Summary: Are you close to God? Do you feel like you need to or want to get closer to God? Read this sermon about prayer and find out how you can hold a real conversation with God!
Pray Without Ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5: 17 says “pray without ceasing” which is the title of our sermon today.
I have recently been reading the biography of George Muller, and like many others I have been very much inspired in reading about his amazing prayer life. It is recorded that on many occasions, Muller had to rely on God for his provision of food and daily necessities, as he was not given a set wage from his church but received only money from offerings, and trusted wholly in the Lord to supply his wants. Well, on many an occasion it is recorded that he is virtually down to his last meal and he prays for provision from God and god sends some money by some miraculous means. He tells us that this happened on many an occasion, but God has always given him something, never has he gone without a meal or necessities of life.
Well, I don’t know how you feel, but I find the thought of completely relying on God for all my necessities quite daunting, and I fear I don’t quite have the faith do such an act.
But it’s not only Muller that has had experiences like this, I remember Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, being in exactly the same situation.
So what the big difference between Muller and Taylor and myself? The answers right there in front of us in our text. PRAYER! These two great men had a great prayer life. But don’t think that they are any kind of super human and not on our level. We all have the potential to become great prayerful men and women of God! And in the following sermon I’m going to show you how. And don’t think I’m standing here telling you to do something I’m unwilling to do myself; I too need to take the following measures to procure a closer walk with God!
Paul Washer notes that those men of God who are used so powerfully in the work of God and in revival have also been those men who have had a great prayer life.
I remember once there was girl I loved so much in my youth, I thought that we would be together forever, and I thought that I could never live without her! But now I hardly ever thing about her... the truth is that I really can live without her. So what changed between then and now? I’ll tell you what changed... I spent time away from her, I moved thousands of miles away, so I never saw her, I didn’t hear her voice and she didn’t hear mine, there was no conversation. For weeks after that my soul was pining for her, but in time I forgot that she even existed, I started to like other girls etc etc.
The same thing can happen with God. Soon after my conversion, I loved to hear about God, I wanted to know whatever anyone said about Him, I lived and breathed Him, I prayed without ceasing. Then things seemed to go really well I was on top of the world, but I soon developed a proud nature, and got it (subconsciously) in my head that it was because of my good deeds that everything was going so well, and because in some manner I had become a semi-god, I gradually done away with my prayer life little by little, I even got to the point where I wasn’t praying in the morning when woke up, indeed the only time I ever prayed was if I was in dire need.
So what are some of the problems here?
Pride is one of the major things here, there’s not much we can really do about pride, but a great prayer is that God would give us a thorn in the flesh like He gave to Paul, that ever reminder that we are mortal and need the help of our great Redeemer. Sometimes God will give you a disease or a disability that will always remind you that you are a frail worm. George Muller had some major sicknesses which were instruments to bring him closer in prayer. These things are really hard to think about, but what is a thorn in the flesh compared with eternal condemnation and separation from God?
Another thing that was a big problem with my prayer life was that I thought that it was only the big things that needed to be prayed about, like family troubles or if I was worried about my health. But let me be clear, if you can’t decide what breakfast cereal to have in the morning PRAY about it! God wants to hear about the little things too!
Do you remember when we were little children? We used to think that dad knows everything! And the slightest question we would go and ask dad! Well God tells us to be like little children, and that means that every little thing we should ask our Heavenly Father! Even right now, when I’m thinking of what to say next I’m saying a little prayer in my head to God asking Him!