In 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul leaves some important instructions in a letter to new Christians living in a place called Thessalonica. These recent converts were right in the thick of it, facing some difficult trials after turning away from their old way of life.
The final chapter of this book is full of encouragement for Paul’s new Christian brothers and sisters. However, verse 17 presents a challenge that I’m sure many of us struggle with, myself included! It says:
“Pray without ceasing.”
It’s kinda funny how such a simple instruction can prove to be so difficult to follow. In this day and age, there are just so many things fighting for our attention. The prospect of praying continually seems near impossible. Don’t worry though, Paul definitely wasn’t telling the Thessalonians to walk around praying out loud 24/7!
This verse is very much about having an awareness of the presence of God at all times and as a result, making the conscious effort to surrender your heart to him daily. Here are a few practices that can help you pray without ceasing.
- Worship music
Putting on some of your favourite Christian jams is a brilliant way to help you focus your thoughts on God. I’m a big fan of Bethel when it comes to this, their songs make me feel really peaceful and allow me to dwell on the things of God.
- Going for a walk
This is a particularly good one if you live near a park, or somewhere where you’re surrounded by nature. Being outdoors makes you more aware of God’s creations; it’s incredible to think that the works of His hands are all around us!
- Praying for strangers
A friend actually gave me this tip and it really can help you pray more often! Next time you’re on the bus, the train, or simply when you’re out and about, pick someone at random and pray God’s blessings over them.
- Praying for a set amount of time each day
Simply set an alarm for a certain amount of time and pray until it goes off. It really helps to push past the feeling of giving up when you start. Once you’re accustomed to praying for a particular length of time, why not try adding on an extra minute or two to challenge yourself?
- Alone time in God’s presence
This one’s definitely my favourite and can actually be a part of some of the practices mentioned already. Time alone in a quiet place allows us to focus our minds on God and to be completely vulnerable before him. Pick a spot you love and make it your secret place where you take time out to encounter God alone.