These two biblical phrases are ideal correlations. The only way that we can live as God intends is by grace. Our God is the source of all grace. We draw upon God’s grace through humility and faith. Prayer is the most appropriate expression of humility and faith. We pray, because we need God’s help (thereby, expressing humility). We pray, because we believe God will help us (thereby, exercising faith). Consequently, praying without ceasing is a simple, yet profound, way to relate rightly to the God of all grace.
“Pray without ceasing.” This command does not require the incessant recitation of prayers. Rather, it is a call to a prayerful way of living: “continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Praying without ceasing is primarily an attitude of the heart. To pray without ceasing is to have the inner man humbly dependent upon the Lord, while consistently addressing actual prayers to the Lord.
Paul was such a man of prayer. The Lord was definitely the object of his expectations: “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1). In addition, he consistently offered prayers unto the Lord: “without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers…do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers…without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day” (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; and 2 Timothy 1:3). Notice also, Paul’s prayers included recurring prayer for others. Those who live by grace develop hearts of intercession, praying that others might enjoy the grace of God as well.
It is common among the spiritual examples of Scripture to find lives of prayer. David was clearly one who prayed without ceasing. A great portion of his Psalms are prayers to the Lord. Some Psalms testify of his habit of prayer. “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17). Jeremiah was a man of prayer. “O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of affliction…Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved…Give heed to me, O LORD, and listen to the voice of those who contend with me!” (Jeremiah 16:19; 17:14; and 18:19). Daniel was also a man of prayer. “He knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). Likewise, those who truly live by grace increasingly become people of prayer.