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What Does It Mean to “Pray without Ceasing”?

By Trevin Wax on Dec 27, 2010

John Piper interprets Paul’s challenging command:

“Praying without ceasing” means at least three things.

First, it means that there is a spirit of dependence that should permeate all we do. This is the very spirit and essence of prayer. So, even when we are not speaking consciously to God, there is a deep, abiding dependence on him that is woven into the heart of faith. In that sense, we “pray” or have the spirit of prayer continuously.

Second – and I think this is what Paul has in mind most immediately – praying without ceasing means praying repeatedly and often. I base this on the use of the word “without ceasing” in Romans 1:9, where Paul says, “For God is my witness, who I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you.” Now we can be sure that Paul did not mention the Romans every minute of his waking life, or even every minute of his prayers. He prayed about many other things. But he mentioned them over and over, and often. So “without ceasing” doesn’t mean that, verbally or mentally, we have to be speaking prayers every minute of the day in the fight for joy. It means we should pray over and over, and often. Our default mental state should be: “O God, help…”

Third, praying without ceasing means not giving up on prayer. Don’t ever come to a point in your life where you cease to pray at all. Don’t abandon the God of hope and say, “There’s no use praying.” Jesus is very jealous for us to learn this lesson. One of his parables is introduced by the words, “And he told them a parable to the effect tha tthey ought always to pray and not lose heart. He knew our experience in prayer would tempt us to quit altogether. So he, along with the apostle Paul, says, Never lose heart. Go on praying. Don’t cease.

– John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight For Joy, 157.

Your Journey Resources

To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The more we pray, the more we come to heartbeat of God. Prayer starts the communication process between ourselves and God. All the options of life fall before us. At that point we will either forsake our prayer life and cease to grow, or we will pursue our prayer life and let Him change us.

~ Richard Foster

SUMMARY: More than 30 people were killed and another 74 injured when five bombs exploded in the Nigerian city of Jos on Christmas Eve.  Although no group has taken credit for the blasts, authorities received threatening letters from radical Muslims in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Jos is located on the invisible line dividing Northern Nigeria (mostly Muslim) from Southern Nigeria (most Christian). In the past few years, hundreds of Christians and Muslims have been killed in and around this city. According to Human Rights Watch, “more than 13,500 people have died [in Nigeria] in religious and ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999.”

On Christmas Eve 2010, five bombs went off in Jos, killing 31 and injuring 74. “Most of the injured have serious wounds,” one report stated.

Although no group has claimed responsibility, authorities suspect Muslim extremists. “For long, they have been threatening to use violence against Christians,” an official admitted. “In recent weeks, the governor’s office had received letters purported to be from some Muslim organizations threatening to attack Christians. The security officials didn’t take the threat letters seriously.”

Despite increased police patrols and additional checkpoints in the region, the government admitted a “lapse in security” and said the task force assigned to peacekeeping in Jos failed to perform as expected.

Nigeria is number 27 on the Open Doors World Watch List of worst persecutors of Christians in the world. WIN partners pray for Nigeria on Day 29 of the Window International Network Praying Through the Window 9: Global Terrorism and World Religions prayer calendar.

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By Martin Luther

I will tell you as best I can what I do personally when I pray. May our dear Lord grant to you and to everybody to do it better than I! Amen. First, when I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thoughts (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little Psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled and, as time permits, I say quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do. It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas, which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day. It may well be that you may have some tasks which are as good, or better than prayer, especially in an emergency. There is a saying ascribed to St. Jerome that everything a believer does is prayer1 and a proverb, “He who works faithfully prays twice.” This can be said because a believer fears and honors God in his work and remembers the commandment not to wrong anyone, or to try to steal, defraud, or cheat. Such thoughts and such faith undoubtedly transform his work into prayer and a sacrifice of praise.

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The 12th century Wexford Carol:

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox’s stall

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God’s angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you’ll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born

With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God’s angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife

There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

Merry Christmas?



By Iain Murray|Published Date: December 22, 2010


Winston Churchill once wrote to his schoolboy grandson, urging him to be a student of history because history provides the best means for making intelligent guesses about the future. However, by reading Scripture Christians can do more than guess the nature of a future awakening. We know it will be in accord with all that we are told about the character and work of God. This is not to say that revivals are identical, yet certain main features are always present and it is not speculation to believe that these will be present again in future awakenings.

Revival Changes Worship
Within the last forty years, scarcely anything has been changed so much as modes of worship. The form of worship in many evangelical churches has become almost unrecognizably different from what it was before. But the question is whether amidst this transformation the big thing has been addressed, namely, that worship-as the word itself should remind us-has to do with the “worth-ship” of God.

Fine externals and music may be present where there is no real admiration of God, no giving to him the glory due to his name. The assumption has been that our inherited forms of worship are largely responsible for dull services which in turn have impoverished the churches. But our great contemporary need has to do with something far more fundamental than the outward form of worship. If a sense of the greatness and majesty of God is not present in a congregation, then nothing else can produce awe and wonder

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The Word Became Flesh

By Trevin Wax on Dec 18, 2010

The Word became flesh.

God became human,
the invisible became visible,
the untouchable became touchable,
eternal life experienced temporal death,
the transcendent one descended and drew near,
the unlimited became limited,
the infinite became finite,
the immutable became mutable,
the unbreakable became fragile,
spirit became matter,
eternity entered time,
the independent became dependent,
the almighty became weak,
the loved became the hated,
the exalted was humbled,
glory was subjected to shame,
fame turned into obscurity,
from inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief,
from a throne to a cross,
from ruler to being ruled,
from power to weakness.

Sam Storms


“The problem with our churches is not unanswered prayer, it is unoffered prayer!”

(Randy McPherson)

By Richard Owen Roberts|Published Date: December 14, 2010

Part 3 of 3

Power of PrayerPractical Suggestions
A Solemn Assembly is to be a time when all normal daily work is set aside. This is clearly the instruction of Leviticus 23:34-36, Numbers 29:35 and Deuteronomy 16:8. While the overwhelming teaching of Scripture is in favor of hard work, it is absolutely clear that all work must be subjugated to spiritual concerns. Just as man is to labor six days, and six days only, and then rest on the seventh, so also man is to labor in times of spiritual and moral advance; but he is to set aside this normal daily work in order to seek the face of God during times of righteous judgment.

A Solemn Assembly is a time when the entire body of people affected by the righteous judgment is required to be in attendance. This is clear in the several passages on Old Testament revivals noted above, but nowhere more clear than in Joel where even the honeymooners had their honeymoon revoked, and the mother with an infant at her breast was required to be present (Joel 2:16). Part of the corporate sin that must be put away is that spirit of rebellion that exists in many professed Christians that causes them to believe that no spiritual leader can order them about. Such wicked sinners would do well to observe the severity of the denunciations against rebellion and stubbornness recorded in I Samuel 15:23.

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December 2010