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What Is the Meaning of 'Pray Without Ceasing'?

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

Praying Hands

Praying Hands

I once taught a Bible class based on the short verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that says, "Pray without ceasing." One student challenged me by saying that no one could pray without ceasing. She used me as an example by saying, "You are teaching now and you are not praying."

That became a "teachable moment" for me to explain to the student and the rest of the class what praying without ceasing really means.

Pray Without Ceasing: Meaning

To pray means "communicating with God." Without ceasing means "not stopping." If that scripture is to be taken literally we would pray around the clock without stopping to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, work, or do anything else except to pray all the time. Therefore, there must be something that the student and others need to know in order to accept that it is possible to pray without ceasing as well as do other daily activities.

When the apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians. 5:17), he was not advising them to keep their heads bowed down and eyes closed to do nothing else but pray. Instead, he was letting them know they could respond to the presence of God in other ways.

Prayer is not limited to formal petitions like the ones we hear in church services. Audible prayers are not the only way to pray. Prayer is not limited to verbalized words. A continual fulness of the heart is prayer when you trust and obey God.

Praying without ceasing is a lifestyle rather than a series of single acts.


In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul commands them to stop being anxious about things and pray without ceasing. Prayer should be everybody's first response to every worry.

When people develop the habit of praying without ceasing, praying comes easy for them. They won't have to introduce themselves to God because they already have a relationship with Him. People can pray without ceasing by depending on God.

Depend on God
The very essence of prayer is depending on God for every area of your life. The Christian's lifestyle should include praying continually, persistently, and regularly.

Pray Repeatedly and Often
Praying without ceasing means praying repeatedly and often.

Stay Steadfast
Stay steadfast by not giving up. Continue to pray even if your prayer is not answered the first time you pray. Communicate with God any time day or night because God never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4).

Be Disciplined
Pray at all times no matter what is going on in your life. Don't wait until things are bad. God accepts your prayers when you also pray when times are good.


Reasons to Pray Without Ceasing

Some of the reasons you should pray without ceasing:

  1. to express constant gratitude for God's great gifts
  2. to receive guidance about every aspect of your life
  3. to exhibit a continual attitude of dependency and trust in the Lord
  4. to be in constant communication with the Lord

Every person has times when he does not want to pray. It might be because of sickness, weariness, or depression. It could be that the mind or spirit is too dull to pray. That is the exact time when one should pray without ceasing. It is extremely important to pray whenever you feel yourself drawing away from God. Prayer is the way to reverse your direction to be close to the Lord again.


Praying without ceasing doesn’t mean to pray nonstop. It doesn't mean to pray around the clock. It actually means the activity is constantly recurring. In other words, your life should be one of continual prayers.

Praying without ceasing is as easy as breathing when you make prayer part of your lifestyle. That way it pleases God and satisfies Paul's advice. Therefore, you can pray while you work, while taking a shower, while waiting at a stoplight, and while doing everything else in the course of a day.

You do not have to kneel, prostrate yourself on the floor, look toward heaven, or close your eyes to pray. Audible praying is just one way to pray. Let prayer be part of your lifestyle. That's why I can teach, preach, and write and pray while performing those activities.