Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Vision (7.18.13): Prayer without ceasing

We had a good discussion after lunch at CRBC last Sunday on the Lord’s Prayer.  To sum up we determined that, following Jesus’ model, our prayer should be directed to God the Father.  We also determined that it could be appropriate to recite the Lord’s Prayer (from Matthew 6:9-13 or Luke 11:2-4) either personally or corporately, given that is always good to recite Scripture, while also acknowledging that any prayer practice should not become mere formalism or “vain repetition.”

In addition to set apart times of private and public prayer, the Bible also teaches that prayer should be a constant activity of the believer. As Paul exhorted, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Here is an excerpt from Joel Beeke’s book Striving Against Satan on the discipline of always praying:

Some generations ago, several ministers gathered in the Scottish highlands to discuss what it meant to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).  After considerable discussion, one minister asked a little maid girl if she knew what it meant.

“Yes sir,” she said, “As I rose this morning from bed, I prayed that the Sun of righteousness would arise with healing in his wings over me today.  When I got dressed, I prayed that I might be clothed with Christ’s righteousness.  As I dusted the furniture in this room before you arrived, I prayed that the Lord would wipe my heart clean through the blood of Jesus.  When I made refreshments ready, I prayed that Jesus Christ might be my food and drink.  Sir, I pray my way through each day, for prayer is my breath, my life.”

Praying without ceasing means praying at set times and seasons as well as sending up short petitions to God throughout the day. It means praying at stated times of prayer and praying whenever you feel the impulse to do so.  Praying is more important than whatever else you are doing.  Spurgeon said, “We must addict ourselves to prayer.” (pp. 56-57).

May the Lord make us praying Christians and make our church a praying church.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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