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The secret to ceaseless prayer

Paul's letter to Thessaloniki   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians
Sunday May 29, 2022
The secret to prayer
n this day in 1944, General George S. Patton, aka “Old Blood and Guts,” begins his bold strategy to relieve the Allied defenders of Bastogne, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.
Ultimately, his plan paid off, and his 3rd Army penetrated the German lines and pushed them east across the Rhine.
Notably, a couple weeks prior, 250,000 prayer cards were distributed to every soldier in his Third Army. The text of the two-sided card follows:
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.
G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.”
After all, as General Patton said just prior to their distribution:
“[B]etween the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything. That’s where prayer comes in.”
Let us now draw our swords and turn to the fifth Chapter of Thessalonians verse 17 this day in the Lord, to learn what the spirit teaches us on the subject of prayer.
Opening Hymn: Battle Hymn of the Republic
We concluded Sunday with the mandate (imperative) to rejoice always.
Now we come to another commandment for the Christian.
Prayer.
In verse 16 we are to “rejoice.” How often?
Always
Habits are those practices which are interwoven within the life and becomes a very fabric of the person’s lifestyle.
When we met on our last previous Lord’s day, we learned the principle that we are to Rejoice Always.
πάντοτε [pantote /pan·tot·eh/] adverb;
noting the continual practice of a glad heart. that Joy is not dependent upon the outside circumstances that produces pressure upon the believer but is subject to the inside counter pressure of the spiritual life produces a crop to include the outpouring of Joy.
Now speaking of walking. If our gladness is due to our ever presence with the Lord, then it would stand to reason that we would be talking to the Lord on a continual basis.
προσεύχομαι [proseuchomai/pros·yoo·khom·ahee/] v to speak to or to make requests of God—‘to pray, to speak to God, to ask God for, prayer.’
The action is a present Middle or Passive imperative. This is a deponent verb. It takes the form of a middle or passive, but it is active in the sense of fulfillment.
Here lies the secret of prayer. It is not in our active pursuit of Prayer but in our active pursuit of God which makes all the difference in our lives, for prayer can either be the believers greatest and most comforting reward or it can be our greatest frustration.
John 15:4–8 (NASB95) — 4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
It so stands to reason that if we as believers we are continually occupied with the person of the Lord in turn should we not also be talking with the Lord as a habitual state of living.
Should it not be for such a person that praying would be as natural as breathing but and in the same regard to be unnatural as to stop breathing.
But also, the one who is not abiding in the person of the Lord Prayer is unnatural as well.
In so doing, the imperative is carried out by one abiding in the vine
That being said, then prayer is what is produced from the very life of the believer when he is abiding in the Lord.
Now in verse 17 we are to pray continually.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NASB95) — 17 pray without ceasing.
ἀδιαλείπτως [adialeiptos/ad·ee·al·ipe·toce/] adv[1]
pertaining to not ceasing from some continuous activity—‘not ceasing, not stopping, unceasingly, continuously.’
This unceasing prayer denotes and unwavering personal connection and walk with the person of the Lord.
The continuance of prayer is not that every waking moment that we are at prayer.
2 Timothy 1:3 (NASB95) — 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
Paul does not mean here that he does not do anything else but to remember Timothy in His prayers.
Paul is reminding Timothy that he makes it a habit of prayer. And often Paul does include Timothy in his prayers.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB95) — 13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, youaccepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
Paul again with the use of ἀδιάλειπτος is not saying that is all that they do is thanking God for the people in Thessalonica
It means that regularly they are thanking God. they make a habit of prayer.
The Acrostic for Prayer which we went over in our last meeting is ACTS.
Adoration
Confession
Thanksgiving
Supplication
These are found in the Disciples prayer in Matthew 6.
The Disciples wanted Jesus to teach them how to pray. And from it we have what is often known as the “Lord’s prayer.” The prayer is better identified as the disciple’s prayer, for the Lord had no sin that he should ask His Father to forgive.
Matthew 6:4–13 (NASB95)
First this is not rote prayer. It is not a recitation of prayer which when something is recited over and over the words lose their flavored meaning.
Prayer of one who is abiding in the Lord is not contrived or in repetition.
Matthew 6:7 (NASB95) — 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
This is a model prayer.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:9 not to pray this prayer but to “Pray in this way.”
Jesus gives them a template for prayer. Each of the parts of prayer are covered in the our acrostic within the Disciples prayer.
Adulation
Praising God and acknowledging his glory
Matthew 6:9 (NASB95) — ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed ἁγιάζω, ἀνασῴζω
[hagiazo /hag·ee·ad·zo/] v be Your name ὄνομα [onoma /on·om·ah/][2].
Thanksgiving
Matthew 6:10 (NASB95) — 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
There is the confident expectation which leads to thanksgiving even for that which is not yet but a physical reality, But is in ours to grasp. This inspires thanksgiving of those who are the recipients of salvation and their future destiny.
Supplication
Petitions and intercessions making our requests be known to God.
Matthew 6:11 (NASB95) — 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
Confession
Matthew 6:12–13 (NASB95) — 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’
Yes, Prayer is a mandate, an imperative that which means that this is but another way that the believer can place oneself beyond the boundary of a relationship with the Lord when he fails to pray. But we have seen it is more of an indication that he or she is already outside the relationship with the Lord.
This would fall into the sin of omission.
1 Samuel 12:23 (NASB95) — 23 “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lordby ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.
Luke 18:1 (NASB95) — 1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought (it is necessary) to pray and not to lose heart,
Ephesians 6:18 (NASB95) — 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
The very absence of prayer in the life of the believer is the absence of faith and Paul warns to the fact
Romans 14:23 (NASB95) — 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
Look at what we neglect when we fail at our duty of prayer
No Adulation: failure to glorify God
No confession: have you sinned today? Yesterday? Last week? Last month? Over the past year?
Romans 3:23 (NASB95) — 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Sinned is a Constantine aorist which means we are continually falling short.
Our hearts are prone to wonder, and they do.
So, if we are not praying, we are not confessing and we are walking in darkness continually where there is no rejoicing as well.
No thanksgiving,and where there is no thanksgiving there is no life of gratitude.
Which makes you an unappreciative spoiled child who thinks of himself or herself more than what you ought to think in that what you received from God is what God owes you?
And it is supplicationin both aspects
Petitions – prayer for self is our declaration of dependency on God for our every need.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Intercession– prayer for others is our Christian duty, not favor.
What is a secret to prayer?
How many books on prayer do you need to read before you can become a prayer warrior?
Prayer is no more complicated than speaking to a dear friend who loves you with all of his heart and you love Him.
When we are abiding in the presence of God on a persistent consistent basis and when it is that God’s word abides in us (Jesus is the truth John 14:6) He never leaves us nor forsakes us, how then shall we respond. Should we then go on and never talk to him?
No on the contrary. Our talking to God will be as consistent as He is with and abides in us?
Without ceasing.
Closing Hymn: Amazing Grace
Prayer
[1] Strong, J. (1995). In Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship. [2] Strong, J. (1995). In Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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