THE GREATEST ACTION THAT WE TAKE IN OUR WALK WITH CHRIST IS PRAYER
September 29th, 2002, Sunday Morning
"Prayer for All the Saints"
Prayer's purpose and how to effectively pray
OPENING: Ephesians 6:10-20 (key: v.18)
- Remember the context of Ephesians 6:11 is about prayer--the "armour of God"
- Ephesians 6:10: We are specifically commanded to "be strong in the Lord"
- Ephesians 6:11,13,14: Three times we are told to stand firm
- We are told what protection we need as we stand firm
- Each of the pieces of the armour has to do with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
- But having the gospel down well is not enough
- You have to know your Bible because you cannot stand firm in this world against Satan
and evil with philosophy, idealism, or ignorance
- You also cannot go it alone (you don't need more people, you need to acknowledge
you need God)
- We have to take everything to the Lord in prayer. When we do this with joy,
God said He'll gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4)
- Paul tells us to use all prayer and petition
- PRAYER FOR NEED: This is public prayer or private (prayer in your closet). This is prayer that
is verbal and that which is quietly said in our hearts.
- PRAYER FOR THANKS: It can be a prayer of thanksgiving, a prayer of confession, a prayer of promise
- PETITION: to need, entreat
- Philippians 1:19: Paul's deliverance in Philippi was because of the
petitions (or as it says in this verse, "through your prayer") of the Philippians
- It is the lifting up of a specific need in prayer to God
- (Acts 12:7: Consider Paul who was beaten and imprisoned and threatened
with death from city to city as he preached the Gospel ...
he was so confident that the Lord would take care of him, the angel of God had to hit him to
wake him from a deep sleep the night before his scheduled execution!)
- We have to be well protected by the armour of God and at the same time not
forget to be totally dependent upon the Lord
- ILLUSTRATION: Luke 18:1: Jesus told a parable to the people--the
intent of that message being that we should always be in prayer
- Prayer is what keeps us from losing heart in life
- Prayer is taking truth and putting it into action--trust God and wait upon the Lord
- 2 Thessolonians 3:13: "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."
- The world is full of evil. Satan is the real and the powers of darkness are beyond our
comprehension. Praying is looking to the One who is truly Lord of all creation
PRAYER IS TO CHARACTERIZE ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIFE
- Paul's admonition
is to pray at all times (another way of saying "all seasons")
- 1 Thessolonians 5:17: "Pray without ceasing." Don't take it
literally--it means always stop and pray when its appropriate, yet don't forgot to pray daily
- Colossians 1:3: Paul again sets the example of how he's always in
prayer--even when giving thanks.
- It is critical that we are praying at the opportune moments--at the right times
- Jesus slipping away to pray in the garden of Gethsemane the night he was to be
betrayed to crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-39)
- Jesus, even after being nailed to the cross when he asked God to forgive the people
- Paul, in prison with Silas, were not asking for pity but rather in prayer and singing
hymns of joy to God (Acts 16:16-25)
- There are times that God moves your heart to pray and you have to take advantage of
- ILLUSTRATION: Psalm 3 is called a "morning prayer." But it was also
prayed at a time when David is fleeing from his son Absalom (Psalm 3:1-2:
"O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of
my soul, 'There is no deliverance for him in God.'")
- What role does prayer play in your daily life? There should be set times of prayer
(morning, afternoon and/or evening)
- What role does prayer play at critical moments in your life? Those are the moments
that demonstrate whether or not our faith is real.
- A life of prayer is a powerful recognition of the sufficiency and love of Christ and
the evil power of Satan
- The danger is so real that we can constantly go to the one who has given us salvation.
Every circumstance in life is fraught with danger; prayer is a quiet trust in the Lord.
REAL PRAYER IS ALWAYS DONE IN THE SPIRIT
- Several passages tell us to pray in the Spirit
- Romans 8:26: Sometimes we don't know how to phrase our prayer requests
but the Spirit does so He intercedes for us with words which we ourselves cannot even speak
- 1 Corinthians 14:15: To pray (and sing) with the Spirit is to pray
(and sing) with understanding
- Jude 20: Another book's reference that we are to pray in the Spirit
("...praying in the Holy Ghost,")
- Ephesians 2:18: To pray with the Spirit is to have direct access,
as one spirit, to the Father.
- What praying "in the Spirit" IS NOT:
- HYPOCRITICAL: Praying purposely and only for the purpose of others to see you
- VAIN REPETITION: Praying the exact words over and over in hopes that God will "eventually"
hear you (Matthew 6:7)
- OUTWARDLY EMOTIONAL: God answers prayers before we even ask. How more can He answer them
if we create a fake "emotional show" of tears or body movements? (Luke 8:52)
- USING PROPER WORDING OR PHRASES: God will give any more attention if you try and speak
"true King James" or speak "in tongues." Just pray in YOUR own words and the Spirit will help
choose the perfect words when helping you pray to the Father (Romans 8:26)
- SELFISH: If you ask and do not receive, you have the wrong prayer motives (i.e.
praying for money to solve a problem instead of God's Will) (James 4:3)
- What praying "in the Spirit" IS:
- You are truly looking to the Lord for help
- You are not doing it to be seen by anyone
- You are straightforward with your personal petitions and prayers
- You pray for God's glory and not your own
- You pray humbly, graciously and thankfully
- There is sincerity in your words
- You are truly concerned for others
- ILLUSTRATION: Luke 18:10-14: Jesus' parable of the
Pharisee and common sinner praying ... and which of
the two will have his prayer answered
- Check the motives of your prayers--do you like to be seen or do you like to be heard?
- Check how often you are moved to prayer--rarely or often?
- The Spirit of God always moves his children to prayer
TRUE PRAYER IS CONCERNED FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF GOD
- Paul calls the people of God "holy ones"
- It is always important to remember ourselves in terms of the church
- Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12: We are the body of Christ--we
cannot operate apart from the body
- The true evidence that salvation is
real is that we love one another
- It is foolish not to pray for other believers; nothing happens to them that does not
- The failure of one affects all of us in Christ ... just as if one in the body of Christ
is honored, we all rejoice, if one is hurt, we all feel a degree of pain (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
- We need to pray that every man stand his position
- 2 Corinthians 1:11: Prayer is more powerful and accomplished when
fortified by many prayers by many people. (Note: this is not VAIN REPETITION)
- Praying for others demonstrates that we have the mind of Christ
- Philippians 2:3: Regard others as better than yourself so that you do
not become blind to the lie you are better than others This will help you remember to
pray for others' needs including/before your own
- How do we pray for others?
- Be on alert, sleepless, awake
- Mark 13:31-33: Don't become lazy in prayer. No one knows when God will
return--not even Jesus!
- Luke 21:36: Pray for the strength for yourself and others to escape
the fury's portion of God's return. Remember--while MAN thinks world peace is the greatest goal,
Jesus Himself said he's not coming back to bring peace but final justice (Matthew 10:34)
- Hebrews 13:17: Obey everyone in authority over you--even if they seem
corrupt to you. Remember--no one in this world is put into a power of authority without God's
permission (John 19:10-11). (Why would God put the wicked in power? Only God
knows--but know that God loves the wicked, too, says Ezekiel 33:11)
- You have to be steadfast in your prayers
- The word means to continue to do something with intense effort, with the
possible implication of difficulty; to devote oneself to; to keep on, persist...
- To stay steadfast, even knowing and enduring the dangers, is to demonstrate our
love is real
- Luke 18:7: While your prayer was not answered when YOU thought it should
be, God definitely answers prayers AT the time of His choosing
- Pray indiscriminately: don't just pray for your friends and family and those
saved in Christ but also for those you don't know,
whom hate you and those leaders appointed over you
- May we focus on the real problems of life--eternal salvation in the Lord Jesus
- 2 Corinthians 5:10: May we not forget the fact that we will stand
one day at the judgment seat of Christ
- We live in an evil world filled with much danger
- Prayers will be real when we remember that we are totally and completely dependent
upon the Lord Jesus Christ for all of life