Turn Your Thoughts Into Prayers

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Series: Prayer

Sun am 5th October 2014 – Kobus Swart 

(1 Thess. 5:17); (2 Cor. 11:14-15); (John 8:44); Luke 4:1-13; John 15:7; James 1:12-17;
1 John 2:15-17; (Heb. 12:26-27); Rom. 8:26-29; Matt. 24:37-41; Heb. 11:7; Acts 17:22-24, 30-31

The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). It does not necessarily mean you should go down on your knees and close your eyes.

The enemy comes as an angel of light and his ministries as ministries of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). He is so clever; he has chosen two aspects of God. Satan will quote Scripture to mislead and tempt you. Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). He was a liar from the beginning, so how can a liar quote Scripture? Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time (Luke 4:1-13). Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. Jesus said twice, “It is written.” Satan used the same approach and also said, “It is written”, but there was one big difference. Satan can quote a Scripture out of context and tempt you. The devil departed because Jesus demonstrated the Word made flesh. When satan quoted Scripture he was quoting it, but he was still the lie. That is the difference. How will you and I resist temptation? By allowing the Word to be written on our hearts! So if the devil tempts us with something that is not necessarily wrong or sinful, but it is out of the will of God, we resist him by having the Word written on our hearts. When you have become the Word, the devil has no chance and will depart as he did with Jesus.

What does it mean to pray without ceasing? Which prayers will God answer and which prayers will seemingly fall to the ground and not be answered? If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7). This is a simple but powerful truth. To pray without ceasing means aligning your thoughts with the thoughts of God. Then you will not wish for anything that is outside of the will of God. There are times when you and I should stand before the Lord with travail in our spirit. Often those prayers cannot be expressed in words, but only in tears, brokenness and worship. The Spirit of God translates the groaning into a prayer. We have to first align ourselves, and that comes by spending time with the Lord. Moses knew the ways of God but Israel knew his acts. Moses spent intimate time with God so he was informed of the ways of God. Israel clearly did not have the same relationship.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:12-17). The word “lust” is much wider than just sexual sin. Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17). Satan tempted Jesus in these three areas: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. We are going to be tested. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken until on the unshakeable kingdom will remain (Heb. 12:26-27).

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27). You do not always know how to pray. You can sit at His feet and allow groaning from your deepest innermost being. God knows what is best for you now. Check and see if your thoughts are aligned, you can save yourself a lot of pain. Become intimate with the Lord, not to get something, but just to be with Him. Stop and let the inner groans surface.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:28-29). You cannot run from God. If you love Him and are called according to His purpose, you can expect certain dealings and pressures because He wants us to conform to the image of His Son. Jesus is the first born of a new humanity.

In the days of Noah God only found one family that had a walk with God. By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (Heb. 11:7). God instructed a man who had a walk with Him to build an ark. By faith Noah built the ark, by which God judged the rest of humanity. Through prophetic eyes we see that we are not building an ark, but there has to be a standard raised in the earth by which God is going to judge the rest of the world. This is what prayer is about, this is what intimacy with God and the dealings of God are about. Become part of that standard by which God will evaluate, judge, condemn the rest.

Paul found an altar to the “unknown God”. Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 17:22-24). What was Paul’s reaction? He was saying, “I will stand in this altar and explain Him to you. Look at me. I am going to put this God that you do not know, on display in the world.” That is what we are called to do. We must have this relationship, this intimacy, this prayer life with God. Live the life in the market place and put God on display. Be part of the standard by which God will judge the world. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31). God is going to judge the world by the standard of a Man, and you and I are going through dealings to conform to the image of that Man, the first born of a new humanity. God is raising a standard. We are called to become part of the standard by which God will judge the earth.

To pray without ceasing means wherever you are, whatever you do, you are connected, you are aligning your thoughts and you are listening. You are having conversations with God.