This is from an Anonymous Unblog reader…
The prophets of old — they who walked and talked with God — were clearly not “pray three times a day” kinds of people. Their hearts contemplated the things of God continually, and behaved accordingly. They were able to fill the voids in between morning, mid-day and evening prayer with a quiet, inner communion that enabled them to walk and talk with God. Their strategy could be summed up in three words: They “prayed without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17):
- The prophet Samuel said “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…” (1 Samuel 12:23).
- Nephi told us “that ye must pray always” (2 Ne. 32:9).
- Alma and his fellow laborers admonished their brethren “to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39).
- Ammon encouraged others to “prayeth continually without ceasing” (Alma 26:22).
- Jesus told the Nephites to “watch and pray always”, then a few verses later, said we “must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:18-19).
- Later, his disciples prayed “steadfastly, without ceasing” (causing Christ to “smile upon them”; 3 Nephi 19:24,30).
- While Peter was inprisoned, the church prayed for him “without ceasing” (Acts 12:5).
- Paul made mention of others “without ceasing” in his prayers (Romans 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:3).
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (quoted above) is an interesting verse. When read in the original Greek, we learn that it actually means “Pray without intermission”, without allowing prayerless gaps to intervene between the times of prayer. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, http://bible.cc/1_thessalonians/5-17.htm).
“When the apostle Paul instructed the Thessalonians to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thes. 5:17) and when Alma instructed the church members of his day to ‘pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all things’ (Mosiah 26:39), they were not only advising them to pray formally, but also to feel and react to the presence of God in their lives” (H. Dean Garrett, instructor, Tempe Arizona Institute, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1978/02/i-have-a-question?lang=eng)
In my opinion, praying continually does not mean we are always (physically) on our knees or vocally calling upon God; doing so would clash with other parts of our lives which should be attended to. Instead, it means that we are letting all our “thoughts be directed unto the Lord” (Alma 37:36) and counseling “with the Lord in all our doings” (Alma 37:37). We live all of our hours and days so conscious of God, that we are actually (to one degree or another) keeping company with him…always.