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9:45 am Sunday School
10:45 am Sunday Worship

Echo Evangelique

(590AM WEZE Boston)
Saturday 9:00-10:00PM
88.9 FM SCA
Thursday 8:00-9:00PM

 

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FRIDAY NIGHT
7:30pm Bible Study
SATURDAY MORNING
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
9:45am  10:30am

Living in Light of Christ Return: Praying Without Ceasing

Text: 1 Thess. 5:17

Key Concepts:

  • When we pray, we must believe that God hears and will answer
  • These are essential characteristics of the Christian life
  • A prayer life confirms and affirms our identity in God
  • We pray to our Father, not a stranger
  • God welcomes a heart that wants to draw near to Him in prayer

As we continue to live in light of the return of Christ, we consider the command given to us by Paul to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5: 17). As believers, one of the greatest gifts we’ve received from God is the ability to come to Him in prayer. Indeed, when we pray, we converse with the Creator of the universe, the one who has control over everything. Praying causes our souls to interact with God. The Bible reveals that prayer is imploring the Lord (Ex. 32:11) and it is the pouring out of one’s soul and heart to God (1 Sam. 1:15). Prayer can also be about seeking after God and making supplications to Him. Paul tells us that prayer is about bowing and kneeling before God (Eph. 3:14). Prayer presupposes belief in the God to whom the prayer is addressed. Likewise, praying necessitates confidence in God’s ability and willingness to answer prayers and His sovereignty over everything.

When we pray, we must believe that God hears and will answer

Throughout the Bible, God’s chosen have demonstrated their trust in Him by pouring out their hearts to God. They developed confidence in God because they experienced Him and came to know that their trust was justified. Moses had great confidence that God could solve every problem he faced while in the desert with the Israelites (Ex. 14:12-14). When we pray, we must have faith that God will accomplish His Word (Matt. 7:7-8, Mark 11:24). As believers, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, great men and women of God, people of prayer. When we do not pray, we expose our arrogance because prayer speaks of our dependence on God. Whatever one wants to accomplish in life, whether it is in ministry, academia, career or else, it must be done on one’s knees. Prayer has to be our first reaction to life.

These are essential characteristics of the Christian life

Paul commanded us to “rejoice always,” to “pray without ceasing” and “in all things, [to] give thanks” (1 Thess. 5: 16-18). These three imperatives are linked together by the declaration that “… this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5: 18). These commands convey the notion of consistency, and permanency. At all times, in all circumstances, without ceasing, the believer needs to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. Because we are praying, we can “rejoice always” and will be able to give thanks in all circumstances. In prayer, we learn that God works all things for our good and His glory. Although God is sovereign, He has chosen to work His will through our prayers. Therefore, we must pray constantly because God has promised to answer us when we call (Jer. 33:3). God has not only urged us to pray but encourages us to do so persistently (Isa. 62:6-7).

A prayer life confirms and affirms our identity in God

Sadly, there are some who may feel they cannot pray. If you call yourself a Christian and yet you are unable to pray, it is because you do not know who God is. The Lord’s prayer show us that those who pray must have an intimate relationship with God. As believers, we must live lives that are characterized by consistent and persistent prayer, because such life identifies our relationship with God and reveals our dependence on Him. Do you pray only when there’s no other means available to bail you out of trouble? If such is your prayer life, you don’t have one. Also, this reveals that your relationship with God is lacking. If we do not go to God with our needs and plans, our endeavors will keep failing. Those of us who walk with God and have come to understand who He is and what He is able to do, prayer is our way of life. We know there are no situations, or tight spots, that God cannot deliver us from.

We pray to our Father, not a stranger

Those of us who have received His Son and believed in His Name, know He has given us the right to be His children (Jn 1:12). God is a parent with unlimited means and love for His children; He is able to do beyond what we can ask or even imagine. God anticipates all our needs before we can even come before Him with them. God is able to preserve us wholeheartedly (1 Thess. 5: 23-24). God wants to bless us in our entirety, soul (because He has redeemed it), spirit and body, so that we may be brought to Him blameless. There is nowhere we can go that God isn’t already (Ps. 139:8-9).

God welcomes a heart that wants to draw near to Him in prayer

When Paul says to pray without ceasing, he is not saying to pray without interruption. He simply means to pray at every opportunity we get, whether there is a need or whether it is to praise God and to give thanks. It means to constantly bring our concerns to God. The Greek that translates to “without ceasing” means to do something persistently and repeatedly. There are no situations or issues that we cannot bring to God. Prayer is not about “vain repetitions” (Matt 6:7) such things do not please God. The early church understood well how to persist in prayer because they had learned the importance of prayer from the Master Himself (Acts 1:14, 12:5). In fact, God delights in the child who continually pours out his/her heart out and desires to be with Him. (Ps. 42: 1, 37:4, 1 Sam. 1:15).

In conclusion …

When prayer becomes a way of life, our days will start and continue in prayer, the problems of the day will be met with prayer and the night will find us again on our knees. If such is not your life, you may not be a child of God. If you’re finding that you cannot pray or that your prayers are left unanswered, it is because there is sin in your life. Sin is the greatest hindrance to God answering your prayers (Ps. 66:18, 32:3-4). As our God is holy, to entertain any conversation with us, we must first repent of our sins. Praying without ceasing means that prayer has to become instinctive for us. Turning to God must always be our first reaction. The Apostle Paul calls on us not be anxious for anything but rather to bring our needs to God in prayer (Phil 4:6-7). We are guaranteed complete and perfect peace (Shalom) when we pour our hearts to God no matter our needs and challenges.

 

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575 American Legion Hwy
Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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Every Sunday at 10:45am