Ceaseless Prayer in the Church

Title: Ceaseless Prayer in the Church

Bible Book: Isaiah 62 : 6

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Prayer; Church, Prayer in the



I want to speak to you today on the subject of prayer, especially the effective prayer of God’s people when they join together on bended knee to call upon the Lord. It is a strange thing, but a very real one, that most of us will depend on our wisdom, experience, education, contacts, positions of power, and anything else at our disposal in God’s work until we find ourselves unable to move forward. Then, and only then, we will say, “I guess we had better pray about this situation.” If only we began with prayer, continued in prayer, and surrendered through prayer, we would find that the work never comes to an impasse. When we depend on ourselves, we get exactly what we are able to do. In a world of spiritual conflict, we will quickly discover that we have no power at all without God’s work in and through us. So, I want us to think about prayer and the work of God’s Church.

In Isaiah 62:6 and following, we find a very interesting passage of scripture that points clearly to the Church of our Lord. In this chapter, it is Christ who is speaking. He is speaking not just to Judah but to the Church. Why do I say that this word was spoken, not just to Judah, but to the Church – even though it was spoken seven-hundred years before the Church appeared on the earth? We see that this text refers to the Church in its use of the marriage analogy in verses 4 and 5. We further observe this truth in the words of verse 10 where the banner is raised for the nations to come. Only in Christ did the nations come to God's kingdom. The clear picture of the Church is seen in verses 11 and 12 where the "Holy People" and "Redeemed of the Lord" are mentioned. The "City No Longer Deserted" can be none other than the New Jerusalem of Revelation.

The fact that this passage is addressed to the Church takes on deeper meaning when we investigate the significance it has for us today. Let us begin at verse 6 and learn something about the power and peace of prevailing prayer in the New Testament Church.

I. THE POSTING - Isaiah 62:6a

In verses 6 we notice that God has posted some people on the wall of the city, whom He calls “watchmen.” What was a watchman? In the days of old, people lived within walled cities. Unlike people in our day, who like to live in the suburbs of larger cities rather than in the city proper, the people in ancient times wanted to live with the city itself. Why? Because the city was surrounded by walls which protected the inhabitants from bands of enemies, barbarians and terrorists who desired to kill anyone in their path and steal everything of value.

Watchmen were placed on the walls to protect the citizens inside the city gates. If trouble inside or outside the walls was spotted, a watchman would call for the captain of the guard who would bring soldiers to defend the city against any threat.

How does the analogy of the watchman apply to the Church? In just this way. God has chosen to use prayer as his method of sending out an alarm or call for help. He places believers on the wall of prayer and tells us to cry out when something is amiss. Who do we call? There is no human army that can deal with the spiritual assaults which are mounted against God’s people – against the Church of our Lord! No, we can call on no other than the Captain of our Salvation - our precious Lord - to come to our rescue. Thus, God places believers on the wall of prayer to call out to Him!

We need to note two important characteristics regarding the posting of the watchers on the wall of prayer.

A. The Personal Commission ... By the Lord

Remember, we need to see that is it our Lord – Jesus, Himself - speaking in the passage before us. He says, "I have posted watchmen on your walls...". The Lord is the One who has chosen to use prayer as a means of accomplishing His work. We can never fully understand how prayer works. I am convinced that we are not to understand prayer but simply undertake prayer and then we will see God work through it!

Jesus is our Master. We are not to question Him but simply to act in faith. Jesus once made mud from the mixture of His saliva and the dust of the ground. He put the strange concoction on the eyes of a blind man and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The order seemed ridiculous, but nevertheless the poor blind man obeyed and received His sight! Our duty is to do what He tells us and to trust fully in His power to accomplish the promises He has made.

B. The Positional Condition ... In the Lord

But we must note another important feature of the posting of the watchers. God only commissions prayer for those who are in Christ. We see this in the fact that He is addressing those who are united to Him through marriage. Look more closely at Isaiah 62:4 and 5. Surely this imagery signifies the manner in which the Lord speaks of His Church in the New Testament. This portion of scripture is prophetic and powerful. The Lord loves the Church as a bridegroom loves his bride. Jesus is the Bridegroom of the Church and the Church is the Bride of Christ!

Many times God addresse the important aspect of our union with the Savior in the Scriptures. Note at least five of these occasions.

1. Matrimonial Example

Bride wed to the Bridegroom (Isaiah 62:5 et al) - Christ the Bridegroom

2. Biological Example

Members of the Body (Eph. 4:15‑16) ‑ Christ the Head

3. Horticultural Example

Branches in the Vine (John 15:5) ‑ Christ the Stem

4. Architectural Example

Stones in the Building (Eph. 2:20‑22) ‑ Christ the Corner

5. Zoological Example

Sheep of a Flock (Acts 20:28) ‑ Christ the Shepherd

Only those who have accepted Christ as Savior and, thus, have been united with Him can offer effective prayers. It is not enough to know about Him. It is not enough to simply believe that he exists. After all, the devils believe in God and tremble at His power, but they cannot pray. No, you must be born again through a personal encounter and relationship with Christ in order to minister through prayer.


What is it that the Christians posted on the wall are to do? They are to call to God in the face of the enemies of the Church and our souls. In fact, this is just another way of saying that we are to pray fervently. This is God's command to us. God has chosen to hear prayer and to act when His people pray. Prayer is not something we fully understand but when we undertake to pray as we are instructed we discover the power and wonder in it. Note two significant facts about the praying of the watchers.

A. The Constant Work

The work of praying on the wall is to be constant. The Lord says we are to never be silent in this operation. How is this possible? I cannot pray day and night. I must sleep. I must work and sometimes my work will demand concentration which will not allow me to pray. How can I do this thing which the Lord requests?

Remember that watchmen served in turns. That is, some people served while others went about their other duties. Then they exchanged positions. People in the military serve on guard duty, but a soldier does not stay out on duty for eight hours. Rather, a soldier will be on duty two hours, and then off duty for four hours. So, the soldiers take turns guarding their post.

This is precisely the way God meant for us to pray. In fact, I’m proposing that we begin a Prayer Wall Ministry [This was a plan I used in First Baptist Church, Lilburn, Metro Atlanta, Georgia in 1994], as some other churches are doing, so that we can have continual prayer going up to God from our church family. Each person is being asked to take an hour on watch per week. During that specific hour, you will pray and call upon God in behalf of the many needs which can be observed all around us. If one-hundred and sixty-eight people would agree to take one hour each, we could pray without ceasing as a church family. With our attendance, there is no reason we cannot have two or more people for each hour of each day per week calling on the Lord. We can be engaged in the constant work of praying around the clock.

B. The Calling Work

The praying of the watchers was also to be a calling on the Lord in which we take no rest nor give God any rest. What an interesting way for the Lord to summon us to prayer. We are to remind God; that is the fullest meaning of our text. The Hebrew word means to be a remembrancer.

Does God need reminding? Has He some form of cosmic, celestial Alzheimer’s disease? God does not need reminding, but He has chosen to work based on the remembered promises which His people claim before Him. Does this mean that God may not work if we do not remind Him of some promise? Precisely! You will remember that Jesus once went to minister in Galilee but could not do many mighty miracles there because of their unbelief (Mark 6:4-6). God has linked Himself in some spiritual manner to the prayers and faith of His people. For us to fail to prayer is in essence to pray to fail!

We are to remind God of His promises. This is not so that God will remember His promises, it is so that we will remember and claim those promises which God has made to us!


God has made specific promises to those who will mount the walls of prayer. These promises should grip our hearts and cause us to sprint to the walls of prayer.

A. Protection so that the Enemy may not Steal our Work

Verses 6 through 9 tell us that the hand of God will be granted to us when we pray. For what purpose will God's hand be extended? So that the enemy can no longer steal the fruit of our work! Nothing is worse than laboring faithfully and then finding that Satan has stolen the fruit of our work. That is what happened in the days of Isaiah. The people planted their crops, weeded them and watered them faithfully. They worked in the hot sun for hours each day to insure a good crop. Then, when the crop was ready for harvest, an enemy would come along and steal their crops from the field. That is what Satan wants to do today! We must so pray that God will extend His hand of provision and block the enemy from stealing that which God has granted.

B. Proclamation so that the Enemy may not Suppress our Witness

Furthermore, God promises to open a highway of proclamation so that the enemy cannot stifle our witness. What good is our testimony for Christ, unless God's Spirit administers it to the hearer? Satan would love for us to witness in the flesh for he knows that such evangelism is infertile and in vain! Let us ascend the walls of prayer so that each witness will have God's touch of power upon it. Then the lost will come weeping and will turn to Christ. Before another teenage suicide, before another broken family, before another soul plunges into hell, let us pray and not be silent even as God has commanded.

C. Preservation so that the enemy may not Stop our Worship

That which is described in the final verses of Isaiah chapter 62 relates to the return of Christ. He will come with His reward. What shall we do on that day? In the Book of Revelation we read the record of those events. Chapter 4 of Revelation tells us that we shall receive crowns but we shall cast them at His feet. Chapter five tells us that we shall sing a song of praise to the Lamb. We shall praise Him forevermore. Here our praise is deep and real, but it is tempered with the trials and tribulations of our flesh. One day we shall praise Him freely and forever. We shall never grow weary or need rest from giving Him glory!


What is needed is a commitment to obey our Lord in this matter. We must take our place upon the wall of pray so that we are never silent and we call to Him day and night! It will make a difference in our Work, a difference in our Witness and a difference in our Worship now and forever.

Moses prayed for the Lord not to consume the people when they had sinned. He reminded God of His great mercy (Numbers 11:1-2).

Samuel told the people that he would not sin against the Lord by failing to pray for them (1 Samuel 12:23-25).

Daniel prayed for the people (Daniel 9:17-19).

Stephen prayed as he died for the people who stoned him (Acts 7:60).

Paul prayed for Israel to be saved (Romans 9:2).

Christ intercedes for us before the throne of the Father (Hebrews 7:25).

The Holy Spirit is always available to help us when we pray (Romans 8:25).

We cannot work till we pray, but we can do mighty work after we pray! So let us join the saints of old and be a people of prayer. Let us join our blessed Savior in the act of intercession. Let us cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the matter of true prayer!

Someone here today needs to pray a prayer of repentance from sin and faith in Christ. If that is your need, when we sing in moment, you can come and one of our counselors will pray with you.

I’m asking for you as members to come and pick up a card this morning. Take it home and commit to the Lord to take one hour a week to pray, so that we fill every hour of every day to lift up prayers to the Lord. Turn in your card in the next four weeks and we will begin to fill in each hour for each day.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I would rather teach one man to pray than 10 men to preach." Andrew Murray wrote, “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.”

[Our church filled every hour of every day for an entire year - in that year our church prayed around the clock. Those praying did not have to come to the church – they prayed wherever they were at their given hour of commitment. We also offered prayer guides to help those who struggled with praying. In that year and a couple of years afterward, we saw incredible growth in spirit and in numbers, and broke the all-time record for baptisms in our church. A couple of years later we entered into a Prayer Partner Ministry, and once again we saw remarkable results. I encourage every pastor to lead your people to be a praying congregation. No plan or program can be what God intends without persistent, believing, dedicated prayer.]

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