Pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
Good morning Prayer Team!
Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.
In the advertising world, depending on which report you quote, it takes between 7 and 12 times advertising a product for people to buy into it. Well before statistical reports, the church seems to have known this, because it has added this petition to pray in peace several times in the Divine Liturgy.
St. Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing. What does that mean? That we are to pray all day long? Is that even possible? This verse can be interpreted and has been interpreted several ways. There is the literal, pray constantly, as in the monastic context where the primary focus of the monk or nun is to pray and to do so constantly.
But what about the rest of us? The Fathers of the church write that work is prayer. So, this verse, to pray unceasingly, reminds us that our work should glorify God—whether we are a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, whatever it is we are doing for work, all work can and should be done for the glory of God.
On a practical level, I read this verse as that we should not cease our prayers, even for one day. Our habit of prayer should be practiced without ceasing—we should not miss a morning to pray as we begin the day; or an evening to pray as we end the day; or a meal, where we thank God for the food we are to receive; or an activity, where we ask God to be with us and bless us.
And going back to the first petition of the Liturgy, our prayers should be offered again and again, but in peace. Because peace in the world begins with the peace of God coming into our hearts and then into the hearts of those around us. And we each play an integral part in this—by being peace makers and advocates for peace!
Today’s prayer is part of the afternoon dinner prayer but can be used really in any context:
We thank you Christ our God for nourishing and satisfying us with your abundance of earthly blessings. Deprive us not of our heavenly bounties. As you came unto Your Holy Apostles granting them peace, come now also unto us and save our souls. Amen.
Have a great day!
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