Among Apostle Paul’s ‘final instructions and benediction’ of 1 Thessalonians 5.12-25 is verse 17: “pray without ceasing”. How can we do this, since we must work to keep the roof over our heads and food in the frig? What about with sports and school and just hanging out with friends? What did Paul mean? Does this have anything to do with Deuteronomy 6.4-9? How are we to “pray without ceasing”? Did even Jesus practice this? Besides, what does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?
- Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
- At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
- What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention to kill him (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
- My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity. The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we.
- In another, the Prophet Nathan’s instructions to King David in 2 Samuel 7.1-3 help to explain Elijah’s complaint and my application. Whereas Elijah ran to God to save him from his fears, David had experienced God overcoming his fears through conquests. Now, at ease, David envisions a Temple for God’s Ark of the Covenant.
- How does Nathan’s instruction reveal “a sound of a gentle blowing” within David’s mind and that of the CEO? BTW, I believe we hear God’s voice more intuitively than audibly.
- Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 91.14-16, Isaiah 30-.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4).
- The following are examples of Biblical leaders who heard the voice of God (OT) and the Holy Spirit (NT):
- Job: God answers Job (Job 38.1)
- Abraham: leave your country (Genesis 12.1-3)
- Moses: burning bush (Exodus 3.4)
- Exiting Israelites: Commandments (Deuteronomy 4.12)
- Joshua: new commander (Joshua 1.8-9;
- David: Ephod/Urim & Thummim (Light & Perfection) re pursue enemy (1 Samuel 30.7-8)
- Solomon: asks for wisdom (2 Chronicles 1.7-13)
- Jesus: (John 12.49 exemplifying Jeremiah 7.23)
- Peter: with John, healing the paralytic (Acts 3.1-10, 16, 4.12)
- John: (Revelation 1.10)
- Paul: healing the paralytic (Acts 14-8-10)
B. So, how is the Model Prayer an example of “Praying without Ceasing”?
- Matthew 6.7-13 record Jesus’ instruction about succinctly worded prayers and about the acknowledgements of our prayers.
- God does not count the number of words; rather, He weighs our faith in our use of each acknowledgement. Consider Habakkuk 2.4 and Hebrews 11.6.
- How, then, does verse 8 frame the Model Prayer in verses 9-13?
- Driving this understanding deeper, why did Jesus say “Hallowed BE Your name” instead of “Hallowed IS Your name”? Obviously, Jesus knew that God’s name was already hallowed. What is He saying about “praying without ceasing” through this verb?
- Thus, how do you understand each acknowledgement of Matthew 6.9-13 as you state each in your own wording? What are you acknowledging? Do you sincerely mean it?
- How might you word the prayer in the jargon of your profession? Consider the following illustration, which I wrote in January 2016.
For Enterprise Leaders:
Our Founder, Who art in Heaven;
Hallowed be Your name!
Your vision come.
Your mission be done on Earth, as Your will is done in Heaven.
Give us today the customers we need, and forgive us for speaking ill about our customers, competitors, and suppliers, for we repent from speaking ill about them.
And, lead us away from the temptations of philosophies and strategies that change Your vision or mission, and deliver us from the power of satan that would confuse, conflict, and confound us.
For, it is Your righteous kingdom we seek, and Your power and wisdom we depend upon, and Your glory we desire to be our result forever and ever!
C. What does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?
- Paul answers in Ephesians 6.18-20, restating the wording as “pray at all times”.
- How does Romans 8.26-27 explain Paul’s “pray at all times in the Spirit”? How do these verses complete the thought of Romans 8.14? How does Isaiah 30.21 make this personal? What picture of this is given in Jeremiah 6.16? You might see this in Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. An interesting ending verse.
The Holy Spirit will lead away from and to overcome satan’s temptation and harm. Enjoy God’s reassuring and similar words in Isaiah 35.8-10.
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com