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Praying without Ceasing

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1 Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us to pray without ceasing. Ladies and gentlemen man that is possibly the most profound verse to each and every one of our lives. The enemy is attacking you without ceasing, he takes no rest or breaks from trying to bring you misery and sorrow.

When you pray without ceasing you are in constant communion with the general in charge of your defence.  He hears your state of affairs and moves to act. Prophecy is beautiful,  but it is worthless without prayer. Your focus should not be in pursuing prophecy but pursuing the Lord in prayer. God bless you. May he channel your heart and mind into the right path. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

To cease is to stop. Praying without ceasing is to pray continually. It is to pray without stopping. That is what we are called to do, to pray without ceasing. The value of prayer is such that it should neither be neglected nor placed on the back burner for any reason whatsoever.

Our times demand more and more prayer, yet you will note that prayer continues to decline among us. Prayer meetings continue to be the least attended meetings among us. There is no spotlight in prayer. It is a laborious place, one where the results may not be seen too quickly. This is one of the reasons why people cease to pray.

One could argue that this is a mark of our generation. We hardly have to wait for anything. A slow-loading website is an annoyance. Waiting “too” long for food to be served in a restaurant is unbearable. We want things, and want them now!

To pray without ceasing should always be done deliberately. You build a habit around it all and make it a way of living.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

This is true of prayer is it anything else. To start is very easy. Seeing as you are reading this, I will assume that you have started with a thought. You have then gone on to turn that thought into action. Your seed of thought reaped an action of prayer. The beauty of it all is that we know from scripture that, before we utter the words, God has already sent a response in motion. There is power in thought. To push this point home, let us look at the case of Daniel.

Daniel 9:23 New King James Version (NKJV)

23 At the beginning of your supplications the [a]command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

Daniel sowed a seed of thought and turned it into action. We know from the book of Daniel, that he was a man of action! The moment that his thought was turned into the action of supplication, the answer went out! God responded to Daniel, as soon as Daniel asked. That response was released into the atmosphere. It did not appear in the physical for Daniel. This is a time of great trial for most believers. He could have wallowed in self-pity and thought God had forgotten him.

Sometimes getting your response in the physical takes some perseverance. This is the same thing that we saw with David, the bible says that he wrestled all night! Our desire to see things happen instantly is what has robbed us of endurance. There are various factors that can be attributed to this. Some of these include how we have covered miracles in the media. The idea of “instant healings” and “instant miracles” has been pressed into us for so long that we expect to see that all the time. What we tend to forget is that Jesus’ instant miracles were a result of having wrestled in prayer prior to confronting these situations.

What does the data say?

According to a study by University College London, it takes about 66 days to develop a habit. That is not long at all, just over two months. For something that will transform your life, this is certainly a worthy investment. Imagine some of the bad habits that you have. We all have one or two. They can be very difficult to get rid of.

This is the way prayer should become for you. It should become uncomfortable to not pray. Once you comprehend the value of the habit it slowly transformed from habit into character, going back to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote. When that character is sown, it shapes up into your destiny. I want my destiny to be entwined with prayer. Don’t you? We should all have this desire.

What of the “without ceasing part”

From a theoretic point of view, without ceasing goes back to the definition. How can one build that continuity? When you make it a habit to pray, doing it consistently becomes easier. There is a prayer to be said for every situation, every moment and for every breath. Some of it comes from a heart of gratitude. It comes from understanding that breath is grace-driven.

John 15:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[a] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

When you are in Christ, abiding in him and in his word, everything you see and do becomes connected to him. You begin to take note of the implications of even the smallest of things. What you see around you begins to shape an outcry to the Lord. There is so much that breaks that heart of the Lord going on all around us. When you abide in him, you naturally begin to care more about these things. No longer would you look down upon those in the wrong paths, but be broken for them.

Paul tells us that we have a ministry of reconciliation. How many people, situations and conditions have you come across today that could benefit from being reconciled with the Lord? What did you do about it?

Think of prayer as walking through a day with a loving spouse. You would discuss things that you encounter. You would share your thoughts, worries, hopes and dreams.

Here are some practical ways to get you started:

  1. Be practical, don’t wait to pray. Pray immediately where possible. It doesn’t have to be loud, or even audible. You are talking to a God who looks at the heart. He hears our thoughts.
  2. Be merciful and compassionate. Instead of writing people off, pray for them.
  3. Pray for every thought, to bring them to captivity. Even sin begins in thought. As soon as a thought strays from the will of the Lord, stand against it in prayer.
  4. Be more deliberately conscious of the things that you are grateful for. Thank the Lord for every single one of them as you go about your day and experience them. As you get up and realise you are up, you have had sleep, you have a home. As you have breakfast, there is a meal before you. As you look around you, you can see. We can go on and on.
  5. Pray for everything that you see and hear about. When you hear bad news, good news and everything in between. Pray over those situations.
  6. Finally, pray even for people who you encounter throughout your day. You don’t know who is in dire need.
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