"CONTINUE IN PRAYER"
I. CONTINUE IN PRAYER
A. When the children of Israel demanded a king, Samuel presented to them Saul.
1. He then rebuked them for their desire for a king and told them of the anger of God.
2. As a sign God sent thunder and rain to show them how great their sin was.
3. The people then begged Samuel to pray for them that they would not die.
4. Samuel exhorted them to not turn aside from following the Lord, and to serve Him with all of their might.
5. He then added, "And God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you."
a. He considered that not to pray was a sin against the Lord.
b. I wonder how many of us are guilty of the sin of prayerlessness.
B. Job's friends accused him of restraining to pray. They suggested that as a possible reason for his problem.
C. David in Psalm 55
said, "As for me, I will call upon the Lord and he shall save me."
D. Continue in prayer or, don't stop praying.
1. Jesus gave a parable to teach that men ought always to pray and not to faint.
a. He told of a certain judge that did not fear God or regard man.
b. A widow woman came daily to seek justice against her adversary.
c. The judge said, "Though I do not fear God or regard man, this woman is going to drive me crazy coming every day."
d. The parable was not to illustrate how God gives, but the sharp contrast of an unjust judge and a just God. If an unjust judge can be persuaded by the persistence of a widow, how much more will our heavenly Father avenge His elect who call upon Him day and night. He will avenge them speedily.
2. The New York insurance broker
R. Darby who came West to Colorado in the great gold rush. He found a very rich vein.
a. He convinced all of his friends to invest.
b. About the time the investments were repaid the vein ran out.
c. They continued to dig to find the vein again until they were again deeply in debt.
d. Discouraged he sold the claim and equipment to a junk dealer in Denver for a few hundred dollars.
e. The junk dealer hired a geologist to examine the mine and was told that if they would did three feet further they would find the same vein of gold.
f. The junk dealer became the richest man in Colorado.
3. I think that many times we are guilty of giving up too soon.
4. Daniel was seeking the Lord in fasting for 21 days, when the angel finally came he declared to Daniel that from the first day that he sought the Lord for understanding, the angel was dispatched with the answer, but he was detained by the powers of darkness that controlled Persia until he was delivered by the great angel Michael. What if Daniel had not continued in his quest?
5. Paul said, "And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."
E. Why should we have to continue in prayer? If God plans to do it why should I even be concerned? Is the purpose of prayer to change God's mind? Can't I just pray once and let it go at that?
1. Prayer should never be thought of as changing the mind of God.
a. That would be to usurp my wisdom over the wisdom of God.
b. That in essence would be to make God some kind of a genie that was there just to grant my wishes.
c. It would make me sovereign and God subservient.
2. Sometimes God delays the answers to our prayers that he might bring us into harmony with His purposes.
a. Hannah the mother of Samuel must have prayed for years for a son.
b. It was God's intention to give her a son.
c. God wanted a man to lead the nation of Israel out of their apostasy.
d. He delayed His answer to her prayer until she was fully in alignment with His desires.
e. When she said, "If you will just give me a son, I will give him back to you all of the days of his life."
f. She is now in harmony with the purposes of God and the son is given.
3. Sometimes God delays that He might give us more.
a. The story of Lazarus.
b. They were wanting Jesus to come and to heal Lazarus who was sick.
c. Jesus deliberately waited two days before even beginning his two day journey to Bethany.
d. By the time He arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days.
e. Now a greater sign will be given than just the healing of Lazarus as he will be raised from the dead after being dead four days.
II. AND WATCH IN THE SAME.
A. Jesus exhorted His disciples to watch and pray lest they entered into temptation.
B. He also told them to watch and pray always that they would be accounted worthy to escape the great judgment of God that was going to come upon the earth.
C. What does it mean to watch.
1. To be spiritually alert.
2. To be vigilant.
3. It means to stay awake.
a. When Jesus came to the garden with His disciples the night He was arrested, He commanded them to "Watch with Him."
b. Later when He came back to them and found them asleep He asked, "Could you not watch with Me one hour?"
4. He told us that we should be watching for His return.
a. He said if the man of the house knew what hour the burglars were going to try to break in they would be watching for them. Watch therefore for you do not know when your Lord is coming.
b. Prayer is not an excuse for indolence, the Lord wants us also to be on guard, to watch to be vigilant.
c. Nehemiah said, "We offered our prayers unto God and set a watch against the enemy."
III. WITH THANKSGIVING.
A. Throughout the Bible we are exhorted to give thanks unto the Lord.
1. Mainly because He is good and His mercy endureth forever.
2. In his letter to the church in Ephesus Paul said:
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
B. In Romans 1
the unthankfulness of the people was listed as part of reason for the coming wrath of God upon the on the earth.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.