One of Saint Paul’s letters contains this very short verse, “Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How seriously should this exhortation be taken? Is it even possible? Well, no, it is not humanly possible to pray unceasingly. However, this plea is meant to encourage us to pray as much as possible throughout our waking hours.
Given that most of us have many responsibilities to do throughout a typical day, how can we sprinkle prayer into our free moments?
An aspiration is a short prayer that can be prayed before, after, or even during our activities. There are many such prayers in the Christian tradition; too many to list all of them. But here are a few.
- The Jesus prayer: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
- From the Divine Mercy devotion: “Jesus, I trust in you,”
- Excerpt from Hail Mary prayer: “Mother Mary, pray for me, now and at the hour of my death.”
Create your own aspirations. Choose a favorite short passage from Scripture, such as, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)” The Psalms are a good source. For example, from Psalm 70, “O, God, come to my assistance. O, Lord, make haste to help me.”
In your own words tell God how much you love Him, like “Lord, I love you. Help me to love you even more.”
Some spiritual writers suggest using the same short prayer repeatedly throughout the day. I have used the Jesus Prayer that way, and found it a very fruitful way to keep awareness of God’s presence in mind.
Any prayer is a way of giving God the glory He deserves. If praying often is difficult for you, trying an aspirational prayer of your choice might be a good New Year resolution that will improve your relationship with the Lord!
Do you have suggestions for praying without ceasing? Please, share your ideas in the comments section.