Archives for posts with tag: pray without ceasing

What is the definition of prayer?  In general terms it is petitioning a deity, usually asking for ‘things’ wanted or needed.  But what does God[1] say about prayer?    In the Old Testament, many prayers are written for us that have been spoken by prophets, priests and kings.  I sometimes use these prayers when I don’t know how or what to pray, personalizing them to the need or circumstance in my life.  Jesus, in the New Testament teaches us how we ought to pray.

Jesus, by example, took time to be alone with God, going to the mountain to pray.[2]  In another instance, he taught his disciples who were attempting to cast out a demon, that these are not cast out except by prayer and fasting.[3]  At the time he cleansed the temple of the money changers he told them His house was to be called a house of prayer for all nations.[4]

Jesus taught us that ‘whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive’.[5]  He taught us that we are not to pray to be heard by others only for the sake of appearing spiritual and enlightened.[6]

One day the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  He taught them this prayer; commonly called the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father[7]

“Our Father who art in heaven”  – Where God is.

“Hallowed be thy name”  – Your name is Holy

“Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”  – Let your will descend to us here on earth and in our lives.

“Give us this day our daily bread”  – We pray for our daily needs

“Forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those that trespass against us)” – As you forgive us, so we forgive others.

“And lead us not into temptation” – Don’t let us be deceived or led into temptation.

“But deliver us from evil”  – Deliver us from the evil one

“For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever.”  – Your kingdom is glorious and powerful!

After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension 120 individuals were together, fasting and praying when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[8]  The book of Acts records instances of the congregation praying earnestly for the saints who were being persecuted.  For instance, Peter was in prison for preaching in the name of Jesus and was set free by an angel of the Lord as the people were praying.[9]  Acts chapter three tells us about Peter and John going to the temple to pray and on the way, God in the name of Jesus, healed a lame man[10].  Things happen when God’s people pray!

The epistles of the New Testament have many prayers written that are applicable for our daily lives and the lives of those we love.  But, nothing will happen if we do not pray!  Prayer is the heartbeat of the church.[11]  The congregation is only as healthy as the intercessors who pray regularly.  God’s hand cannot move on behalf of what we need, desire and require unless we pray.  Prayer is the economy of the church and without prayer we are impoverished.  We are at war!  Ephesians 6 tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and wickedness in high places.  Want to see God move on behalf of your family, your friends, your bills due, your health and your pastor?  Pray!  Pray as individuals and as groups.  The church that does not pray is anemic, weak and dying of apathy.  The church that does not pray becomes lunch for Satan and his hordes.  The church that does not pray may be popular because of its programs, but without prayer lives are not changed and it will eventually die.

Prayer and wearing the armor of God[12] will defeat the enemy every time.  Prayer will bring you closer to God. Prayer will bring many unexpected blessings.  God knows what is best for us, and even though we may not pray ‘correctly’ God, by the Holy Spirit takes those prayers and conforms them to His will.

Books about prayer that I have found useful: “My Utmost for His Highest” a daily devotional by Oswald Chambers; “Prayer, a Holy Occupation” also authored by Oswald Chambers is a compilation of devotionals entirely about prayer.  Another excellent resource is the book “Fasting” by Jentezen Franklin and, “Could You Not Tarry?” by Larry Lea, a teaching on the Lord’s Prayer.

PRAY!

Be blessed,

Jane Owens

© 2014


[1] God, the eternal God, the only God, the Creator of the Universe, the God of the Holy Bible

[2] Luke 6:12

[3] Mark 9:29

[4] Mark 11:17

[5] Matthew 21:22

[6] Matthew 23:14

[7] Matthew 6:9 – 13

[8] Acts 2.  Note: it was the anniversary day of Shavuot or in Greek known as the day of Pentecost– the day on which the Torah was given by God to the Israelites at Mt Sinai.  You can read about it in Exodus 19

[9] Acts 12

[10] Acts 3

[11] By ‘church’, I mean those born from above (born again) through the name of Jesus aka Yeshua and believe He is God made flesh who lived, was crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended and makes intercession for us to the Father.

[12] Ephesians 6

What does the fellowship of prayer mean?  My good friend Ruth spoke these words during a conversation.

Definition of fellowship:

  • Sharing of experiences, common interests, goals, or views.
  • A group of like-minded people
  • Companionship or friendly association.

Oswald Chambers states in the introduction to his book, “Prayer, a Holy Occupation”; “The job of every Christian is to pray.  Prayer seems like such a small thing to do – next to nothing at all in fact.  Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything.  It’s a privilege, a right as well as a responsibility.  He wants us to pray always about everything during times of joy as well as sorrow.  He wants us to talk to him about unbelievers before we talk to unbelievers about Him.  Prayer is our holy occupation.  Plain and simple”

When a congregation or two people pray together, they are entering into the fellowship of prayer by sharing one another’s burdens and together they boldly enter the “holiest by the blood of Christ.”  Hebrews 10:19.

Apostles Peter and John went to the temple to pray, and there they healed a man who had been lame from birth.  They were taken before the rulers of the synagogue, the elders and scribes along with Annas the high priest, and others who were not happy about what Peter and John had done and asked them ‘by what power, or by what name, have you done this?’  Peter full of the boldness of the Holy Spirit preached to them and after his sermon, Peter and John were threatened by the rulers not to speak at all or preach in the name of Jesus.  When Peter and John went back to the believers and told them what happened  they lifted up their voice to God with one accord and prayed asking for boldness to continue speaking the word of God, and the ‘place was shaken…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God with boldness.’  Acts 3 and 4.

The twelfth chapter of Acts relates the account of Herod’s persecution of the church when he killed James the brother of John and imprisoned Peter.  Verse 5 “prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him.”  They were together in fellowship.  The result was that Peter was taken out of that prison by an angel of the Lord and he was reunited with the group.  Personally, I think it one of the most humorous stories in the Scriptures.  The group was praying incessantly, yet when Peter came to them they could not believe it was him, saying it was his angel probably thinking he was dead.

Nehemiah was the cup-bearer for King Artaxerxes of Persia and when he heard about the walls of Jerusalem being broken down he was grieved and began to pray.  He had favor with the king and was allowed to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.  Nehemiah prayed; “O Lord, I beseech you, let now your heart be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants, who desire to fear your name; and prosper, I pray, your servant this day and grant him mercy…” Nehemiah 1:11.  Three people named Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian came against him openly mocking him and trying by smooth deceptive words to keep him from completing the task.  These three men conspired together to come up against Jerusalem and when Nehemiah and the others heard about it, they prayed unto God and set watchmen on the wall day and night as lookouts against the conspirators.  God heard and they completed the reconstruction in 52 days.

The fellowship of prayer includes praising and thanking God.  Second Chronicles chapter 5 is the account of the dedication of Solomon’s temple.  Verses 13  and 14 says ‘as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for his mercy endures forever.  And the house of the LORD was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not stand to minister, for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God’.

Did you know that our prayers ascend to God and are placed in golden vials as incense?  “…the four beasts and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, everyone one of them with harps and golden vials full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8.  “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, that there was much incense given to him that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3, 4.

The fellowship of prayer is a necessity for all Christian believers everywhere.

Be blessed,

Jane Owens

© 2013