The Lord Jesus tells us in Matt. 26:41, Watch and pray – the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Paul continues the Lord’s speaking on this matter and strengthens it by saying, Praying at every time in spirit, and, Persevering in prayer (Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18).
For us to watch in prayer implies that we need to let our spirit rise up over our body and our psychology – we need to exercise our spirit and have a strong spirit to pray.
We need to build up a habit of prayer by exercising our spirit to call on the Lord and talk to Him about everything and at all times.
As we talk to the Lord, as we breathe our sins and problems out and breathe Him in, we will discover that it is by this breathing in and out of Christ that we live spiritually!
We live Christ by our continual and unceasing prayer (1 Thes. 5:17), by our calling on the Lord and talking to Him about everything. The more we pray, we will discover that we have more to pray!
The more we pray, the more we will like to pray and the more we will be able to pray!
Lord, keep us open to You, always praying in spirit! Keep us breathing You in! We want to be those exercised in their spirit to pray unceasingly. Lord, strengthen our spirit that it would be stronger than the desires of our flesh and soul. We want to breathe You in and breathe ourselves us, that we may build up a habit of prayer!
Exercising to Pray Unceasingly
Even though the divine nature we have received into our spirit by our regeneration is a praying nature, we Christians are not naturally inclined toward prayer.
It is not mainly the outward situations and things that distract us or frustrate us from praying unceasingly, but it is our indulgence in our flesh, our self, and our soul. This is why we need to learn to exercise our spirit and exercise our whole being that we may not be overcome with sleep, stupor, or drunkenness but rather be those who pray!
Our spirit needs to be strong so that it would subdue the desire of our body to sleep, and not allow our soul to have it’s soul-life and desire. The more we exercise our spirit, the more we will be charged with spiritual power.
It is tiring to continually exercise our spirit, since by nature we are inclined NOT to exercise our spirit, but the more we exercise to pray today, the more we can pray tomorrow. If we exercise to pray in the morning, we will have enough strength to pray at noon and then in the evening.
The more we exercise to pray, the more we will have to pray, the more we will like to pray, and the more we will be able to pray.
We need to build up a habit of prayer, a habit of being one spirit with the Lord by watching unto prayer and praying unceasingly. When we see that something within us frustrates us from prayer or makes us reluctant to pray, we need to deal with it and pray even more!
By exercising a little today, a little more tomorrow, and so on, we will be strong in our spirit and we will have a habit of living Christ by praying unceasingly.
Building up a Habit of Living Christ
The goal of our Christian life is simply put by Paul, To be Found in Him, and, For Me to Live is Christ, and, No Longer I But Christ (Phil. 3:9; 1:21; Gal. 2:20). In our Christian life we need to build up the habit of living Christ, which is the habit of prayer.We all have a hunger and a desire to pray – stay with that hunger! Build up the appetite to pray, the hunger to pray! We need to be praying people in the church life, those who aspire to pray, desire to pray, and hunger and thirst to pray!
The more we pray, the more we will hunger and thirst to pray, and the more we will desire to pray. This is a daily matter – wherever the Lord put us, we can practice to pray again and again, building up a habit of prayer, and we will live Christ.
Perhaps even while reading this word you are exposed of your failure to pray (as I am also) and of the hunger within you to pray. This means we need to practice to pray. Even though we may fail many times, we still continue to pray.
We may forget about it for one day or two days, but we still continue. We need to practice praying unceasingly so that we may build up a habit of living Christ.
All Day Long Call on the Lord and Talk to HimWhen some hear, Pray Unceasingly, they are puzzled: how can we pray unceasingly? Don’t we have to go to work, take care of the human needs, family life, etc? According to the Bible, the way for us to pray unceasingly is simple: we need to call on the Lord and talk to Him all day long.
Jeremiah tells us that it is God’s lovingkindness that we are not consumed – His compassions do not fail, they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23). Even from the lowest pit we can call on the Lord’s name, and He hears our voice, our breathing (Lam. 3:55-56).
Call on the Lord’s name, whether audibly or inwardly, and you will build up a habit of prayer! Our calling on the name of the Lord and our talking to Him in everything is our spiritual breathing.
We can breathe out our sorrows, our sins, our weakness, our sickness, our sinful nature, and our whole being, and we breathe in His peace, His joy, His rest, His salvation, His comfort, His healing, and all His fullness.
In this way we have hundreds and thousands of conversations with Him, which constitute our walk with Him, our living Him, and our praying unceasingly.
Lord, teach us how to breathe You in. We want to breathe ourselves us, and receive into us all that You are. Lord, make us watchful concerning our prayer life. Make us those who call on Your name every day and in every place. Lord, we want to exercise our whole being to watch and pray. We petition You concerning our prayer life, Lord, remind us to pray! Make us praying persons!
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from brother Ed Marks’ sharing in this message, and portions in, Perfecting Training (ch. 15, by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on Prayer and the Lord’s Move, week 4 (entitled, Persevering in Prayer).
- Buy this morning revival book online via Living Stream Ministry.
- Hymns on this topic:
# I am breathing every moment, / Drawing all my life from Thee; / Breath by breath I live upon Thee, / Lord, Thy Spirit breathe in me.
# Breathing in the Lord / Is how we live today. / Not by thinking do we live, / But breathing is the way.
# We are those who call upon His name in every place / With all the saints who from a pure heart call and taste His grace.
- Pictures source: with permission via, Inspiration Unlimited (Prayer and the Lord’s Move set).