Committed to Prayer
This morning I would like to talk to you about prayer.
It was the topic of Tuesday night small group and I have not been able to shake it since.
The Bible is full of verses telling God’s people to pray.
Jesus by example in numerous passages is found praying to The Father.
No one needs to tell a believer that they should be praying, but I am here to tell you that each one of us needs to be not only knowing we should, but be committed to praying.
Turn to Colossians 4:2-4:6
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let you conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
We can see from this passage that prayer has at least two parts-
Prayer- speaking to God about people- praying for others.
Prayer- speaking to God about our needs- praying for ourselves.
Evangelism- speaking to people about God and praying that God would give us wisdom and guidance to do that.
Now, before you think this is a message about taking tracts and going door to door telling people about Jesus (which is not a bad thing) I want to look at prayer from the standpoint of not being a person of prayer.
What is prayer?
What benefit is it to me?
If you were reading a story, you look at what is called the 5 “w’s” (Who, what, where, why, when,) if you were creating a poster for an event, you would do the same thing.
Those questions, whose answers are considered basic information gathering.
Let’s look at this at its basics- There is Almighty God, creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. A fallen angel named Lucifer decided he wanted to be God and waged war against God and of course lost and was thrown down to earth. Ever since that day, he has waged war against God and God’s creation.
So how prayer works is like this- Prayer is the communication between you and God. It is asking Almighty God to have fellowship with you and give you guidance and protection from the enemy.
The fall of Lucifer in rebellion to God happened before time as we know it, and happened in the spirit realm.
The spirit realm that we cannot physically see, but need God to help us.
There is the physical realm- which we see, what we go through, what we live in.
in the spiritual realm, is where the battle of our soul is going on, and evil is fought and held back every day.
Have you ever wondered what exactly happens when we are in conversation with God?
Do angelic messengers transport the actual words to God?
Ever wonder how God could possibly hear all prayers and answer in justice and mercy?
Because He is God! There is no greater deity in creation.
We try to look at God from our small minds and we put God in this man-made box.
That is why He says seek me while I can be found; call on Him while He is near. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways.
It is why Apostle Paul in our text tells us –
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
You have to understand after, seeing who God is and the battle that is raging for our souls that we cannot do this in our strength.
Understand that one day God will put an end to this waged war. He already has victory, and so do we if we accept what Jesus has done.
He desires a relationship with each one of us but gives us the freedom of choice to wither we want it. He communicates with us through His Word, his servants, and through prayer.
Anyone of those elements is missing and you do not have the relationship that God wants you to have.
You are not reading His Word- you miss out
You are not in church- you miss the Word that He had for you.
You don’t pray- you miss His words to you.
“It has been said “The shortest distance between the problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.”
It is not my intention to put anyone on a guilt trip.
God’s Word in not about quilting us into a relationship with God.
It is about understanding the urgency of what is happening around us and to us.
We need to be talking to God daily.
We are becoming a society of excuse makers and we find good reason to put God farther and farther on the back burner of our lives and we wonder why we feel like God is farther from us.
Listen to me, we have all thought – “How do I pray?” “What do I pray about?”
How do I pray? Just begin! That is a good start!
Begin communication between you and God.
Disciples did not know how to pray and Jesus gave them the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes called disciples prayer because they did not know what to say.
They saw the hypocritical Pharisees and they saw the pagans praying to their many gods, and He told them to stop babbling like pagans. Don’t be like them!
Your heavenly Father knows what you need- just ask Him! Just come to Him! Just acknowledge you need God, just begin talking to Him.
Most pray only when they are in need.
There prayer is nothing short of a begging man getting a need met.
When the need is over, so is prayers.
We don’t give God credit for what He’s doing in our life.
As she began to circle the busy Walmart parking lot, looking for a space, the windows of heaven were opened and a downpour began. While she wasn’t usually the type to bother God with small problems, she began to pray as she turned down the row closest to the front door. “Lord, you know what kind of day I’ve had, and there is still an awful lot to do. Could you please grant me a parking space right away, oh, and close to the building so I don’t get soaked.” The words weren’t even completely out of her mouth when she saw the backup lights of a car come on at the end of the row. It was the best space in the whole parking lot, right next to the handicap spots and straight out from the front door. She made straight for it and as she pulled in, she said, “never mind God, something just opened up.”
Really! Never mind God, something just opened up! (coincidence)
You think we live our lives by chance?
“Someone has said, “When business is good, you ought to advertise, when it is bad, you’ve got too.”
We need to acknowledge God during the good times and the bad.
The words I don’t know what to pray about” You have prayed with God and you feel like you prayed for a long time and you look at your watch and it is only 3 minutes and you are all out of conversation.
I don’t know- how about
Spiritual revival in you and others. Your relationship with the Lord
Marriage/spouse/kids/ unsaved loved ones.
Bold faith/ peace in you and in the world/ meals
Work place situations
Direction and purpose
Comfort/ loss/ strength
Salvation of others
Coping with fear
Prayer is the outpouring of the heart and a way to experience the presence of Jesus in your life.
Prayer can be out loud, quiet, in a group or alone. For someone else or yourself.
It can be liturgical – maybe from a book of prayers.
Non-liturgical- more in-formal structure.
Charismatic- no formal structure or script, but just words between you and God led by the Spirit of God that dwells within you.
2 Chronicles 7:14-15
“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
If my people- to be God’s people, for God to hear and respond; we have to be obedient to His Word and seeking His face.
The psalms tell us
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
“In the morning O Lord, you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my request before you and wait in expectation.”
Warns us Matthew 6:5-
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogue and on the street corners to be seen by men.”
If prayer is all about others watching you be spiritual, and there is no heart waiting in expectation for God to do something amazing, you are not having prayer, you are trying to start a pep rally.
The early church was committed to prayer, it was not part of their life, it was their life!
Take that list of things to pray about and seek the Lord for answers and direction. We need to be talking to God.
For us, our families, our church, our nation.
“Father, keep them from the evil one.”
“And praying in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and request, with this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
This is everyone of us!
You don’t need money to pray, you need time and a heart that wants to see God do something amazing!
Instead of give me prayer’s, throw some thank-you prayers to Him! Thank Him for His mercy and grace, His compassion, his slow anger, his love for not giving us what we deserve.
You want to know if God hears you?
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them, he delivers them from all their troubles.”
“He will call upon me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”
Are their requirements for prayer? Yes!
Humble heart- 2 Chronicles 7:14
Whole heartedness – Jeremiah 29:13
Faith- Mark 11:24
Having the Righteousness of Christ- James 5:16
Obedience- 1 John 3:23
“And this is his commandment to believers in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
What will keep us from seeing answered prayer?
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.”
We should be praying alone- in our prayer room seeking God
We should be praying together- people of like-minded faith coming together to see God do amazing things!
I believe God still answers prayer
I refuse to give up on this country as long as God people are praying there can be change.
Do you realize the power that believers have in prayer.
We as a body of believers at Rosedale COTN believe that God can do miracles- He can turn this community upside down for Jesus.
They will call upon me and I will answer them. They are my people, and I am their God.
Who wants that this morning? Let’s pray!