In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verses 12-22, the Apostle Paul gives his final advise to the church in Thessalonica. Right in the middle of all his advice, in verse 17, he says “Never stop praying.” (NLV) or “Pray continually” (CEB) or “Pray at all times” (GNT) or “Pray without ceasing” (NASB) or “Be unceasing in prayer,” (AMP) depending on which translation a person is reading, but I’m sure you get the point.
The only problem is, isn’t this impossible, to pray without ceasing? I agree it sure seems that way… but it’s not. Let me explain.
I believe what Paul was encouraging the Thessalonians toward was a lifestyle of prayer – living their lives with a spirit of prayer.
Here are a couple of examples:
Before we start our homeschool day, the girls and I ask God to help us. We ask for His grace. Then, if we are struggling at some point during the day, we stop again and ask God to help us. We thank Him that He has made Jesus to be unto us wisdom, and we receive that wisdom by receiving Jesus afresh into that moment of our day. When our flesh wants to go the route of self-effort, if we’re smart, we’ll make the decision to take that mental turn and pray about what God wants from us instead.
I remember when we moved into the home we live in now, I had fear about driving on the road in front of our house. We live directly off of a two lane road. I didn’t care for two lane roads, but I wanted to continue to live in my new home and not with a fear of driving on this road all the time either. I remember the day the Lord said, “Just give it to me – pray about it.” What a novel idea. Why didn’t I think of that?
So I did. I asked God to protect us while driving on the two lane road in front of our house, then I took it even further and asked that He would protect us while driving on every two lane road we would ever drive on. Then, if you can imagine this, I even took it further and asked God to help us never have a car accident for the rest of our lives. Can you believe the audacity? God loves it!
I know if you take a few minutes right now and think through your day from start to finish, you will come up with a ton of stuff to pray about and a ton of people to pray for, but even when you do, don’t look at prayer as a law because anytime you try to do anything as a law, it becomes something you dread. Just depend on the Spirit to bring up whatever and whoever He wants you to pray about throughout your day and then when this happens, get excited to pray it out, knowing that God brought it up for a reason!
There are also times when the Spirit specifically leads us to pray over certain situations. I am going to give you some more examples from my own life just to help you see what I mean here, but these are not meant to come across in a prideful way at all. Of course, those who have been reading my blog posts for a while now already know that I have chosen to use my own life as an example in my posts and I tell both the bad and the good, all in a effort to point you to Jesus and inspire you!
Over a year ago I was driving back home from a personal getaway at the Ozarks. I took a wrong turn and ended up driving on these back roads for a very long time, but when I came to this one area, something hit my spirit so strong. I knew I had to pray as I was driving through that particular region. I remember that I was led to bind up abuse – abuse toward kids, abuse toward wives, abuse of every kind. I was praying in english and in the spirit for probably 45 minutes.
God also had me pray for the churches that were already in the area to come into a revelation of God’s grace and that those who were not preaching the pure gospel would see the truth. I prayed that the people in that region would come to know Jesus. This was extremely strong on my heart and I distinctly remember when I felt a release, about 45 minutes later.
There is no doubt in my mind that this region of the Ozarks will see, and maybe they have already begun to see, a very noticeable difference. Why? Is this because I prayed such elegant prayers. Nope. It’s because of the God I pray to. It’s because He cared about those people enough to have me veer from my planned path – I did have my navigator on by the way – in order to pray out some cool stuff. I have never told anyone, including my husband, about this because there would have been no purpose for it back then. Now there is.
On our way back from Florida in early January this year, I was driving, the sun was just beginning to set, my husband was sleeping, and as we crossed the Kentucky state line, I felt this strong urge to pray over the entire state. In this case God led me to pray for new churches to be planted all over Kentucky. I prayed that God would raise up people who had been personally touched by the gospel of grace to pastor these churches and for people everywhere in the state of Kentucky to come to know Jesus. That went on for probably an hour, until I felt a release.
Last Friday night on our way home from church, I was close to home and passed up this area with businesses that I bet I have driven by thousands of times in my life, but this time God caused me to notice that the parking lot was very full late at night and most of those people were probably in the bar. I prayed for every person, that as they were sitting in that bar seeking happiness in the wrong place, that Jesus would make Himself so real to them that they would all…and I meant all… come to know Him as their Savior.
I am really a believer that when we pray we should totally believe that God hears us!
God has prayer assignments for you too! Not just for me. Be tuned into the Spirit and to other people and God will make these clear to you.
1 John 5:14-15(NASB)
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask,we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Between expressing our thankfulness to God (could we ever overdo this? no way), bringing our requests to God, praying over every person and each situation that God lays on our heart and praying in the spirit throughout the day – I really believe we will find ourselves living out verse 17 where Paul encouraged us to “pray without ceasing!”
In fact, as I was typing this blog post on my lap top, I was also eating, when suddenly this fear hit me, “What if I spilled something on my computer and ruined it?” And I bet you can guess what I did in response to that fear. Yep! I prayed right then and there and asked God to help me be careful and to never spill anything on my computer and ruin it. Done. Seriously, I love the privilege of being able to pray!
I believe it is God’s will for prayer to become a very natural part of our lifestyle. Why not? Our God is simply amazing!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!