Summary: A sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Focused on pray without ceasing, or pray continually.
Pray continually; pray without ceasing
A. My name is….
B. When I was asked to go to Mount Airy Church of Christ’s Wednesday night program and give devotion, I approached it like I was not going to get the position. In the past I had been to many interviews at churches and so I was skeptical. I was going to be myself. I talked about the following:
D. These are my favorite verses, my life verses. Sums up the life and attitude of the Christian.
E. If I had one last sermon for Christian people, it would be this. Tonight, I want to pretend that I am dying tomorrow and these are my parting words.
A. Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and Justice for all! Amen!” Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!” Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?” As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.” “Really?” my son asked. “Cross my heart.” Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started the whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.” Naturally, I bought my kid’s ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already.”
B. I see all three elements of our verses tonight in this story. Joyfulness, prayerfulness and thankfulness.
Thesis: Tonight we are going to discuss these three essentials of the Christian life.
1. Start with prayer. I believe that prayer is the key to the other two.
A. We know that we cannot stay in prayer all day. However, we need to spend time in prayer and have a desire to pray.
B. A little boy was sitting next to an elderly Christian man beside a river. “Will you teach me to pray?” the boy asked. “Are you sure that you want to learn?” The Christian saint asked. “Yes, of course.” With that the holy man grabbed the boy’s neck and plunged his head into the water. He held his head under the water while the boy kicked and screamed and tried to get away. Finally, after a few minutes the elderly man let the boy out of the water. “What was that?” the boy asked spitting and fuming, “I could have drowned.” The Christian man said, “That was your first lesson in prayer. When you long for God the way that you longed to breathe, then you will be able to pray.”
C. How badly do we long for God? I need thee every hour! Many times we don’t live like it.
D. I can give you ways to pray, positions to pray, good times to pray, how to pray in a small group, how to pray in a large group, how to pray when you don’t feel like it, how to energize your prayer life, how to fast and pray, prayer examples like Martin Luther, how to study the Bible, devotional books, etc. This will do you no good if you have no desire to have a personal relationship with God.
E. (Psa 42:1 NIV) As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psa 42:2 NIV) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
F. We grow fat on food while our spirits are starving.
G. Luis Palau- You can read all the manuals on prayer and listen to other people pray, but until you begin to pray yourself you will never understand prayer. It’s like riding a bicycle or swimming: You learn by doing.
H. My friends, I have made it a priority in my life to pray. I believe that if I do not pray during the day then it is a day wasted.