. . .  to “pray without ceasing” as I Thessalonians 5:17 directs. We have to work, sleep, eat, serve. Even the Bible directs that we are to do many other things than pray, but it still says, “Pray continuously.”  What could this mean?  

It means that when talking with God or thinking about Him can’t be in the forefront of your mind, it should always be peeking over the edge ready to take the place of whatever else we are doing. 

It means communicating with God even while we have another conversation going on another line.  We do not lose the desire to return to the more important call.  

So praying without ceasing means we never really cease conversing with God ;  we simply have a lot of interruptions. 

“Devote yourself to prayer” (Colossians 4;2).  When we make something a priority, when we sacrifice for something, when we give it time, we know we are devoted to it. God expects Christians to be devoted to prayer.

Martin Luther said, “It is the business of tailors to make clothes; it is the business of cobbles to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray. 

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:6  

We can be Prayer Pessimists and see the expectation of prayer merely as an obligation;  a burden.  We can be Prayer Optimists who view prayer as an opportunity to experience God’s grace.

Luke 5:16  “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  

One man said, “Some explain my blessing by saying they are s coincidences.  Strange how I have more ‘coincidences’ when I pray than when I don’t.” 

Why do we fail to pray? Because . . . 

  • . . . we are not discipled enough to set aside time to pray. Discipline is doing what we are supposed to do, when we are supposed to do it.  
  • . . . we don’t believe anything will happen.  We don’t admit that publicly, of course. If we felt certain of visible results within 60 seconds of every prayer, we would all have holes in our knees. 
  • . . . our emotions are frail, eroding our desire to pray.  When desire is weak, we find many other things to do.  
  • . . .  we have limited awareness of our need, and when much of life seems manageable by the common grace God gives to all people, we don’t pray.  
  • . . . we believe in our pride and self-sufficiency prayer is primarily for emergencies. Things too big for us to handle on our own. God’s direction seems irrelevant.  

The nature of prayer also makes it difficult.  What relevance is someone sitting alone or in a group, speaking into the void of the atmosphere? Talking aloud to Someone who can’t be seen?   How is that powerful? What could that possibly accomplish, especially when God tells us He knows what we want before we pray and He knows what He is going to do in every situation? 

His answers range from Yes, no, wait a while to show Me you really do want this. 

We pray because we: 

  • Have a royal invitation into the presence of the God of the universe.
  • We have been commanded to pray
  • As God has ordained a result, He has also ordained a means (II Timothy 2:10 “I endure all things for the elects’ sake.”.
  • Need the Living God.  “Unto Thee shall all flesh come” (Psalm 65:2).

An aspiring author learns to write by writing.  We learn to pray by praying. 

When we think of Christ dying for us, when we recall the shame He endured so willingly for our sakes, when we remember what salvation means, prayer is not hard.  

While I mused, the fire burned  (Psalm 39:6)  That is, while David thought about the Lord, and his circumstances, he dreamed, imagined, strategized, and planned. He chewed and digested the situation. He meditated; he burned.    

James 2:22-25 welds knowing the Bible and doing the Bible.  Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17

Have the attitude, “This is for me.  God is going to speak to my mind, and hopefully my heart.”   Apply what you read! 

Memorizing Bible verses is not just for kids.   It is for anyone who wants to be nourished, protected, and godly. Hebrews 9:14 is one I’ve memorized – it’s a favorite: 

How much more, then, will the blood of Jesus Christ, who
through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to
God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so
that we may serve the living God.” 

When scripture is stored in the mind, it is available to the Spirit . . . for use when we need it. It’s available to fight sin: “ I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). There’s added power against temptation when we have truth available for the Spirit to call up.  When tempted and the Spirit brings to our minds a verse, that is an example of Ephesians 6:17 “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  

On the day of Pentecost, Peter felt prompted to preach to the crowd.  Much of what he said–as recorded in Act 2:14-40–consisted of quotations from the Old Testament.  Scripture memory can prepare us for unexpected witnessing opportunities. 

Since we can remember names, telephone numbers, and addresses we can memorize Scripture. It is simply a matter of desire. 

Don’t be content with “just getting the main idea.” Get it word perfect, so you will be confident in a witnessing situation or teaching a class. 

In Don Whitney’s book on disciplines of a godly life he likened:  

  • Hearing the Bible = dipping a tea bag into hot water once
  • Read it yourself = two dips. 
  • Memorization = eight dips
  • Meditating = tossing the tea bag into hot water to let it steep for six minutes

A different analogy comes from rain: 

  • Hearing the Bible = a sprinkle. 
  • Reading the Bible = steady rain, but most of it runs off.  
  • Memorizing the Bible = a gully washer 
  • Meditating = like a 24-hour slow rain that soaks in and brings forth Spring flowers and abundant crops.