Sunday’s Second Reading (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24):
'Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.
Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt; think before you do anything – hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and he will not fail you.'
What does St Paul mean by praying constantly? Is this a call for me to pray endlessly, every minute of the day I happen to be awake? But surely this is unreasonable, even for those who consider themselves to be zealous for the Faith?
Yet our call is not so much to say an Our Father or a Hail Mary at every minute of the day (though that is a good thing!), but rather to always be thinking of God; to give Him first place in everything we do. By thinking of God we are wrapped in prayerful praise to the Father. By thinking of God and putting Him first we are connected to Him in the most beautiful way.
Saying our prayers is absolutely vital and should be part of our daily routine. But over and above this we need to be thinking of the Father at all times; putting His will before our own. This is the constant prayer St Paul is speaking of. It is the persistent placing of God at the forefront of our daily lives. If He is given that pride of place, then nothing can be wrong.