Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV)
Paul’s command to pray without ceasing is astonishing. Does he mean we should pray without stopping—live permanently in our prayer closet?
The English phrase “without ceasing” is a single word in Greek, adialeiptos. The lexical meaning of adialeiptos is straightforward: not stopping, continuously. If we anchor on etymology, we might misinterpret Paul’s meaning here as though he meant we should always be in our prayer closet every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Surprisingly, a group of Christians called the Euchites took this commandment literally and did nothing but pray!
However, etymology is not always the best guide to meaning; context remains the most valuable tool to determine the meaning of words in verses. In Romans 1:9, Paul said, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;” (Romans 1:9, KJV)
He prayed for the Romans “without ceasing.” He was not always on his knees praying, but he was a man of prayer and always remembered the Romans in his prayers.
Instead of constancy on our knees, praying without ceasing means a constant attitude of prayer, consistently being prayerful. For instance, Paul had a prayer life; he does not tell us how often, how long, or when. However, he told us he spoke in tongues quite often (1 Corinthians 14:18). His prayer life did not grow cold. He prayed, always.Beyond perseverance, praying without ceasing also suggests the continual all-day prayerful fellowship withGod—the 24/7 prayerful attitude, constantly communing with God in our hearts. Click To Tweet
Beyond perseverance, praying without ceasing also suggests the continual all-day prayerful fellowship withGod—the 24/7 prayerful attitude, constantly communing with God in our hearts.
What does this commandment mean to you?
Apply the Word
God wants you to pray continually. Jesus prayed without ceasing. Every day, early in the morning, before anyone else was up, Jesus separated Himself to pray (Mark 1:35). He did not end or stop praying. Pray without ceasing.
Ask the Spirit for a fresh baptism of the Spirit of Prayer to pray constantly.
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