Sermon:
Be Intentional
#6 - How to Have an Effective Prayer Life
(Part 1)
Philippians 4:6-7
February 23, 2002

Introduction

Today we are beginning a 2-part series on prayer.

I assume that all of you understand that prayer is extremely important. But too often we donít really think on why itís so important.

Weíre just told that the Bible says to pray, and that itís important.

I hope that by the end of these messages, God will grip your heart with the importance of prayer, and with the desire to enhance your relationship with God through honest, authentic prayer that pleases God and brings results in your life.

Next week we will look at some very practical "how-to" stuff on enhancing your prayer life. Be sure to be here, okay? I promise that you will get something you can use.

Today, however, I want to lay the groundwork for next weekís message.

The reason is that Iím convinced that so many people, including myself, have operated on a shallow understanding of prayer, and then are confused when we donít see God moving.

I am not an authority on prayer - I havenít written books or articles on prayer, and no one has written books or articles about my prayer life.

In fact, I am rather embarrassed about my prayer life sometimes. I donít pray nearly as much as I should, because I succumb to the same excuses most people put up - limited time.

Iíve got things Iíve got to do, and I donít have the time to pray, when I could be using that time for other things.

Martin Luther had even more pressures and responsibilities than I have. Listen to what he had to say regarding prayer:

"I am so busy now that if I did not spend three hours each day in prayer, I could not get through the day."

Now doesnít that just fly in the face of our task-oriented, "to-do" list society? Hereís something else Martin Luther said:

"If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith."

So how do I become more intentional and active in this incredibly important aspect of life?

I think itís by gaining a better understanding and appreciation for what prayer is all about.

The basis of the message today is Philippians 4:6-7, which I have printed in your bulletin. Please join me in reading it aloud, okay?

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I want to offer you four challenges that if you take them will immediately strengthen your grip on this whole issue of prayer. And the first one is to...

1. Understand Godís mindset on prayer:

Here are some keys to understanding Godís mindset on prayer:

* He made it possible and invites us to come.

Let me set some background here:

At the temple of Jerusalem, the Most Holy Place was where the presence of God resided in Israel. And