Pray Without Ceasing

Mike Johnson

I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  This verse is found in the midst of a series of short admonitions given by Paul near the close of the book of I Thessalonians.  He had just said that Christians should “rejoice always.”  These two admonitions can be connected.  Prayer is often the means by which obstacles are removed which stand in the way of joy.  It could be said that the way to rejoice evermore is to pray without ceasing.

What does it mean to “pray without ceasing”?  This admonition does not mean that we are to engage in “nonstop” prayer; it does not mean that our lips are to always be moving.  Vines, in his word studies, says that the word used here means “unceasing, without ceasing, is used with the same significance as the adjective, not of what is not interrupted, but of that which is constantly recurring . . . .”  The Christian, therefore, is to be regularly involved in prayer.  It is to be a regular part of his life.

Romans 12:12 says that the Christian is to be “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”  The NASB says, “devoted to prayer.”

How about you?  Is prayer a regular part of your life?  Or is it, instead, something that you turn to only in the event of an emergency?  If that is the case, then you are not “praying without ceasing.”  Prayer is a duty that we have, but it should also be a great joy and privilege.