(From the Book by Steve Bray- "The Faith that Prays.")


        Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)


     Christ has both the power and the authority to make us partakers with Himself in His prayer-life. We know He lives as the Great High Priest and He is always interceding for others. When He comes as the Great High Priest to share His endless life with us, included in the blessings found in Him are His prayer-life. “There arises another Priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.” (Heb. 7:15-16)


     The dead letter of the law does not supply the power needed to fulfill God’s requirement to “pray without ceasing.” But when we choose to exchange our old form of life for His life we can begin looking to Him to share with us in a nature that is always praying to the Father. We can then do by nature what He requires.


     He {the Spirit} will bring glory to me {the Son} by taking from what is mine {including the life of intercessory prayer} and making it known to you. (John 16:14 NIV)


     No one can pray without ceasing in their own strength. We actually need to lose our life, including our self-sufficiency, before we can share with Christ in the power of His endless life. “For whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25) Then, and only then, is it possible to truly obey His command: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.” (1 Thess. 5:6)


     For we are the circumcision {who have had the strength of the flesh-life cut off}, who worship God in the Spirit {live through the Spirit}, rejoice in Christ Jesus {for what He is doing}, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Phil. 3:3)


     The child of God who has lost all confidence in the flesh begins to learn that only what is from God can truly glorify Him. We begin to know more than ever that “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” (John 3:27) The whole life begins looking up, with a cry from the innermost heart, for God to prove His power and love, and to reveal His glory. Listen closely to what F. J. Huegel has said on this matter:


     The reason why many are finding prayer so unsatisfactory and the life of prayer so unattractive, is because they have attempted to enter into the celestial realms of prayer in the strength of the “old-man”. The “old-man” can no more wield these weapons which “are not carnal but mighty through God” than he can “love his enemies,” or “rejoice always,” or “have the mind which was in Christ Jesus,” or fulfill any other Christian grace. He (the old-man) may imitate these graces, but actually posses them, never. They are “the fruit of the Spirit.” They come from above. They are the out-workings of the Christ-nature imparted to the believer and incorporated in his being on the basis of the Cross.


     True prayer can only be inaugurated on the basis of “co-crucifixion.” This is the prime condition. “If ye abide in Me and I in you, ye shall ask whatsoever ye will and it shall be done unto you.” We must be “in Christ.” But we cannot be in Christ in the fullest sense, without first committing to death, in the power of the Savior’s death, the “old-life” [the old self-sufficiency that has its source in the flesh].


     It is when we realize our oneness with Christ in death [where we have died to the natural strength of the flesh] and in resurrection [where there is a real sense of living by His Spirit], that prayer becomes the marvelous force that we find it was in the life of the Savior… It is then that our spirits, liberated by the power of the Cross from the fleshly and the soulish entanglements, “mount up on wings as eagles.”… It is then that the injunction: “Pray without ceasing,” ceases to be an unintelligible command… It is then that prayer, energized by the Spirit of the living God, which it cannot be until it is freed from all selfish ingredients, becomes at times a groaning which is unutterable, and which does not fail to move mountains, and achieve the impossible. It is then that prayer becomes a working out of the will of God, and therefore, must prevail, be the difficulties what they may, however staggering the problem, however great the need. It is then that the great disparity between what the Master said that prayer could accomplish, and the miserable caricature that it is in the actual practice of millions, is removed, and prayer blossoms out in all the glory of its true nature.


     We need to begin to see how everything in the life of the Son is ours and is given to us when we give ourselves completely to Him. To abide in Him implies looking to Him alone to be the source of the fruit that comes out of us. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He merely asks that we continually come to our loving Father as dependent little children looking to share with Him in the power of His endless prayer-life. Our whole life is to be given up to this walk of faith where we expect everything of significance to take place through the working of His power.


  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. (Gal. 2:20)

     Because we are all creatures of time and subject to the law of growth, it takes time for our prayer-life to develop and become effective. But we should also realize that not one single prayer of faith is ever lost. There is sometimes a need for accumulating our prayers before the answer can be granted. This is where patience will need to have its perfect work. We must permit the Spirit to bring us into that place of rest where our faith is in God, rather than in our fleshly works, before we will truly find ourselves “lacking nothing.” (Jam. 1:4)


     Throughout history God’s children have thought there were difficulties in the heavenly world to overcome before their prayers could be answered. They pleaded with God for the removal of the unknown obstacles. But this has not always been the real problem. The Spirit has led some of these earnest souls to begin searching their own lives. This self-examination has brought them to a state of brokenness and a real sense of helplessness. It was there, when they had lost all confidence in the flesh and had become nothing in themselves, that God was able to exalt them to a place of great power in the Spirit. With their hope and faith in God alone, they could begin to take hold of Him and His promises. The hindrance, which really had its source in their own independence and self-sufficiency, was suddenly overcome. Once God had fully conquered them, they could be raised spiritually and begin working in the resurrection power of Christ’s Spirit.


    Yes, to the world that thrives on the activity of the flesh this way of the Spirit will appear to be a complete mystery. They will think we are foolish when we follow God’s instruction to enter His rest of faith where everyone ceases from their own works. (Heb. 4:10) But this is the way that Jesus walked and it is how we will walk when we are living through Him. May we all learn this secret as it has been so aptly expressed by Armin Gesswein.


     Our generation has yet to see prayer as a ministry, and to take God at His Word on this subject. It is while we pray that God works… Our idea is, “Let us pray, and then get on with the work.” But prayer is our real work. We so often think of prayer as a prefix or a suffix to an otherwise busy round. But God’s works are wrought as we pray, and while we pray.


     It brings a revolution to any minister or Christian, once he believes God’s Word on this point. His works are done through prayer, for He always works out from His throne by intercession. It is not only His intercession, but ours too: for, by His Spirit, He not only prays for us, but in us. He gives us of His own great praying…


     We are not just to imitate His praying, but to enter into it, receive it, and have it enter into us. That is how we enter into His works, become “laborers together with God”, and learn to cease from our own works. We learn in this way to work with Him, instead of for Him. Sons, and no longer slaves.


     Then after we have prayed, we walk with the Lord Jesus into the works He has wrought in answer to prayer. Prayer is our real work. Working is drudgery. Even working for the Lord is dreary. But working with Him is a delight. In His Kingdom [where He is the source of everything], it is those whom He ministers within who minister. The conquered conquer, and the followers of Christ lead others.


     This, then, is the secret to succeeding in our work. As God prevails over us, and we are perfected in the way of faith, we find that we begin to prevail with God. Because He becomes the source of everything we do, we naturally rejoice in Him. To Him be the power and honor and glory!


     But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:21 NIV)