What does it mean to ‘pray without ceasing’? Is that even possible? Many Believers have asked this question, perplexed at the command- because that is what it is, a command. We know that we are to obey God in all things, so how can we possibly ‘pray without ceasing’?
I think that we can all agree that it is impossible to physically pray without ceasing. By physical I mean lifting your voice to the LORD in prayer, raising your hands to Him, getting down on your knees to pray- you get the picture. There is no way that we can physically do it because then we would never get anything done. You cannot attend a lecture and concentrate on what the lecturer is saying if you’re too busy praying, you would not be able to have a conversation with your spouse if you were deep in prayer, neither would you be able to attend parent meetings if all of your time was devoted to prayer. These are just a few things you wouldn’t be able to do- I’m sure that you could think of a hundred more other things, but you get the picture, right?
However, the words ‘without ceasing’ may not mean what you think. The Greek word for ‘without ceasing’ is adialeiptos. It doesn’t mean non-stop like we may assume, but it actually means ‘constantly recurring’. This changes things, doesn’t it? Instead of trying to pray constantly, all the time and all day, what we can do is interrupt our moments with intervals of recurring prayer. Perhaps this idea of recurring prayer still confuses you, so I’ll break it down even further.
Prayer should be a way of life for every Believer. We understand prayer to be an act of communication with our Father- we are essentially talking to Him and with Him. What is wonderful about praying to our Heavenly Father is that we can talk to Him about anything and we know that He will be listening. I believe that GOD wants us to involve Him in every aspect of our lives, whether you are traveling to work, trying to bake an elaborate birthday cake or hiking up some mountain. Think of Him as a parent (an all-powerful and all-knowing parent!); many of us enjoy telling our parents about what is going on in our lives. Some of you have parents that will call you every day just to find out what you’re up to! They do it because they love you, not to irritate you. Perhaps your parents are not as interested in your life, but GOD sure is. When He created us, He didn’t make one type of person, He didn’t give us the same type of personality, features or talents. He made us all different and unique, and He is interested in what we are doing with what He has given us. I’ll let you in on something: GOD loves spending time with you! So how do we punctuate our moments with intervals of recurring prayer?
We need to be continually in an act of prayer. For example, when we see a beautiful sunset, we should give thanks to the LORD for being able to witness such a thing. When you arrive safely at work, knowing that many others around the world have probably just died in an accident, you thank Him for His protection upon your life. Perhaps you’re writing an exam, so you speak to Him and ask Him to help you remember what you’ve studied. Do you get the picture? In so doing this, all of life’s thoughts, actions and circumstances become an opportunity for you to commune with your Heavenly Father. In this way, you constantly set your mind “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth“ (Col 3:2).
Let me take this one step further. From the Scriptures, we learn that we have a physical body, and we have a spiritual body. Let’s examine some Scripture pertaining to this: I pray GOD your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23), and, For the Word of GOD is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow (body), and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12). To tell the truth, I get incredibly excited when I talk about this! We also know that there is a spiritual realm co-existing with the physical realm (I have firsthand knowledge of this). We know this because of the number of heavens spoken of in the Scriptures. Go and take a look for yourself- I urge everyone to not just take my word for everything stated in any of my articles but to search the Scriptures for yourselves.
This all brings me to this one Scripture: What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also (1 Cor 14:15). What on earth, Paul? Pray with your spirit? Oh yes! I firmly believe, that when you have studied the Word of GOD, memorised scriptures, living by faith and not by sight, depending on the Holy Spirit to guide you in all things, seeking GOD with your whole heart… then you will be more aware of your spirit body, but only under the control of the Holy Spirit. We should never ever seek to have control of our spirit bodies as those in the occult do. It’s what they call the third eye. By this eye, which is really your spiritual eyes, they can willfully see what is going on in the spiritual realm. Only GOD should allow you insight into the spiritual realm for His purposes. Make no mistake: being in control of your spirit body will lead you away from GOD. If you do have control over your spiritual body, I urge you to repent of that right away and to ask GOD for forgiveness, or at least seek Him on this; let Him reveal to you why it is so dangerous, but be careful that the father of lies (Satan) does not fool you either.
You can pray in the spirit- Paul would not have said it if it were not so. You may be walking about, talking to people etc., but your spirit can be praying. Just remember, your spirit can only know what you know, so make sure to study GOD’S Word and memorize Scripture.
Ending Thoughts: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). I cannot cover everything about our spirits, the spiritual world, our spiritual weapons etc all in one go- it’s too intensive for that. Let me tell you this though: events take place in the spiritual realm before they manifest in the physical realm. Remember to use the Word of GOD in your speech- the spiritual realm is waiting on your words.