Having a Mind of Prayer (I Thessalonians 5:17)
I Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Most of us have learned throughout the years that we must schedule a prayer time with God. This is a great practice—because if we don’t plan to visit with the Lord, then it will get quickly swept away in the busyness of our day. He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day. — John Bunyan. I cannot emphasize the importance of prayer enough. It is the means by which we make our supplications known unto the Lord.
“Praying without ceasing” doesn’t mean that one must pray every minute of every day. That would be impractical. It means to be regular, faithful and steadfast in your prayer life. It carries the idea of consistency. We ought to always be in an attitude of prayer and communion with the Lord. We should always be in the mindset of prayer, even if we’re not physically on our knees or mouthing the words. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing.” God's people are to be a praying people.
I fear that we often reserve prayer for church services, at meal time, or at the close of the day, but we need to be consistent and continual in prayer. Andrew Murray made this observation: “Prayer and life are inseparably connected. Which has the stronger influence over you, prayer for 5 or 10 minutes, or the whole day spent in the desires of the world? Let it not surprise you if your prayers are not answered. Learn this great lesson: my prayer must rule my whole life.”
What is needed to live such a life of prayer? The first thing is undoubtedly an entire sacrifice of one’s life to God’s kingdom and glory. If you try to pray without ceasing because you want to seem religious and good, you will never succeed. Yielding ourselves to live for God and His honor enlarges the heart and teaches us to regard everything in the light of God and His will. We automatically recognize in everything around us the need for God’s help and blessing, and an opportunity for His being glorified.
Paul’s exhortations were: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . . for all saints; and for me” (Ephesians 6:18-19) and “Continue in prayer…withal praying also for us” (Colossians 4:2-3). To forget oneself—to live for God and His kingdom among men—is the way to learn to pray without ceasing.
Don’t abandon your daily prayer time but work to cultivate a constant conversation with God throughout your day. Stop during moments of stress and ask for His strength. Praise Him during victories. Intercede for friends, loved ones, or co-workers facing trials. To see our prayers answered, we must seek to get beyond the five or ten minutes in the morning and make our conversation with God an all-day event. Prayer is such an important matter that we are instructed to operate with a constant attitude of prayer.
· What choices can I make today that will help me to focus on praying without ceasing?
· How does knowing that I am a “watchman” when I pray affect what I am praying about?
Prayer: Father, with my whole heart I praise You for this wondrous life of continuous prayer, continuous fellowship, continuous answers, and continuous oneness with Him who lives to pray forever! Father keep me abiding and walking in the presence of Your glory, so that my prayer may be the spontaneous expression of my life with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.