Pray Without Ceasing

By Justin Johnson

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thess 5:17

Too often it seems that some pastors are the only ones applying this verse and always right when the roast is burning.

Oh, it makes a wonderful slogan. Print it on wrist bands and it will sell for sure. But, have you ever thought about it? What does it mean to pray without ceasing?

Prayer has become a waste of time for those who do not see its true function. To them unceasing prayer is simply a pious platitude without merit for practical living. Yet if we are to glean useful doctrine to furnish us unto perfection we need to carefully study its meaning.

Surely it does not advocate prayer without stopping. Prayer at the exclusion of eating, sleeping, and work is impractical. Paul himself says he does not ‘cease to pray’ for the Colossians (1:9), yet takes time out to work day and night in 2 Thess 3:8.

However, we should also not spiritualize the verse, as some who lack understanding do, by saying that our whole life is a perpetual prayer to God. We ought to walk in continuous attitudes of prayer. This claptrap leaves the verse destitute of doctrinal application and is little help.

The passage refers to regular prayer communication with God faithfully and without fail. In this tone, Paul told the Colossians to continue in prayer. Never fail but watch.

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” – Col 4:2

Prayer has a function of helping us take spiritual inventory. We pray the doctrine that we know; we pray for the things we desire; we pray what is in our thoughts; and we pray in thanksgiving for what God has done for us.

Prayer will tell us whether we are in God’s word receiving doctrine, whether our heart is right, our minds sound, and our attitude grateful.

Without continual prayer many believers fall back into the ways of the world lacking spiritual evaluation. It is for this edifying purpose that we are told to pray faithfully and without fail: to pray without ceasing.

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Published: January 1, 2010
Last Modified: October 7, 2016
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