“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
This is a cliché topic for any Christian-faith-related content. Nonetheless, it is very important. This topic can never be overemphasized. As we learned last week, prayer is one of the methods which we use to exercise power in the spirit realm. It is a weapon of our warfare. A praying Christian is a terror to the enemy. Therefore, it is very okay that this topic keeps coming up in Christian settings.
The Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What does this mean? It means to pray continuously. I don’t mean you have to kneel by your bedside for 24hours praying. What it means to pray ceaselessly is to keep being in the atmosphere of praying. As you sit, mumble a little prayer. As you walk, say something sweet to God. As you eat, thank God for your today. As you wash plates, speak in tongues. Just keep your mind engaged in prayer. Prayer is simply communication with God. It is more than the position or location. It is a state of mind –a mind speaking to God, and ready to hear from Him…so make sure to have a journal close-by to write, because God will speak.
There are times when we are so overwhelmed by our situation that we can’t help but let out our emotions. We cry, scream, or even get angry. This isn’t entirely bad, it only shows the human nature in us. Jesus cried (John 11:35; Luke 19:41; Hebrews 5:7-9). Job lamented (Job 6). God would rather you “rant” to Him than to someone else who couldn’t care for you as much as He does. Or worse, could lead you into sin. But what is more important is that we pray with and by the word. As much as God wants us to be open about our emotions with Him, He doesn’t respond to emotions. God responds to His word. The spiritual realm is not a place for emotions, all those things are carnal (not bad, but superficial). Dear believer, be open with God about your emotions but never forget to speak His word back to Him. Remember, He honors His word more than His name, His word is His bond (Psalm 138:2; Isaiah 55:11).
Your prayer must be actively backed by studying the word. The word of God reveals the will of God. If we are praying outside God’s will, we would only end up disappointing ourselves. When Jesus was about to go to the cross, He asked that the cup be passed from Him…the cup of separation from the Father (this reveals how terrible it is for one to be separated from the Father) Luke 22:42. But because He knew that it was the will of God that He experiences that separation so that we would be reconciled to God, He said thy will be done. Jesus was fully aware that praying outside the written will of God is futile. Again, there is a reason why the word of God is not something that has been memorized and then passed down from generation to generation. There is a reason why it is written. It was written that it may not be changed. Think of how much fire you would be adding to your prayer when you pray with the word of God which can never be altered and which every creature, dead or living must submit to. The word of God can never pass away! Matthew 24:35
You must note that prayer is not a physical exercise but a spiritual one. This means, you don’t need the physical manifestations (like shivering or sweating) to know you have prayed, and things are already working. Although the physical manifestations might come to play, it still isn’t a metric scale to weigh the power of your prayer. The moment you begin to gauge spiritual exercises like prayer by physical scales, that’s the moment you lose the sensitivity of the Spirit. John 4:24 tells us that God is a Spirit and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. What it means to worship in spirit is to let go of the physical, and key into the spiritual. Try praying with the consciousness of whether or not you’re sweating and watch how distracted you would be in the place of prayer. You wouldn’t even be able to hear God because at that moment, you’re not worshipping in spirit but concerned about physical things. Use the spiritual to judge the physical. Instead of saying “I was sweating so my prayers were fire” you could say “I prayed fire prayers so much I began to sweat”. Get the difference? Nevertheless, whether you sweat or not is not a determinant of how “fire” your prayers were. When praying, leave the physical where it belongs and key into the spiritual, which is superior.
Praying in the Spirit. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” Romans 8:26 ESV. This should be a topic on its own…and maybe it will. But, I must still mention its importance, in this post. You need it. When we do speak in tongues, we speak in the language of the Spirit. How do you think the Holy Spirit makes those groanings as mentioned in Romans 8:26? It is through tongues (Acts 2:4). He lives inside of you, so when you speak in tongues, you give Him access to pray for you. At that moment, you are communicating directly to the Father. Speaking in tongues is like walking straight to God’s throne room. If you could reach a mile praying in your understanding, you would reach 5 miles speaking in tongues. More especially, we align our prayer to the exact will of God by so doing (Romans 6:26-27; 1 Corinthians 14:2). And here’s the benefit for us, we are built up whenever we speak in the language of the Spirit (Jude 1:20). Let the Holy Spirit pray for you!
The scripture is clear that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much James 5:16. Only those in right standing with God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit can pray and it would avail much. You may be wondering why you often pray and it’s like no one is listening. Well, this is it. God doesn’t listen to sinners –those who are lawless and cherish iniquity (John 9:31; Proverbs 28:9; Psalm 66:18). We access this right standing with God when we make Jesus the Lord of our lives (Philippians 3:9).
If you would like to make Jesus the Lord of your life, please say this prayer: Dear Jesus I thank you for your sacrifice of love for me. I believe in your death, burial, and resurrection for my sake. I receive you as the Lord of my life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.