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Can we really “pray without ceasing”?

From the November 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the church community he founded in Thessalonica (now in northern Greece), “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:17, 18). Pray without ceasing? Is that possible? Not, of course, if it means merely repeating a series of holy words and phrases day and night, either silently or audibly. That was clearly not what Paul intended! Rather, he was most likely speaking of the importance of loving God with all our heart and making the discipline of prayer—or communion with “our Father,” as the Lord’s Prayer says—a continually high priority, just as Christ Jesus did.

This is very much in the spirit of what Christian Science teaches about prayer. Consider this statement by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: “The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 4). She says “the habitual struggle to be always good.” Not the occasional or intermittent effort but the persistent, continual work. 

Trying to be good all the time is hard enough when dealing with the people we love, even harder when we are dealing with ourselves. The temptation to criticize is never far away. But criticism and cynicism are not part of being good, so we don’t have to give in to them. 

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