Learning To Pray Without Ceasing

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice. (Psalm 55:16-17, emphasis added)

T.M. MooreT.M. Moore has an interesting suggestion based on these verses:

“Establishing set times for prayer—hours for prayer—in your daily schedule can be a first step toward praying always and without losing heart. Observing these hours of prayer doesn’t mean you need to pray for an hour each time; usually 10 or 15 minutes, sometimes more, will suffice to keep us focused on the Lord throughout the day and in continuous communication with Him.”

Here’s how I have tried to put this into action in my life. I have three alarms set in my iPhone as prayer reminders:

  • Early in the morning I dedicate my schedule and To Do lists to God, and ask Him to direct my steps and my stops.
  • At noon I pray through my prayer list for family and friends.
  • Just before bedtime I reflect back on my day and give God thanks for His blessings throughout my day.

Why don’t you try something like this, and see if it helps you learn to pray without ceasing. Feel free to share some things that have worked for you in the comments below so all of us can benefit from what you are learning.

The First Noël

romans-3-22When I worked in the business field, I was invited to be a teacher for a program called GROW (Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women), where I taught a class on marketing. Then later on, I served as a reviewer as the students turned in their marketing plans.

One of the main points I tried to drive home to my students is a basic Marketing 101 principle which says—you can’t be all things to all people. You have to pick a niche market and then try to dominate that market. There are two general ideas here: (1) Make your product or service pricey and therefore exclusive to a select group, or (2) Make your product or service affordable and accessible for the mass market.

The Incarnation of Jesus totally violates this Marketing 101 principle. (Which goes to show you that God knows more than all the world’s so-called “experts”!)

First, there was a marketing message to shepherds (see Luke 2:8-11). This would have been the “mass market” as shepherds represented the every-day, working-class man. The first two verses of The First Noël carol addresses these “certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay.”

But then there is this appearance of a very exclusive group of Magi (see Matthew 2:1-2, 11). These men were highly educated and had gained great influence and affluence. Verse 3 of The First Noël references these “wise men…from country far” who could present such lavish gifts to Jesus.

God did exactly what I told my GROW students they shouldn’t do if they wanted to be successful!

The Incarnation of Jesus is one of those rarest of rare things that actually can be all things to all people! Why? Because ALL people need what the Incarnation of Jesus brings. That’s why the final verse of The First Noël calls for ALL of us to join in singing our praise to God because of the salvation Jesus had purchased for ALL mankind.

Here’s the reason—

  • ALL we like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6)…
  •    …and the penalty for that straying from God is death for ALL sinners (Romans 6:23).
  • But Jesus came to ransom ALL from that penalty (Mark 10:45)…
  •    …so that ALL who believe in Him will be saved (Romans 3:22)!

“The coming of Jesus was a search-and-save mission. ‘The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.’ So Advent is a season for thinking about the mission of God to seek and to save lost people from the wrath to come. … ‘As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you’ (John 20:21). It’s the story of how the vertical Advent of God in the mission of Jesus bends out and becomes the horizontal Advent of Jesus in the mission of the church. In us.” —John Piper

You have been rescued, now go be a rescuer. Take this Noël message to ALL … young/old, rich/poor, Black/white, educated/illiterate, healthy/sick, friend/enemy…. the message in the First Noël and every Noël is for everyone! 

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