To Pray Like Jesus (Part 4)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Decide And Abide
It is the will of God that we not only have a prayer life, but that we live a life of prayer. To pray without ceasing seems an impossible task, but with God, all things are possible. To practice living in the presence of God, we must decide to be people of prayer. It is one thing to desire to pray—it is another to pray at all costs. When we decide, when we truly decide, we will seek our answer until we find it. Do not underestimate the power of a genuine decision—if we wait until we feel like praying, we will not pray enough. If we wait until corporate prayer meetings to pray, we will not pray enough. If we wait until our lives are a complete mess, we will be overwhelmed by our circumstances. If a person never learns the voice of the Shepherd in the quiet, still, unseen place of God, they will not learn to live a life of prayer. We must learn to abide in our heavenly Father. We must learn to invite Him into every area, every moment, and every decision. We must learn when to fight, and when to be still; when to move, and when to stop.
Rejoice And Give Thanks
Praying without ceasing is inextricably bound up with rejoicing always and giving thanks in all circumstances. God is, above all, a Father. He delights in giving good gifts to His children and does not withhold any good thing from them. Therefore, how we respond to the blessings of God in our daily lives will dictate our ability to receive greater and more substantial blessings in the future. In Luke 17, Jesus heals ten men with leprosy. After he heals them, he instructs them to go and show themselves to the priests. One of the men, a Samaritan, came back and threw himself at Jesus’ feet after he saw he had been healed. Jesus points out that this Samaritan was the only one who showed proper gratitude to God. The Lord is looking for a people who will give thanks for the many blessings of life and rejoice even while they are waiting on Him. A person who sees only what they lack is a prime target for the enemy.
Learning to Pray
The spiritual realm is a world of which we have only the slightest clue. Different types of prayers accomplish different things—many of which we will not see until we receive our glorified bodies. Nevertheless, prayer is the most important task God has given us to do. To pray in tongues is to allow God to pray through you, and thus, fight the unseen battle which is going on all around. It is important to pray in the Spirit every day, to strengthen your inner-man, and allow God to cleanse you by His Spirit. We must always try to break through the barriers of distraction and noise before we attempt to hear what He is saying to us. When we fight, we clear away the competing voices so that only His remains. As you pray, picture yourself reaching out to touch him. See his face. Imagine what He looks like. Hear what He is saying to you. Don’t let Him go. You must fight. You must remain. You must press in until you get your answer. This takes time and perseverance, and only those who have truly decided will succeed. You must take up the authority that God has given you and pray with everything in your being.
After we have broken through, we must learn to rest in His presence. There are many ways which people find to be successful in meditating on the Lord. I am not an expert in this, however, the Lord has been very gracious with me as I’ve tried different techniques. We each must discover what works for us and ask the Lord to help us discover how best to meet with Him. If the goal is to pray without ceasing, then we must be content with listening as well. One simple but effective meditation technique is what is sometimes called “Breath Prayer.” These are a type of silent prayer. This can be done using Scripture or simply words that hold significance. Lately, I have used James 4:10 in my breath prayers. As I inhale, I say in my mind, “Humble yourself before the Lord…” and as I exhale, I say, “…and he will lift you up.” Another one I have used in the past is even more basic. As I inhale, I speak to the Lord in my mind, “Jesus…” and as I exhale, I say, “…I belong to you.” This technique is very simple, yet I have found that it helps me slow down and focus on the Lord. What is important is not the technique we use, but that we connect with God. Find what helps you meet the Lord in prayer and then go after Him with everything inside of you!
God's Abundant Life! Be ye transformed as you put these teachings into practice!
- One of the 12