Orate = Praying with Paul
Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)
PART FOUR OF SIX
As he wrapped up his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote the words, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Praying without ceasing is the theme of this week. What exactly does it mean? Oswald Chambers said of this verse (pray without ceasing), “We think rightly or wrongly about prayer according to the conception we have in our minds of prayer. If we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly. The blood flows ceaselessly, and breathing continues ceaselessly; we are not conscious of it, but it is always going on. We are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect joint with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life.”
Prayer is most often thought of as a spiritual discipline; I know I have defined it as such. But here, Chambers basically calls it our lifeline, as valuable as the air in our lungs and the blood in our veins. And he is correct.
Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” This does not mean to pray repetitiously or without a break, but persistently and regularly; to be in a spirit of prayer all day long. This tells us that it does not matter where we pray, what prayer posture we take, whether we speak aloud or silently, or when we pray: we can pray anytime, anywhere. It is the heart of worship and spirit of prayer that is most important.
We are to pray continuously. We are to always have the attitude of prayer and awareness of God’s presence in our life. Continuous prayer means continuous fellowship with God, and that is right where He wants us to be. Not only does a spirit of ceaseless prayer keep us in fellowship with God, this gives us peace in our soul. It is really difficult for the devil to get a foothold in our lives if we are in constant fellowship with the Lord through ceaseless prayer.
I can recall several great prayer days in my life. You know what my attitude was? A ceaseless attitude of prayer. I woke up, immediately praying to the Lord, rejoicing with a spirit of thanksgiving, regardless of the circumstances in my life. I kept my prayer “open-ended,” meaning I did not say “Amen” as is our custom, I kept the line open to God all day. I would make eye contact with someone on the street or see a car passing me, and would lift that person up in prayer. I would thank God often and ask for guidance when needed. I admit, I do not do this every day, but you know what, I am going to start!
Will you do it with me? Right now, where you are, begin to pray without ceasing. Open your prayer and fellowship with God through rejoicing in Him and thanksgiving, but do not say “Amen.” Keep the line open all day, remain in a spirit of prayer, praying often for those who cross your path and praying for His will in every circumstance that comes your way. Make eye contact with people (strangers and non-strangers), and silently say to yourself, “Jesus loves you and so do I,” and pray for God to draw them near. Ask for His will to be done in your life and around you over and over throughout the day. Then when you lay down for sleep, finish your prayer and say Amen. Try it. Who knows? It might even become a habit as important as the air you breathe.
Just for today, pray without ceasing.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Five…..
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Barbour, 1963.