1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Recently, a dear and close friend asked me to pray for him. He simply mentioned when and that the burden of it was heavy. Being a good friend, I answered, “Of course I’ll pray!” and you and I know what usually happens after that… we often forget to do the very thing we said we would.
Not that we are not without heart or good intention, but unless you and I take seriously this thing of praying for one another, we will all fall and fail.
To have asked for specifics on what to pray would have been gossip. It is our nature to want to know the details. I have learned that if there were more specific things to pray for, they would have told me. I have also learned to ask God what it is that I should pray for and when.
Can I tell you that throughout my day, God brought that friend to my mind and I asked how I should pray. I prayed for protection. I prayed for boldness in the face of adversity. I prayed that God would wrap His loving arms around he and his family that they would know that in doing the will of God, they could be at peace in the midst of a storm.
Pray without ceasing.
We often look at this command as an impossible task to carry out, when in fact it is having an attitude of prayer to follow as the Holy Spirit leads. It is asking to be led and obeying those urgings of God.
How many of us have woke up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason? It is then that I ask God, “Father, is there someone in need… Is there something You want to me to pray for?” Is it no surprise then, when I tell that person when I prayed for them and what I prayed for that they in turn tell of a need or a burden or a trial that they asked God for help?
We call them ‘prayer warriors’. Those who have given themselves over to a spirit of prayer. I am not a prayer ‘warrior’, but I know God answers my prayers. I pray because He tells me to. I pray because I desire the closeness and presence that only prayer can bring. It is not a hunger that crops up unexpectedly, it is something that is grown in us as we follow and obey.
Isaiah 56:7 “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
Mark 11:16 “And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.“
God not only tells us that the church house should be a house of prayer, but your house, my house and this; the temple of the Holy Spirit should be a house of prayer.
Even as I type this, my heart yearns to go and be alone with my God. I have so much to pray for. So many to lift up before my God. So many who need His love, His protection, His power, His provision, His perspective, His mercy, His grace and His favor.
Your church and every church for that matter, could be transformed if we were given over to be that ‘House of Prayer’ our Father designed it to be. Many churches today look more like a concert hall or a theater than a house of prayer.
People come wanting to meet with God and most often they leave empty because we, the church, have failed in the simplest of commands.
Next time, when a friend, a loved one, a coworker or a church member asks you to pray; take out a pen and write down who and for what to pray. Then, ask God to remind you to not forget what you wrote.
Our prayer list at our church is a sheet of paper printed in three columns front and back in what looks like 6pt font. It is packed with people to pray for in different situations and circumstances. We could add and possibly make it two sheets long or more… My point is this: We need to obey the command – pray without ceasing!
Don’t take it lightly. Don’t think your prayers don’t matter. We may not see the answer readily, but God WILL answer!
One last thought:
When you pray, ask God to show you His answer to your specific prayer that you and I might praise Him and brag to others just how He answered. I think God would love to reveal to us His answers if He knew we would speak up and tell others of His faithfulness and answers to prayer – don’t you?