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July 25, 2009

Praying without ceasing - *

Have you ever found it difficult to pray or, having set aside time to pray, have you ever found it impossible to "stay on track"? Does your mind wander far and wide? Are there times when you just can't get yourself started, when you feel spiritually disjointed, when you try to look up to heaven and just can't seem to connect with God? Or am I the only one?
In light of times like these, I've never really been able to imagine how to put the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 into action:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

These words are a challenge to me, and although I’ve become more prayerful over the years, I’ve got a very long way to go before I come close to putting those words into action in my life.
Here’s what St. Augustine had to say about praying without ceasing:

Are we then ceaselessly to bend our knees, to lie prostrate, or to lift up our hands? Is this what He meant in saying: Pray without ceasing? Even if we admit that we pray in this fashion, I do not believe that we can do so all the time.

Yet there is another, interior kind of prayer without ceasing, namely, the desire of the heart. Whatever else you may be doing, if you but fix your desire on God’s Sabbath rest, your prayer will be ceaseless. Therefore, if you wish to pray without ceasing, do not cease to desire. The constancy of your desire will itself be the ceaseless voice of your prayer.

How about you?
Have you found ways to make your life more prayerful, more prayer-filled?
Would you be willing to share your discoveries in the comments below?
I hope to hear from you!

4 comments:

  1. You have identified me to a tee. Yes my mind wanders. I find it hard to pray and keep my focus! But I have learned, because this verse is one I frequently use to remind me how to pray, to consciously use actions I perform as moments of prayer. At work cleaning a patient room or preparing to bring back a patient. Making the bed in the morning is a moment of prayer...it gets me moving. Pretty soon after you do this often enough you begin to pray often at random moments, without thinking about it.

    I have so much trouble sitting and being "quiet" when I pray. I guess my prayer is usually "Prayer in Motion."

    This is a terrific post. Cathy

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  2. Always have thought that it referenced the other side of prayer.. continually listening to God's Spirit in our hearts.

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  3. I used to, but no longer, feel like I was failing at prayer when my mind wandered. Now, I see myself more or less in God's presence and I just tell Him that I'm having a hard time concentrating. It's still being with God, if that makes sense.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  4. For me, praying without ceasing is being constantly aware of God's presence and power, and offering up praise and petition to him whenever the opportunity arises. For example, if someone shares a prayer request with me, I pray about it right then & there instead of waiting for some appointed "quiet time" to pray. I used to pray every day for about an hour in the mornings, sometimes more, but I fell out of practice when I left the church. As I renew my relationship with God, I'm finding myself looking heavenward more & more often every day. I would like to have a daily quiet time, but I hope I never lose sight of God's presence in my life all the time.

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