PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
In Acts Ch12 we read about Peter being imprisoned by Herod Agrippa 1st; kept secure with 4 soldiers for each of the 4 watches of the night and day. v5:- Peter was therefore kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God.
What happened? God miraculously answered the church’s unceasing prayer, But READ 12v12-16.
The church was praying without ceasing for a miracle, but they didn’t really believe their prayers would be answered! Why? Because they were relying on their own understanding of the situation. They had a low expectation of what od could do!! When God exceeded their low expectatons – “they were astonished!”
Little American town in th 19th century. Always been “dry”. Local businessman decided to build a tavern.
Christians from a local church had an all-night prayer meeting asking God to intervene. Not long after, lightning struck the pub and it burned to the ground.
The owner of the tavern sued the church, claiming the prayers of the congregation were responsible!
The church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they were not responsible. The judge reviewed the case and declared that “one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not!!!”
Two examples of God’s people praying but not believing God would do what was asked. Despite their unbelief, God surprised them all.
On condition that the Israelites obeyed God and did not deprive Him of their tithes, God said: Malachi 4v10 – “Prove Me now herewith, …, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
So exciting when God answers prayer and pours out His blessing into your problems, your life, upon the church, upon the nation?
We’re praying for spiritual renewal in this town of ********, for spiritual awakening and growth in this church.
- Do you believe God will answer your prayers?
- Do you expect a very limited answer, or an overflowing abundance?
- Do you have great anticipation of His response to your prayer according to His will?
- Are you expecting great things from God?
- Or will you be overwhelmed and astonished?
- Will you dare believe the answer when it comes?
- Are you ready to step forward when God answers your prayer?
- How many times does unbelief hinder the answer to your prayers?
Here’s some aspects of prayer to help us believe God for big things, to enable us to pray according to His will. Both are vital for effective prayer.
Praying together is one of the richest experiences Christians can have. There’s a deep joy in praying together, an added vitality that’s hard to describe but powerful at the time.
Similar to difference between eating alone and sharing in a family banquet. The company, the fellowship makes a mighty difference. So it is with prayer. It brings a wonderful dynamic to praying.
The Evangelical Revival in England in the late 18th century began in a little ‘Holy Club’ at Oxford. The great revival in America in 1857-1858 gained ground in prayer meetings. The more recent great Korean revival, affecting five generations of Koreans, had powerful prayer meetings.
PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT
Prayer is communication with God, and like all communication, it needs to be developed or it will fall away. Which you choose will determine the quality of your spiritual life.
With our present freedom of worship and our high standard of living we can easily get complacent about prayer and take God’s grace for granted. Consequently, many who say they trust in God actually live as if they don’t need Him at all. This will lead to spiritual disaster.
Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1, KJV). “Faint” speaks of giving in to evil or becoming or apathetic. Paul added that we should pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and petition, and “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).
First Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean praying and doing nothing else. It really means living continually with an acute awareness of the presence of God in your daily life.
God wants you to be diligent and faithful in prayer.
HOW SHOULD YOU PRAY?
As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands together. I was conditioned to think that was the” proper” way to pray.
Praying with our eyes closed is a helps avoid distractions, but it’s not commanded in Scripture – nor are most of the other limitations people often place on prayer. Some people adopt a certain posture, but Scripture tells of people praying while standing, sitting, kneeling, looking upward, bowing down, and lifting up their hands.
Some try to limit prayer to certain times of the day, such as morning or evening. But in the Bible people prayed at all times: morning, evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, in their youth, in their old age, when troubled, and when joyous.
Similarly, Scripture places no limits on the place or circumstances of prayer. It tells of people praying in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in the Temple, in bed, at home, in the stomach of a fish, in battle, on a housetop, in a prison, in the wilderness, and on a cross.
A few people seem to put on a certain tone of voice for prayer, but God hears everyone, whether they’re outgoing or quiet. He hears our faintest cry, the inner voice in our hearts.
There is no one correct mode or kind of prayer, and prayer isn’t limited by your location or circumstances. You are to pray always. That includes any kind of prayer, on any subject, and at any time of the day or night.
PRAYER LIFE OF THE JEW
The Shema, consisting of three short passages of Scripture – Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21; and Numbers 15:37-41 – was important and had to be recited in prayer fashion by every Jew every morning and every evening.
They also had to recite what was known as The Eighteen, which consisted of 18 prayers. The Eighteen had to be recited three times a day – once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening.
The Jews were a people of prayer. They took their praying seriously. Everything had its prayer.
As Christians there’s much to learn here. We need to see the presence of God in all our daily lives. We need to live lives overflowing with prayer.
DANIEL’S PRAYER (Daniel ch 9)
Has seven Main Points
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahas-u-erus . . . I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer” (Dan. 9:1-3).
Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1-19 illustrates the key elements of effective prayer.
- Praying according to God’s will (In His Name)
- Praying Fervently (Sincerely and persistently)
- Denying Self (Motives?)
- Confessing our sins or failings (Humility and repentance)
- Praying for others (Intercession, empathy)
- Relying on God’s Character (Knowing our God)
- Praying for God’s glory (Putting God first before everything especially self)
Details of daniel’s prayer will be the subject or another message in the future.
For now let’s recap on the main principles of effective prayer private or corporate.
“ACTS” format as a good way to start our praying.
Supplication–praying for others
Then try to remember Daniel’s seven summary points for effective praying.
When you pray according to God’s will, genuinely confessing your sins and interceding for others, you’re following in the tradition of Daniel and every other saint who sought God’s glory above all else.
You can revolutionise your prayer life starting today. Our prayer meetings can become true spiritual power houses. There will be great answers to our prayers if we will only believe for great results being sensitive to the direction God would lead us – which may be quite different to our pre-conceived ideas!
Benediction: 1Thess 5v16-24
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Chris
1Th 5:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.