"PRAY ALL THE TIME"
"Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God…" (1 Thess. 5:18-19)
INTRO.: A hymn which encourages us to pray and give thanks in everything without ceasing is "Pray All the Time" (#30 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written, under rthe penname of Vana R. Raye, and the tune (Pray) was composed both by Lloyd Otis Sanderson (1901-1992). It was copyrighted in 1948 by the Gospel Advocate Co. and first published in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 which Sanderson edited for the Gospel Advocate Co. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1959 Majestic Hymnal and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 also edited by Sanderson. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to the original edition of Hymns for Worship (but not in the revised edition), Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song reminds us of the need for God’s children to pray to their heavenly Father.
I. Stanza 1 tells us that prayer is something which many people fail to realize is important
"The world has lost the right of prayer,
And saints have failed to pray;
What loss sustained beyond repair!
How blind of heart are they!"
A. The world has lost the right of prayer because for the most part it has turned to evil, and while the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears open to their prayers, His face is against those who do evil: 1 Pet. 3:12
B. Yet, even saints have often failed to pray as they should; James was writing to Christians when he said, "You do not have because you do not ask": Jas. 4:1-2
C. A lack of prayer shows that one is spiritually shortsighted, even to blindness of heart: 2 Pet. 1:9
II. Stanza 2 tells us that prayer is the means by which we converse with God
"The Father speaketh in His word–
He talks no other way!
And to converse with Him, our Lord,
We must take time to pray."
A. While there were times when God spoke directly to men and through prophets, today He speaks to us through His Son: Heb. 1:1-2
B. Therefore, we can expect Him to speak in no other way than the inspired scriptures which His Son revealed: 2 Tim. 3:16-17
C. However, the means by which we communicate with our Father in heaven is through prayer: Matt. 6:9-13
III. Stanza 3 tells us that prayer is a way in which we can find help in time of trial or grief
"There is no trial, grief, or pain,
No moment of the day,
But that we may in Jesus’ name
Incline our souls and pray!"
A. All of us will experience times of trial, grief, and pain in this life: Jas. 1:2-3
B. However, there is no moment of the day but that we can come to the Father in Jesus’s name: Jn. 14:6, 13
C. When we incline our souls and pray, we come before the throne of grace to find help in time of need: Heb. 4:14-16
CONCL.: The chorus exhorts to pray morning, noon, night, indeed any time.
"Pray in the Morning, Pray at the Noontime,
Pray in the Evening, Pray any time;
Pray when you’re happy, Pray when in sorrow,
Pray when you’re tempted, Pray all the time."
To pray without ceasing does not mean to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, four weeks a month, twelve months a year for the entirety of our lives in nothing but prayer. However, it does mean that we should maintain a prayerful attitude and thus, whenever the need arises, be ready, willing, and able to "Pray All the Time."