In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he urges the brethren in Christ to “Pray without ceasing.” Did Paul mean that believers should bow their heads, and maybe kneel on the ground day-in-and-day-out?
I believe that Paul is referring to the constant interaction between God and His believers through Christ Jesus. Although I was certain Jesus used the phrase “Pray without ceasing” during His ministry on earth, when I looked, I could not find the verse. (Maybe one of my readers could help me out and let me know when they run across those words in the Gospels.)
But how can we “pray without ceasing?” We can be in constant communication with the indwelling Christ as we travel through our lives. We can pray with our hearts.
I talk about the indwelling Christ quite often when blogging. Some have asked me just how it works. Some do not comprehend, even though they are believers, the concept of constantly being in communication with God through Christ. It is a “heart” thing.
I believe some people comprehend this concept almost from birth, a great advantage for a lifetime. Some may become aware of a personal relationship with Christ through a “born again” experience, like turning on a light switch. For me, it was like turning on a dimmer-type light switch, starting with the softest, lowest flicker and growing into a beam I can rely on at all times. Although I believed in God from a young age, I did not begin to comprehend the magnitude of His relationship with me until I reached my early thirties. Now I pray without ceasing. Sometimes I pray in thanksgiving, sometimes I pray in hope, sometimes I pray in supplication for my brothers and sisters. My heart is in constant communication with God through Christ. My heart prays without ceasing although I am not always consciously thinking about prayer.
My journey began at Sunday school, and over the course of a lifetime I have discovered many ways to grow in my experience with Christ. It is a little like learning to swim, or to drive an automobile, anyone can do it, with a little practice, and with the help of God.
My journey has included many mentors, but here are a few of my favorites that come to mind.
– Books by John A. Sanford. Especially “The Kingdom Within,” and “Healing and Wholeness.” These books pointed me in the direction of God.
– Thomas Keating’s book, “Open Mind Open Heart.” This book provided exercises on how to connect with God through contemplative prayer.
– Some of the Christian pop culture books, such as by author Max Lucado.
– Bible studies, church sermons and Bible self-study.
– Formal worship in church.
– Blogs, plenty of blogs. Blogging is such a treasure trove!
– Plenty of mentors in my life.
– And also to me mentioned, movies, including the quirky “Monte Python’s The Life of Brian.” (Don’t watch it with the kids, and don’t hate me if you don’t understand the movie.)
The above list is a small representation of my journey. I would be thrilled if my readers would share their own experiences via comments on this blog.