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Thought for the Month

of August 1997

Next up-date: 1st September 1997 (God willing).

 


Query:

What does "Pray without ceasing" mean? 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Prayers are like letters (or phone calls), sent from earth and directed to our Father in heaven, but often we don't wait to hear what He has to say.

Response:

It is obviously impossible for any of us to pray all the time, so the words "without ceasing" must have a different meaning to that with which we normally associate them.

In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus told us a parable about an unjust judge and a poor widow woman. By contrast, He meant us to understand that the unjust judge stands for God while the woman represents us. The theme of the story is that we should never give up praying just because God doesn't seem to be answering. We are told that "men ought always to pray and not to faint [or give up]". Verse 1. The more so just before the second coming, and as we don't know when that will be, for all intents and purposes, that means now. The unjust judge answers the widow only because she annoys him, but our God will answer"speedily" Jesus said. Therefore we will not be answered because of our much praying, but because we keep coming back to find out why He doesn't answer. It can't be God's fault, therefore it must be ours!

Elijah faced the same problem when he was asked to pray for rain. After he had prayed the first time the rain didn't come. He actually prayed seven times before he even heard of the breath of a reply. But he never blamed God for the delay. He looked for the problem within himself and therefore changed his prayer to fit. When he and God were on the same wavelength then the promised miracle occurred. And during that time Elijah was thinking of king Ahab the rejecter of God's mercy as evidenced by his care for his welfare!

"And [he] said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and get you down, that the rain stop you not. 45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain". 1 Kings 18:43-45.

But the big question in the story is: When Christ returns will "He find faith on the earth?" Elijah's faith rested on the word of God and at the first indication that he was now right with God he acted. Will the Christians do the same in the last days?

Conclusion:

It's not God who is slow. We, His people, are the "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken". Luke 24:25. What we need to do is to learn how to pray "without ceasing". This means to believe His word because He said it and co-operate with Him so that it does come to pass.


 

Spiritual Dictionary.

Pray without ceasing:

This means to pray expecting an answer, not because we are good, but because we can find out from God how to change and not hinder His promise.


Next thought. To be discussed from 1 September.

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