1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

The well-known preacher of the nineteenth century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon described this robust imagery of what praying at all times truly means:

“Like the old knights, always in warfare, not always on their steeds dashing forward with their lances in rest to unhorse the adversary, but always wearing their weapons where they could readily reach them, and always ready to encounter wounds or death for the sake of the cause which they championed.  Those grim warriors often slept in their armour; so even when we sleep, we are still to be in the spirit of prayer, so that if perchance we wake in the night we may still be with God.  Our soul, having received the divine centripetal influence which makes it seek its heavenly centre, should be evermore naturally rising towards God himself.

Our heart is to be like those beacons and watchtowers which were prepared along the coast of England when the invasion of the Armada was hourly expected, not always blazing, but with the wood always dry, and the match always there, the whole pile being ready to blaze up at the appointed moment.  Our soul should be in such condition that ejaculatory prayer should be very frequent to us.  No need to pause in business and leave the counter, and fall down upon the knees; the spirit should send up its silent, short, swift petitions to the throne of grace.

A Christian should carry the weapon of all-prayer like a drawn sword in his hand.  We should never sheathe our supplications.  Never may our hearts be like an unlimbered gun, with everything to be done to it before it can thunder on the foe, but it should be like a piece of cannon, loaded and primed, only requiring the fire that it may be discharged.  The soul should be not always in the exercise of prayer, but always in the energy of prayer; not always actually praying, but always intentionally praying.”

What great imagery to help us live out this command!  Don’t every “sheathe your supplications.”  Truly ask God to help you pray without ceasing today, tomorrow, and every moment after that.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Parables of Our Lord (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979), 434–35.