Excellent Jehovah, what a wonder You are. We are bless each morning from the rising to dusk, we bless Your Holy Name, we adore You Father, we are grateful unto You for Your faithfulness in the life of Your beloved. Glory, honour, adoration be unto You now and forever.
Last week we discussed about the “Importance of Prayer”, two reason were mentioned while we need to pray. I do also mentioned that this topic will be in series, hope you enjoy yourself in God’s presence today, in Jesus Name.
The third reason for this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that THOSE MEN WHOM GOD SET FORTH AS A PATTERN OF WHAT HE EXPECTED CHRISTIANS TO BE — THE APOSTLES — REGARDED PRAYER AS THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS OF THEIR LIVES.
When the multiplying responsibilities of the early church crowded in upon them, they “called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But WE WILL GIVE OURSELVES CONTINUALLY TO PRAYER and to the ministry of the Word.” It is evident from what Paul wrote to the churches and to individuals about praying for them, that very much of his time and strength and thought was given to prayer. (Rom 1:9, R.V.; Eph 1:15-16; Col 1:9, R.V.; 1 Thess 3:10; 2 Tim 1:3, R.V.)
All the mighty men of God outside the Bible have been men of prayer. They have differed from one another in many things, but in this they have been alike.
The fourth reason for this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer. It is, PRAYER OCCUPIED A VERY PROMINENT PLACE AND PLAYED A VERY IMPORTANT PART IN THE EARTHLY LIFE OF OUR Lord. In Mark 1:35. Jesus went a solitary place and there prayed. Also in Luke 6:12. Jesus spent all night in prayer to God. Our Savior found it necessary on occasion to take a whole night for prayer.
The fifth reason for constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer that seems if possible even more forcible than this, namely, PRAYING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PRESENT MINISTRY OF OUR RISEN LORD.
Christ’s ministry did not close with His death. His atoning work was finished then, but when He rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father, He entered upon other work for us just as important in its place as His atoning work. It cannot be divorced from His atoning work; it rests upon that as its basis, but it is necessary to our complete salvation.
In Heb 7:25, “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing HE EVER LIVETH TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM.” This verse tells us that Jesus is able to save us unto the uttermost, not merely FROM the uttermost, but UNTO the uttermost, unto entire completeness, absolute perfection, because He not merely died, but because He also “ever liveth.” The verse also tells us for what purpose He now lives, “TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR US,” to pray. Praying is the principal thing He is doing in these days. It is by His prayers that He is saving us.
Also in Rom 8:34 — “Who is he that shall condemn? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, WHO ALSO MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR US.” (R.V.)
Beloved, if Jesus Christ lived a life of prayer, do you need to be told to do same? Let us not sleep, as do others:
“Let us not sleep, as do others.” 1Thessalonians 5:6
There are many ways of promoting Christian wakefulness. Among the rest, let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord. Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed towards the Celestial City, said to themselves, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” Christian enquired, “Brother, where shall we begin?” And Hopeful answered, “Where God began with us.” Then Christian sang this song—
“When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb’ring eyes.
Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.”
Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. Hold Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress in the road to heaven. But as you thus take “sweet counsel” with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your converse is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto Him; let your heart be full of Him; let your lips speak of His worth.
Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. Labour to impress thyself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which thou art going. If thou rememberest that thou art going to heaven, thou wilt not sleep on the road. If thou thinkest that hell is behind thee, and the devil pursuing thee, thou wilt not loiter. Would the manslayer sleep with the avenger of blood behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, wilt thou sleep whilst the pearly gates are open—the songs of angels waiting for thee to join them—a crown of gold ready for thy brow? Ah! no; in holy fellowship continue to watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.
Never, never, live an isolated life least temptation and trials sweep you off your feet. King David, though he had some doubt did not allow that to hinder his fellowship with God:
“Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Psalm 35:3
What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my daily petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation. The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation,” if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith. If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts.
The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold. I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when His love is not shed abroad in my soul. When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast.
I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, “Say unto my soul I am thy salvation.” I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus’ love. Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress.
I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. “Say unto my soul.” Lord, do Thou say it! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Lord, if Thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless Thou shouldst say it to me.
Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not Thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.” Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am Thine, and that Thou art mine.
Beloved, do you know the source of your salvation? Can you, like David go to your Maker and be assured “He is your salvation”. I pray for you, child of God,that the Spirit be pour upon us from on high to pray and not be tired. May we declare this day that as long as there is breathe left in us, we will make it a necessity to pray and not to grow faint.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang. Ifeoma Ohondu