When the Scriptures say, “Pray without ceasing,” I get visions of callused knees, lists, sweat and travail, sleeplessness, and red eyes. I have a personal history of no callused knees, forgotten lists, good intentions, and lots of guilt. Prayer encompasses these sorts of practices in devotion, and I don’t doubt the biography of a man like “Praying Hyde” who prayed until his knees callused like a camel’s. But neither do I understand Hyde’s biography. It would have been nice to visit with him regarding communication, his view of God, and his calling. I’m afraid he’s gone though.
For me, the guilt of not having calluses on my knees is not great enough to create callused knees. My heart just isn’t in that type of communication.
After sorting through the failure of guilt to motivate me, I have come to this: Prayer is about heart and heart’s desire.
What I hear God saying when He says I’m to pray is, “Talk with Me.”
Remember the invitation recorded by Isaiah? “Come,” God said to him, “let’s discuss this—let’s reason together.” Quite amazing. “Let’s wrestle this issue into submission together.”
Considering prayer further, God values when we talk to Him together, like at a family meal. This makes sense. After all, there is individual communication and corporate communication. Both are advantageous and both are indicative of healthy communication.
Thus the legitimacy of my request, “Will you pray for me?”
In addition to visiting with God personally about what’s on my mind, I am told to pray for—communicate with—you while considering you my family. The implication here is that God is listening to our conversation and this also constitutes prayer.
It comes to this: Any venue of spiritual conversation is prayer—as if God is present and listening.
Come to think of it, He is present. And, He is present all the time, everywhere, in all situations. This works out the challenge of praying without ceasing.
If we are awake, our minds are running. We are interacting, communicating at a variety of levels, and He is present. And when we are asleep? Scripture states that God invests in us while we are asleep (Ps 127:2). That pretty much covers life since I’m either awake or asleep.