By David Mantock

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)


Too often in life we use prayer as our last resort or final act of desperation, when really it should be our first act in all that we seek to do. As Christians, our course of action is quite simple, it is: just pray and do. Pray according to your situation and then just do what you have to do.

Prayer is defined in the Collins English Dictionary as “thanks or appeals addressed to God.” This definition gives only half the story, because you see in the Scriptures that prayer is communication, and communication is two ways, so you should also expect to hear from God.

Psalm 86:7:
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

Psalm 91:15:
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

You will also see that prayer is conditional, and that there is only one way to pray, and that is according to the will of God. You have to humble yourself and turn from wicked ways; you have to keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.

2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven.

1 John 3:20-22:
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

1 John 5:14-15:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

It could not be plainer and simpler. If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us, and we know that we have the requests that we desired of him.

David was close to God. One truth that he knew with certainty is that we serve a living God who is dynamic.

1 Samuel 17:26 (emphasis added):
And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the LIVING GOD?

We do not serve some dumb idol, we serve a living God who is actively seeking to love you and answer your prayers. He is there around every corner, trying to make things better for you. It says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “Seek my face,” because you can have intimacy with God who wants to know you on an individual basis.

Jesus Christ is our great example, and he gave us the Lord’s prayer which, apart from being a beautiful prayer, also is a model for our prayers.

Matthew 6:9-13:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The one thing I want to emphasize here is forgiveness which is a fundamental truth in getting your heart truly open to receive God’s blessings. So much bitterness and heartache can be cast away when you forgive those who have trespassed against you. Thanks be to God, for he is living, active, and willing to teach us.

Proverbs 16:9:
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

God can direct your steps even in prayer, so that you walk with power in this aspect of your life. God has called us out to be warriors, even in prayer. When he directs our steps, we will not miss our targets. Also, no man can work out a solution like God can, because human wisdom and knowledge can in no way compete with God’s. He is almighty, and he can continually cause you to triumph, even in the most challenging of circumstances. So instead of expecting us to know or understand everything, God gives us the simple task of casting all our cares upon him, so he can care for us.

1 Peter 5:7:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Another wonderful aspect about prayer is that we can give thanks and make intercession for other people.

Ephesians 6:18:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

1 Timothy 2:1:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

These are some of the reasons why we should strive to stick to Paul’s inspired exhortation, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).



From the June 2001 issue of The Vine & Branches