Summary: How do we pray "unceasingly"? It seems like an insurmountable task, yet it is a command of God that can be fulfilled.

1. We have been working to make our congregation a “house of prayer for the nations” as Jesus mentions in Mark 11.17, quoting Isaiah 56.7

• Prayer Pagers

• Prayer Warriors

• Prayer Room

• Shepherd’s Prayer

• More to come – Prayer Conference??

2. We Know:

a. Prayer is important to God’s People – Acts 6.4; Exodus 18.19-21

19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

b. Prayer is Powerful

c. Prayer is a demonstration of faith – Matthew 21.22

22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

3. Yet Sometimes we get distracted

4. 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

a. A Command

b. Seems impossible to us [Pray without Ceasing slide

c. Regular prayer and more

5. Approaching Unceasing Prayer

I. Hinder Unceasing Prayer by Treating it Lightly

A. Making Spiritual Sounds

Matthew 6.5 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

B. Merely Saying Words

Matthew 6.7-8 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

II. Hinder Unceasing Prayer by Treating it Legalistically

A. Formula Prayers – Get the formula right or no answer

1. Magic words of a pattern as Lord’s Prayer – if I just say it right, I get what I want

2. Magic words of authority – “In Jesus Name”

B. Formal Prayers – KJV language, etc.

1. KJV language was the street language in 1611

2. God seeks closeness to us, formality distances us from him

III. Help Unceasing Prayer by Treating it Lovingly – Our Father

A. Relationship with God – Matthew 6.6

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[As spending a day with a beloved family member – conversation occurs

B. Respect – Father; Abba Father

C. Responsive

1. 100 ways to Bless God through the Day in Prayer – “Blessed are you, LORD, our God, King of the Universe”

2. Expressions of gratitude – even in the little things

3. He is Worthy and We are needy

D. Requesting

Philippians 4.6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1. We can treat Prayer:

a. Lightly

b. Legalistically

c. Or Lovingly

2. I wonder if the enemy is attacking this congregation right now –

a. We have unprecedented levels of stress; illnesses; cancers; temptations

b. It means we are heading in the right direction – imperfect but improving

3. Our Invitation time today will be in Groups of Prayer

• If you have an illness for which you want prayer, stand – people around these gather in groups

• While we are at it, if you are having a spiritual challenge/temptation with which you are wanting prayer, get into a group

• You can specifically identify your prayer need or tell it in a generic way

• Prayer Leaders will lead prayers of intercession for those in Groups

4. Final Prayer – For the next 4-5 minutes, those who wish may fill in the blank and pray in the group:

“LORD, I trust you when ________________________.”

I will close us with prayer

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