SCRIPTURE - Mark 11:24, 1Th 5:17 September, 2015
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Pray without ceasing.
SUBJECT - Is Praying Without Ceasing, Begging??!!
The subject for this month, has to do with a question that many Christians seem to have a problem with. And that is, when asking God for something through prayer, are you supposed to keep asking for it until you get it, or are you supposed to just ask once, and let it go?
If you will take a look at the two subject scriptures above, you will see that they appear to conflict with each other.
The first scripture, with Christ speaking suggests that when a person is praying to God for something, the person is to believe that they received what they prayed for, and they will have it.
The second scripture suggests that a person should keep on praying no matter what.
The question has been asked, if a person continues to pray about a certain thing, isn't that in conflict with what Christ said about believing that you have received?? Others have said, to continue praying for the same thing, presumably until you get it, is essentially begging, and thus showing a lack of faith.
I am going to try to explain what the Holy Spirit has shown me. I don't claim to be a know it all, however a close examination of these and other scriptures, gives us some idea of where we should be when it comes to doing things by faith.
First, prayer is nothing more than us talking to God. Consequently, without a doubt we should consistently talk to God as much as we can. This is a no brainer. To stop talking to Him, is not something any of us should do. After all, if we need something like wisdom, knowledge, deliverance, healing, or whatever, we need God to move in that area of our lives.
However, what we need to understand is, God is the One who says, 'Ask and you shall receive' [Mat. 7:7a]. So, there is no question how God responds to us asking Him for something.
Now, looking at that scripture, and the one that is the first subject scripture, we see they basically say the same thing. There is another scripture I want to add that also bears witness to these two and that is, Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
These three scriptures are in harmony with one another. So, what do we do with them??
What they essentially say is, when asking God for something, you have to do it by faith, if you want to receive it.
People have a habit of praying to God for something, without knowing the keys to receiving what they ask for. Most of us, don't even talk to God at all, especially when things are going good. He is like the spare tire in the trunk of your car. As long as the four tires on the car are good, the spare isn't even thought about. However, let one of them go flat, and guess what becomes the focus of the individual then?? That spare.
Many times, people have not checked the spare in so long, that when they go to get it, it is flat as well, or not even in the car. This is because of negligence. And because of that, there is a real problem.
Well, when we treat God as if He is to only be thought of, when some type of emergency presents itself that we can't handle ourselves, then we most likely won't be praying by faith but by desperation. These two are opposites of each other.
In order to pray by faith, you have to have some sort of relationship with God, much like a child has with the parent so that when the parent tells the child they will do something for them, the child has no reason to doubt what the parent told them.
One day when I was a little child of about 8-10, my dad told me he would get me a bike, which I had asked him for, in about a week. Because He told me this, I went out and told my friends that I had a bike, as if I already had it. I did this based strictly on what my dad told me.
Well, if I can put that much trust in the word of a man, who could very easily have lost his job, gotten ill, or any one of a hundred things that could have prevented him from fulfilling his word, then how much more should I put my faith in what Christ says???
But the question is, what about that second subject scripture??
From the offset, it is not talking about consistently asking for the same thing. It is merely talking about talking to God [praying] about everything. There is nothing that you or I can do, that God doesn't have something to say about it.
However, there are times when praying about the same thing continuously is OK, and that is when we are praying for the health and benefit of someone other than ourselves.
Many times in the bible, especially in the new testament, we see disciples praying continuously for other saints, or individuals who may not be Christian, and they [the ones being prayed for] are on dangerous missions or facing some other adversity, in which the outcome is not guaranteed in a specific circumstance. [Acts 12:5, Rom. 1:9] are good examples.
Those types of prayers are a different type than the prayers I am talking about here, because these prayers are directed for the person that is praying.
If you or I am praying for healing, deliverance, or strength to endure what the enemy may be doing to us, for ourselves, then these are the prayers I am talking about. When it comes to anything other than that, then that is a different matter.
A lot of saints tend to believe that these scriptures can be applied to any and everything they want like money, houses, cars, or even love interests.
When praying by faith, a person has to believe that God has given His OK before they pray. It does absolutely no good for you, I, or anyone else to be praying for something outside of the confines of God's Will.
The idea of continuously praying for the same thing over and over again is usually based on the fact that the person praying, is essentially begging God for something that may not be what God wants for that individual at that particular time, if ever.
Now, consider this. If I am praying for something that I know God has given His OK on, then, the only prayer I should be rendering to God concerning that issue, after that, should be the prayer of thanksgiving.
You see, as the subject scripture says when asking God for something, you have to believe you have already received it. Well, if that is the case, then why would I ask for it again??
Another thing about this is, your consistently asking God for the same thing, is not going to cause Him to give it to you any faster, but, may cause you not to receive it, at the set time He had originally planned to give it to you.
When someone has the attitude that essentially is based on the idea that whatever they ask for, God is going to give it to them, without knowing if He has given His OK on it, they may begin a course of action that, in the long run, will end up in disaster.
Let me explain.
A saint may see a house, car, or something else, that they desire to have and embark on a course to obtain it, when God may not want them to have it, because they are not ready for it, or He may have something else that is better for them.
The person begins to, what can best be described as, self fulfilling their desires themselves by taking actions that may lead him in to conflict with God. Then somewhere down the road, they run in to problems, and they get mad at God for the problems they are having, when they, have no one to blame but themselves.
I have seen men/women set their eyes on someone of the opposite sex, and claim that person as their future spouse, and begin to do things to get them, even if the person may be married to someone else.
They go all out, and finally get the person, and tell people how God blessed them with this spouse. Then some time later, all hell breaks loose in the marriage, and the person seeks God to fix it, and God will have none of it because, when He was telling them no, or wait, they jumped on in and did whatever it took, and are now facing the consequences.
This is why I say, before asking God for something, you need to be absolutely sure that you are in His will before you begin praying for it.
I know people that, since they were little kids, have wanted to be preachers, and have set about to fulfill that desire. They have begun preaching to their friends at school and maybe in church. They have taken up courses in school, that are directly related to ministry, all of which is good, however, God has not given His blessing on what they are doing. The end result, is, they may attain a position of leadership in the church, but, because they were not in God's will, there is no anointing, and therefore, those that sit under or follow them, may end up lost because this person is not hearing from God.
All of this because a person praying to God, does not realize that God may not want them to have a certain thing. God always answers prayer, but it is not always 'yes.' It could be no, or wait.
But, people are not considering any thing other than what they want, and when they want it, and they won't take no for an answer. This attitude is based on the scriptures guaranteeing a positive result. Therefore comes the rationale that says, if you haven't received it yet, it is because you haven't demonstrated to God, how bad you want/need it. And this leads to them constantly asking Him for the same thing over and over.
What is not realized in this situation is that God already knows what you have need of, and will provide it, when He determines for you to have it, and not before.
Have you ever seen, a little child, throw a tantrum when they want their parents to give them something and the parent doesn't give it to them??? What they want to do, and it usually works, is wear the parent down, so that they, the parent, will give in to them, and give them what they want.
If we look at the context of the scripture from which the 'pray without ceasing is attributed to, we will see the rationale for people taking it the wrong way.
Lk. 18:1-9, tells the story of a woman that complained to a judge about someone that had wronged her, and she wanted to be avenged. So, because the judge disregarded her at first, seeing that he was unjust, she literally wore him down to the point where he did what she wanted.
The problem with trying to tie this in to God, is that here you have an unjust person, and you can expect that from them. But to try to compare God to an unjust man, is utterly ludicrous. If you will notice in that passage of scripture, Christ goes on to say how much more quickly God will respond to His Children.[v7 and 8].
Those of you that are saved, let me ask you this.
When you accepted Christ as your Savior, how many times did you go down to the alter or wherever to do it??? If you were like a lot of us, you did it every time there was an alter call. That, even though it was a noble thing to do, was actually showing a lack of faith in what you had prayed to Him for, the first time.
What we should be doing, is continuously thanking Him for saving us. Especially since that was His main purpose for coming here in the first place. There is no doubt about the idea that He wants us all to be saved, so you have His OK on that issue.
So, I hope that in this short message, you have gotten a clearer understanding as to the stark difference between praying by faith, versus praying without ceasing.