Saturday, March 25, 2017

Without Ceasing

The Word says, "...pray without ceasing..." (I Thessalonians 5:17) and we say, "Impossible!"  Some have tried it and wrote about it.  Some dare to share their attempt at this prayer that seems to have no beginning and no end.  But, no matter how bold and determined the attempt, any attempt is going to fail.  Anyone of us who has prayed a bit would offer no argument to the contrary.  Praying for long periods of time may be something some of us do, but few of us would claim that our praying could be described as unceasing.  They have starting points and they have ending points.
It seems that if we are going to somehow pray as the Word is calling us to pray, it will mean laying aside the patterns of prayer which characterize our praying.  To "pray without ceasing"  is going to require us to do some out of the box praying.  The way we do it is not going to cut it.  Actually, to speak of attempting to do it speaks more of our own human arrogance than a spiritual practice which is really dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  To "pray without ceasing" seems to be speaking more of our consciousness of being in the Presence of God than attempting to posture prayer twenty four hours a day.  When we are in the Presence of God, we begin to experience Him throughout the normal routines of our life and we find ourselves conversing with Him as we encounter the things that surprise us as well as the things which seem overwhelming to us.
As we reflect on this call to "pray without ceasing" we soon realize that prayer is no longer defined as a spiritual discipline which enables us to tell God what we need or want.  It ceases to be a moment for asking Him to do something for us or another.  These attempts to direct our communication with Him are forsaken.  In the place of this more pragmatic understanding of prayer which is dependent on our attempts at praying, we desire nothing through prayer except being in the Presence.  Our prayers are emptied of words that strive so that they can become heart driven expressions of our need to simply be with Him. 

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