Prayer is misunderstood. It is best approached from a perspective that includes the importance of doing it without ceasing. The recommendation to do it without ceasing complicates, enriches and challenges the individual about the nature of prayer and how it is done.
Too often prayer is conceived of as a flow of words consciously asserted by the one who prays. It might be done at this moment or at that moment. It has a beginning and an end. It is limited. This is not prayer without ceasing. This mode of conscious expression in sounds (internally in the head or externally to many ears) brings with it the risk of hypocrisy to the degree that the sounds and words are taken to have any value independently of that which they represent. But imagine one’s status changing merely because of what one says. It is the cheapest and most superficial of status updating. The heart from which the words are expressed may or may not be what the words represent it to be.
How to pray without ceasing? One’s life activity is always an expression. Though one were to walk through this world in silence and focus on one’s work one would express. It cannot be helped.
The deepest prayer is that which is expressed from my choices, my actions. This is the prayer that is always prayed without ceasing. It is the book I write whether I want to or not. My outward activity visible to another is easily put into words by anyone who has the time. Presumably, to the degree I can speak metaphorically, the divine has time. The divine hears all. The divine reads all.
My prayer is not ultimately what I say unless what I say is understood as the logos of my life activity. Were we to take prayer as the summary of every second of this panting, weighty, risky life we would do better in the organizations of our prayers. What do I say to the divine with my life?
To the one who stands before men and utters sounds. There is nothing there but the cheapest, easiest, and most manipulable of reality…sounds. Whether it is the sound of your hear or not is an open question. I do not immediately take the sounds of the voice for the sounds of the heart. The will may intervene between the two. But the divine reads the sounds of the heart. The divine judges what is prayed without ceasing.
I go now to continue my prayer. You continue yours.