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Introduction
   Without communication there cannot be a relationship between two parties. Is it any wonder then, we’re told to, Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV. It means don’t stop, don’t give it up, continue doing it every day and always. It’s good to read this in context of the next verse, which says, Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Yahweh’s will for you in Messiah Yahshua, 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 NIV. It’s Yahweh’s will that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we are to give thanks. Given the troubles we see in life, this can be somewhat challenging. We have to look past our current troubles and look ahead to the promises to come.

Prepare: The Messiah is Coming!
   Prior to Messiah coming we find this account of the people coming out of Babylon, For thus says Yahweh: when seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you My promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares Yahweh, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:10–13 ESV.
   Yahweh does not change, and for those coming out of symbolic Babylon today, we can hear these same words “I know the plans I have for you, declares Yahweh, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Our responsibility is to seek Him with our whole heart and being. Not just a casual thing, but rather an intense yearning and desire to know and love Him. As He says,” You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.”
There is a worldly repentance, which is not what Yahweh wants. He wants dedication on our part toward Him from the heart. When tribulation comes upon the world, it will be those that call upon Yahweh which will be saved, not those who will just wail and cry over the destruction they see.
   Yahweh had redeemed Israel from Egypt, but it kept backsliding afterwards. Yahweh would bring punishment to turn them around to Him, but they refused to stay the course (read the book of Amos). Finally they were taken away and dispersed through Assyria. Hosea prophesied about 22 years prior to this judgment.
   Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction to them, because they have transgressed against Me! And I Myself have ransomed them, yet they have spoken falsehoods against Me, and did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. For grain and new wine they assemble themselves; they turn away from Me, Hosea 7:13-4 TS.
   We need to learn a lesson that Yahweh wants obedience and prayer from the heart. He doesn’t want us just looking at the physical food we can eat, but rather the Spiritual food He offers, that is, His Word.
   Going back to the Babylon captivity, there were those praying to Yahweh for mercy and forgiveness.
  
Then I set my face toward Yahweh Elohim to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to Yahweh my Elohim, and made confession, and said, O Yahweh, great and awesome El, Who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments, Daniel 9:3–5 NKJV.
   This is a powerful testimony and a powerful heartfelt prayer. One that Yahweh no doubt heard, as Daniel was one who strived to be obedient to Yahweh even under the most difficult of situations. He never gave up and never ceased to stop praying to the One Whom he knew could save him.


Choose Life
   Sometimes we get worrying over different things, since many things are seemingly out of our control. Yet we do have control when we think about it. We are told throughout Scripture to choose life. So we can choose to not worry, but choose to trust and obey.
   Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to Yahweh. And the peace of Yahweh, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yahshua. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things, Philippians 4:6–8 NASB.
   It's natural to have different feelings when certain things happen. Over time we see how Yahweh works things out in our lives and it should become easier to trust and to not be so anxious or troubled. Yahweh is in control of all things, including those things that we sometimes get concerned about.
   We should think on things that are right and pure and good. In fact, when we think good thoughts, we are being more in line with Yahweh's Spirit. It allows us to pray in the Spirit more readily. This is the attitude we should have each day without ceasing. We can trust Yahweh and His promises.
  
O Yahweh, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror, Psalm 10:17–18 NASB.
   Coming before Yahweh's throne in humbleness of heart and mind, knowing our own weaknesses―and Yahweh's great unsearchable power―allows Yahweh to hear us more readily.
   We can hinder our own prayers by having a wrong attitude, but if you come to Yahweh to help you correct a wrong attitude, then that is actually the right attitude. Yahweh knows what we need before we ask.
   If the Spirit is leading us, then by default Yahweh is helping us to come before Him in the right attitude. After all, it's His Spirit. In this way He can strengthen us to help us overcome any obstacle that comes our way. Yahshua is an example for us.
  
In the days of His flesh, Yahshua offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered, Hebrews 5:7–8 ESV.
   Can we pray without ceasing as He did? If we’re told to do so, then it must be doable, even to the point of learning obedience through suffering. Can we humble ourselves as Yahshua did, under such circumstances? We would certainly hope so.


Fast and Pray, the Right Way
   It's easy to see when a person is not humble, but it is not always as easy for a person to see the error of their own way. A perfect example is the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee:
  
Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: "Elohim, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get." But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, "Elohim, be merciful to me, the sinner!" I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14 NASB.
   Yahweh not only helps our mind and heart to follow Him and worship Him correctly, He also can take care of those who are against us. Ultimately, we see this being fully accomplished in the Kingdom.
   Sometimes fasting is needed along with prayer, as it humbles us and makes us aware of our mortality. It can also show Yahweh that we are seriously in need of His intervention.
   When was the last time we fasted on an individual basis? Do we know what to do, and what not to do, when we fast?
  
Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of Yahweh will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and Yahweh will answer; you will cry, and He will say, "Here I am." If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And Yahweh will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail, Isaiah 58:6–11 NASB.
   If we ever feel distant from Yahweh, we can pray and fast. If we are doing this correctly in the right attitude, and with the right actions, we are told He will hear and answer us. Even husbands are given admonition of providing mercy and grace, so that their own prayers will not be hindered:
  
You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered, 1 Peter 3:7 NASB.
   We're to have an attitude of giving and helping and of serving. In this way, Yahweh's Spirit flows through us unhindered. In all of this, we cannot put our family in jeopardy by picking up any hitchhiker we see and going down to the homeless shelters and bringing someone into our home who may be a child molester, or worse, a murderer.
   We can serve in various ways and help the poor and cover the naked, but we can do it in such ways that we do not bring unnecessary risk to our own families or ourselves. We lock our home doors at night, not because we don't trust Yahweh to protect us, but to keep people honest.
   There are many ways to give, serve, and help that don't involve the risk of harm to oneself or others. Giving to a shelter, food, blankets, clothing, even volunteered time (if we have the extra time) or money (if we have the extra money to spend) are all ways one can serve their local community.
   Our main goal today, however, is to get the Word of Yahweh out to people to help them spiritually. This should be a priority for us. If we fast and pray to do this, we'll be doing good and Yahweh will show us and provide for us anything that is still lacking.


Yahshua's Model Prayer
   Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Master, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” Luke 11:1–4 NKJV.
   This is a model prayer, an example or basic outline, if you will. It is not meant to be repeated over and over verbatim as some do today.
   It’s interesting that prayer is not something that necessarily comes naturally, but can actually be learned. And we’ve already read that instruction, such as always giving thanks in prayer is a must.
   In this model prayer, the Father’s Name is to be lifted up and His Kingdom is to be kept in mind. It is also assumed in this model prayer that we’ve already forgiven (past tense) those who have done us wrong. One of the things that can hinder our prayers and Yahweh’s forgiveness towards us, is if we hold animosity and hatred or unforgiveness toward others; a hard thing for our human nature to deal with.
   We also understand that there is a devil, an evil one who seeks to devour us and cause us to forsake Yahweh. We’re to pray for help to overcome him and our own sinful nature. This in itself will help our prayers to not be hindered.
  
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight, 1 John 3:22 NKJV.
   What is pleasing in Yahweh’s sight? Keeping His commandments and living His way of life. It is written down in Scripture for us to know, and this is why it’s important to study and know what Yahweh’s Word says.
   The Apostle John also points out,
By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Yahweh and keep His commandments. For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, 1 John 5:2–4 NKJV.

We Are Cared For
   Do we want our name kept in the Book of Life? Do we desire that our needs be met? Do we want to be obedient children and pleasing to our Father? Of course.
   We will be given the help we need. Ultimately, in this life, the promise is that our needs will be provided for. In fact, before the model prayer, Yahshua says in Matthew 6:5-9 NKJV, And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in the secret place; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
   The Apostle Paul agrees, saying,
And my Elohim shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory in Messiah Yahshua, Philippians 4:19 YLT.
   Yahshua Himself says in Matthew 6:28–34 NKJV, So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if Yahweh so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the nations seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of Yahweh and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
   It’s a promise. It’s a conditional promise. Which doesn’t diminish it’s worth, but we have to understand that we have a responsibility in all that Yahweh has and wants for us. He won’t forsake us, as long as we don’t forsake Him.
   At the same time we need to pray that we’ll be able to complete the journey and stand fast through anything and everything that might come our way.
   Again, Yahshua says in Luke 21:36 NIV,
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. This is, of course, talking about the tribulation that will come among the nations, upon the whole world because of its evil ways and non-submission to Yahweh’s ways of living and life.
   We can pray without ceasing for one another and seek out help from above.
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the assembly and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Master; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and Yahweh will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins, James 5:14–20 NASB.
   There is hope even for those "among us" who have "strayed from the truth." But, how can we help them? Let's not condemn them (for one thing), but let's try to reach out and at least let them know that they can talk with us, and that they can pray with us, too, if they are willing to seek Yahweh. We can encourage them to pray to Him without ceasing.
   We have to keep an open door, but when someone refuses to walk through it, there is not one of us that can force them. We know that "many are called," but it is indeed "few who are chosen."
  
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He might give you, John 15:16 TS.
   This was speaking directly to the disciples at that time, but it speaks to us today who are His current disciples. He’s working in us through the Spirit of His and our Father, Yahweh.


Come, Now is the Time!
   How awesome is it to come before Yahweh in prayer together?
  
AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of Elohim’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yahshua Himself being the corner stone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in Yahweh, in Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of Elohim in the Spirit, Ephesians 2:17–22 NASB.
   Anyone throughout history standing near the Temple of Yahweh, or even getting a glimpse of it, would have been in awe. How much more should we be in awe when we come together in Yahweh's Spirit?
   We come together in prayer with humble hearts before His throne, and it is awesome. Is it any wonder why we're told not to forsake the gathering together of each other in worship to Yahweh?
   Even if though we're few in number, we know even Yahshua says in Matthew 18:20 NASB,
For where two or three have gathered together in My Name, I am there in their midst. Yahshua is here with us today, in our midst.
   Let’s continue to pray without ceasing. There is a great reward for continuing to move forward doing so, even now it is truly a blessing, which helps not only us, but others as well.



-Elder David Brett


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