More Prayer Produces More Rejoicing, More Rejoicing Produces More Thanksgiving!, Part 5 (Praying Through the Bible #458)
TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
E. M. Bounds said, “To “pray without ceasing,” to pray in everything, and to pray everywhere—these commands of continuity are expressive of the sleepless energy of prayer, of the exhaustless possibilities of prayer, and of its exacting necessity. Prayer can do all things. Prayer must do all things.”
In our last message in this series, we began looking at the command to pray without ceasing. Our spirits should constantly be in an attitude of prayer. Charles Spurgeon said, “Never abandon prayer. Never for any cause or reason cease to pray. Imagine not that you must pray until you are saved, and may then leave off, for those whose sins are pardoned prayer is quite as needful as for those mourning under a sense of sin. Should you become experienced in grace and enriched with much spiritual knowledge, you must not dream of restraining prayer because of your gifts and graces. “Pray without ceasing,” or else your flower will fade and your spiritual fruit will never ripen. Continue in prayer until the last moment of your life. As we breathe without ceasing, so must we pray without ceasing. As there is no attainment in life, of health, or of strength, or of muscular vigor which can place a man beyond the necessity of breathing, so no condition of spiritual growth or advance in grace will allow a man to dispense with prayer. Never suspend the regular offering of prayer. You will, if you are a watchful Christian, have your times of daily devotion; just as David, three times a day, and as another saint, seven times a day, sought the Lord: be sure to keep up this daily prayer without interruption. “Pray without ceasing;” that is, never give up the morning prayer, nor the evening prayer, nor the prayer at midday if such has grown to be your habit. While your hands are busy with the world, let your hearts still talk with God; we may let short sentences go up to heaven, or, without words we may pray in the upward glancing of the eye or the sigh of the heart. If we would pray without ceasing, we must be always in the spirit of prayer. Our heart, renewed by the Holy Ghost, must be like the magnetized needle, which always has an inclination towards the pole. Let your heart be magnetized with prayer, so that if the finger of duty turns it away from the immediate act of prayer, there may still be the longing desire for prayer in your soul, and the moment you can do so, your heart reverts to its beloved work of prayer.” Even as the necessary practices of daily life break our concentration, our hearts should always dwell upon God, knowing that he hears the desires of our heart, and that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us even when we are silent. We should lean on God, coming to the throne of grace often and repeatedly, and our hearts should always be in touch with God, so that our prayer is without ceasing.
Third, we are to give thanks in everything. John MacArthur said, “Paul simply says very directly, “In everything give thanks.” No exceptions, no excuses, nothing is outside those parameters, in everything give thanks. That little phrase in the Greek means in connection with everything that occurs. In connection with everything in life give thanks, no matter what it might be. With obvious exceptions of personal sin, he is saying no matter what happens to you in life, be thankful. No matter what lot, no matter what circumstance, no matter what struggle, vicissitude, trial, testing, be thankful, give thanks. No matter what the situation we are to find reason to thank God. This is not some nebulous thanks fired off into space; it is a thanks given directly to God. Thanksgiving is the essence of Christian living and attitude. And being unthankful is the very essence of the unregenerate heart. When a person becomes a Christian, it is characteristic of that believer, that Christian, to thank God for everything. All of a sudden there is a new heart and a new soul and a new inner life, and there’s something different about the inner man. And built into that newness is a heart of thanksgiving that cries out in gratitude to God. But even Christians can become unthankful. For an unregenerate person to be unthankful is normal. For a Christian to be unthankful is abnormal. And so, because we can fall to the sin of ingratitude, the New Testament repeatedly calls us to thankfulness. I can be thankful for the pain that I go through in a surgery if I know that that there’s healing coming because of it. I can be thankful for the difficulty I go through in preparation if I know that the product of that preparation is going to change lives. I can be thankful for the process of pain that I might inflict on my body if I know that in the end I’m going to be healthier because I exercise. There are many things in life that involve that. As long as you look at the end result you can be thankful, even for a process that’s less than happy, joyful. When we see the end result of what God is doing, blending everything in our lives for ultimate good and glory, then we can in everything give thanks.”
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.