1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” NKJV
Praying without ceasing! I was a member of a Baptist Church when I first learned this scripture. Over the years, I have tried to be this person who pray without ceasing. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t arrived yet, but I believe sincerely in the discipline of praying without ceasing.
There used to be a time in my life when I would get some really bad news and I would say, “All I can do is pray” as if every possible avenue had been tried and I was now left with trying prayer. I truly believe this attitude of, I guess I now have to pray, is the root behind many unanswered prayer.
I spend a lot of time reading and studying about prayer, people who pray, and the impact of a life of prayer. I want to pray more effectively, I want to see my prayers answered instantly, I want to see God move in people lives and situations, and sometimes, I just want to deepen my communion with the Father!
The phrase, “praying without ceasing” causes me to infer some things about prayer that will break through our traditions on how to pray: our posture, our voice, our place.
If I am truly to pray without ceasing, then the posture of prayer doesn’t matter to God. Some people think that prayers must be prayed on bended knees, because it demonstrates humility, and it does. Some people think standing is the position of prayer, because Jesus said “when you stand praying”! These are certainly postures of prayer. However, you can also pray sitting in a chair, riding in your car, walking down the street (I love to prayer walk), or laying out before the Lord, just to name a few! And whichever posture you happen to be in when you pray, God will hear you!
Lightfoot, a well-known commentator to many theologians, wrote that it’s not possible for us to spend all of our time with words of prayer on our lips; but, we can remain in the spirit of prayer, recognizing that we are dependent on God for everything! This leads to my second point. Some believe you are not praying, if you are not opening your mouth, for when Jesus taught the disciples to pray He said, “And when you pray, say…” While using your words are an important part of praying, your heart’s cry or desire, can get the job done! After all, if you go about praying out loud all day, you’ll look like a crazy person! I have prayed many prayers in my heart that I have seen God answer! Do I pray out loud? Most definitely! But, there have been times that words could not express what was in my heart, or I wasn’t where I could pray them, and yet God heard, understood, and responded!
Praying without ceasing keeps us from being locked down to a location. My sister-in-law, Pastor Caren, teaches on “The Secret Place”. Whenever she does, it causes me to want to pray even more. Even still, you don’t have to be confined to praying in one place. Jesus’ instructions to us to pray in the secret place is vital in developing a personal prayer life. However, if that was the only place we could pray, we could not pray always. The car, the church, the bank, the restaurant, the shower, the garden, the beach, are all great locations for prayer. Any place, is a great place, to talk with God. Enjoy the secret place, but if you find yourself in the bathroom and someone is crying their heart out, it’s okay to stop and pray. God is in the bathroom!
Smith Wigglesworth, an evangelist in the early part of the 20th century, walked in supernatural miracles which included the raising of the dead, and creative miracles of body parts being restored. Once he was asked how long did he pray? Here’s the discourse from a book written about him:
“Tell us, how long do you pray every day? “Well, the apostle replied, “I don’t ever pray any longer than twenty minutes.” What?” his questioners exclaimed. After pausing for effect, Smith Wigglesworth continued, “Yes, but I never go twenty minutes without praying”.
I think we can all agree that Wigglesworth was a man who prayed without ceasing! It is even said, about his prayer life, that people couldn’t take being in the room with him when he prayed, because of the presence of God! That’s powerful!
We should get to a place where we are talking to God about everything that is happening in our day. He wants to be involved in every part of our lives. Some say, it would be ridiculous to ask God what to wear! I have heard more than one testimony of someone asking, of Him answering, and of it being a benefit in more ways than one. But it’s not necessary to ask Him what to wear, He gives us free choice. However, throughout the day, there will be many times when talking softly to the Lord will make things go so much better!
Is there a reason to pray continuously?
- Luke 18:1-Jesus Himself said that if we are always praying, we won’t faint! That means constant communication with God, through prayer, gives us the strength to make it through the tough times in life!
- Luke 21:36- Jesus says that we should not allow our hearts to be weighed down with the cares of this life to the point that we will miss His return! However, if we are praying continuously, we will not be drinking and carousing, but watching for His return and will not be caught unaware!
- Ephesians 6:18 -Paul talked about the armor of God, then he said that we are to pray with all kinds of prayer! It is a strategic weapon against our enemy and his attacks, and praying always enables us to be watchful for all the saints! Have you ever been praying about one thing, when God interrupts your prayer, bring someone to your heart or mind, and you begin to pray? Then you find out that it was at a crucial moment that had a major impact on their life? Wow!
I know some prayer warriors. They can be in the middle of a celebration, hear of a need, and go into serious combative prayer. My mother-in-law wouldn’t let you out of her sight without her praying for you. It’s a beautiful thing to have so many people in your life who can pray at the drop of a hat, because they live a life of prayer. I thank God for them! The word of God tells us to pray without ceasing, for this is the will of God concerning us! Let’s get started today! Wonderful Jesus!!