1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I. Prayer. “Pray without ceasing”
We are to have times of private prayer and public prayer. We also find in our lives that we have times of praising prayer, passionate prayer, prostrated prayer –
Mark 5:22-23 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
Our lives are complicated and we need help, therefore we are to pray without ceasing. We will never run out of things to pray about. We may get tired in our praying, but God will not get tired of hearing when our hearts are right with Him. We will mention just a few things this morning as examples –
We pray without ceasing for –
A. Sanctification of the saved.
We must have a pure testimony in order to have a witness that brings praise to the Lord. Paul refers to this right testimony in –
2 Corinthians 4:3-5 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul is praying that the purpose of God will be completed in the children of God to the glory of God!
We pray without ceasing for the –
B. Salvation of the lost
Prayer encourages us to be right in our –
1. Actions. The plan of salvation must be proclaimed to the world – the believer’s work.
2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2. Attitudes. The power of salvation is only in the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
We pray without ceasing for the –
C. Service unto the Lord will be clear, without confusion!
1. Peter’s witness to Cornelius. Acts 10:19,20
Peter was convinced that personally presenting the gospel with this gentile was the will of God. God changed Peter’s mind, all that he had ever believed, through prayer. “…not so Lord, for I have never…”:
2. Philip’s witness to the Ethiopian. Acts 8:26-30, 35
Left the great work in Samaria, from crowds of people to deserted wilderness, a highway where the Lord pointed to a man who needed to hear the truth of the Gospel.
3. Paul’s witness in Philippi Acts 16:6-10
4. These men were specifically led by God to men.
We pray without ceasing –
D. Seeking laborer’s to share the gospel.
Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Romans 10:13-17 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Realize that it is a spiritual work! All of this leads us to –
II. Praise. “…In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
A. The Exhortation – to give thanks in every thing.
B. The Expectation – “…this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
C. The Experience – miserable failure from the beginning!
Have you noticed that we have a natural inclination to not be thankful to God – it is our sinful disposition.
Men have failed to be thankful throughout the ages – the Lord led Paul to instruct us of the danger involved –
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Adam and Eve received more than they would ever use or need and yet were unthankful and rebelled against God.
Cain rebelled against the sacrifice of God, not being thankful, and wanted to be recognized for his work instead of God’s.
Nimrod led the people to reject the name of God and to determine to build a name for themselves which would be identified with a tower built unto the heavens.
The Israelites rejected the goodness of God’s grace and mercy as He gave them their daily provision in the wilderness.
Men have rejected the goodness of God in the gift of salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ – not being thankful but trusting in themselves!
How important it is to be thankful!! As saved, we need to show forth a genuine thankfulness to God. He is worthy of our thanks!
Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.