1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Our Lord told the parable of the widow and the unjust judge to teach us that men ought to pray without ceasing. The widow persevered in seeking one definite thing. The parable appears to refer to persevering in prayer for some special blessing, when God delays or appears to refuse. The Epistles, which speak of continuing in prayer, watching for the answer, and praying always in the Spirit, appear to refer to something different—the whole life being one of prayer. As the soul longs for the manifestation of God’s glory to us, in us, through us, and around us, the inmost life of the soul is continually rising upward in dependence, faith, longing, desire, and trustful expectation.
What is needed to live such a life of prayer? The first thing is undoubtedly an entire sacrifice of one’s life to God’s kingdom and glory. If you try to pray without ceasing because you want to be very pious and good, you will never succeed. Yielding ourselves to live for God and His honor enlarges the heart and teaches us to regard everything in the light of God and His will. We instinctively recognize in everything around us the need for God’s help and blessing, and an opportunity for His being glorified.
Everything is weighed and tested by the one thing that fills the heart: the glory of God. The soul has learned that only what is of God can really glorify Him. Through the heart and soul, the whole life becomes a looking up, a crying from the inmost heart, for God to prove His power and love and reveal His glory.
The believer awakes to the consciousness that he is one of the watchmen on Zion’s hills, whose call really does touch and move the King in heaven to do what would otherwise not be done. He understands how real Paul’s exhortations were: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . . for all saints; and for me” (Ephesians 6:18-19 KJV) and “Continue in prayer…withal praying also for us” (Colossians 4:2-3 KJV).To forget oneself—to live for God and His kingdom among men—is the way to learn to pray without ceasing