How Can We Pray Continually?

Paul encourages us to pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17). Why? To invite His presence/ peace/ healing/ rule into our daily lives and others. What does it mean to pray continually?

Some clues given in Ephesians 6:18: Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

  1. Pray in the Spirit.” Let God lead you. Listen to impressions. If you think about something or someone, pray about it.
  2. “On all occasions”. Anytime, however long. Whatever the circumstances.
  3. “All kinds of prayers and requests.” Psalms = complaining prayers; comforting prayers; clarifying prayers; courageous prayers; confessing prayers; celebratory prayers when you’re happy. How do I learn to pray? Just read the Psalms, and say, “Lord, this is how I feel today,” and let it be your prayer.
  4. With this in mind, be alert”. Alert means be ready for prayer opportunities = you’ve got to have a plan. How do you plan your prayers?
  5. “Always keep on praying for all the saints”. Which means praying for everybody. We can’t do that in a couple of minutes a day. But how can I pray continually throughout my day? Develop two habits:

First: Develop a continuing dialogue with God

We breathe continually, we do it to stay alive, and we do it automatically. We don’t need someone to tell us. Same with prayer = a running conversation with God = whatever is on our minds. A free-flowing conversation, without even thinking about it. The more we pray, the more we take our eyes off ourselves and our selfish thinking, and increase our dependency on God and His direction. No “Amen” spoken – just open dialogue, not one way.

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. (Lk. 6:12) How could He have so much to say? We spend time telling God what we think He should do, but little time waiting for Him to tell us what to do.

Second: Scheduling prayer times throughout the day (Bells to Clocks)

In the Old Testament, Daniel, “Three times a day he got on his knees and prayed” (Dan. 6:10)

The Roman’s had bell towers in towns that would ring about six or seven times a day. It would ring first at about 6:00 in the morning = alarm clock. Mid-morning 9:00 was third hour. Twelve o’clock the sixth hour = lunch (sixth hour = siesta). Then it would ring again at 3:00pm to restart work and about 6:00pm to finish work and 9:00pm for signalling night-time. The Jews and the Christians adopted the Roman bells as prayer times. They developed a habit of praying every time those bells rang.

Early centuries AD, monks put their own bells in monasteries = bell towers. They would ring the bells to signal time to pray again. In the 1400s, the monks started creating mechanical instruments that would ring the bells on schedule. The Latin word for bell is cloc. So, clocks were invented to make time for prayer. Does this mean we have to join a monastery, in order to be able to pray throughout our day? NO!

The disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray. Jesus gave them something that could be memorized and adopted as a model for prayer.

Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom the power the glory, forever. (Matt. 6:9 – 15 ESV)

Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer, He said, “You should pray like this.” Not, “pray this.”

As a child having to pray The Lord’s Prayer every night. We have taken an example and made it a ritual. It is a pattern for prayer.

In Psalm 119:164, David says, “Seven times a day, I praise you….”

Seven phrases of the Lord’s Prayer we can use as a plan for prayer………

  1. Wake up with gratitude. (Our CONNECTION) WAKING UP

First, “Our Father in Heaven”. The first thing when you wake up, get up with gratitude (Our CONNECTION).

The problem for the Christian “comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in”. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

Connect to world = Daily News. Connect with friends = Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc. But our first connection should be with our Father – the one who cares for us as His child.

Psychologists say first 8 minutes of the day are crucial to how the rest of the day will pan out. So, before reaching for the radio or mobile phone each day, check in with our Father. We have a choice every day how we face our day: grumpy and groaning or grateful. Putting God at the start of the day, sets the tone for our day: a day of hope in God as a good, good Father rather than a day of stress, anxiety and defeat.

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your

love in the Morning (Ps. 92:1 – 2) David sang of all that God had done for him.

I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love (Psalm 59:16).

David was grateful every morning for God’s protection and love. 

What are we grateful for: I am a child of God; I am no longer a slave to sin; I am not under

condemnation; I have been accepted and live in freedom in Christ; I have a home; a good

night’s sleep; running water; food; etc.

As the day’s realities begin to materialize, commit to starting the day with our Heavenly Father for all that He has done for you and you would otherwise take for granted.

James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…”

So, the first thing before getting out of bed: I thank my Father in heaven for his consistent love towards me.

  • Bless God’s name. (Our ADORATION) BREAKFAST TIME

Bless God’s name at breakfast time. Second phrase: “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). That means holy. I’m going to respect and honour your name. Psalm 145:2, “Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever”. Not just every Sunday: every day. I will bless your name, and praise it forever and ever.

God’s name is mentioned about 80 times in Psalms. Bless the name of the Lord; Praise the name of the Lord; Give thanks to the name of the Lord; Exalt the name of the Lord. Why bless His name? If you are described as Full of Integrity, Honest, Truthful, Generous, Consistent, Reliable, I have a picture of someone whom I can respect. In a real sense, your name really is your character. When God makes a promise to you, it’s based on His name. He’s consistent, dependable, full of integrity. Each name is a title representing a character quality of God.

At mealtimes, we are grateful for our food and “say grace”. Why? God is faithful in His provision towards us. Jehovah Jireh, = “I am your provider.”

Use this time to honour God’s other names; almost 100 in Greek & Hebrew:

I am Abba” = “I’m your loving Father.” (I’m your Daddy. I’m your Papa).

Jehovah Rapha = I’m the God who heals you.

El Shaddai = “I’m the Almighty God,”

Jehovah Shalom = “I am your peace.”

Jehovah Tsidkenu = “I am your righteousness.” (We can’t earn your way to heaven).

Jehovah Shammah = “The God who is There” (We are not on our own – He is with us)

Psalm 9:10, Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never

forsaken those who seek you.”

I meditate on God’s names and character, and what they imply. If God says, “I’m Jehovah Shalom, I’m your peace,” I don’t need to worry when the issues of life begin to flood in. As we get to know God better, we will become a more confident person in Him, and secure in our own identity as His loved child.

  • Remember what matters most. (His JURISDICTION) MID-MORNING

Mid-morning = easy to lose our focus, distracted by busyness. Need to stop and consider third phrase, which is this, Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Where God’s kingdom comes, God’s will is done. “God, we want your agenda, not our own.” So we remember what matters most = We pray for God’s purpose, plans and rule (His Kingdom) in our job, our church, our city, our country.

Matthew 6:33, “Seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, [that’s his plan, his purpose and rule] all the other things will be given to you as well.” If you align yourself to His purposes and plans, He promises to bless us, if we lose out for His kingdom’s sake, He will give abundantly – He is no man’s debtor.

  • Listing others needs and mine. (His PROVISION) LUNCH-TIME

Lunch time reminds us of God’s Provision: “Give us today our daily bread.” Bread is talking about anything you need in your life. Not our weekly/ monthly bread. What I need for today.”  We take stock of our needs.

I ask for everything I need today, but also I ask for what other people need too. Give us, not just give me. It’s “Give us our daily bread.” 

When you pray for somebody else, when you ask on somebody else’s behalf, that’s called intercession. When you pray for yourself, it’s called petition.

Ask God to provide those things that you need to get through the day – strength to help with job issues, home difficulties, finances, etc. “OUR daily bread” – pray for the basic needs of others – especially those who seem to be without – e.g. those abroad who are refugees or destitute or hungry in war zones.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

  • I ask for forgiveness. (Our CONFESSION) MID-AFTERNOON

Next phrase: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Confess our own wrong reactions, grudges and resentments that have built up over the day, and forgive others who’ve frustrated or hurt me.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Examine your life and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your own sinful attitudes and actions – seek God’s forgiveness.

Thank God for the forgiveness that is ours through the cross and the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Pray for those who have sinned against you – forgive them and ask God to forgive them – whether or not those people recognize their need for forgiveness.

Psalm 32:5, a great, great verse, Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up

my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”— and you forgave the

guilt of my sin.Good news for us, only made possible because of the Cross of Christ.

  • Ask God to help me make wise decisions. (His PROTECTION) SUPPER TIME

Ask God to help you make wise decisions. This is the sixth phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Sometimes, planes need to negotiate course corrections, to avoid storm events. They do not fly deliberately into a storm. We need to do our part. The television may be a big temptation, or stuff on the Internet, or amount of food. Before you get home, “Lord, lead me not into temptation.” We need to be resolved in avoiding those things that do not glorify God.Psalm 101:3, I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” Ask God to help me make wise decisions.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely

he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence;  his faithfulness

will be your shield and rampart. (Ps. 91:2 – 4)

Pray for help using your leisure time well, in a way that glorifies the Lord.

Pray for a way out for yourself, a friend or work colleague who easily succumbs to satan’s temptations (pornography/ alcohol/ drugs/ over-eating).

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

  • End the day with an encouraging truth. (His BENEDICTION) BED-TIME

End the day with an encouraging truth. The Lord’s Prayer ends with one of the most encouraging truths around, and it goes like this, Matthew 6:13, “For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever! Amen!” Very similar to:

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the

splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;

you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of

all things. (1 Chron. 29:11 – 12)

Meditate on the fact that God is in control. The politicians aren’t. Your boss isn’t.

Whatever day you may have had, this is not the end of the story. God is ultimately in

control. Speak back scripture that reinforces God’s power & control back to Him as a


The Bible says, The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a

watercourse wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1).

Our Father: CONNECTION    Waking Up

Hallowed be Your Name: ADORATION        Breakfast Time

Your Kingdom come:             His JURISDICTION       Mid-Morning

Give us today our daily bread:  PROVISION           Lunch Time

Forgive our sins: CONFESSION         Mid-Afternoon

Lead us not into temptation: PROTECTION            Supper Time

For yours is the kingdom: BENDICTION       Bed Time


Maybe continual prayer seems a little odd, maybe over the top. It’s not so unusual, actually. Consider Roy Godwin’s Rhythm of Prayer (Ffald-y-Brenin) 0930h; 1245h; 1730h; 2145h and the many Prayer Houses that have sprung up.

“OK, but I’m far too busy to think about scheduled times for prayer”

Someone composed a song for a musical called “Home and Beauty” in 1937:

I like a nice cup of tea in the morning, just to start the day you see.

And at half-past eleven, well my idea of heaven, is a nice cup of tea.

I like tea when I’m thirsty at dinner, and a nice cup of tea with my tea.

And when it’s getting late, almost anything can wait, for a nice cup of tea.

One thing we never miss is our daily beverages; coffee, tea, Coke, etc., because we always get thirsty. “Nice cup of tea” = “Nice time of Prayer” Thirst is good reminder to stop and pray……..