Pray Without Ceasing

Contributor: Debbie Avilez, From the Healing Prayer Team

 Some members of the Prayer Team

Some members of the Prayer Team

When St. Paul advises the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing, what does he mean? Seriously? Is that even possible? It turns out, it may be more possible than we think!

As our team meets, we are studying stories of healing in the Bible using materials from the Order of St. Luke. Our discussions are lively and enriching, but often questions like this one come up. How can we do it? Well, prayer can take many forms, considering that it is an expression of our deepening relationship with God. We’re familiar with a simple, “Oh, thank God!” offered .in conversation, but don’t always realize that delighting in nature, in stillness and quiet, in joyful company, in creative activities, in accomplishments in our work, in community with others, we are offering thanks to God.

We also are offering prayer when we recognize our need for forgiveness, face a difficult situation, or ask for God’s help in making a decision. Some of the time we’re not aware of our prayers, but God knows the longings of our hearts. There is a multitude of small but important moments that bear witness to living in the Spirit as we love, care for, and encourage others.

But what about while we’re asleep? How are we praying then?

 In his book, “Healing Words,” Larry Dossey, MD, describes MD, describes prayer while we sleep this way: “If the urge toward oneness, unity and wholeness lies at the heart of prayer – and if this urge erupts consistently during dreams when the unconscious takes the stage –we must consider seriously that prayer and dreaming are very closely related, and that we pray night after night, dream after dream.” He goes on to say, “Dream prayer may indeed be our most effective prayer, because it occurs when the inhibitions and distractions of waking awareness and the ego have abated for a few hours. Unobstructed, the unconscious during sleep and dreams may be free to realize its natural, innate affinity with the Divine.”

Dr. Dossey quotes author Richard J. Foster: “When the Spirit has come to reside in someone, that person cannot stop praying, for the Spirit prays without ceasing in him... prayer is going on in his heart all the time.” This idea brought to mind Allison Krauss’ song

Pray Without Ceasing [contd.]

“A Living Prayer” to me; here is an excerpt:

...Through These Trials Of Life I Find
Another Voice Inside My Mind
It Comforts Me And Bids Me Live
Inside The Love The Father Gives

In Your Love I Find Release
A Haven From My Unbelief
Take My Life And Let Me Be
A Living Prayer, My God To Thee...

Songwriters: Ron Block
A Living Prayer lyrics © BMG Rights Management

If you would like to be added to the Good Shepherd prayer list, you can do so by adding your name to the list on the welcome table, or contact the office by email or phone. Additionally, we are offering healing prayer after the service on the second Sunday of the month. Our prayer team is also willing to meet privately – please contact Pastor Linda if this is something you desire.

Tralee Johnson