or two and sets me back by at least half an hour. I noticed that the traffic lights were out but that the traffic cops were directing the traffic. The cops aren’t always there to help, so I was so grateful to see they were there easing up the traffic that I immediately prayed, “Lord, thank You the cops are here to ease the pain of traffic – please bless them because they are doing their job so well.” I didn’t even have to think about praying – it came naturally.
The more I do this, the more open I become to the Holy Spirit’s leading in what I should pray for and when. Eventually, praying without ceasing becomes like breathing. It’s easy and natural and you will find it becomes entrenched into your very being.
As a further example, this was my Saturday morning when I took my kitty cat, Nebraska, to the vet for a check-up. She had an enucleation (eye removal) done in January and I wanted the vet to check on her progress. It was a particularly rough follow up treatment that took me many hours of prayer warring in my bedroom for her healing. I reflected on that morning at the vet and never realised that I was praying so often at the time, that’s how natural it becomes. But this is how it went in the space of half an hour.
Cats will be cats and Nebraska hates the car as much as any of her feline counterparts. I don’t like how uncomfortable the car and cat basket makes them. Her cries of anguish make me sad. We get into the car and she starts crying. I comforted her by saying, “No, don’t be scared my kitty, be at peace in Jesus name.” (John 14:27)
When we got to the vet there were quite a few people with their pets waiting to be seen. While waiting I always pray for the veterinarian and that God guides their hands and gives them wisdom in treating all animals.
I’m one of those people you see in a vet’s room walking around playing with everyone’s animals. I just love animals. I adore Scottish Terriers and got chatting to a lady who had her own there for vaccinations. She was lovely and we were talking about the breed when she said, “I want to breed them.” As an animal rescue volunteer, I am totally against breeders but I never said anything to her. What would it profit? I prayed in my mind and said, “Lord, help her decide wisely on breeding. I pray You open her heart to this and let Your will be done in her decision.”
Another client had just run in with a lovely cat that looked very ill. When I asked him what was wrong he said that he was worried the cat had been poisoned and he was foaming at the mouth. I offered that he take my place in the queue and suggested he tell the receptionist it was an emergency. While he spoke to her, I prayed softly over the kitty, “I come against any form of poisoning on you in Jesus name and receive your healing in Jesus name.” Kitty turned out to be okay!
There was a young guy sitting close to me with his dog. He went in to see the vet for a while and came out in tears. Through the door I noticed the Vet’s Assistant walk out towards the back with a limp doggy in his arms. His dog had just been euthanized and he was heart-broken. I hate seeing that! I hate seeing a pet owner in pain over the death of his beloved pet. I prayed, “Lord I pray You send Your Spirit to comfort him in his pain. I pray that you bless him and keep him, God of all comfort.”
The vet confirmed that Nebraska was just fine and has recovered nicely! I said a silent prayer of thanks to the Lord for always giving me the funds to ensure my pets have medical care.
Besides being well, that fact never helped Nebraska in the car on the way home though! On went the meouws and exaggerated feline moans of torture from being in a car, and I exclaimed, “Don’t cry kitty cat! Rejoice! For Jesus has healed you!”
God made praying without ceasing simple and lovely!