To ‘pray without ceasing’

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which is the textbook of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy says, “We must ‘pray without ceasing’ ” (p. 15). She is quoting Saint Paul from his letter to the Thessalonians. Paul was giving the members of the young church some rules for life. He says, in part: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:16–18). 

Paul was helping the early Christians to follow more closely the teachings of Jesus and to live lives devoted to Spirit rather than material existence. Mrs. Eddy enlarges on this in her writings to followers of Christ’s teachings, saying, “Cherish humility, ‘watch,’ and ‘pray without ceasing,’ or you will miss the way of Truth and Love” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 356). 

I have long wished to live a life more spiritual and to follow “the way of Truth and Love”—both of which are synonyms for God—but for a long time I found this instruction to “pray without ceasing” somewhat daunting. I knew that not all prayer requires one to go down on bended knee or even always to physically withdraw to a quiet place for contemplation—although this is often a very helpful thing to do. But in the busyness that seemed to be my life, I wasn’t sure how I could follow this direction. Another passage from Miscellaneous Writings gave me a clearer understanding of what was being asked of me: “Pray without ceasing. Watch diligently; never desert the post of spiritual observation and self-examination.… Forget not for a moment, that God is All-in-all—therefore, that in reality there is but one cause and effect” (pp. 154–155).

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Faithful service
November 12, 2018

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