Pray without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray continually. 
I used to wonder how this verse was possible. The typical physical form of praying- head bowed, eyes closed- was not feasible to be continued every hour of the day.
I began to understand this verse a bit better when I traveled internationally for the first time by myself to Italy the summer after my junior year of college. There were so many things I was nervous about, so many things I feared would happen just on my journey to get there. Prayer became my lifeline as I asked God to give me peace about each little step, wisdom to know what to do when things didn’t go quite right, and patience with people around me. Stepping into a world where I didn’t know the language, didn’t always have someone to translate and where I was expected to act as one with authority was so intimidating and my first day at the preschool where I was helping I wanted to shout, “Just let me go home! This isn’t what I expected!”. So I prayed more. When the children were throwing temper tantrums and all I knew how to say in Italian was “No!” and “Stop!” (neither of which they listened to very well), I prayed for their little hearts and for my heart to be strong. As I walked around the neighborhood where I was staying, I prayed and asked for God’s blessing and revelation for the people. I couldn’t do much else but pray. It sort of became like breathing: exhaling my worries and fears, the struggles and the good things as well, all before God, and inhaling His precious promises and peace and strength.
I have a feeling the verses surrounding this command are there on purpose as well:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Thanks and joy are a part of that praying without ceasing. They go together. Not only should I let go of all of the fears, worries, whatever, but as I am in a state of “prayerfulness” I think I can see much more clearly how God really is working and praise Him. We can see with different eyes.

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