What Does “Praying Without Ceasing” Mean?

What does it mean to pray without ceasing?

The Apostle Paul counseled the church at Thessalonica to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

I’ve met very few Christians who are completely satisfied with their prayer lives. We all know we need to pray. We all know we need to pray without ceasing, but what does that look like?

What does it mean “always to pray” or to “pray without ceasing”?

First, praying without ceasing has to do more with attitude then number of hours spent in prayer.

Neither Jesus nor Paul nor any of the early disciples and apostles prayed constantly. We don’t find any example of that in Scripture. In fact, Jesus warned us about repeating prayers as if our many words would demand the action of God (Matthew 6:5-15).

What we do find is a picture of believers who knew that Jesus was right there with them and that they could call upon Him at any moment. They had the experience of being in constant communion with God the Holy Spirit in their lives.

To pray without ceasing, we need to have the understanding and belief that “God is right here with me and He is with me at all times.”

Second, to pray without ceasing means that our lives are constantly turned toward God the Father. We recognize that everything in life involves Him, that we can’t do life apart from Him.

Third, to pray without ceasing means that we put everything in God’s hands. Paul told us to be anxious about nothing but to be prayerful about everything (Philippians 4:6). Therefore, we must seek Him and seek to pray about everything in life.

My life is immeasurably better when I am prayerful about everything.

No wonder Paul told us to pray without ceasing and Jesus told to always be in prayer (Luke 18:1).

Finally, praying without ceasing means to make prayer a natural occurrence in your life, as natural and regular as breathing. Therefore, praying without ceasing “means to have such holy desires in our hearts, in the will of God, that we are constantly in loving communion with the Father, petitioning Him for His blessing” (Warren Wiersbe).

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  1. Millie Brown
    Sep 15, 2016

    Our oldest daughter has the nick name Sisi. She did not understand for a long time why God would say to pray without “Sisi”. Then she learned a new word “ceasing”.

    • Waylon
      Sep 15, 2016

      What a great story! I laughed out loud all by myself

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” — Matthew 19:14 (NIV)