The Spirituality and Practice of Continuous Prayer

Can a person pray continuously? This article discusses the spirituality and practice of continuous prayer. It seems that a person cannot pray continuously because he has to think and do other things besides praying, like working for his sustenance, cleaning his house or surroundings, taking care of other people like children, resting and sleeping, and so forth.

But in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are exhorted by Paul the Apostle to pray without ceasing. Some commentators take this passage to mean to pray with perseverance. But I would rather take it to mean praying 24 hours a day, every minute of those hours and every second of those minutes.

How Can We Pray Continuously?

First of all if your definition of prayer is asking favors from God, as some people understand by their practice of prayer, for they pray only when they think they need something from God, then there is no reason to pray continuously because you cannot keep on asking favors from God. There comes a time when you think you do not need favors from God and so you stop praying. You may simply say, There is nothing I have to pray for and so I stopped praying.

But real prayer is simply conversation with God. Or we can add an adjective. Prayer is a loving conversation with God. In this sense we can always pray for we can carry on a loving conversation with God, even when we are asleep.

We can mentally hold a loving conversation with God about the things that we are doing. Usually we do self-talk. We talk things over in our mind. For example when we wake up in the morning we ask ourselves, What am I going to do today? Such talk can be modified so that instead of asking ourselves, we ask God. God, what shall I do today?

Then there arises this question: Does God hear our question and if he does, does he answer? How can we be certain about his answer? We might just be imagining about his answer?

The fact is that God knows our thinking, as he knows everything that happens in and around us. Even before a thought comes into our mind he knows that we will think about that thought. And what we think we imagine is his answer is indeed his answer if we follow certain guidelines.

Guidelines for Continuous Prayer

The first requirement for continuous prayer is a desire to know more about God and to know him more intimately and putting that desire into action. This means that we read and study more and more his words in the Scriptures. This act of reading and studying is already praying if we constantly talk to him about what we read and study. If we do this not only will we know more about God, we will also know him more intimately. We will know his thoughts and feelings, as it were.

The second requirement for continuous prayer is the practice of moments of silence with him, just to be with him in silence. In our relationships with human beings we cannot keep on talking with them. There are moments when we are just with them, listening to them. The same can be said of God. There are moments when we just need to be with God in silence, listening to him.

The third requirement is developing the attitude of gratefulness to God. We thank God for everything and for all the time he gives us. Gratitude cements our relationship with God. This deep seated attitude of gratefulness is prayer of the highest kind and it can be expressed while we are sleeping. We sleep being grateful to God.

If we practice this kind of prayer the time will come when we will keep on listening to God amidst all our activities and the Spirit will describe us as walking with God as Enoch walked with God. The preceding sentence is a repetition of what I wrote before. But it is worth repeating to encourage us to perform the spirituality and practice of continuous prayer.

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