1 Thess 5:17 says to “pray continually” in the NIV and “pray without ceasing” in the KJV. This appears to be a physical impossibility. Please explain the meaning here.
It means what it says. Pray without stopping. But I don’t believe the writer (Paul) meant that we are to pray 24×7. Don’t take this to the literal extreme, but do take it to the figurative extreme. Figuratively speaking, we should always/often be praying. Praying is talking to God. It’s that simple. That’s part of having a relationship. God wants us to have a relationship with him where we talk to him throughout the day, not just when we are about to eat dinner! In the same way that you might talk to your spouse at many times through the day, try that with God. When you are driving to work…talk to Him. When you are taking a shower…talk to him. Take every opportunity to connect with him. We wouldn’t expect to stay married if we went days or weeks without talking to our spouse, would we? Then why do we do that with God?
Another way you could look at this is to continue to pray for something until you see an answer. Jesus talks about this in Luke 18. In fact he almost says the same words as you find here in 1 Thess. 5:17 in Luke 18:1 when he says “always pray and never give up”. When you need an answer from God (even if it is NO), pray until you get your answer. Never give up…always pray…pray continually…pray without ceasing. No matter how it is stated…simply talk to God as often you can.