Pray Without Ceasing


“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Wow, it sounds impossible to do. Does this Bible verse mean that God expects us to pray 24/7? Let’s look at other Bible translations of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and discover how we can apply this to our prayer lives today.

“Pray Without Ceasing” Translations

  • “Pray continually” (NIV)
  • “Pray all the time” (MSG)
  • “Never stop praying” (NLT)

“Pray Without Ceasing” Bible Passage

This well-known Bible phrase comes from Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians. Here is the surrounding text to see this phrase in its biblical context:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

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. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 NKJV)

In Paul’s writings, words such as “rejoice always” (1 Thess 5:16), “without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17), or “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18) refer primarily to prayer.

The Christian tradition teaches that unceasing prayer is a proper goal, for spiritual growth comes through such discipline. We can use the simple Jesus Prayer, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner,” to continually pray from the heart, seeking God’s mercy and grace.

To “pray without ceasing” is to live with God in our hearts and minds, giving thanks for all things and relying on Him for strength.

Bible Meaning of 1 Thessalonians 5

A life devoted to religion is a life filled with constant joy. We would experience even more joy if we prayed more often. Prayer can be helpful in advancing all lawful business and every good work. If we maintain a habit of ceaseless prayer, we will not lack reasons to be thankful for everything.

We should express gratitude for all how we have been spared, protected, and blessed, whether in ordinary or extraordinary circumstances, both in the past and present. This includes both material and spiritual blessings, as well as times of adversity and hardship, which are intended for our benefit, even if we don’t understand this at the moment.

Do not suppress the Spirit. According to Christian belief, individuals are baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. The Holy Spirit works like fire in the sense that it enlightens, enlivens, and purifies people’s souls. Just as fire is extinguished by removing its fuel, and as it is put out by pouring water or adding a lot of earth onto it, we must not suppress the Holy Spirit by indulging in carnal desires and affections, only focusing on earthly matters.

Believers sometimes hinder their spiritual growth by not fully embracing the spiritual emotions that the Holy Spirit awakens in their hearts. In this context, prophesying refers to the preaching of the word and the interpretation and application of the Scriptures. We should not disregard preaching, even if it seems simple and doesn’t offer new information. Instead, we should endeavor to study the Scriptures and test everything, holding fast to what is good.

We should refrain from sin, and anything that resembles sin can lead to it and come close to it. If someone is not cautious of the signs of sin, avoids the occurrences of it, and does not stay away from the temptations and approaches to it, they will not be able to avoid sinning long.

Read the full chapter of 1 Thessalonians 5

Is it Possible to ‘Pray Without Ceasing’?

Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. We know when we read that; sometimes, we think we know that it means, “Oh my goodness. I shouldn’t be doing an interview right now. I should be praying.” Or “I shouldn’t be reading a book.” Or “I shouldn’t be eating a meal.”

I think what Paul is saying is there’s never a time, there’s never a circumstance, there’s never an aspect of your life that you should not be in conversation with the Lord about, making your requests known, desiring to glorify Him, asking for His assistance. I pray about these times before we did … well, we prayed together, but I mean, even this morning, I prayed about this. I don’t know about you, but in my day, as I walk through my day, there’s kind of a dialogue going on. I don’t know that I hear Him speak back that much, but I have His word, so I have plenty of that.

I think that praying without ceasing means that you’re lifting your whole day up to God. There’s not an area of your life, and there’s not a time, a season, or a period where you’re not regularly repeatedly turning and bringing it to the Lord in prayer.

Related Resource: What It Really Looks Like to Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭instructs believers to pray without ceasing, but have you ever wondered if this type of continual prayer was possible and if so, how to do it? In this episode of Teach Us to Pray, Christina explains what it means to pray without ceasing and three important ways you can start this life-changing type of prayer today.

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