The Essence of Prayer, II – I Thess 5:17

I Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing”.  What is the value of prayer without ceasing?  The atmosphere of prayer is an atmosphere of eternal things. Our lives have a flow to them and we stop sometimes to look at eternal things. We ought to be praying about everything:  What is in immediately in front of us; things on our minds; the church around the world; what is in our hearts; what we wring our hands over.

We need awareness of the relative importance of the things in our lives.  In a situation at work we tend to focus on the situation itself, but it will be gone in minutes or weeks while the people and their souls will last.  Prayer helps us see the relative importance of these pieces in our lives.  A person who is a problem in usual ways – am I praying for the eternal aspects of the situation or am I just annoyed?

What are God’s purposes in these aspects of our lives?  How do these things affect His people?  We see our relative helplessness in this atmosphere of prayer. In eternal things – these most important things – we are relatively helpless even though we may have areas of expertise.  This is intended to put us in prayer, not lead to frustration.

We need to be aware of our own duty.  There are positive things we ought to be doing at any particular time.  We have duty all the time; we don’t get to do our own thing.  Are we praying through the day or just reacting to things?   We have duty to be praying about the things we are doing instead of just worrying, as we often do.

Prayer is the parent of prayer.  Prayer is a habit, as is prayerlessness.  Prayer begets a spiritual outlook.  Lack of prayer leads to less prayer and a poor outlook.

Psalm 121  We need to take our eyes off physical things and “lift our eyes” to the Lord in prayer.  We are to make our lives a world of prayer.