WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 23, 2021
TOPIC: NEVER STOP PRAYING
BY T. O. BANSO
“Never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 New Living Translation).
Evidently, things were not all right with the family but the man had not given up on God. He held on to His Word and often confessed that His God shall supply all his needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He prayed alone adding fasting to it and also kept an appointment with his pastor to pray over his situation which was lack of employment.
Nevertheless, it appeared physically that the more he prayed, the worse things got for him. He didn’t really understand why but his pastor kept encouraging him that God would do it; he would make a way for him. He listened to his pastor but the devil was also preaching to him as he searched for a job in vain. The wife was a Christian and had been holding the home together somehow while the husband kept praying and trusting God for a job.
The man had to keep another prayer appointment with his pastor. He took his Bible and said bye-bye to his wife then he heard the unexpected: You are going for prayer again. Since you’ve been praying, we have not seen the result in this home.
The man heard this loud as if it was an explosion. Maybe it was because the woman who appeared to have been coping with some pressure was stressed out and finally exploded. It hit the man like a thunderbolt. He was confused. It was as if the wife had challenged him to quit praying and trusting God, who, as she had suggested, had failed him or was not interested in his case.
He thought of going back inside the house to drop his Bible and forget the prayer meeting. But on second thought, he reasoned that the pastor would be waiting for him for the prayer meeting and there was no way he could reach him quickly and inform him he would not come. Furthermore, he wondered what explanation to offer his pastor for his absence. Lying was out of it for him. Then, he concluded he would go for the prayer session.
He couldn’t explain how he dragged himself to the venue of the prayer. A vehicle could have hit him on the way because he was absent-minded. It was God that protected him. He had been weakened. One didn’t need to be a prophet to know that something unfortunate had happened to him. He looked bereaved; he appeared to be in deep distress.
The pastor could have asked him questions as the prophet Elisha told Gehazi to ask the Shunammite woman who was in deep distress following the death of her only son: Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child? (2 Kings 4:26). The brother was reluctant to talk about what the wife said because he wanted to protect her image. Nevertheless, he had to tell the pastor.
Strange to him, the pastor received the wife’s comment not as a challenge to quit praying but as an impetus to pray more. This pastor told me the story. He said he felt it was a challenge to God and informed the brother that as from that day they would meet for the all-night prayer until the brother got a job. He encouraged the brother not to be depressed, assuring him that he was closer to his miracle.
God is faithful! According to the pastor, as they began to pray all-night, within a month, this brother got a job, not just a job, a good job in the same city where he lived. Despite all the efforts of the VIPs in the town to get the job for their candidates, God gave it to this brother without any sponsor.
I wouldn’t know how the wife reacted to the news of his employment against the backdrop of her discouraging outburst which amounted to a mockery of prayer and an indirect indictment of God. This woman’s remarks reminds me of the comment of Job’s wife when tragedies befell him: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 New King James Version).
Job replied her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Verse 10a New King James Version). The verse adds that in all this, Job did not sin with his lips.
I can’t remember what reply the brother I’m talking about gave his wife. I imagine that he would be too weak to talk. He would just keep quiet and allow God to answer the wife, as he eventually did. Truly, someone’s condition could make some people ask him questions he would not be able to answer. God is the right person to answer some questions. It is useless fighting people who ask you such questions as much as it may pain you. It is wiser to look unto God who has the answers and will give them at the right time.
I like Psalm 126:2-3. It says, “We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the LORD has done for them.’ Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!” (New Living Translation). Did you see that the people of Judah didn’t have to explain anything to the other nations who might have been mocking them for being in captivity or exile?
They only laughed and sang for joy. God had answered the enemies’ questions. My prayer for you is that God will answer the questions your enemies are asking you about your life, situation, business, children, fruitfulness, ministry, etc. which you have no answer for.
This is how the New King James Version puts Psalm 126:2-3: “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad” (New King James Version). Very soon, even your enemies will testify that the Lord has done great things for you. God will turn your life around and you won’t need to prove anything to anyone. It will be too apparent.
You must never stop praying, no matter your present situation. Never cease praying notwithstanding how long you have been praying. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus spoke a parable to them that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. In other words, they should pray and not faint, despair, or give up. The apostle Paul, apparently building on this teaching of Jesus, said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing” (New King James Version); “Never stop praying” (New Living Translation); “Pray constantly” (Revised Standard Version).
In Acts 6:4, the apostle Peter said the apostles would give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. Also, the apostle Paul says in Colossians 4:2a, “Give yourselves to prayer at all times” (Bible in Basic English). Give yourself to prayer; don’t let anyone’s mockery or discouraging words make you quit praying to God just because your answers have not manifested. “Be earnest and disciplined in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7 New Living Translation). Be persistent in prayer.
David says, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud” (Psalm 55:17 New King James Version). Continue steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12b). Ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10). God will shame your mockers when the answers come.
I learnt that the wife who made the damaging remarks to the husband later joined the husband in his church. Hitherto, she was going to a different church. But when God showed mercy on the husband and his family by giving him a good job that he could provide for the family, the wife changed her mind. God will restore to you whatever the problems you’re confronting have stolen from you. He will restore your voice, authority, honour, joy, peace, etc.
Never stop praying. In Acts 10:2, the Bible describes Cornelius as a devout man and one who feared God with his entire household, who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always. In that chapter, one day at about the ninth hour of the day Cornelius saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, his prayers and alms had come up for a memorial before God and delivered a message from God to him which eventually led to the salvation of his entire household.
The point relevant here is that we don’t know how long Cornelius had been praying and giving alms before the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a vision. That day was like a payday for Cornelius. All his labour of prayer and giving suddenly came to remembrance. Never stop praying. Your prayer is not a waste. Your miracle is on the way. You will soon sing and dance for joy.
Billy Graham said, “No matter how dark and hopeless a situation might seem, never stop praying.” Did you hear that? People may mock you, even those who are closest to you. You may not receive encouragement from those you expected to encourage you. Nevertheless, never stop praying. Eli almost discouraged Hannah with his disparaging comment but she wasn’t bitter or quit because of that (1 Samuel 11:13-18).
Never stop praying. God knows how He will answer your prayers. Sometimes God’s answer comes in the way we don’t expect. Billy Graham also said, “Whether prayer changes our situation or not, one thing is certain: Prayer will change you.” Never stop praying.
Pray for yourself and your family. Pray for your city and country. The prophet Isaiah says, “Because I love Zion, because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch” (Isaiah 62:1 New Living Translation).
Don’t forget to pray for those under your spiritual leadership or other forms of leadership. Samuel said it would be a sin if he ceased to pray for the Israelites (1 Samuel 12:23-24). Paul prayed for, among other people, the Colossian and Thessalonian Christians (Colossians 1:9-12; 1 Thessalonians 3:10).
Never stop praying. Jesus said, “At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy” (John 16:23-24 New Living Translation). Earlier in John 14:13-14, Jesus said, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (New Living Translation).
Never stop praying. As you ask, believe and don’t doubt (Matthew 7:7; James 1:6-8). “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14 New King James Version). Never stop praying. Your miracle is on the way.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for the assurance we have that you will answer our prayers that are according to Your will. I receive the grace to never stop praying. Holy Spirit, help me to be persistent in prayer and to pray in faith, never doubting, and according to Your will. Father, give Your children who have praying ceaselessly to You answers that will shame and humble their mockers. Turn around every seemingly hopeless situation they’re praying to you about. Father, let the prayer points of Your children change positively.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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