Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Without ceasing? Really?


My cup overflows and my mouth can no longer remain silent.

Over the last couple days, God has taught me so much about the importance of prayer.  I have to share it with you my friends, to encourage you in your relationship with the Almighty.  May you find new steadfastness in your prayer life and may He be glorified!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Pray continually.  If I'm completely honest, I try my best to pray before each meal... unless I'm by myself or in front of the T.V.  I do try to say a sentence prayer or maybe a little more if I commit to pray for someone or something on Facebook.... if it's done right then and there.  When I am at a Bible study and listen to prayer requests shared, I try to remember to lift my fellow sisters up in prayer.... if I prepared in advance and wrote it down, and if life does not get in the way...  Good intentions never cultivate answered prayer.  Good intentions never cultivate relationship.  Pray continually?  Hardly.  

The King James Version says to pray without ceasing.  Ceasing in the original Greek means 'without intermission'.   Seems like a daunting task really.  I mean, Lord, have you seen how busy I am?  Where does 'me time' come in?  And I like to talk, but when you say continually, do your really mean continually???  

As I began to pour out my excuses to God, He began to pour into me a great sense of responsibility.  To be challenged.  To not just read the truth, but to live it.  Hemmed in prayer.  

What if we opened our minds and hearts to communication with Him?  More than just a mealtime.  More than just on Sundays.  More than just before bed.  More often than just when life is hard and we have nowhere else to turn.  What could He do in our lives?  What Work are we hindering?  Who else is missing out on the blessing we could offer if we just prayed without ceasing instead of focusing on our excuses? 

Charles Spurgeon writes:  "Let your closet seasons be, if possible, regular, frequent and undisturbed.  Effectual prayer availeth much.  Have you nothing to pray for?  Let us suggest the Church, the ministry, your own soul, your children, your relations, your neighbors, your country, and the cause of God and truth throughout the world.  Let us examine ourselves on this important matter.  Do we engage with lukewarmness in private devotion?.....If so let us be alarmed at this sign of decay.  Let us go with weeping, and ask for the Spirit of grace and of supplications.  Let us set apart special seasons for extraordinary prayer."  ~emphasis mine.

Beloved, I challenge you to pray without ceasing.  To hem each task, each errand, each interaction with another, in prayer.  To spend more time in prayer than you do on the phone or in front of the computer or television; if only for a season.  As you do, be open to listen to how God will speak to you; how God will use you.  

He has put more burden on my heart for people that I barely know, just because I gave Him that opportunity.  Open your heart for God to burden it with another.  I have been blessed over the last few months by people calling me out of the blue, sending a note, sharing a hug and whispering that they had been praying for me.  Some of my darkest hours; within minutes I would feel the prayers and get confirmation of someone's obedience to His call in prayer for me.  I thank God not just that He sees me in my time of need, but that these prayer warriors open up their hearts to my burdens, even if unknown, and follow in obedience.  Be the blessing.

Praise is prayer as well.  Get out that iPod.  Turn on the radio.  Blow the dust off the record player if that is all you have, and praise Him for the miracles seen and to come.  Through song, through words; do not the let the rocks cry out in your place.  (Luke 19:37-40)

Friends, I join you in this challenge.  I will continue to share with you how God is working in my life and what He has shared with me, so check back often; and I hope to rejoice with you as our prayer life fans the flame of relationship.

I've heard the challenge in your word to pray continually.  Help me to be a woman of prayer - without intermission - to praise You; to communicate with You.  My very existence depends on it.  May my heart be open to You and all You are doing around me as I focus this season of my life in quiet supplication.  Above all, may You be glorified in all that I do.  I Jesus' name.  Amen.

No comments: