Posted in prayer, theology

Pray without ceasing

By Elizabeth Prata

I used to edit a newspaper. I reported all the news in the paper, too, lol. Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. It was a local community weekly, so I was constantly on the road, driving around the community in my rounds as a roving reporter. As I went along, I liked to read signs and bulletin boards. I wrote this editorial just prior to my gracious salvation. As the Lord was drawing me toward Him, I was thinking about prayer and what it meant.

Free Reading

I like church bulletin boards. You know, the kind that are outside the church on the lawn and some light up and black letters spell out some kind of message or other. I like the boards outside businesses too. I read them all.

One I remember was from 1988. I was teaching in Maine then, and I used to drive up Court Street on the way home. The pharmacy on the main drag always had a saying, and if the traffic wasn’t too heavy I’d glance left and read it. One day, it said, “Committed to excellance.”

The church boards around here have good sayings. When I drive by I read them, and then I really think about the message on the board as I drive on. Sometimes I think about them for a long time.

One local Bible Church bulletin board says “Pray without ceasing.” That one got me thinking. It’s not physically possible to pray incessantly. Even monks and nuns in medieval times didn’t pray all the time. Then I decided not to be so literal. Possibly, I thought, it means pray all your life. In the end I decided that I would interpret it to mean that one’s life should be a prayer, without cessation. In other words, live it.

I was kind of on the right track. Of course, since I had no relationship with the Lord at that time, and only the tiniest glimmer of His coming invasion into my life, I did not know that prayer is a conversation with God, the God who sees and the God who hears his children. I was not His child at that point and I had no relationship with Him yet.

After salvation I remembered this editorial I’d written and sought to find it amid all the subsequent clutter of the internet’s archived pages. I was struck by the fact that me, an unsaved pagan living rebelliously, was impacted by a church sign. Pagans do ponder the mysterious eternal. But since we have no capacity for understanding spiritual things, (1 Corinthians 2:14) we then tire of the exercise and suppress any flicker of knowledge of the great God and merrily go on our way. That was how it was with me.

I’d think, and ponder, and wonder, and then my mind would skitter away from it like a scared puppy startled by a blowing leaf.

All these years later, I am still pondering the exercise of prayer. By now, saved, I’m grateful I have the capacity to delve into these things and keep concentrating on them, by the Spirit’s illumination. Rather than scared of what I might find and then suppress it, as I did as a pagan, I now eagerly look into spiritual topics like prayer. Here is Costi Hinn with an essay about signs of Christian Maturity, one of which is prayer. I liked the essay very much.

Signs of Christian Maturity

Prayer can be a sensitive subject for many Christians because they view it as personal and outside of anyone else’s opinion. It’s my prayer life.
However, we must sober up to the reality that God’s divine opinion matters when it comes to your prayer life. Your prayer life is also a significant indicator of maturity. … I recently completed a study on forty-one prayers or statements of prayer by the apostle Paul in an effort to see the kind of prayer life he fostered. It was eye-opening…

GotQuestions answers the question, “What is Prayer?

Phil Johnson preached on Jonah. In covering Jonah 2, which is mainly Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish, Johnson explains how Jonah is actually praying bits of a number of Psalms back to God. He goes on to show how to pray scripture and why that pleases God.

I’m eternally grateful to the Father who wrote my name down in His Lamb’s Book of Life and took me from vain and empty thoughts to a sure and steady Rock, whereupon now I know of prayer and most importantly, I know the One to whom I pray.

rejoice in hope prayer


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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