1 Thessalonians 5:16,17,18. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Practice makes perfect, they say. My old voice teacher, however, used to say, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” This might be applicable to the practice of perpetual prayer – to pray without ceasing. This would require some means, or attitude of abiding in the Presence and Mind of God. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Being no master of this, I’m certainly not about to be in the business of passing out unsolicited advice. The Christian spiritual life requires a complete, radical overhaul of our being. As far as I can tell, that’s what the plan and process of salvation is about. Prayer – connection to our Heavenly Father – is the foremost component of that deliverance, salvage, and reconstruction wrought in Jesus Christ and experienced by us throughout life and into Eternity. No, no master, only the Messenger at the Crossroads.
We have all these fabulous Holy Days which hold great opportunity and advantage, if we will see them with spiritual eyes and partake of them. This is especially true if you grew up in a sacerdotal church as a child. As the years have progressed, these things have grown dim as forms, but have grown into an enormous treasure in terms of spiritual depictions of a far greater reality. They lift the Soul into more meaningful prayer through what they symbolize. They have helped me in my life of prayer, especially during Christmas, Lent, and so forth. The forms have decreased; Christ’s Reality has increased.
I’ve been all over the map as far as spiritual and religious traditions. I spent a lot of years under the influences of Unity, Science of Mind, and similar traditions. In those paths there is the idea that “our thoughts are prayers, and we are always praying.” Then comes the admonition to take charge of what you’re saying. Up to a point I can buy that, but seldom does one hear about the claims of Jesus Christ or surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit as the attitude or “posture” of prayer. Consequently that is where I got off the boat of naming, framing, and claiming “truth” based on finite understanding and the human will declaring to God what it wants.
No, to pray without ceasing is more than confessing that all your thoughts are prayers. [May God help us if that is true!] Biblical praying is to pray, to abide, consciously in the Will and Mind of God, whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are not our ways, not according to what your ego thinks it wants to make your life better, or to make you “happy”, or to have more worldly success. It is the surrender of the will – “Thy will of infinite understanding, Heavenly Father, not my will of finite understanding, be done”.
Prayer without ceasing is to abide in this will and Holy Spirit. It is a space where we can therefore rejoice evermore and give thanks in everything, in the knowledge that we have come into a place of humility in God through Christ, as we realize that prayer is our work – for the restoration of this fallen reality.