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Louisa Ikena shares an extended prayer based on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, asking for our Lord’s help with prayer. 

Let us begin as we are invited to begin all things: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of today. I invite You into this moment, into this moment in which I am writing this article and into the moment in which it is being read. Lord, You are the Creator of the cosmos. You alone can be everywhere at once, all at the same time. I stand in awe of You. While I have certainly tried at times to be everywhere at once, all at the same time, I have utterly failed. For the times I have tried to rely on my own strength alone, Lord, have mercy. For the times I have exaggerated my own abilities and importance, Christ, have mercy. For the times I have tried to play God, Lord, have mercy. 

Lord, thank You. There is a wideness in Your mercy, Lord, like the wideness of the sea, as Frederick William Faber wrote in 1862. Our human minds cannot begin to fathom the greatness of Your mercy, Your kindness, and Your goodness. St. Catherine of Siena noted:

Even if all the sins that could possibly be committed were gathered together in one person, it would be like a drop of vinegar in the sea. (“Letter to Costanza Soderini” reprinted in The Word on Fire Bible Acts, Letters, and Revelation, 554). 


A drop of vinegar in a sea most distinctly does not mix. Lord, help me know more and more that my sin does not mix in any aspect or area of my life. 

I am challenged, Lord, by 1 Thessalonians 5:17. How exactly can I live out this imperative, “Pray without ceasing”? You have given us at least 168 gifts every week in the form of 168 hours of time a week. I have recently heard a challenge to divide these precious hours into thirds: 56 hours of sleep opportunity, 56 hours of work/school time, and that leaves 56 hours of discretionary time for everything else. Lord, how would You have me spend my time? Can I really offer up everything I do as a prayer? 

Lord, I know I cannot be perfect, and I am asking: do You really want me to aim for this ideal—to pray unceasingly? I believe You give the beginning of an answer in the context of this verse in the First Letter to the Thessalonians. The verse before it is, “Rejoice always.” And the verse after is, “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 




Lord, in my own words, I hear Your living and active Word saying to me, “Rejoice! Pray! Be in gratitude!” That may be hard, but not impossible on a good day, but, Lord, what about on a difficult day? How do I pray constantly through life’s ups and life’s downs? And, specifically, how do I joyfully and gratefully pray? 

Lord, I hear You both challenging and consoling me. I hear you challenging me to a more consistent, deeper prayer life. And I hear You consoling me that You are with us always (Matthew 28:20), and You forgive us even tortured on the Cross in Luke 23:34. Help me turn back to You in the Sacraments when I miss the mark. 


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Can I really offer up everything I do as a prayer?


Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and forgiveness. Help us grow closer to You every day and in every way. Just as this entire article is meant to be a prayer, help me offer my entire day, my entire life to You. Help me, Lord, indeed, “Pray without ceasing.” Amen. 



Copyright 2023 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena
Images: Canva