By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Christians are told throughout Scripture to pray without ceasing. Assuming this cannot literally mean to pray twenty-hours a day, seven days a week; what are we to conclude when reading this verse?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV): Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The Apostle Paul is telling us we should always be focusing on God and what He continues to do for us. It is a God first mindset that Paul wants Christians to have. Before any major decision is made, we should first consider how it may affect our spiritual life. Will this job make it easier or harder for me to go church; is it more or less conducive to my Christians morals? Paul wants us to reflect on Christ before we choose the people we are going to date. Does this person want to grow with me in faith or do they have other priorities? Focusing on God first should come as natural as breathing or blinking. Our body performs these functions naturally, without consideration; and that is what we should strive for with God.
Philippians 4:6 (ESV): Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
When our focus is on God, it will be easier for us to turn away from worry, fear, anxiety, and anger. Those feelings of uneasiness and discouragement only show up when we do not have a God-Conscience mentality. To return to a God-Conscience mindset, we only need to reset our mind on God through prayer and every prayer into thanksgiving. Paul throughout his Epistles is frequently speaking on anxiety, prayer, and thanksgiving. Paul tells the church in Ephesus that praying as an essential piece of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:18). Without prayer, we are likely to be depending on our own understanding first. That is not to say that we cannot come up with manageable or even productive ideas; it is to question where the best ideas come from? If all good things come from God above, then it should only make sense to speak with God first and foremost. God may show us an easier way than anything we thought was possible. He may provide us the calmness and clarity we need to see the situation as it is. A God focused mentality where we look to Him before we look to self is what praying without ceasing is talking about. Praying without ceasing requires a continual dependence on God and His plan; forgoing what we want and what we think is best.