Q. Would you please explain the phrase in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 & 18, “pray without ceasing”?
1Thess. 5:17 – 18 (NASB)
17 “pray without ceasing;
18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
There are two things we should notice here, it is God’s will that:
(1) we pray without ceasing and that
(2) we are thankful about everything (Phil. 4:1-6)
To be thankful is to feel a deep sense of gratitude to God for the manifold blessings which he lavishly bestows upon us.
To “pray without ceasing,” means to engage regularly in prayer. The words “without ceasing,” in the Greek means, “constantly,” “unceasingly.”
Paul uses the word “constantly” in 1 Thess. 2:13, in a sentence that will help us define “ pray without ceasing,” in 1 Thess. 5:17.
1 Thess. 2:13 (NASB)
“ And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
Paul was not suggesting that he was at every moment engaged in prayer, in which he was continually giving thanks. If so, when did he have time to preach the gospel?
What is meant is that the Christian should pray regularly. We should have an attitude toward prayer. Do not go long periods between prayers. Don’t give up on prayer. Don’t stop praying.