Summary: The object of prayer is not the point of prayer - the fellowship with God is and it is in that fellowship, that co-laboring with Christ in prayer, that God works.
Those who do not believe do not pray. This is a good functional definition of faith. Faith prays, unbelief does not. - John Hardin
How should we pray?
Follow Jesus’ example - Lk.5:16, 6:12.
Follow Jesus’ format: Mt.6:5-13 - "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: ’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness, Supplication.
Pray directed by the Holy Spirit - like everything else, I can’t do it alone.
Eph.6:18 - Thoughtful and intelligent prayer empowered by the Holy Spirit - praying on all occasions, for different things and requests, being consistent and alert (thoughtful), with the power and direction of the Holy Spirit.
His Holy Spirit guides my thinking - 1 Cor.2 and that also applies to prayer (because we do not know how we ought to pray but the Holy Spirit does (Rom.8:26).
1 Peter 5:8 - alert and self controlled.
Note: Prayer is the context of the Spiritual battle in vs.10-17.
Be faithful in prayer - Rom.12:12.
Remain in Him, pray in His name, according to His will and He will answer. - Jn.14:13, 15:7, 16, 16:23.
Pray for each other and don’t forget to pray!!!
Use a prayer list!!! Develop a personal strategy for becoming a person of prayer.
Eph.1:15-16 - “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
C.S. Lewis wrote that the older he got the longer his prayer list got!
Confess when you don’t pray, as sin - 1 Sam.12:23
Pray in agreement with other believers - Mt.18:19.
Pray with a heart and attitude of humility & repentance - 2 Chr.7:14
Pray persistently regardless of results (Lk.18:1-8).
Pray honestly from the heart - David’s example all through the Psalms (will you forget me forever...)
1 Peter 5:7 - cast anxiety...
Pray with thankfulness - Phil.4:6.
Pray His will will be done here - Mt.6:10
Remember His will - Lk.19:10.
Pray for laborers for the Harvest - Mt.9:37-38 - The Harvest is ripe, workers few.
Be an answer to your own prayer!!!
Pray continually!!! 1 Thes. 5:17 - EXPLAIN!
What should we pray for?
Why doesn’t scripture tell us to pray for x?
Point is fellowship not adherence.
The object of prayer is not the point of prayer; the fellowship is:
We pray because communication is how we draw near to God.
Jn.16:24 - When I pray my joy is made complete in Him.
Phil.4:6-7 - When I pray His peace is made surpassing in me.
Mk.6:31 - Prayer recharges me.
Mk.6:31 - “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Leaders are busy but, in Bill Hyble’s words, you’re “too busy not to pray.”
Prayer is not a means to an end (the end, when not realized yields frustration, anxiety, doubt and lack of peace).
Prayer is not micro-managing the universe.
God does answer prayer - but those answers are in areas He already intended to work.
The object of prayer is not the point of prayer, the fellowship with God is.
Prayer is fellowship with God and co-laboring in His work.
When I pray, I am laboring together with Him, focusing on what is close to His heart and that yields intimate fellowship with!
Prayer is powerful.
Prayer is powerful because it is co-laboring with God, helping Him in His work.
Judges 5:23 - ’Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the LORD. ’Curse its people bitterly, because they did not come to help the LORD, to help the LORD against the mighty.’