As an extrovert, the idea of "praying without ceasing" has always been intimidating. It seems like something that deep, quiet people do...people that wake up at 5am every morning and spend 2 hours on their knees before they start their day. In my brain, these people also run 10 miles in the morning, eat a vegan diet, work 60+ hours a week and have all their relationships on track. Sounds pretty impressive.
As I've studied how anxiety improves in our body and mind, the concepts of cognitive-behavioral psychology and mindfulness have a lot in common with what the bible says re: how to live in the peace of God. Phil 4:6-7 says:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I love ANYTHING that I can turn into a math equation. Here's what I picture when I read this:
Here's a way to train our brain to think of good things.
1. Identify what you're stressed about.
2. Decide to not let it control your mind. (Resist it)
3. Quickly, tell God (with words, or without*) what you're thinking, and what you need (even if you just pray for peace)
4. Thank Him for a few things that you have, or a few things that He's done. (It resets your anxious mind to focus on something good, growing that part of your brain that fights stress hormones)
5. REPEAT. All day, everyday.
The result: God's peace (which exceeds anything we can understand.
It also gives you the opportunity to pray without ceasing.
Step 3 is interesting...don't forget that Romans 8:26 says this:
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
When you're praying through those anxieties, even in those moments where you can't identify the feeling or anxious thought, you can groan yourself a prayer.