1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Is God serious? Does He really want us to pray without ceasing? Yes, He does. Is that even possible? Well, if He wants us to do it, then it must be. How do we do that?
Maybe, part of the problem is that we don’t understand what prayer really is. Let me start, by re-emphasizing that prayer is not just giving God a “to do” list and then going about our daily chores. If that is all there is to prayer, then we certainly would not be able to “pray without ceasing”. There are several ways to increase your prayer time until you can pray without ceasing.
One is a simple acronym: ACTS
Adoration–God doesn’t need us to “butter Him up”, in fact, He really doesn’t need anything from us. He does, however WANT our praise and our adoration. His whole purpose in creating the human race was for His fellowship and His glory. He doesn’t “need” it, but He has a strong desire for us to adore Him because of Who He is and what He has done and is doing for us. Remember your first love? How much time did you spending thinking about all the wonderful attributes of that person? You talked about them until everyone around you was sick of hearing how wonderful he/she was. How about spending a few hours telling Jesus how wonderful He is. You can do this with words alone or add a lot of music and songs. As we are told in Psalm 100:4 that praise is how we get into God’s presence. We are also told that God inhabits the praises of His people. So, practice being a walking, talking, singing house of praise.
Confession— Yes, our sins are forgiven. But sins that are not confessed can lead to guilt and shame and eventually build a gap between You and God. They can be used by satan to hammer you with guilt and make you ineffective in joining in with God in His work. The confession isn’t for God’s benefit, it is for our benefit, so that we are reminded that we are forgiven and we can lift up Holy hands to the Lord. (I would hope this would be the shortest part of your prayer, but take all the time you need).
Thanksgiving–This is where You can really spend some time. Thanksgiving may be celebrated one day a year, but it needs to become our lifestyle. Just as you love to hear your children express thanks for the things you do for them, God loves to hear His children do the same.
He loves to hear it so much that He told us in Ephesians 5:20 “to give thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” and again in Philippians 4:6 “in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…”. The word thanks appears over and over in all of Paul’s writings. God loves to give us gifts, but He also loves to hear our “Thank You, Father”.
If we want to get into God’s presence (His courts) then we have to enter through His gates and in Psalm 100:4, we are told to “enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts.”
Supplication–This is the part that we are best at since we practice it the most. Easy way to remember this one is to remember this: When trouble or trials come, run to the throne, not to the phone. God already knows our needs, but He still wants us to ask.
If we realize that what God is really saying is that He wants to be in constant communion with us, then, we realize that with practice, the attitude of prayer can become our lifestyle.