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Pray Without Ceasing - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2023 12:00 am

Pray Without Ceasing - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder Lacerre Bradley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! Thou the wisdom of my God and King, thou triumphs of his grace!

This is Lacerre Bradley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. Lord, in the morning, thou shalt hear my voice ascending high. To thee will I turn, then well and to thee live, and to thee, Lord, on earth. To thee will I, thy wrath my friend, to thee, lift up my mind. To thee will I turn, then well and to thee live, and to thee, Lord, on earth. To thee will I, thy wrath my friend, to thee, lift up my mind. Up to the hills, where Christ is gone, to plead for all mistakes. Presenting at his foreheads, though our songs and our complaints.

Presenting at his foreheads, though our songs and our complaints. O may thy spirit guide my feet, in ways of righteousness. Make every path, make every path, make every stretch, and claim these way my place.

Make every path, make every stretch, and claim these way my place. I'm glad that you've joined us for the broadcast today. I want to thank all of you that have contributed to the support of the program throughout this year and made it possible for us to stay on all these stations. I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the messages from his word to his glory and the edification of those who hear. We'd appreciate hearing from you at Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17, 037, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45217. I also encourage you to go to our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. You will there find the Baptist Witness online, and both the Sunday and daily broadcasts are available.

And you can also make a donation there if that's the most convenient plan for you. I'm glad that you've joined us for the broadcast today. I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you've given us this year, and I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you've given us this year, and I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you've given us this year, and I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you've given us this year, and I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you've given us this year, and I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you've given us this year, and I hope that you will continue to pray the Lord will use the message that you have given us this year. Since we are here at the last day of the year and obviously anticipating what may come in the year ahead, none of us can know what the Lord may have in store for us, but as we expect there may be challenges and difficulties and afflictions to endure, and that as we desire to see the advancement of the kingdom of God, I thought it appropriate to bring a message on prayer. The title of today's message is Pray Without Ceasing. This message was delivered at Grace Primitive Baptist Church, Pearl, Mississippi, where Elder David Piles is the pastor. It was 65 years ago I first visited this church, and I've been back every year since with the exception of two, and we had to miss because of COVID, so this church holds a very special place in my heart. I had some wonderful seasons with you over the years.

I appreciate the opportunity to be here once again. The text is 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 17. Pray without ceasing. Just three words, but an important message. Now obviously it is not suggesting to do nothing but pray, for there are other duties that we must not neglect, but we are to be always in the spirit of prayer, praying about everything. Pray everywhere we go, and don't go anywhere where we cannot pray. When I think of this subject, I remember many years ago, radio station WLW in Cincinnati was the only station in the United States authorized to operate at 500,000 watts, the highest wattage now for an AM station is 50,000 watts, so in those days it was called the nation's station because it could be heard all over the nation, and there was a program that came on every morning called the nation's family prayer period, and when it came on the air, the founder's wife, Mrs. Catell, came on singing this hymn, Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?

In the name of Christ our Savior, did you sue for loving favor as a shield today? Oh, how praying rests the weary, prayer will change the night today, so when life seems dark and dreary, don't forget to pray. And when you would hear that morning after morning all week long, it certainly made an impression to know prayer is a vital part of the Christian life.

Now the text is connected to the adjoining verses. Verse 16 says rejoice evermore. Verse 18, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. So if we're going to be able to rejoice evermore, we need to pray without ceasing, and if we're going to give thanks, which is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you, we need to pray without ceasing. First of all, we would point out that we pray because it is commanded. Sometimes people say, well, if God is sovereign, why pray?

Well, because he said to is a good enough reason. He has ordained prayer in bringing about his purposes. We have that example in the case of Jesus himself, who was praying to his father.

Certainly he recognized the sovereignty of his father. I thank the old Lord of heaven, because thou hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes, even so father, for so it seemed good in thy sight, acknowledging his absolute sovereignty. But Jesus prayed to the father and in the model prayer, he taught us to pray thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Then there are many, many admonitions, both in the old and new testaments for us to pray. Jeremiah 33 three says, call unto me and I will answer thee and show the great and mighty things which thou knowest not.

What a promise. I'll show you things that you haven't even thought about. I'll show you great things, mighty things, not just giving you enough blessing to barely eat by.

I'll show you things beyond what you have imagined. Psalm 50 verse 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me. There is an admonition that we are to call in the day of trouble. What happens sometimes though in the day of trouble is that people make complaints and become critical of others and sometimes question even the goodness of the Lord because things are not going the way they wanted them to go. But he says to call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee.

It may not be on your timetable. It may not be in the detail that you had anticipated but in God's own time and God's own way he will deliver you and the result is thou shalt glorify me. And in Romans chapter 12 the 12th verse rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer. So all of these certainly indicate what our text does that we are to be diligent praying without ceasing. Now somebody might be thinking well I don't know I just don't look forward to hearing a message about prayer because I always feel guilty thinking I haven't prayed enough or I haven't prayed correctly but hear me out and I hope you'll see some things in this that although we all have to admit we haven't done what we should have done in prayer there's much to be encouraged in our hearts when we consider what the scriptures say. Ephesians 6 18 says praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit.

Not only then do we pray because we are commanded to, we pray because we're encouraged by many wonderful examples in the scripture. We think of the experience of Nehemiah. He was the king's cup bearer. That is he had the responsibility to taste the wine before it was given to the king. So if there was anybody that was engaging in a plot to kill the king the cup bearer tasted it first and he died not the king.

So this was an important position. Now it says that he had heard about the destruction back in Jerusalem his homeland and it grieved him greatly. So in Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 11 it says O Lord I beseech thee let now thine ear be attentive unto the prayer of thy servant and the prayer of thy servants who desire to fear thy name and prosper I pray thee thy servant this day and grant him mercy in the sight of this man for I was the king's cup bearer. So the king was questioning why the cup bearer looked sad on a given day.

That was a dangerous thing for the cup bearer to look sad because the king could be suspicious and thinks that he knows some kind of a plot he hadn't told me about. And so when the king questions him as to why he is sad chapter 2 verse 4 the king said unto me for what dost thou make requests? So I prayed to the God of heaven. The king assumed that there must be something on his mind then that he had a request to make.

So he doesn't just blurt out the first thing that pops in his head. He first prayed. How many times have we complicated our life because we said the first thing that came to our mind and we didn't pray first. The interesting thing to observe in Nehemiah's life is that he prayed about everything and that's what our text is telling us to pray without ceasing. He prayed then when he wanted to know how to respond to the king and to have responded incorrectly could have brought his life into jeopardy so it was important indeed that he give the right answer and he sought that from the Lord. Well he was given permission by the king to go then to Jerusalem that he might rebuild the walls there and when he got into the city he was confronted by his enemies.

There was Tobiah and Sanballat both of whom who are ridiculing the effort that was being put forth and trying to discourage them in their efforts. But what did he do about it? He prayed. So he prayed when he was confronted by his enemies and he had victory over them. Then there came a time that the people were discouraged and felt like this is a tremendous undertaking and we're not making good progress at it.

They were ready to give up the work. What did he do? He didn't just scold the people. He turned to the Lord. He prayed. He asked that God would intervene and God did intervene. Oh all of us no doubt face seasons of discouragement particularly in this day and time in which we're living when we see so much going wrong in the society around us and you can feel like sometimes just pitching in the towel saying what's the use?

I don't see much hope for the future. What this man did was to pray and God intervened and blessed and so ultimately they finished the wall in spite of opposition from the enemy and discouragement on the part of the people. The wall was complete and it says in Nehemiah 1243, also that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoice for God had made them rejoice with great joy. The wives also and the children rejoice so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. What a day of victory that was.

Isn't that a wonderful scene? The joy was so great that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. Wouldn't it be wonderful today if the Lord's people were rejoicing to such a degree that their joy might be heard at a distance and people would wonder what's going on over there.

Those people seem to be so full of joy because this joy springs from the Lord not through some man-made effort to accomplish something that would not bring glory to God. So we see a good example of what prayer meant in the life of this man so long ago and then we look at another in the Old Testament, Jehoshaphat's experience. He was hearing that the enemy was approaching, 2 Chronicles 20, 12, oh our God wilt thou not judge them for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us neither know we want to do but our eyes are upon thee. Two things, no strength, no plan.

Now they were in serious trouble, were they not? He says, Lord we don't know what to do. We don't have a plan in place but our eyes are upon thee.

How many times do you respond to the troubles of life just like this man did? You may go to work and try to figure out some kind of a proposal to solve your problem and make it worse in the process but when he came before the Lord admitting his weakness, admitting how desperate the need was, no strength, no way to accomplish victory over the enemy, the Lord heard them. So there came one of the Levites with this message from the Lord, 2 Chronicles 20, 15, be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude for the battle is not yours but the Lord's. Now that expression is used more than once in Scripture, it's very basic fundamental but it's one we can easily forget. Get the idea that the battle is left up to our own wisdom and planning, our own schemes, our own strength and then we miserably fail. He said the battle is not yours, it's the Lord's.

If we can keep that motto always in our mind and heart, what a difference it would make. Then verse 17, he shall not need to fight in this battle, set yourselves, stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord with you, oh Judah and Jerusalem, fear not or be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them for the Lord will be with you. Well, that's all it takes. If the Lord's going to be with you, then you don't have any reason to fear.

You don't have any cause for alarm. You don't need any more than that. If the Lord is going to be with you, you've got all you need and that's the one upon whom we must rely in all of our conflicts, discouragements and trials that we encounter in life. So they praise the Lord and the Lord won the battle. Verse 21, praise the Lord for his mercy endureth forever and when they began to sing and to praise the Lord, the Lord sent ambushments against the children of Ammon and they returned to Jerusalem with joy for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.

So we see a circumstance very similar to that which we observed in the case of Nehemiah. They enjoyed victory and they enjoyed victory not because they were strong, but because in their weakness they acknowledged they desperately needed God's help and God came to their rescue and they didn't even have to fight. All they had to do was praise God. When they began to sing and praise the Lord, God himself set ambushments against the children of Ammon. So there are many beautiful examples of this in Old Testament times and they're there for the very purpose of stimulating us to be zealous in prayer, to know that it's not a vain effort.

There's a reason to do it. God has commanded us to do it and God has given us examples of the success of prayer. But it's not only in the Old Testament, of course, it's in the New Testament Acts 1 14. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus and with his brethren. That was the activity of the early church was to meet together to pray. So chapter 2 verse 1 says that when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Then after the word was proclaimed, it says them, they that gladly received his word were baptized and the same day were added unto them about 3,000 souls.

Can you imagine that? We've all been in services when several people have been baptized on the same day and what a joyous occasion it was to see them displaying such pleasure and joy in following the Lord and to be received in joy by those who were waiting to welcome them into the church. Well to think of 3,000 souls being added, these people all in their first love rejoicing in the gospel that had just been proclaimed to them. The early church was a praying church. They prayed then prior to the outpouring of the blessing of Pentecost. They prayed when they were persecuted. They prayed when they were put in prison. They prayed in all their labors. And if we're going to be like the early church, we need to be a praying church.

And number three, we're to pray without ceasing, that is because we're never to give up. That's basic enough when we see what the text says, but let's look at some examples in scripture concerning that very issue. Jesus gave a lesson in Luke chapter 11 verse five. He said unto them, which of you shall have a friend and shall go to him at midnight and say unto him, friend, lend me three loaves for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me and I have nothing to set before him.

Didn't have any fast food restaurants in that day where the man could go down to the corner and get something to feed his friend. I have nothing to give him. Please get up, get me some bread. And he shall answer from within and say, trouble be not, the door is now shut and my children are in bed.

I cannot rise and give thee. Now any of you that have small children can immediately relate to that. You've just given the last kid his last drink of water and put him down for the last time and think we're finally settled. And here's somebody knocking at the door wanting you to get up and give them bread. You say it's too late.

We've already settled down from the night and I can't do it. Well I say unto you that though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. Not just then because of friendship, but because the man will not go home. I'm going to be here knocking on your door until I get what I came after. I've got to have bread and I'm not going to take no for an answer. You might say well that's a rather strange lesson for Jesus to give, is it not? But look at the conclusion he's making of it in verse 9. I say unto you ask and it shall be given you.

Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you for everyone that asketh receiveth and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Now that requires faith, doesn't it? To come seeking and expecting to receive. But that is an issue that is raised in several places in scripture. If we're going to call on God to hear us and to do things for us that we cannot do for ourselves, we need to expect that he's going to give us the answer in some form that will bring honor and glory to his name. Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, that holds me from a world of care. And gives me and my Father's throne, make all my wants and wishes known. So we see that there are many lessons in the scripture relating to prayer. Jesus himself giving us several of them which illustrate the fact we are to be diligent in praying, pray without ceasing, not give up because we're discouraged, but continue seeking the Lord our God and praying thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. I hope that you will write us this week until next week at the same time may the Lord richly bless you all. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley Jr. Address all mail to the Baptist Bible Hour Cincinnati, Ohio 45217 that's the Baptist Bible Hour Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. We'll be right back.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-31 02:14:48 / 2023-12-31 02:24:20 / 10

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