I Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
The question has been asked before: ‘why should we pray if God knows what we need before we ask?’ The simple answer is: we should pray because God tells us to do so.
In the Old Testament the altar of incense was designed by God to be a picture of Jesus Christ’s intercessory work on behalf of the people.
The Psalmist wrote:
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
God did not hear the prayers of King Saul when he needed an answer. King Saul was a rebel who wanted to do things his way, but he wanted God to bless him. He chose to defy God more than once, and God said He was done with him. King Saul could not get an answer from God so he chose to look up a witch. What a foolish choice. That witch was given the opportunity on that one occasion to be able to give Saul the right answer. It was not a welcomed answer, but it was what Saul needed to know. God was done with him and he was going to die in battle. Not only did he die, but he was beheaded. That was not the way this proud king wanted his life to end. Of course, when a person is dead they have no say over anything. There was nobody around Saul to protect his fallen body. The Philistines came the next day and took his body and hung it on the wall of Bethshan to show their people the prize they had gained. They did not know that God had given them Saul.
David was a man of prayer and he often prayed to God. God was gracious to him and directed him. God also showed him his sins and David understood the importance of praying for God’s forgiveness. He knew that forgiveness required confession. Biblical confession is an acknowledgment of sin. It is not just an acknowledgement of sin, but it is also a desire not to continue in the sin.
Jesus often went up into a mountain to pray to His heavenly Father. He had no sin and did not need to pray for forgiveness. He communed with His heavenly Father. He also prayed publicly before His disciples and others. The disciples came to Jesus in Matthew 6 and they asked Him to teach them how to pray. They had seen John the Baptist pray and they had seen his disciples pray and they wanted to know how to pray as well.
The Bible tells us that it is possible to pray amiss. Thus it is important to know how to pray. When we look at the “disciple’s prayer”, which is often misnamed as “the Lord’s prayer,” we find that true prayer begins with worshipping God.
When we take God’s instructions as given through the apostle Paul in our opening text, we should be on praying ground all the time. When that is the case, we do not need to be frantic and come to God in a state of panic.
Jesus showed us that prayer begins with acknowledging Who God is. He is holy. He is worthy of our worship. It is also important to come before God in humility. The ‘name it and claim it’ gang do not know what humility is. They demand things from God. They do not get anything from God. They think they do and the devil is right there to help them believe God is hearing them.
True prayer is asking God, not demanding things from God.
I have learned it is far better to spend time while driving, talking to God than listening to some left wing radio announcer repeating the same propaganda over and over again. They don’t know what the weather is doing, so they cannot help with that. They put their own corrupt slant on any news they report so they are not actually reporting the news, they are giving their commentary on a news item. They only tell us what they want us to hear. Most of the time they are guilty of spreading what our P.M. calls misinformation or disinformation. In reality they and he are lying to us.
When we know God and walk humbly with Him, we can pray without ceasing. We can worship Him. We can praise Him. We can make our requests known to Him. We want His will to be done. We want Him to teach us what His will is and what our part is in His will being done.
We then need to pray for our daily needs. Too often we are so self-sufficient that we do not even bother to ask God for our needs. We just go and work a little harder, or we sharpen our pencil and try to figure out some way to make an extra buck or two in some way. We need to understand we are helpless without God. Those who are saved certainly need to understand this.
We also need to be reminded of the fact that we need God’s forgiveness on a daily basis. We sin more often than we want to admit. Most people want to bury their sins, but they find they cannot do that. So what they do then is redefine what sin is. There are “white lies” and there are “half-truths” and there are “shady deals”, etc. Unless we are willing to submit to God and accept His definition of sin, we will not get anywhere. We noted already that God is not obligated to hear us. If we want to hold on to sin, we do not want to hear from Him. We do not want His help. He does not own any “white wash equipment.” The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. God changes the nature of the repentant sinner. He reminds those who are His children of the importance of walking humbly with Him.
We also need God’s wisdom and strength to keep us from yielding to temptation. Every true born again Christian will be tempted to sin many times in a day. We need God to keep us from yielding. We cannot do that on our own. It does not matter how many times you promise yourself you won’t commit that sin again. If you do not know the Lord and are not trusting in Him, you will commit that sin again. If you truly know the Lord, you can walk away from that habitual sin and never commit it again. You can trust God every time you are tempted to sin and He will always make a way of escape. He promises that. When a true child of God sins, it is because he chose not to take God’s way of escape.
Praying without ceasing means our prayers are always directed to God and they are always through Jesus Christ. He is the mediator between God and man.
When we meditate on the verse we began with, we will find that before we know it, the day is gone and we were so blessed in occupying ourselves with praying without ceasing, rather than polluting our minds with the trash of the devil. What a great way to live our lives. What a great blessing to be able to help some other individual to know God’s peace, because our hearts and minds are “stayed” on God.