Praying Without Ceasing in Your Daily Life


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) 

Roman Catholic scholar Boniface Ramsey points out a rather unique interpretation which St Augustine had of what unceasing prayer might mean to the non-monastic laity. 


“Augustine offers an entirely new insight in regard to the question of unceasing prayer and places its practice on a deeper psychological level. His view can be summarized in a passage from one of his homilies, addressed not to monks but to the laity, who did not have the luxury of monastic leisure and the support of a monastic community; commenting on Psalm 38:9 (All my desire is before you”), he says: 


‘Desire itself is your prayer, and if your desire is continuous your prayer is unceasing. For the apostle did not say in vain, “Pray without ceasing.” Is it possible that we should unceasingly bend the knee or prostate our body or raise up our hands that he should tell us, “Pray without ceasing?” Or, if we say that we pray in this manner, I do not think that we are able to do it unceasingly. There is another prayer that is unceasing and interior, and it is desire. Whatever else you do, if you desire that Sabbath [i.e. eternel life] you do not cease to pray. If you do not wish to stop praying, do not stop desiring. Your unceasing desire is your uninterrupted voice. You will grow silent if you stop loving.’” (BEGINNING TO READ THE FATHERS, p 182) 


From St Augustine’s point of view, for the laity, to simply have the desire to live in and for the Kingdom of God is already prayer.  As long as that desire is alive in us, we are praying.  And if we seek first in our lives the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), we are praying without ceasing.  This is probably far more the path to the Kingdom for the laity than trying to imitate monastic forms of praying.