“Pray Without Ceasing”
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)
This Scripture does not mean that we have to sit all day with folded hands and closed eyes in an attitude of formal prayer. It has reference rather to our whole attitude in life. It means keeping our lines constantly in touch with Heaven. It is to recognize that all of life is sacred and that we must live in an atmosphere that is charged with the spirit of devotion and prayer. It means to be conscious at all times of God’s presence and power and to silently commune with Him.
Sir Thomas Browne, a Christian physician who lived several hundred years ago, left in his journal this inspiring account of how he cultivated this practice of habitual prayer. “I have resolved,” he said, “to pray more and pray always, to pray in all places where quietness inviteth, in the house, on the highway, and on the street; and to know no street or passage in this city that may not witness that I have not forgotten God. I purpose to take occasion of praying upon the sight of any church which I may pass, that God may be worshipped there in spirit, and that souls may be saved there; to pray daily for my sick patients and for the patients of other physicians; at my entrance to any home to say: ‘May the peace of God abide here’; after hearing a sermon, to pray for a blessing on God’s truth, and upon the messenger; upon the sight of a beautiful person to bless God for His creatures, to pray for the beauty of such an one’s soul, that God may enrich her with inward graces, and that the outward and inward may correspond; upon the sight of a deformed person, to pray God to give him wholeness of soul, and by and by, to give him the beauty of resurrection.”
If you constantly forget even the limited obligations of formal prayer, you may be quite certain that you are grossly negligent in regard to the matter of a “prayerful attitude” required by the Scripture.
(Editor’s Note: The foregoing brief article was enclosed in a letter from one of my chief encouragers in the work of the Lord, Mrs. Dena Mortland of Watchung, N.J. Mrs. Mortland culled it out of a magazine some 30 or 40 years ago, having esteemed it an inspiring annotation. Frankly, it is the finest commentary I have ever read on 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and thought our readers would be blessed — and perhaps inspired — by it. The initials H.G.B. were at the bottom of the article, but I have no knowledge of the person they represent.)