Summary: Series inspired by a short book by E.W. Price Jr.
Sermon Series: “The ACTS of Prayer”
(Inspired by a short book by E.W. Price Jr.)
Sermon #1: “A – Affirmation of God’s Presence/Adoration”
Series Text: Acts 1:14
Today’s Text: Matthew 6:6
OPENING QUESTION: Does anyone know what the first Thursday in May is in our country?
The first Thursday in May (May 5th, 2005) is the National Day of Prayer.
What is it?
America’s National Prayer committees’ website says that, “The National Day of Prayer (NDP) is an annual event established by an act of Congress which encourages Americans to pray for our nation, its people and its leaders. The NDP Task Force concentrates on the need to pray for those in leadership on all levels of national, church, and educational areas of influence.”
INTRODUCTION: I believe this is a wonderful event that our country has endorsed.
And along with the season that we are in, having now gotten through the Easter season and looking ahead to Pentecost, I felt moved to write a series of sermons on the subject of prayer.
I preached two weeks ago on the Apostles praying while waiting on the Spirit to fall, but I did not get into the real meat of the subject.
So over the next three Sundays leading up to the National Day of Prayer we are going to learn about “The ACTS of Prayer”
***The art of prayer has been lost in most of today’s churches.
Quote: “It has been said that the apostles prayed for ten days and preached for ten minutes and 3000 were saved. Today we pray for ten minutes and preach for ten days and we wonder why we are not having an affect.”
The purpose of our Christian faith is that we might have a meaningful encounter and relationship with the true and living God.
Prayer is the avenue for that relationship to prosper.
Prayer is also the way God gives His choicest blessings and the way His work in the world grows and prospers.
Often times we have a meager and bare spiritual life simply because we do not pray.
Illustration: “The Cordless Christian” How many of you have a cordless phone? What happens when the cordless phone is left off the charging base? It eventually dies. But a regular ‘corded’ phone is reliable. Why? It is constantly connected to its power source.
To keep our spiritual life ‘charged up’ we have to stay connected to our power source – and our connection is prayer.
But what has happened in today’s church is we have a lot of ‘cordless Christians’ running around.
They have little or no constant connection to God by spending time with Him in prayer, thus they have a shallow spiritual life.
Quote: “If the old saints of the past were to look upon the church of today they would probably note that we are a mile long, but only an inch deep” – anonymous
Illustration: “Instant Prayer” During the opening session at a seminary conference one of the younger students suggested, “I move that we make our devotions snappy, we’ve got a lot of work to do!”
Today’s culture is used to instant coffee, instant news reports, instant potatoes – why not have instant prayer as well?
Because the concept of spending time with God is clearly shown in Scripture.
I want us to look to the Scriptures at the ACTS of prayer
Now A.C.T.S. is an acrostic with each letter giving us a new insight into deepening our prayer life
Over this series of three sermons I am going to open each letter to you and hopefully it will inspire a more devoted prayer life in our congregation, which I believe will result in a movement of spirituality that will help us all grow closer to each other and to God.
And we will begin today with the letter A – Affirming God
I. Affirmation of God’s Presence
a. Our first step in prayer should be a quiet reminder to ourselves that ‘God is with us’
i. Doesn’t He teach us to ‘be still and know that I am God’? (Ps 46:10)
ii. Quote: This is the time that we empty our bodies, minds and souls of the cares of the day and become completely absorbed in the thought that “He is”
b. Affirming God’s presence is such an important part of prayer that goes overlooked
i. Like the young seminary student many of us like to speed our way through our times of prayer
ii. Quote: It seems that from our “Dear God” to our “In Jesus’ name, amen” so fast that we often forget that we are actually speaking to a God who genuinely cares enough to listen
c. Illustration: “My Prayer Thoughts” Often when I pray I imagine in my mind what it would be like to actually see God’s face when I talk to Him