Pray without ceasing. (NRSV)
These few words seem at first to make impossible demands on us. That is so if we envisage prayer as merely setting aside a time to be quiet and reflect and formulate some words to express to God. That is a very important dimension to prayer but not the only one.
Obviously we can’t kneel down, close our eyes and verbalise prayers to God each and every moment of the day. But we can turn our ceaseless thoughts to ceaseless prayer. We can discipline ourselves to convert to prayers our anxious thoughts, our speculation about the future, our considerations of decisions to be made. That doesn’t require verbalising. It simply requires us to mentally commit what we are thinking about to God.
We end up doing two things at once. One is thinking about what we are doing, the other is placing those thoughts before God. We have to remember that God doesn’t need to hear our words: he can read our minds. So we are not informing him of our thoughts since he already knows them. Rather we are reminding ourselves that all we are thinking about can be given to God for his wise guidance and help.
In this way, much of our praying will be silent, going on beneath the surface of what appears to be normal life. Prayer will not be some separate compartment in our lives but something woven into the very fabric of our lives.