How often should we pray? – Part 7
To answer our question we have to refer to one of the words of Jesus. I believe Jesus touched on this question in the Parable of the Unjust Judge when He said, “men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1 NKJV).
What did Jesus mean in this statement? Praying always without losing heart means praying repeatedly and often. It does not mean non-stop verbal prayer, but praying intermittently, as we go about our daily business. As someone wrote, it means having “an attitude of God-consciousness all day long.” It could also mean praying repeatedly over an issue while we wait for an answer to come through.
For instance, in the context of how Jesus said it, “praying always” could mean “praying without losing heart during the long, weary interval between Christ’s First and Second Comings.” Jesus’ present ministry of intercession could well be an exemplification of this command (Heb.7:25).
Paul repeatedly emphasised on “praying always” or “praying without ceasing” in his writings.
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Romans 1:9 NKJV).
“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12 NKJV).
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” (Ephesians 6:18 NKJV).
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV).
“Therefore, we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power” (II Thessalonians 1:11 NKJV).
Paul’s words to “pray always” or to “pray without ceasing” are similar to the words of Jesus that “men ought always to pray?” Praying without ceasing is going about our daily business in a God-conscious manner and committing every action and step we take to God in prayer.
By the 19th Century, John Newton, the well-known slavery dealer who after his conversion to Christ wrote the classic song, Amazing Grace, had a group who met frequently to study the Bible. On one occasion, their discussions were centred on the topic, “praying without ceasing.” After pondering over the topic for about 45 minutes, they did not seem to make much headway. Then, a maid who served them walked into the room.
“One of the ministers casually said to this maid girl, this Scottish maid girl, “Maybe you can tell us what it means to pray without ceasing.” It’s an interesting story but she said to them, “Oh, sirs, that’s no problem. When I get up in the morning, I cloth myself, I pray that the Lord Jesus might cloth me with His righteousness today. When I came down here before you men came and I dusted the furniture, I prayed that He might cleanse me from the filth of my soul. When I set before you this food and this drink, I prayed that Jesus Christ might be my meat and drink until life eternal. So, Sirs, I just kind of pray my way through the day.” I think that’s what it means to pray without ceasing.” The maid seems to give a practical example to what it means to pray without ceasing and how often we should pray.
Continual, persistent, unceasing prayer is an essential part of Christian living and should flow out of our lives and dependence on God. Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org