"Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus".
1 Thessalonians 5:17 onwards.
Let us examine what he says further.
Rejoice at all times: I see so many people in church on their knees praying yet their faces look like a mile of bad road. It is as if they are carrying the whole world on their shoulders. Being charitable for a moment, I know that life is not always a bed of roses and that sometimes we all go through bad times. Yet, having said this, I see too many Christian people with sad faces all the time. Is this really a good advert for our faith? Is this what we would like others to think of Christianity when they see us?
Pray without ceasing: I don't think Paul is suggesting that we pray 24/7 from the moment we wake up. Life is not meant to be spent on our knees and when we get to meet Peter at the Pearly Gates I doubt that he will check if we have callous knees like a camel's. Life is to be enjoyed and it is not an endurance test in preparation for the next. Remember "Rejoice at all times".
Paul is reminding us here to be in constant communication with God. We wake up in the morning and thank Him for another day and that we survived the night. When we're preparing breakfast we thank Him that we have enough to meet our daily needs and that of our family. As we travel to work, or wherever, we thank Him and ask Him to keep us safe. When we meet someone who tells us of their difficulties and problems we say a silent prayer for that person.
That's what Paul means by praying without ceasing. To be in constant contact with God throughout the day. And to be receptive when He speaks to us.
Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus: Whatever happens in life, no matter how bad and difficult the situation, we should thank and praise God for it. We are not thanking and praising Him for the bad situation itself, but we are doing so because we acknowledge that He is still in control. Whatever the situation, we thank Him for being in control.
By doing so, we somehow open a channel whereby God turns the bad situation to the good; for us or for someone else. Maybe someone sees how we tackle the bad situation and somehow our example brings them closer to God. Perhaps our situation changes us for the better in some way. When we praise God for being in control of every situation He will often turn it to the good. I have seen this many times.