“Prayer is the application of the heart to GOD, and the internal exercise of love.”
“Pray without ceasing.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV).
Many Christians are concerned about just how to “pray without ceasing”. It’s as if there’s a sentiment—even an unspoken one—to suggest, “Surely that’s impossible to do.”
Additionally, too many of us are concerned with praying at all.
A good few of us, for instance, whenever ‘prayer’ is mentioned, go emotionally absent, for we’re plagued with either a self-concept of an inability to pray, or a sad conscience for not praying nearly enough.
Problems with Traditional Approaches to Prayer
Could it just be that our concepts of prayer have been constructed all wrong from the beginning? Might it be that we’ve been making it too hard for ourselves? Further again, is it perhaps a fact that in doing this we’ve made prayer an extrinsic feature of our relationship with God; and by virtue of that, the very thing designed to keep us close to the Spirit has somehow vanquished us far from the Presence of God in our day to day?
I know... more questions and few answers.
But, it’s not until we explore the whys of this issue that we’ll get closer to understanding how to solve our dilemma.
The Way Forward
One possible way we can actually pray unceasingly is by taking on an exercise as prescribed by Madame Guyon above. The application of the heart to God is simply getting close to God (James 4:8), and musing about the things of God continually (Psalm 1:2).
Prayer is hence the art of being in continual meditative communion with God by being constantly in touch with love. Yes, this can even be done when we’re busy with life.
This is not truly about talking to God at all. It’s more about listening to God, although we are blessed to believe God wants our buy-in via spoken and unspoken commitment, even if we ‘speak’ these things to ourselves so we’re personally edified. This would be God speaking through us to ourselves.
Praying continually is not only not a difficult exercise, it is what we were made for—that God truly is accepted into our beings and, thus, absorbed within and flowing through everything we do.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.