A Message by Jim Jones
1 Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing…
John Wesley – Sermon 16 on the Means of Grace (Sermon 16 II. 1)
- By “means of grace” I understand outward signs, words, or actions, ordained of God, and appointed for this end, to be the ordinary channels whereby he (God) might convey to men, preventing (preceding), justifying, or sanctifying grace.
- I use this expression, means of grace, because I know none better; and because it has been generally used in the Christian church for many ages; — in particular by our own Church, which directs us to bless God both for the means of grace, and hope of glory; and teaches us, that a sacrament is “an outward sign of inward grace, and a means whereby we receive the same.”
- The chief of these means are prayer, whether in secret or with the great congregation; searching the Scriptures (which implies reading, hearing, and meditating thereon); and receiving the Lord’s Supper, eating bread and drinking wine in remembrance of Him: And these we believe to be ordained of God, as the ordinary channels of conveying his grace to the souls of men.
John Wesley – A Plain Account of Christian Perfection – on prayer
- God’s command to “pray without ceasing” is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.
- Whether we think of; or speak to, God, whether we act or suffer for him, all is prayer, when we have no other object than his love, and the desire of pleasing him.
- All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer, when it is done in simplicity, according to the order of God, without either adding to or diminishing from it by his own choice.
- Prayer continues in the desire of the heart, though the understanding be employed on outward things. In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is a continual prayer.
- God only requires of his adult children, that their hearts be truly purified, and that they offer him continually the wishes and vows that naturally spring from perfect love. For these desires, being the genuine fruits of love, are the most perfect prayers that can spring from it.
Quotes on Prayer
From the Day of Pentecost, there has not been one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three; no such outward, upward movement has continued after such prayer meetings have declined. A. T. Pierson
It is God’s will through His wonderful grace, that the prayers of His saints should be one of the great principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s kingdom in the world. When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people; as is manifest by Ezekiel 36:37, and it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for His church, He will begin by remarkably pouring out the spirit of grace and supplication. Jonathan Edwards
The conditions of praying are the conditions of righteousness, holiness, and salvation. E. M. Bounds
Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty. E.M. Bounds
On 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – The position of our text is very suggestive. Observe what it follows. It comes immediately after the precept, “Rejoice evermore;” as if that command had somewhat staggered the reader, and made him ask, “How can I always rejoice?” and, therefore, the apostle appended as answer, “Always pray.” The more praying the more rejoicing . . . Holy joy and prayer act and react upon each other. Observe, however, what immediately follows the text: “In everything give thanks.” When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude. C.H. Spurgeon
About three in the morning as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we recovered a little from the awe and amazement at the presence of His Majesty, we broke out with one voice, ‘We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.” John Wesley
Thoughts on Prayer
** Grace is defined as “the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”
** The means of grace are simply those channels by which God imparts and bestows His grace upon man.
** There can be no question that prayer is a chief means of grace. For the greatest bestowal of grace comes through one simple prayer, “Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner.”
** The purpose of prayer is to establish a means of communion, connection, and communication with God. It is to enter into His very presence.
** In the OT a priest had to go through a ceremonial cleansing before entering into God’s presence. According to 1 Peter 2:5 we are a holy priesthood of God. We too have had to go through a cleansing in order to enter into His presence, only our cleansing is real by the blood of Jesus.
** Since God is omnipresent, we are always in the presence of God. And since believers are indwelled by the very Spirit of God, there is always an immediate connection with Him. So why then should there not always be communion and communication with God? The answer is of course, there should be! Pray without ceasing is simply to be in constant connection, communion, and communication with God.
** Sin, rebellion, and disobedience cause us to flee from God’s presence. We cannot “pray without ceasing” if we are in a state of conflict with God. Most believers live in such a state of conflict; therefore, prior to entering into God’s presence they must confess the cause of their conflict. This cancerous conflict prevents our connection, prohibits our communion, and precludes our communication. In other words, not only are our prayers hindered, we may even cease to experience real prayer.
** Praying without ceasing means living without sinning. God wants us to be holy as He is holy, not for His sake, but for ours. As a “holy priesthood” we can dwell in the presence of God continually, commune with the Spirit of God intuitively, and communicate with the Logos of God immediately. We can always have that open channel of grace – yes, grace without ceasing!
Prayers That Will Change Your Life
(Taken from Dr. Eddie Beaver)
- O GOD, SEARCH ME Psalm 139: 23-24 KJV
Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts;
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The prayer of searching is a matter of contrition.
- O GOD, CLEANSE ME 1 John 1:7 NKJV
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
The prayer of sanctification is a matter of cleansing.
- O GOD, FILL ME Ephesians 5:18 NIV
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
The prayer of saturation is a matter of completion.
- O GOD, LEAD ME Romans 8:14 KJV
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The prayer of separation is a matter of communion.
- O GOD USE ME Isaiah 6:8 KJV
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
The prayer of service is a matter of commission.
2 Chronicles 7:14: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”