Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17
17 Never stop praying. (NLT)
A very short text with rather lengthier implications. Of course we stop praying. Not just when we are sleeping but when we are awake. We have to talk with others, to read books, to write notes, to clean homes or to repair cars. The idea of just closing our eyes and praying all the time is nonsensical.
But while the text can’t be pushed that literally, it does hint at an aspect of prayer we sometimes neglect. We can see prayer simply as ‘a prayer time’. Or prayers in formal church occasions. These are important times and can’t be neglected. And yet prayer goes beyond such times.
To pray always is to have an ongoing conversation with God. I might pray just as the phone rings; just before I drive in the car; just prior to and also during a meeting. These are not ‘close your eyes and bow your heads’ types of prayers. They are merely words and thoughts and feelings shared with God. Quite often they will be silent.
It is even possible to both be silently praying even as we listen to someone speak or as we gather our thoughts to speak. No grand phrases, no lengthy verbosity. Just a silent word here or there or even just a silent thought.
The writer Dallas Willard had a good definition of prayer: “Talking to God about what we are doing together.” Not a bad start!