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Pray without Ceasing

Embrace the discipline of praying without ceasing.

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

   - 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

He should be constant in prayer, never forgetting his canonical hours. Let him give his mind to his prayer with humility and with great peace.

Anonymous, The Rule of Ailbe, Irish, 7th century
Our texts suggest three ways we may approach Paul’s exhortation to pray without ceasing, or, to maintain constancy in prayer. 

First, we can learn to make thanksgiving our first response to every situation. To give thanks to God in all things is simply to recognize His many good gifts, acknowledge His sovereign oversight and care, or, in the face of adversity, to declare our confidence in His ability to bring good out of even the most untoward of situations.

Second, we may set aside times for prayer throughout the day. The Celtic monks, like the apostles and many believers who preceded them, observed the canonical hours, keeping seven different seasons of prayer throughout the day. Those who have tried making these appointments with God for prayer three to five or seven times a day testify of the refreshing value and power of these brief retreats into the Lord at regular intervals.

Third, nurture a posture of humility, peace, and joy, which we can most effectively do by learning to meditate throughout the day on the risen, ascended, enthroned Christ. Gazing with the eye of faith on our King and Savior is itself a form of prayer, albeit silent, and can enable us to know the Lord’s presence with us increasingly throughout the day (Eph. 1.15-23).

The important point is to embrace the mandate to pray without ceasing, not simply as a rhetorical flourish on the part of the apostle, but as a discipline to master and enjoy. Paul meant that we should work to establish prayer as the vital envelope in which we are sent out by the Lord each day to carry out all our activities, so that the lifeline is always open between us and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Without Him we can do nothing; but with Him, through prayer, all things are possible. Today would be a good day to begin taking up the challenge to pray without ceasing. If we are faithful in seeking to master this discipline, we will know more of the power and presence of God, and will find ourselves more consistently within the will of God for us in all things.

Psalm 34.1, 2 (Alleluia [Lowe]: “Mighty God, While Angelsl Bless You”)
I will bless the Lord at all times; I shall praise Him evermore!
My soul makes its boast in Jesus – Him we gladly all adore!
     Magnify the Name of Jesus! Let us lift His Name in praise!

Lord, help me to pray to you at all times, even times of fear and hurt, so that I may know the relief of Your grace. Adapted from The Rule of Comghall

T. M. Moore, Principal
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[1] Ó Maidín, p. 21.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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