Summary: How can I pray? How long should I pray? How do I hear God?
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We ALL pray -- at least sometimes.
Statistically, more people will pray than will exercise this week.
91% of people say that they pray.
1 out of 5 atheists say they pray.
But I rarely meet someone who says, "I pray plenty. I don't want to pray more or better." Most people say they'd like to pray more... Deeper, with greater intensity.
They'd like to connect with God more.
So if you HAD a direct line - would you use it?
But don't we all believe that you DO have a direct line?
At least -- kinda?
Why do people NOT pray?
> Don't know why - "why would God want to hear from me?"
> Don't know how. "What am I supposed to say?"
> Too busy "I'd like to, but... when?"
> Disappointment - unanswered prayer "Doesn't seem like it helps"
The purpose of prayer is not primarily to GET THINGS FROM GOD. It is to connect with Him and in His presence be transformed & empowered.
GETTING things is not an outflow of pleading and cajoling and bugging God, or of using some magic phrases, or some kind of "declaring" things over your life. I honestly get disgusted when I see people treat prayer as if the main thing it is for is just to spend time declaring "money, money, come to me!", "I declare my bank account is blessed!!".
Getting things from God is an outflow of this BEING in Him and CONNECTION with Him.
Let me show you that in Scripture.
I want to read this passage of Scripture every week together for the next 6 weeks: Let's read it out loud together:
John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
I have a short-term goal for our church in this series, and a long-term goal:
SHORT-TERM: That we would spend 6 weeks connecting with God in prayer.
LONG-TERM: to teach you to spend a lifetime connecting with God.
... and in that, you will find that He answers what you ask in the process.
So in this series, I'm going to teach you 6 ways to connect with God in prayer:
Way #1: Regular prayer.
We are going to spend 6 weeks praying together, and focusing on connecting with God.
Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (NAS)
Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Andrew