Tag Archives: Brother Lawrence

Never, Never, Never, Never

14 Sep

 

 

 

 

 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thes. 5:16-18

 

The bit about without ceasing has always bothered me because I flow in and out of prayer.  Without ceasing seems unattainable.

Looking at the English word and it’s root helps a little:

To Cease: to stop; discontinue; come to an end; pass away; die out; terminate.  From the root cede  – which means to give up, relinquish, abandon, surrender; to concede; to yield.

So to pray without ceasing is to pray without stopping, continuously, without end; not giving up, relinquishing abandoning, surrendering or yielding.  These terms suggest a determined attitude.  And while I concede the goal IS to pray all the time, the intentional and determined attitude is where it begins.

The definitions remind me of the famous speech  (audio) by Winston Churchill given to Harrow School, October 29, 1941 in the midst of World War II when Nazi-controlled Germany was bombing England:

[N]ever give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

My deepest, most foundational desire from the core of my being is to be as resolute as that of 1941 England which face an enemy bent on take-over and destruction.  Staying so close to God that I am in constant communication with Him is not a nice idea; it is the only way to survive in the face of a determined and evil enemy.  So, I commit everything to Him, standing firm in the power of His might against the dark forces that seek to defeat me.

Resolute determination is the place to start.

The next step is to pray.  (I heard that facepalm!)  I know it’s obvious and very easy to talk about praying without ceasing.  The hitch comes in the practice.

Mystics such as Brother Lawrence and Henri Nouwen sought to pray without ceasing by praying through mundane daily tasks.  The rhythm of physical tasks such as weeding a garden or folding laundry helps me slow down and pray while working.  While this doesn’t happen without conscious intention, it isn’t difficult.

My challenge is in the more complex parts of life – interpersonal interactions, long-range planning, creativity, brainstorming – all heavy on the brain-engaged scale.  And yet… when I remember to invite the most loving, creative, and wisest One into what I am doing, the fellowship is sweet… energizing… humbling… and ceaseless.  Insight comes and relationship is built.

And this, I believe, is what God is after.

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Ready for Sunday

What can I do to constantly be aware of God’s presence and communicate with Him?

Which activities, or group of activities, are the most difficult for me to remember to pray without ceasing?
Is preparing for leading worship one of those?  (ouch!)

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