Pray without Ceasing? Yeah, Right!

As a kid, I always wondered about the text in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 KJV which says, “Pray without ceasing.”  It didn’t make sense to me.  How can I pray when I’m riding my bike in traffic?  When playing pick-up baseball?  When sleeping at night? Eating pizza?  Laughing with my friend Patty? Listening to Elvis on the radio?

I began to understand the text when I learned to swim the crawl.  I practiced each of the components–flutter feet and kick from the hips; arm stroke with elbows high and hands plunging smoothly into the water like ocean birds diving for their prey; and all the while breathing to oneside with the arm stroke.

But when I raced another swimmer,  I figured the less energy I expended, the faster I could swim.  So I held my breath for three or four consecutive strokes until I felt my lungs would burst and then I’d catch a breath and do it all over again.  I soon learned that the rhythm of breathing smoothed out my stroke and ultimately gave me more speed.   Now, when my left hand angles back, I automatically turn my head to the left and inhale, then return face down in the water and exhale as my right arm completes the stroke.  Inhale; exhale over and over again until my hand taps the far end of the pool.

Praying without ceasing is similar to smoothing out my swim stroke. David in Psalm 63:3 Message says, “I bless You every time I take a breath.”  Go ahead, breathe in deeply; hold it, hold it, hold it; and now breathe out.  It is through God’s grace that my lungs filled with air.  Even at Creation, God breathed life into the first human body.  But breathing in is only half the process. Before God miraculously healed me of my asthma, breathing in was a cinch; breathing out became a problem.  The lungs refused to cooperate.

Contemporary Christian song writer Matt Redman, wrote, “Breathe in grace; breathe out praise.” Sometimes I forget the importance of completing the exercise by not breathing out my praise.  When I remember, every breath becomes part of my conscious act of worship.  Maybe that’s what “Praying without ceasing” is about– being God-conscious at every moment.  Could this be the formula for living the abundant life as described in John 10:10?  Could this be God’s natural pattern for living, the secret for success in winning life’s marathon swim?

Do I need grace?  Indubitably!  Likewise, God needs my praise.  My praise?  Yes, my praise. He’s hungry for my praise.  He created me to praise Him.  The last sentence of the Psalm 150 says, “Let everyone that has breath, praise the Lord”  OK,let’s do it.  Breathe in grace, breathe out praise; breathe in grace, breathe out praise.  I feel better already.  Let me know how it works for you.

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>