Arminian Today

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Pray Without Ceasing

Pray without ceasing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Most religions require certain things when it comes to prayer.  For Muslims, for example, they are required to pray five times a day toward Mecca.  The Muslim must go through a cleansing ritual to be pure before Allah before praying.  They must always being their prayers by saying in Aramaic, “God is great” and then recite the first seven verses of the first Surah from the Quran.  The Muslim prayer is full of various bodily rituals as well.

Not so with the disciple of Jesus.  Because of the work of Christ, we are free to come into God’s holy presence because Jesus is our faithful high priest who ever lives to make intercession before God for us (Hebrews 7:25).  Because of the work of Christ, God seems me as holy when I come into His presence through the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10).  The blood of Jesus makes me pure before God (1 John 1:7).  I can now come boldly into God’s holy presence because of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).  I have access into God’s presence because of Jesus (John 14:13-14; 16:23-24).

This should be a cause then for us to pray more.  In fact, Paul the Apostle says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to pray without ceasing.  How can we do this?  What did Paul mean when he wrote these words?  Calvinist expositor John Gill has some insights into the text when he wrote,

Pray without ceasing. Not that saints should be always on their knees, or ever lifting up their hands, and vocally calling upon God; this is not required of them, and would clash with, and break in upon other parts of religious worship, and the duties of civil life, which are to be attended to, as well as this, and besides would be impracticable; for however willing a spiritual man might be to be engaged in this work always, yet the flesh is weak, and would not be able to bear it; and it requires food and drink, sleep and rest, for its refreshment and support; for all which there must be time allowed, as well as for other actions of animal life, and the business of a man’s calling. But the meaning is, that believers should be daily, and often found in the performance of this duty; for as their wants daily return upon them, and they are called to fresh service, and further trials and exercises, they have need of more grace, strength, and assistance, and therefore should daily pray for it; and besides certain times both in the closet, and in the family, in which they should attend the throne of grace, there is such a thing as mental prayer, praying in the heart, private ejaculations of the soul, which may be sent up to heaven, while a man is engaged in the affairs of life. The Ethiopic version renders the words, “pray frequently”; do not leave off praying, or cease from it through the prevalence of sin, the temptations of Satan, or through discouragement, because an answer is not immediately had, or through carelessness and negligence, but continue in it, and be often at it; see Luke 18:1. These words are opposed to the practice of such, who either pray not at all, or, having used it, have left it off, or who only pray in a time of trouble and distress, and bear hard on those who think they should not pray but when under the influences of the Spirit, and when his graces are in a lively exercise: the reason for this rule of praying with frequency and constancy is, because the saints are always needy, they are always in want of mercies of one kind or another, and therefore should continually go to the throne of grace, and there ask for grace and mercy to help them in time of need.

The great Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on prayer on March 10, 1872 from this text and he noted several points from the text.  Spurgeon noted that when it comes to prayer and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we learn 1) the use of the voice is not essential in praying, 2) the posture of prayer is not important, 3) the place of prayer is not important, and 4) the idea of particular times of prayer is not important.

Why?  Because the child of God can pray without ceasing.  We can pray in our cars.  We can pray while we work.  We can pray while we walk.  We can pray at any time, at any place, about anything.  There is no limit to the child of God’s praying.  Prayer should flow from our lips as we love on our Savior for what He has done for us.  Prayer should flow from our lips like passion for our true love.  God is not far from us.  He abides with us.

So pray, child of God, without ceasing.  He loves us (1 John 3:1-3) and He desires us to call to Him (Jeremiah 33:3).  The words, the posture, the position, the place is not important in prayer.  Just pray with faith in the Lord Jesus who can move mountains for His glory (Mark 11:22-24).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/25/2012 at 6:43 PM

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