Summary: Part 2 in 5-part series on discipleship. This sermon addresses a disciple’s prayer life
LIVING ABOVE THE FRAY
Part 2: Approaching God
This past Thursday, I was honored to be able to speak at the memorial service of a dear friend of mine, Miss Jennie Leighn. You know, there is an amazing difference between the funeral of a Christian and a non-Christian. Gratefully, Miss Jennie was a Christian. During her lifetime she inspired folks at a New Tribes Missions boot camp. She served for a year as a missionary in China, and then the remainder of her life on the field, in Japan.
Miss Jennie loved Jesus. During the last month or so of her earthly life, she was in and out of the hospital. During that time, she never stopped telling people. doctors, nurses, and others who would come into her room, about Jesus. She loved her Lord.
Perhaps, however, one of the things Miss Jennie was known for, and the thing I most thought of when I thought of her, was her prayer life. Miss Jennie was a prayer warrior. She prayed for everything and everybody. During one of the last prayer sessions she had with a lady she was mentoring, the two of them prayed for people they new in 4 or more countries, in addition to the many people they prayed for in this country.
The last time I saw her, a couple of weeks ago in the hospital in Altamonte, after she shared with me for a few minutes about what was going on in her life, she turned to me and asked, “Now, what can I pray for you about?” She was a faithful prayer supporter of mine and of this church.
Many ministries, and missionaries around the world, were daily carried to the Lord on the wings of her prayers. She was known for her praying.
You know, I believe, to His disciples, that is probably one of the things Jesus was best known for as well.
Think of it. The disciples were with Jesus for around 3 years. During that time they saw Jesus feed thousands with a couple of loaves of bread and a few fish. They saw Him heal, probably, thousands of people. They saw Jesus walk on water. When they were frightened by a storm and thought they were going to die, they saw Jesus speak to the wind and the waves and marveled as they quieted. They watched Jesus raise dead people back to life. They saw Him cast demons out of people, and I don’t think they ever forgot the day He cast the demons out of the Gadarene demoniac, and the pigs they went into jumped off a cliff and drowned themselves.
They saw Jesus drive the money changers and the animals out of the temple with a whip. They had ringside seats when Jesus confronted the Pharisees and other religious people of the day, and sent them away with their hats in their hands. They heard Him teach with power and conviction like no other they had ever heard. But you know? I don’t think any of those amazed them near as much as His when they heard Him pray.
You know, of the many things they saw and heard Jesus do, the one thing the Bible records they asked Jesus to teach them was to pray. Could it be, that they realized that prayer was the key to what Jesus accomplished?
Jesus said, “I can only do what the Father has told Me. I can only show you what He has shown Me.” You see my friend, when you rely upon organization, you get what organization can accomplish; when you rely on education, you get what education can do; when you rely on eloquence, you get what eloquence can do. I am not against any of those things. But, when you rely upon prayer, you get what God can do.
That is why prayer is at the heart of those who live above the fray. It is the lifeblood of disciples, for it is largely through prayer, through that intimate relationship with God, that people communicate with God for the purposes of knowing Him. It is seeking His heart. It is putting your ear to God’s chest to hear and know His.
And so this morning, I would like us to look together at Jesus’ reply, when His disciples asked for His help.
Please open your Bibles this morning and turn with me to:
When a disciple prays, he prays:
I. DISCIPLES PRAY TO A PERSONAL GOD
“Our Father.” When Jesus began His prayer, His disciples and the others there, must have been shocked. He said, “We can, we should, address and approach God like a child to his Father.” That was a surprise to those there that day. Most were under the impression, like many people today, that God was an impersonal God, distant and somewhat unreachable. But Jesus said, “No, when you pray, you come to God like a child to his father.”