Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Scoffers would have this text say that Christians should do nothing but pray all the time. But let us tell you what is meant. When a little child is with its mother, and plays or learns its lesson, or does this or that, does it not always speak with its mother at the same time? Is its little mouth ever long silent? And are there not many things it asks for? Do you now understand what it means to “pray without ceasing”?
Wherever a Christian, a child of God, may be, and whatever he may do, he always knows that he is with his God, and that his God is with him. And so his heart is ever with God, and he has something to say to God all the time, or some complaint or some petition to bring before Him, or to give thanks for something. And so our kind and loving God would have us “pray without ceasing.”
But a Christian may also have certain hours of the day for his daily prayers, such as his prayers before and after meals, and his prayers for his private and/or his family devotions. Such devotions ought to include, first and foremost, the one thing “needful” (Luke 10:42), the reading, study, and meditation on God’s Word, prayer, and possibly even the singing of a hymn. For should a Christian merely desire to partake of bodily food and not of spiritual food as well, every day?
In every Christian household, the father or the mother ought to see to it that family devotions are regularly held. May the precious counsel and the sure promises of our dear Savior in John 8 encourage us to gladly and regularly sit “at Jesus’ feet and [hear] His Word” (Luke 10:39): “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (vv. 31-32).
PRAYER – Lord God, my dearly beloved Father through Jesus Christ, my Savior, give to me, I implore Thee, an abundant measure of Thy Holy Spirit working through Thy Word, that I may pray to Thee without ceasing as Thy beloved child. Grant me Thy grace to nourish my poor, weak, and sinful soul with Thy Word every day, that it may be kept unto eternal life in heaven, and that, in this present life, it may grow and become strong in the fear and love of Thee, who first loved me through Thine only begotten Son. Amen.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
what but Thy grace can foil the Tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be,
through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me!
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
where is death’s sting; where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
(Hymn 552, st. 6-7; TLH)