May this truth go deeply into your spirit today!
Oh, pray without ceasing! 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! It’s easy — like breathing — when the kingdom of God is set up in your heart!
[SW076] 01/20/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
“Pray Without Ceasing”
My great desire is that you would know the Beloved deeply — deeper than you can think or imagine1
The Lord asked me to explain what it’s like to be with Him. I do that in the video of this sermon, but here, I’ll share the words to a new song He gave me. I pray it will help you understand:
1. Fill my heart with Your love, overflow it,
Send Your light so it shines from within me,
Spin this clay on Your wheel, mold and shape it,
Make me like You, for I love You . . .
2. Take my hand. lead me where You want me,
Light my path, I will walk in Your footprints,
Call me, Lord, to Your depths, I will dive in,
Make me like You, for I love You . . .
3. Teach Your ways to my heart, for I’m listening,
Guide my gaze to Your Word, Your reflection,
Lead me from glory into glory,
Make me like You, for I love You . . .
I live for You alone, Jesus —
I want nothing of this world —
To know You is far better, and
“The best is yet to come,” You say,
“The best is yet to come!”
As wonderful as all the molding and shaping and overflowing and leading and lighting and guiding and teaching really IS, it will just get better and better, and the best is yet to come! The best is being with Him fully and unhindered by my body!
I used to think prayer was boring and a duty,
and so I never prayed.
If you see prayer that way
and you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying in this message,
God will change your heart today,
just like He did mine!
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
proseuchomai, pros-yoo´-khom-ahee; to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship.
Prayer is supplication (entreating God, earnestly asking Him) AND worship.
I think we have the supplication part down. We ask God for many things!
But it is WORSHIP!
proskuneo, pros-koo-neh´-o; to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand; to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): — worship.
And it is to be unceasing, constant, and uninterrupted.
That is God’s will for us,
just as it is His will
that we be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 5:18).
PRAY HOW? WITHOUT CEASING:
adialeiptos, ad-ee-al-ipe´-toce; uninterruptedly, without omission: incessantly: —constantly
Pray without ceasing.
It’s a command, by God, through the Spirit-inspired Paul!
Does that mean we’ll need to squat to birth rain
on a drought-ridden land,
until someone sees a cloud the size of a man’s hand
(1 Kings 18:41-44)?
He may command us to do that, from time to time.
But we are to pray without ceasing!
Elijah was a prophet, prompted by the Holy Spirit,
who came upon him,
to enable him to pray and there was drought,
and then pray and there was rain.
Today, the Holy Spirit is able to possess and dwell within
those who belong to Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
By God’s grace, expressed in the giving of His Son
as a sacrifice for OUR sin,
we have direct access to the Father, continually.
So it should be easy for us to pray without ceasing, right?
When Paul tells us that we are to war against the dark spiritual forces of this world — but not with natural weapons —
he gives us a clue as to what keeps the church’s prayers
from being powerful and effective:
2 Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
Ah! There’s the rub — “whenever your obedience is complete.”
God does not hear the prayers of sinners:
John 9:31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”
Thus said the man born blind but healed by Jesus,
during his interrogation by the religious elite
who were sinning greatly against God,
trusting in their own works to get them to heaven.
How can you make your obedience complete,
so you can pray unceasingly,
constantly being prompted by the Holy Spirit?
You must cease from sin — that is, willful disobedience against God.
How? We find the answer when Jesus answered His disciples request –“Teach us to pray” —
Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly . . .
“Enter into your closet, and shut your door.”
Jesus doesn’t mean a literal closet,
or we’d never be able to obey His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19).
Don’t be like the Jews of the days He walked the earth
who prayed loudly in public so everyone would know how holy they were.
Pray so no one can detect that you are praying.
May I say it?
In the Lord’s Prayer,
you ask God to make YOU the prayer closet.
Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. . . (KJV)
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, in earth, as it is in heaven.”
In other words, “Father, set up Your kingdom in my heart,”
for the kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:26).
Then you BECOME the prayer closet.
Jesus knows the kingdom of God must be established
in all who follow Him.
So He commands His followers to pray for it.
He commands them to pray that in them,
God’s will is done as quickly and completely as in heaven,
with no ifs, ands, or buts.
He commands them to pray that way
because God’s kingdom isn’t set up within them yet,
though they have left everything to follow Him.
Their obedience is not yet complete (again, 2 Corinthians 10:6).
And their prayer is answered in Acts 2,
the promise of the Father was fulfilled,
and they were filled full of the Holy Spirit!
When that happens to you, dear Christian,
every command of God is a joy to obey,
and sin no longer separates you from your God.
Then you are continuously in the presence of God
and the presence of God is WITHIN you, full-time, 24/7.
You are continually in communion with Him.
You have continual koinonia with Him —
holy, intimate contact in which He shares
His thoughts and
His feelings and
You are in a continual dialogue with God.
You worship Him day and night, ministering to Him continually.
You live a life of worship.
You do this as you walk about on the earth
AND when you are alone with Him.
And your prayers become powerful and effective (James 5:16),
because you are clean inside,
by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Here’s what I strive for —
to have every breath I breathe be prayer,
every thought I think to be prayer,
every word I say to be prayer.
I strive for it. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way to it.
But where is the church-at-large?
The Lord says she is mostly prayerless.
That’s like me, before I drew near to God.
I was saved.
But I never prayed on my own.
Just when required.
It seemed like a chore,
and I was awkward when I tried to pray.
My heart wasn’t in it.
So I didn’t pray.
So it is with most of the church today.
That is, until she draws near and is filled.
Until then, like I did, she offers up words
at the appropriate times,
but they are meaningless, rote, tradition.
Continual prayer and worship
kissing toward the Lord, in holy communion
is not on her radar.
And so when she occasionally prays,
her prayers are not powerful and effective.
But if you will turn to Him today,
as I turned to Him 11 years ago,
you, too, will pray without ceasing, and rejoice in it!
And your Father will hear and answer.
Pray, “Your kingdom, come, in my heart!
Your will be done, in me.
just as promptly and with as great joy as in heaven!”
He has great compassion for you today, O church!
If you pray the Lord’s Prayer to be done in you,
Joel 2:28 “ It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.”
It is His will for you.
But will you?
Will you confess that you’re crooked,
so He can straighten you?
Rough, so He can smooth you?
Twisted, so He can untwist you?
He will, if you will.