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Pray Without Ceasing

How often do you pray? How long do you pray when you do pray? Have you ever given much thought to these things?

As Christians we are commanded to be a praying people: "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phi 1. 4: 6).

So, it is clear that we are to pray. But how often and for how long? "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will or God … " (1 Thess. 5:16-18). "Without ceasing" must be understood to mean something less than every moment of every day. If that were the case there would be no time for other commanded things: teaching, singing, eating, working, etc.

But, "without ceasing” places a real challenge before us as we evaluate our personal practice in the matter or prayer. Test yourself: on any given day, count the number or times you pray; then add up the total number or minutes you spent that day in prayer. You may be shocked at how little time you give to prayer. Two or three prayers a day for a total or five or less minutes hardly seems to fulfill the command to "pray without ceasing”.

But here is a potential problem: If I am to pray more frequently and for longer periods or time, what will I pray for and about? Here are two suggestions: 1) Thank God for all your blessings, physical and spiritual (that will take a while!); 2) Pray for all your brethren (it might help to actually take the church directory and pray for each one listed). Just these two things should prove that when we pray as we should it takes time!