“Pray without ceasing,” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Sitting between “rejoicing always” and “give thanks in all circumstances in this early church Letter,” Paul urges “pray without ceasing.”
This is a teaching that has long fascinated me. In my younger years, I thought it might possibly be accomplished by Sisters or Monks cloistered in a rhythm of daily prayer. If you aren’t caught up in doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, and making a living, perhaps your waking hours could be focussed on saying prayers endlessly.
As I gained knowledge in contemplative prayer and spiritual practice, I wondered if short mantras, a sacred word, or a prayer sentence might help to create this space of never ceasing from prayer. Insert prayer while waiting in line, when making transitions or answering the phone, here in this moment or now in this one; a little sliver of prayer helps to interrupt the routine and keep one present in the moment.
Now I wonder about this way:
What if there is no gap between prayer and life? This moment, this experience, this breath is prayer. This frustration is prayer. This disappointment is prayer. This joy is prayer. This failure is prayer.
Rather than prayer being a response to life’s joyful or bitter happenings made in thanksgiving or intercession, what if prayer is set within the fullness of life?
What if life, in all its ordinary unfolding and even in bitterness, doesn’t need more prayers because it is prayer lived as opportunity and possibility through all and in all?
What if the direction to “pray without ceasing” calls us to work at narrowing the gap between prayer and life? Until there is no gap. Until we are praying without ceasing because all is life, all is prayer?
To “pray without ceasing” may be realized in a rhythm of daily prayer and it can be manifest in short prayers grounding us in the present. It may also be without words and without form. It is all spiritual practice drawing us into the Closeness.
“Blogging one verse from each book of the Bible.”