Pray Without Ceasing
By David J. Stewart
“Pray without ceasing.” —1st Thessalonians 5:17
The Bible, God's Word, commands Christians to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. In today's fast-pace, high-pressure, hustle-and-bustle world, it's very easy for Christians to forget to pray. It's tragic. We are spoiled in America, having an over-abundance of food, clothing, and toys to consume our time. There is generally a direct relation between our blessings and the amount to time we spend praying, i.e., as God blesses us, we forget about Him.
In Deuteronomy 6:10-12, Moses warned the Israelites about this... "And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." Have you forgotten God in your busy life? Do you take time to pray? When's the last time you poured out your heart to God, and wept over the sinful condition of America?
I believe that the reason God tells us to pray without ceasing is because He understands that it's difficult to spend large amounts of time in prayer for a busy mother or a working father. I know, I know, there's the old saying that goes, “If you're too busy to pray, you're too busy.” But I know from my own experiences that once I begin to pray, I think of more things and people that need to be prayed over, and a few minutes can easily become a few hours. We don't always have the privilege of spending hours in prayer.
And quite frankly, PRAYER IS WORK. Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” I love that Scriptures. Genuine prayer set aside as an activity by itself is work my friend. That's why most people don't pray. Notice that that the Apostle Paul was praying for OTHERS. In Luke 11:2-4 we find the Lord's Prayer (which is really the disciple's prayer because Jesus was teaching them how to pray), we are given a pattern to follow. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:7 not to pray long prayers, because God already knows our needs.
Persevering Prayer & Answers To Prayer
Carefully notice in Luke 11:5-10 Jesus taught about persevering prayer where we pray for OTHERS. This is where we ought to spend the greater lengths of time, because there are many people to pray for, and many spiritual as well as physical needs. Literally, God wants us to stop thinking about ourselves all the time. In Philippians 2:5 we are told to have the mind of Christ, and in Philippians 2:4 (the Verse before) we are told that Jesus thought on the things of others. Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus was concerned about OTHERS, not Himself. Oh, that we would learn this truth as God's children!
So when you go to pray, spend a few minutes on yourself and then spend some quality time praying for OTHERS in your life. Prayer makes a difference! If we don't care about others, then how can we reasonably expect God to cater to our selfishness. Most people pray for themselves, and that's it. Then they wonder why God doesn't answer. It's a total lack of faith. If God openly answered your prayers, then where is faith?
No, the way God works is behind the scenes, in ways unseen as Romans 1:20 teaches. It is the invisible things of God at work that we cannot see, such as the angels, God's power and the Godhead. When we pray we are looking to see God's eternal power, but the Bible says it is invisible, seen only by the things which are made. Pray my friend, and trust what you see around you as evidence that there is a God and He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Since God sees what we cannot see, then we must trust Him, understanding that our prayers will often produce very different results that what we had intended. Trust the Lord, for He cares for you (1st Peter 5:7) and has promised to guide us (Proverbs 3:5-7). Do you know that the Bible never says God will answer all our prayers? Rather, the Bible teaches that if we acknowledge God in all our ways, then He will direct our steps. Psalms 34:7, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
Prayer Made Simple
Carefully study 2nd Chronicles 7:14,15... "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place." Notice the progression:
- Humble yourself
- Seek God's face
- Turn from sin
This is God's divine order. This is what America needs today to get right with God. It all begins with humility. Tragically, America is a sinfully proud and stubborn nation. We are in desperate need of a spanking as a nation, because we are out-of-control brats in this country. The greatest blessing God could give America today would be harsh judgment, to drive us to our knees! We have flaunted our sins in God's face, even naming one of our cities... SIN CITY!
To Whom Do You Pray?
Unfortunately, of those people who do pray, few people genuinely pray to the God of the Bible. When most people go to pray, they recite the Rosary, a damnable doctrine of Roman Catholicism. God hates the Rosary because it is a manmade tradition that violates the Scriptures. Jesus forbade anyone from praying with vain repetitions.
God wants us to pray from our hearts, not from a prayer book. God hates prayer books! Do you think God is impressed when the President of the United States publicly reads a prayer that someone else wrote for him? No way! Prayer books are FORMALIZED religion, which quenches the work of the Holy Spirit of God. You can't mechanicalize the Christian life. God didn't intend for us to recite chants like dead robots. Listen for yourself.
Freemasons pray to the Great Architect, which is Satan in disguise. To whom do you pray? If we believe the Bible, then we must pray to the God of the Bible. There is NO other God (Isaiah 45:22). James 2:19 tells us that believing there is a God is not enough to get a person to Heaven. Yet, John 3:16 tells us that believing on Jesus Christ is enough to get us to Heaven.
Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham, "...believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Thus, the only Biblical conclusion is that Jesus is the "LORD" which Abraham believed upon in Genesis 15:6. When we pray, we must always realize that Jesus Christ came to this earth as the manifestation of God, i.e., the Godhead, in the flesh (1st Timothy 3:16). This is why the Scriptures direct us to pray "in Jesus' name." This simply signifies our acknowledgment that it is Jesus' blood which gives us a right to approach God's throne of grace (Hebrews 4:15,16).
It is foolish for any believer not to exercise their right to the throne of grace, when God is offering to... give us grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Prayer is Trusting God
Oh! that Christians would learn to trust God--and that's what prayer really is... TRUSTING GOD. King David prayed in Psalm 56:1-4... "Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." David didn't allow himself to become overwhelmed with worry; but rather, cast his burdens upon the Lord (1st Peter 5:7), trusting God to protect and deliver him. Please read, Don't Worry, Be Prayerful!
A U.S. study was done showing that prayer doesn't work. What ingrates! We disobey God, toss the Bible and prayer out of our public schools, teach our kids that there is no Creator, worship Santa and the Easter Bunny instead of God's Son, and then put God on trial for not answering our prayers. What is wrong with us? I'll tell you in one word... SIN. American's deserve nothing good from God; yet in His divine mercy He patiently waits for us to repent... "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." God is incredibly patient, but we are provoking His anger in America.
Shame on those who use prayer books, Rosaries, and recited prayers. If you can't pray from your heart at the drop-of-a-hat, then you aren't praying enough in your own personal life. Prayer is not a recital, or a speech. Prayer is not a religious ceremony. Prayer is when we reach out to our Creator from the sincerity of our heart. Prayer is asking God for His help, strength, and guidance in every area of our life. Proverbs 3:5-7 states, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." Prayer is trusting God, by placing our worries, burdens, and concerns upon Him. The heathens are turning to Oprah Winfrey, John Edward, Char Margolis, Dr. Phil, Miss Cleo, James Van Praagh, and other demonically inspired imposters for guidance, who are leading the masses away from the God of the Bible. If you want guidance, then seek the God of the Bible, through the Bible.
There is an Omnipotent God in Heaven!
Oh! That believers would learn to pray continually! Do you know why people don't pray? It's because they don't get the immediate answers they want. This is due largely to the greedy televangelists today who have mislead people about God and prayer. Imposters like Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar have reduced God to a genie in a bottle, who guarantee us health, wealth, and prosperity in this sinful world. Tell that to the martyrs in Hebrews 11:36-38.
Tell that to Lazarus, the beggar in Luke 16. Tell that to Paul, who suffered often... "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" (2nd Corinthians 11:24-27). Are you sure you want to follow Jesus Christ?
Today's apostate religious world promises health, wealth, and success; but this is all of the Devil. 2nd Timothy 3:12 states... "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2nd Timothy 4:3 warns... "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." The Bible is so accurate, and perfectly describes these imposters who call themselves ministers of righteousness. They are ministers of covetousness!!!
We need to get back to the old-time religion in America, when Christians still believed that the Bible was God's inspired, infallible, inerrant, and preserved Word! I believe that to be the King James Bible (NOT the New King James Bible either, which is corrupt). Most people today view prayer as a "therapy" or a form of "meditation." Shame on us! Prayer at The White House has been diminished to a mere formal speech, prepared in advance for the President to recite. This is wickedness. Listen folks... THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN!
Praying According to God's Will
Prayer is asking. God wants to answer our prayers, but we need to ask according to HIS WILL... "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" (1st John 5:14). Most people pray for the blessings of God, while deliberately disobeyed the commands of God. Does that seem reasonable, or fair, to you? Why should God answer the prayers of a nation that murders babies?
Have you spoken out against abortion? Have you spoken out against homosexuality? Are you contending for the faith? Are you are soulwinner? Do you care? Jesus said in Matthew 11:29,30... "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
A "yoke" is a device placed upon two animals, to enable them to share the workload together. Jesus wants us to take His burden upon us, i.e., soulwinning. Then, and only then, can we truly begin to learn of Him. Many people have churchianity, but they have no desire to win souls to Christ. There is something very wrong with a devout religious person who has no desire to win lost souls to Jesus Christ.
Christians, now more than ever, need to pray without ceasing to God in Heaven. We ought to pray throughout the day, as we go about our busy schedule. Jesus Christ, while in the flesh, prayed often, setting a precedent for us to follow. Jesus often went up into the mountains, to pray all night. When's the last time you prayed ALL NIGHT? I don't think this is what pop singer, Lionel Richie, meant in his song All Night Long. Oh! That believers would learn to pray continually!
Do you know my friend that God loves you so much that He chose to LIVE INSIDE EVERY BELIEVER as the Holy Spirit the moment we are saved and for the rest of eternity (Romans 8:9)! Literally, God wanted to live inside me and you if you are saved. If you're not a Christian, then God very much wants you to become His child (2nd Peter 3:9). It warms my soul to know that God lives in me and loves me, and has sealed me with His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." —Luke 6:12