Often when someone reads the three words of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” he will respond with, “How am I supposed to do that? After all, I can’t spend the whole day praying. I have responsibilities to tend to.” If we re-read this verse, we notice that it is sandwiched in between two other equally difficult verses to put into practice. Verse 16 says, “Rejoice evermore;” and verse 18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
We begin to see that what is being addressed here is a moment-by-moment attitude of rejoicing and gratitude to the One Who has given us “every good gift and every perfect gift” as James 1:17 so carefully reminds us.
Likewise, God commands true believers to maintain a constant attitude of prayer regarding each conversation, each decision, each thought, each action, even the interruptions, problems, and challenges of that day, as an opportunity to rejoice, thank and petition God for His mercy. God the Holy Spirit also empowers true believers to have that attitude.
This same idea of praying “without ceasing” is also found in a few other passages. Paul thanks God for His work of faith in the lives of the believers in Rome and acknowledges them in his prayers in Romans 1:8-9, saying, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.”