PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
Topics in this Article
1. Men ought always to Pray
2. Unity for God's Church
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Prayer is Essential
Along with our faith in God, prayer is one of the important essentials in our Christian life. Jesus commanded us to pray always as well as Paul the apostle telling us to pray without ceasing. Anyone reading the Old as well as the New Testament can clearly see that prayer is one of the fundamentals for an effective relationship with God. I encourage you to go through the bible and read some of the prayers of God’s Saints such as Salomon, Daniel, Hannah, Abraham’s servant, Nehemiah, and of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Himself.
Our Prayer Time
However, that being said, how much time do we really spend praying? We can get so caught up in our “Church Agenda” that our prayer time gets push aside, even relegated to a weekly or even a biweekly meeting. However, according to God's word this should never be the case. For I can tell you that there is nothing more important than prayer, not even worship or the sermon. For we must remember that it’s our prayers that can change not only our own lives, but the lives of others as well. And let’s remember that our Lord Jesus said that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” as well as: “My house shall be called the house of prayer.” (Matthew 21:13, Isaiah 56:7) But again, what are we doing as a Church? Are we following Paul’s teaching which states that we should be putting prayer first and foremost in the church? For He said to Timothy “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
So, according to what was mentioned above, our prayers can change the hearts of those who are in authority as well as change the destiny of one’s eternal life as well. Prayer is about us partnering with God for the souls of men, women and children who need healing, raising from the dead, comforting and most of all salvation. Yes, worshiping God and being encouraged by the preacher’s exhortation is a wonderful part of our church gathering, but it could never ever come about if it weren’t for prayer.
So that being said, what should our church service look like. Well, taking God at His word, we should be putting prayer upfront and foremost in our gatherings. I feel in my heart that we as a church should be spending at least 70% of our time together in prayer. I say this because I see this to be true in scripture as it is here in the book of Acts: "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." (Acts 1:14)
Jesus Prayed for Us
"I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. ... "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. ... "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. ... "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:9, 15, 20-21, 24) So we see, prayer changes everything, so doesn't make sense that "Men Ought always to Pray?"
You have Not, Because you Ask Not
You will find these seven words in James 4:2, the seven closing words of the verse, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” These seven words contain the secret of the poverty and powerlessness of the average Christian, of the average minister, and of the average church. “Why is it,” many a Christian is asking, “that I make such poor progress in my Christian life? Why do I have so little victory over sin? Why do I win so few souls to Christ? Why do I grow so slowly into the likeness of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” And God answers in the words of the text: “Neglect of prayer. You have not, because you ask not.”
“Why is it,” many a minister is asking, “that I see so little fruit from my ministry? Why are there so few conversions? Why does my church grow so slowly? Why are the members of my church so little helped by my ministry, and built up so little in Christian knowledge and life?” And again God replies: “Neglect of prayer. You have not, because you ask not.”
“Why is it,” both ministers and churches are asking, “that the church of Jesus Christ is making such slow progress in the world today? Why does it make so little headway against sin, against unbelief, against error in all its forms? Why does it have so little victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil? Why is the average church member living on such a low plane of Christian living? Why does the Lord Jesus Christ get so little honor from the state of the church today?” And, again, God replies: “Neglect of prayer. You have not, because you ask not.”
Excerpt From: Torrey, R.A. “The Power of Prayer.”
Below are some scriptures that mentions prayer in the bible:
Encouragement to Pray
Prayers by Others
Praying for Others
Praying in Faith
Other Scriptures on Prayer
2. Unity for God's Church
Pray that All Would Grasp It
Let's Stop Debating
We as Christians can spend so much time debating and lecturing about this and that, getting caught up in our talk over Calvinism, Arminianism, post-tribulation, pre-tribulation, are we saved before baptism or during, and on it may go. We then build our churches with their own sets of rules, views and traditions, creating denominational organizations complete with their own names of distinction. Well, is this not true? Don’t we label ourselves as Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Nazarenes, Evangelical Free, Greek Orthodox, Non-Denominational, Catholics and so on? God help us.
Now having said that, we may truly love our Lord and Savior from the heart. We may also be totally sincere in our faith as Christians, praying for the lost and other believers as well. However, at the same time, we are separating ourselves into our little groups, maybe even believing that we have a better handle on the truth than the other assembly down the street. And the sad part of it all, we do it in plain view of the world who is watching and maybe even mocking.
But did not the Apostle Paul say that all this church labeling is carnal? And did not God call us to be one in Christ and to dwell in unity with fellow believers. Jesus prayed for this Christian unity so that the world may see our love for one another and thus recognize that He truly came from the Father and that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. And this unity can only be truly accomplished if we obey God by breaking down these dividing walls that we have made. Because let’s face it, if we don’t do it God may intervene and do it for us, and He may do it in a way that is totally unexpected.
Unity of Christian Churches
The Syrian Christians were praying for revival and believing that God would do a great work in their land. They like us had their churches along with their different denominations. And then came the war with its bombings and its terrorists. Churches were destroyed and down came their denominational barriers that separated believers. Syrian Christians groups who at one time may have questioned each other’s salvation are now gathering for weekly prayers, asking God to move in their nation and in their churches. Now these same Christians continue to spread hope in the face of hopelessness, holding high not a political or denominational banner but the banner of Jesus Christ.
So, let us put away our own petty deference’s and all those things that can cause divisions and strife and seek the truth of God's word. For only in doing so can we find true biblical oneness and unity. For we are that one body in the Lord with its many members who are called to function as a whole. There is a world of people out there who need to hear the gospel and we are to be the salt and a light to them. Isn’t that what we’re called to do? Aren’t we supposed to spread the love of Christ to the lost out there so that they may have eternal life also? So in all, let us fulfill our Lord's Prayer by being one in Him and fulfill the (8)great commission which is sharing the Gospel with the world.
Just a Reminder
We cannot put God in our own little theological box. Yes, sometimes we get up on our little (9)“soap box” and act like we know everything, but the truth of the matter is we don’t. Let us remember that God’s ways and thoughts are much higher than ours so let’s just humble ourselves before Him and let God be God. So let us quit leaning on our own understanding of things and allow his Holy Spirit to teach us his truths. We must embrace the truth of his word, and take upon ourselves the yoke of Jesus so that we can truly learn from him. For its only when we keep our eyes stayed on him can we be truly led by the Holy Spirit into all truths. And in all, let us remember what his word says to us: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4 Sept). So if this is true with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we also must likewise be in unity with our God and with each other. Amen
One True Church
According to God’s word there is to be no divisions within the body of Christ. We are to be the one true Church, and this would include all our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. But, as noted above, there are so many denominations (any church that has a name of distinction is a division, whether you have one building or a multitude of them) that can cause one to come to the conclusion that we are separated from each other. If we examine the early church in the Bible, we would see first of all that they were only referred to as ether the “church that meets in your house” or to the name of that city that they were in (such as “To the church of the Thessalonians”).
Secondly, we would see that the Church was not run as a corporate organization which has a paid staff along with a building and other expenses. So, if this is the case, why are there so many churches around that operated in such a way? As we mentioned above, the early church met in in places such as people’s homes, fields or some available structure to take shelter in. This was ideal because there were no building expenses nor a large staff that was taking money from parishioners. Yes, it is true that we should help support those who labor to bring us God’s word, but the leadership position is not to be treated with a set salary as is in a corporation. Paul the apostle labored with his own hands as he was ministering to the church’s that God entrusted him with so that he would not be a burden on anyone.
Now, there is a third thing that has gone so wrong with the church of today and that is all these private Christian organizations that have formed. We have allowed the formation of these organization (such a Focus on the Family) to do the work that the church is supposed to do. Yes, this is so true. If we as a church would study our bible and walk after the Holy Spirit we would not have to rely on any of these private Christian organization. Because let’s face it, they have staff that’s relying on our donations to pay not only for the ones they are reaching out to, but for their employees as well as for their building and material costs. So, just think of all the money we could channel to those who are in need if we would only meet for church in our own homes instead of expensive buildings. This would allow us to be more effective in our ministry to reach out to our surrounding community instead of relying on these expensive organizations to do the work for us.
In closing I like to say, I do love all my brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I want to bring to light our need to get back to basics. We have all strayed from God’s ideal on how the church should conduct itself. So, let’s learn from His Holy Spirit as Christ shows us the way. But regardless of all these issues, God is still so in love with us and His presence is with us. He is working through us His children even with our petty differences and views. And yes, even though we made somewhat of a mess of the church here in America or even around the world, we can still turn things around by following after His leading. And let’s pray that we do. Amen.
Glorifying God through Prayer and Worship
Living a Life that Pleases Our God