Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pray Without Ceasing

Temple Baptist Church - 4-10-2016
1 Thessalonians 5:17


A.  Prayer is probably the most important part of the life of a Christian as it is the means through which we personally commune with God.  There are several kinds of praying found in the Bible.

1.  There is the model for praying.  Many call it the Lord’s prayer but it is actual a model for prayer given by our LORD to His disciples in answer to their request: “Lord, teach us to pray!”

2.  There is closet praying.  A time when God’s people get alone with the LORD on a regular basis and, for the most part, at a set time.

3.  There is public praying.  This can cover a variety of prayers from blessing our food in a group setting to opening, closing, and praying during church services.  Once upon a time, long long ago, people began school classes, ball games, and public events with prayer.

4.  There is corporate praying.  Often done in prayer rooms or on the altar of the church when many of God’s people pray together.

B.  All four of these can be a part of praying without ceasing.  I want to take a short look at what it means to “pray without ceasing.”  In order to do that, once again, I want to go back to the Book of Genesis.

1.  The First Mention of walking and talking with (notice now with) God.  Genesis 3:8-9  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.  (9)  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?  (Adam and Eve knew the Voice of God and were used to walking with Him in the Garden.  This shown in the question, “Where art thou?”  God knew where Adam was but wanted Adam to know that he was not where he normally was when God came as the Voice or spoken Word.  The First Mention of “walking” is tied with the “Voice” of God and conversation.  It will never vary as “walking with God” and prayer go hand-in-hand.)

2.  The First Mention of prayer or “call upon the name of the LORD.”  Genesis 4:26  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

3.  The First Mention of “walked with God.”  Genesis 5:22  And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

Genesis 5:24  And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Genesis_6:9  These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

C.  As we look at this command to pray without ceasing, we need to understand that praying without ceasing has to do with our walk with God.  Walking with God is both speaking and listening!

D.  In order to cease from praying, one must first begin to pray.  I understand that there are some who never pray for any reason.  Their salvation is between them and LORD but it is hard to comprehend a child of God who never speaks to his or her Father!  Our children still call Barbara and myself to talk.  As long as our parents were alive, Barbara and I called them every few days to talk.  Not to talk to our heavenly Father makes no Biblical sense to this pastor!

E.  It is a common thing for people to begin to pray and then to cease praying or the Holy Ghost would not have addressed the issue here in 1 Thessalonians.  I do not think that it means that the child of God never prayers but that, when praying in a certain manner to obtain a desired result, they eventually give up.

F.  God’s way is not our way and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  When God answers our prayers, it will be according to His will—His way—and His time!

1.  Don’t Ever Get Discouraged.  One of my grade school teachers checked on my report card “Gives up too easily.”  We live in a “GOTTA HAVE IT NOW” society because things are so convenient.  God’s ways are truly not our ways, His thoughts so much higher than our thoughts, and His time often tries the patience of the saints.  If you need or desire something, keep asking for it. 

Hebrews 10:35-36  Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.  (36)  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

2.  Don’t Ever Quit Asking.  James 4:2b says, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.”  This does not mean that we receive everything that we ask for and it does not mean that God will never give us good things unless we ask for them.  It means that we must be specific in our prayer life!  A wise man once said, “If you don’t ask the question, then the answer is already no.”  God wants to give us good things and, according to His will, will give to us the desires of our hearts.

Matthew 7:7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

3.  Don’t Ever Give Up on God.  Always be open and expectant to what God is going to give to you.  He loves us with an everlasting love and desires only good things for His children.  

Jeremiah 33:3 says, “ Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  When you have a heartfelt desire for something, keep on asking!  God may not answer the way that you think He should but He may show you “great and mighty things, which thou knowest not!”
Luke 18:3-7  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  (4)  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  (5)  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  (6)  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  (7)  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

G.  Pray Without Ceasing For:

1.  Our family needs our prayers.  We have so many lost loved ones: husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.  Never give up.  Never cease to call their names out to God.  Never cease to expect God to do what we ask of Him.

2.  Our Church needs our prayers.  We need each other.  Pray for one another. Pray for your pastor.  Pray for our missionaries.  The church is a vital part of our lives as God’s children and pray is essential.

3.  Our Nation needs our prayers.  America is in bad spiritual condition tonight.  That is why God commanded us to pray for those in authority and those who serve and protect.  Never stop because we do not know what or when God may give us a miracle.

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