This morning I read a devotional about praying without ceasing and what it means. Oswald Chambers said, “The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues ‘without ceasing’; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops. And we are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect oneness with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer.”
When I normally look at the Scripture Chambers used in this devotional, it’s usually three verses, but today I backed up several verses to read it in context. It begins with “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.” (1 Thess 5:11-13)
I’m struck that before we look to ask anything for ourselves, we are first to look to the needs of our fellow brethren as we’ve read in many places in Scripture, one being “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil 2:3). This is the way we are taught to “be at peace among yourselves”.
We are given specific ways in which we should look to the needs of our brethren: “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.” (1 Thess 5:14-15) This is the antithesis of worldly advice where people are being applauded for living “their own truth”. There is but one truth, Creator God’s truth, and when needed we are to sharpen iron (Prov 27:17) in our fellow believers so that they don’t wander off the narrow path.
So now in context, we are to esteem others more than ourselves, look to their needs and speak to them in love with God’s Word to comfort and edify our fellow believers. And we can bring the needs of our brethren to the Lord because He has provided the very blood that pulses through our veins sends His breath to our lungs. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess 5:16-18) Prayer without ceasing is not an exercise or discipline, it is the very life of believers.