It is so encouraging to see God's kingdom advance powerfully. As the church grows, the challenge for all the disciples in God's kingdom is to stay close to God and to allow God to strengthen us and the disciples and to continue to use us for his glory.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
16 Be joyful always;
17 pray continually;
18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
God's will is for us to pray continually with gratitude and joy in our hearts. Lack of prayer, I believe, will put out the Spirit's fire in our hearts. No matter how talented we may be or how long we may be in the church, God's kingdom will be built not by our own effort but by the work of the Sprit. We must realize that prayer alone will fan the Spirit of God inside us into flame. Just mere hard work will not be enough. Being in the presence of God is what will make us strong, humble vessels that God can use.
It always amazes us to see the importance of prayer in Jesus' life. Though Jesus accomplished so much in his life, we see from the Scriptures that Jesus spent so much time with God in prayer. Let's take a brief look at Jesus' prayer life.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Very early in the morning, Jesus prayed in a solitary place.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Jesus prayed all night to God.
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
Jesus prayed in private.
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Jesus prayed with his disciples.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Jesus taught disciples to always pray and never give up.
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
40 On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."
41 He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.
46 "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."
Jesus prayed intensely during his trials.
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Jesus ended his life in prayer.
Jesus was so wholly devoted to God in prayer. He did that to show us how much God needs to be the centre of our lives and our ministry. Let us feel challenged to devote more and more time in prayer. a. Pray daily. b. Pray with disciples who miss meetings when you meet them. c. Pray as family, family groupů.
Let's have an incredible life walking with God and allow the Spirit of God to work in our lives and our ministries.