The Priority of Prayer
1 Thess. 5:17
Where do you turn to when difficulty, sickness, hardship comes into your life? Where do you turn to for wisdom, guidance, comfort? The first place we should turn to is pray.
This is not the only time in scripture that we find this command.
In Luke 18:1 says, “Then [Jesus] spoke a parable to them, that men ought always to pray and not lose heart,”
Jesus says we ought always to pray.
In Luke 21:36 again we find Jesus saying, “…pray always…”
Sorta sounds like “pray w/o ceasing” doesn’t it? Pray always.
Romans 12:12 directs us to, “continue steadfastly in prayer;” Steadfastly means persistently, constantly, faithfully.
Eph. 6:18, Paul told the believers there to “pray always with all prayer and supplication”. Sounds like something he would have heard Jesus say. Pray always.
Col. 4:2, the Bible says “Continue earnestly in prayer” Earnestly means continually.
1 Peter 4:7 says, “… the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”
In Matt. 7, concerning prayer Jesus taught us to “ask and you will receive.” The verb “ask” is in the present tense which means to keep on asking which shows that we are not to just pray once and then stop. We are to keep on praying, keep on asking, keep on knocking, keep on seeking him in prayer.
The early believers are examples of this teaching. Acts 1:4 says of the early believers, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication”
Acts 2:42 says the early believers, “…continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Exactly what Rom. 12:12 instructs us to do.
Acts 6:4 the early church chose some men to serve as deacons so that the apostles could “give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word”
What does this mean “pray w/o ceasing”?
It speaks of the Priority of Prayer.
If we are to pray w/o ceasing that means we are to make prayer a priority.
A priority is something that we do first in importance. When difficulty, sickness, hardship comes into our lives the first place we should turn to is prayer.
We find examples of those in scripture who made prayer a priority in their own lives.
Ps. 63:1 David said, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;” “Early” If you do something early, you do it before you do other things. That’s a priority isn’t’ it?
Ps. 5:3 He tells God, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct [my prayers] to You, And I will look up.”
David didn’t start his day until he had a little talk w\ Jesus. That’s making prayer a priority wouldn’t you say? Who’s the first person you talk to in the morning? For David it was God.
Ps. 55:17 he says, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”
Evening and morning and at noon—what? --- I will pray. He prayed 3xs a day. Evening, morning, and noon. That sounds like a person who made prayer a priority doesn’t it?
The prophet Daniel made prayer a priority. Dan. 6:10 says that Daniel, “…knelt down on his knees three times [a] day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” He knelt and prayer how often? 3xs a day. Same as David. What examples of making prayer a priority.
Of course the greatest example of this is our Lord. Prayer was a priority to our Lord as well.
Mark 1:26 speaking of Jesus says, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
Like David, our Lord didn’t start his day until he talked to the Father.
Heb 5:7 speaking of Jesus says, “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.”
In the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and he was heard. Jesus prayed; Jesus was a man of prayer.
If Jesus prayed we certainly need to also. Right? He is our great example as well as David, Daniel and others.
He prayed for Himself and others. He prayed earnestly.
Luke mentions eleven times when Jesus prayed. He prayed sometimes in front of His disciples, sometimes alone. He often spent all night in prayer as in Lk 6:12 and other places.
You find Him rising up early in the morning to find some secluded spot somewhere in which to pray. Before He had to make any decision, He prayed. He prayed all night before choosing his apostles and before He went to Calvary.
He prayed in Gethsemane just before his arrest and crucifixion. The Bible says in Lk 22:44 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
He prayed earnestly being in agony such that his sweat was great drops of blood. Our Lord was a man of prayer, my example is he.
He along with David, Daniel and others made prayer a priority.
We would do well to follow their example. If we are to pray w/o ceasing that means we are to make prayer a priority. A priority is something that we do first in importance.