Praying Unceasingly

For Jesus, prayer seems to be a matter of waiting in love, returning to love, and trusting that love is the bottom stream of reality. Prayer isn’t primarily words; it’s a place, an attitude, a stance. That’s why Paul could say, “Pray always” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can pray unceasingly if we find the stream and know how to wade in the waters. The stream will flow through us, and all we have to do is consciously stay there. Paul says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

Of course the ego resists such surrender and emptiness. So we need a little practice. In contemplative prayer we consciously open ourselves to being prayed through. Again and again we are humbled, observing our incessant and scattered stream of consciousness. Simply watching our thoughts helps us detach from them rather than be identified with them. Again and again we have the opportunity to let go, to sink into the deeper stream of Presence. For a moment or two we are “praying unceasingly.” It takes a lifetime of practice to remain in this flow more and more.