Text: Philippians 1: 18-26
Title: Without prayer!
There are certain things in life I can’t do if something important is missing.
a.I cannot send a letter without postage.
b.I cannot use an A.T.M. machine without a pin number.
c.I cannot have a bath without water.
This morning we will discover several things I can’t do without prayer.
1.Without prayer I cannot experience continuous rejoicing. (V18,19)
“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers…
How could Paul be so sure he would continue to rejoice? I would never have said “I will continue to rejoice” because I know something bad is eventually going to happen and I won’t feel like rejoicing anymore. So how could Paul be so sure he would continue to rejoice?
Paul was not confident he would continue to rejoice because he expected nothing bad to ever happen to him. Paul was confident he would continue to rejoice because prayer works.
The most important thing prayer must change if I am to experience continuous rejoicing is me.
a.Prayer must change my no into yes. (V18)
b.Prayer must change my will into God’s will. (V18)
c.Prayer must change my protest into praise. (V19)
d.Prayer must change what I profess into what I
2.Without prayer I cannot receive Divine help.(V19)
Yes and I will continue to rejoice for I know that
through your prayers and the help given by the
Spirit of Jesus Christ…”
Can you see what follows prayer on Earth? Power from Heaven!
Notice the order. You and I can’t have power from heaven without first having prayer on earth.
“You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:3)
Another translation of “and the help given by the spirit of Jesus Christ “ reads “ and the giving of the stored wealth of the Spirit”
Prayer is the key that opens the store.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him.”
We have automatic delivery for our oil at the church. Therefore I don’t call. They know when we are almost empty and come and deliver automatically. God is not like that. He only comes if we call.
“As far as I can see, prayer has been ordained only for the helpless. Prayer and helplessness are inseparable. Only he who is helpless can truly pray.”
3.Without prayer I cannot find deliverance from all
the bad things that have happened to me.(V19)
“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance”
What happened to Paul is very similar to what many experience.He was imprisoned,chained and harassed by others.In order to see deliverance from our past we must be people of prayer.
4. Without prayer I cannot have sufficient courage in matters of life or death. .(V20)
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
We need courage for living and dying. If we do not have living courage we will not have dying courage.
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
"when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)
Courage is found when we get with Jesus.
4.Without prayer I cannot live like Christ. (V21)
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
To live like Christ is to live as he lived. You would have to say even non-Christians believe this is a noble goal. Jesus was perfect in everything he said and did. That is why many young people embraced the WWJD movement.
It does not take long to realize that it is impossible to live like Jesus without praying like Jesus for Jesus was a man of prayer.
5.Without prayer I cannot see fruit for my labor.(V22)
“ If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.”
a. We have a enemy, the Devil who is only defeated by
prayer (Ephesians 6)
b. We have a work that can only be done by prayer (John 15)
The secret to all failure is failure in secret prayer.
6.Without prayer I cannot find direction for my life. (V22-24)
“Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain,”
Some choices are easier than others and there are some choices you do not have to pray about.
I don’t have to pray about whether I should steal. I know this is against God’s Law.
But not every decision is black and white. Some decisions we must make are not clearly answered in the bible. But perhaps the most difficult decisions we must make are ones where we might have two good options and must pick one.
It could be a job offer. It could be a big purchase. It could be a move to another town. What is tough is that you just don’t know which option is better.
“Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two.”
How do you choose which option is right? Prayer!
7.Without prayer I cannot contribute to the spiritual progress of others. (V25-26)
“ and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.”
The most rewarding prayers are the ones we pray for others. When we can get beyond only saying “O God bless me” to O God bless others.”
The best thing we can do for both unsaved and saved is pray for them. Nobody gets saved by nagging. Nobody gets saved without prayer.
We must pray. Charles Spurgeon was asked the secret to his success. He responded "My people pray for me."