Friday, September 28, 2012

Pray Without Ceasing….

1 Timothy 2:8 (KJV)  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
My pastor has instituted a monthly day of prayer and fasting at our church, on the 1st of the month.  There are hour prayer sessions at different times of the day, so that at least one of them will fit into everyone’s schedule.  And the fasting is optional.  An hour of prayer once a month, fasting is only optional – pretty easy.  But it may be the most essential thing we can do.  And it got me thinking about my own prayer life and prayer in general.

One of my Bible programs is capable of doing what’s technically called a “fuzzy search”.  A strange term for a simple concept – put in a word and it’ll search for instances of all the variants.  If I search the King James Bible for “pray”, it gives me all the instances of pray, prayer, praying, etc.  And it comes up with over 300 of them!  It’s said that the consequence of hell is important enough to God that it’s mentioned more often than heaven.  Hell or Hades is mentioned 54 times.  The variations of “pray” are mentioned over 6 times that.  That makes me think that prayer is pretty important in the kingdom of God.

There’s 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (KJV)  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Continual, consistent prayer.  And prayer is supposed to include thanksgiving – for everything.  All our circumstances, not just the ones we like.  And it says that this is God’s will.  In the verse we began this post with, Paul says we ought to pray everywhere, which to me includes the without ceasing idea.  He also says it ought to be done lifting up holy hands – in other words, as a form of worship.  With no anger – not toward God nor toward any of our fellow men.  And without doubt – expect the results to be a done deal.

George Bernard Shaw has said, “Most people do not pray; only beg.”.  Of course, he didn’t believe in God and had a dim view of those who did.  But he highlights a very common misconception about prayer.  Maybe not in what’s taught, but in how we end up practicing it.  I doubt that God would highlight prayer hundreds of times in the Bible, just to make it a laundry list of needs and desires.  And it’s not intended to be our “Get Out of Jail Free card”, although it sometimes can be that.

At this point, we might be saying to ourselves, “I can’t do this.  It’s too hard.”.  It’s not.  God has never made anything important too tough for us to be able to do it.  We might add extra requirements that were never intended.  Or we might need God’s help in doing what we’re supposed to.  But He never expected us to perform impossible tasks.  That includes praying regularly and often.

We’re just warming up on the subject of prayer.  But, while you’re thinking about what’s been said so far, here are a couple of questions to chew on.  How did God mean we should “pray every where”?  And what does He mean by “Pray without ceasing.”?

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