Just using the word ceaseless in relation to prayer makes me tired. How can we have ceaseless prayer, anyway? We have to sleep, don’t we?
Okay, so I don’t think the apostle Paul was requiring a personal 24/7 prayer vigil when he wrote believers in Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing,” but it does give that impression. Listen to the English Standard Version of these verses:
Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? Well, Paul was writing about the Lord’s return. It is coming at a time no one knows, so believers are encouraged to remain vigilant. Times are going to get much darker before Jesus breaks through the clouds and surprises us all.
For believers, it requires us to put on the armor of God, live at peace with fellow believers, work hard and do good. In all things we are to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Why? Because the Christian faith was not like any other religion, most of which centered around rituals. Yes, Christian worship can and should happen corporately, as believers gather to build each other up in Bible study, prayer, fellowship and worship, but we’re not limited to that.
Christians worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
Remember, that’s what Jesus told the woman at the well: “Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” It’s not about the place, but the heart. That’s why prayer can be unceasing, because I can do it anywhere — no place required.
There’s another reason for ceaseless prayer, and it comes with a catchy saying, the source of which is unknown:
Never cease praying, because Satan never stops preying.unknown
If you don’t have a sense of that today, then you need to wake up! Satan is preying big time and the fruits of his efforts are not restricted to any one country, people group, socio-economic level, church, or family.
I know, I feel your pain, because I’ve been praying even more in these recent years against his attacks, and it’s exhausting. Sometimes it does feel like we’re praying all the time without effect, but beware, that’s just another way he preys–making us feel our prayers are ineffective.
If I can pass on one word of wisdom from my years of praying, it is this: My responsibility is to lay my requests before the Lord. I trust him to hear and work everything out according to his good purposes. That takes the weight off of me. I can’t answer prayers, only God can do that, and I’m trusting that the way he answers is best.
It might not look like the best…a family member gets sick, a friend dies, a couple divorces, a child turns their back on God, a nation crumbles. Not a pretty picture, I know, but through it all, God’s working, turning hardened hearts toward him, opening doors for witness, putting everything in place for Christ’s return, and doing it all in accordance to who he said he is and the promises of his Word.
I’m thankful that I don’t have to wait to go to church to pray, because there’s no time to waste! Satan’s busy, and we’re going to be held responsible for the level of our trust and confidence in our prayers on behalf of a hurting and dying world. I want to know that our prayers are a constant, ceaseless fragrant incense before the throne, that brings him joy till the day of his return. When that happens, Satan doesn’t stand a chance in this world.
Have you ceased to pray? Work toward becoming a ceaseless prayer warrior to his glory.
Grace and Peace