The third reason I believe that to “pray without ceasing” refers to persistent prayer is what we see the early church practicing.
Today’s verse is taken from Acts 1:14. This actions of this verse takes place after the ascension of Jesus while they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Note that they “continued.” They didn’t give up. With one mind, one heart they persisted in seeking the Lord together.
Acts 2:42 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
In Acts 6, the church faced the problem of meeting the physical needs of the widows in the congregation. There was a dispute among the people about the fairness of how the widows were treated. The Apostles had the church appoint some men to deal with this task. They said, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). As leaders in the church, they knew they needed to pray continually, persistently.
In Acts 12, Peter was arrested by Herod. Verse 5 says, “Peter therefore was kept in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” When an angel released Him from prison, Peter came to one house where as verse 12 says, “where many were gathered together praying.” They were praying so hard, they didn’t believe it when they were told Peter was knocking on the door.
Could this happen today? It will not if we pray not! Please stop and pray.