Summary: There are Biblical techniques that will enable you to have a satisfied prayer life. This message is a spiritual heart check and equip you to become stronger in prayer.
Title: Beefing Up
Theme: Five Conditioning Techniques for a Satisfied Prayer Life
Introduction: Arnold Schwarzenegger was a very disciplined bodybuilder; he knows about beefing up. He said, "Experiencing this pain in my muscles with the aching going on and on is my challenge. The last three or four reps is what makes the muscles grow. This area of pain divides a champion from someone who is not. That's what most people lack, having the stamina to go on and work through the pain..." In regard to beefing up the body, Daniel Kenney writes, "By definition bodybuilding is: a form of body modification involving intensive muscle hyper therapy. When a person first makes the choice to get in-shape, the first thing they do is become educated. Muscular fitness and body building is a result of various exercises such as resistance training, cardiovascular stressing or weight lifting. These activities produce microscopic tears and stresses on muscles that are repaired naturally and involuntarily by the bodies’ natural means." Becoming a bodybuilder or getting in real good shape takes discipline; it hurts, however, it does the body good.
Proposition: I would propose to you God's Word has techniques that lead to a satisfied prayer life. Techniques that get us through the spiritual aches that demand us to give up. Heartaches from watching children and grandchildren live a life for self, disappointments, wrong expectations and prolonged answers to thousands of prayers have weakened the faith of many to a prayer life that is not fully satisfied. Misconception of how to pray has caused many to enter into prayer with an attitude of, "Prayer is something we pretend to do," (Rick Warren, Five conditions of Answered Prayer) because it is what religious people are supposed to do.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what Biblical techniques can beef up our prayer life? A life that indicates prayer is the steering force in our lives. Better yet, a life that keeps Christ at the steering wheel of everything we do and every decision we make. 1 Thessalonians instructs us to, "pray continually." Like a bodybuilder or someone who is disciplined in getting into good shape, it takes education and a willingness to stress our spiritual heart muscles through Biblical modifications that rips and causes discomfort. Let us pray!
Transitional Sentence: There are deeper truths to a satisfied prayer life than, "does God promise to answer everyone's prayer?" In building a muscular body, muscles must be pushed to their limits. A modification needs to be made if we are going to truly have a spiritually-satisfied prayer life. A spiritual technique to apply is an honest heart before God. John 15:7 says, "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you."
One awesome Biblical truth to cling to, if you have a Holy Spirit revelation of the following conditions set by Jesus: remain in Him, by the Word of God being in you, ask whatever you wish, it will be given to you. It has been well said, but in Scripture every promise has a condition or a premise. Your prayer life will never be more effective than how much you understand Scripture. “The more you understand the Bible the more you'll know how to pray affectively." (Rick Warren, Five conditions of Answered Prayer) Time for some real truth: how many prayers do you and I have of which we are still waiting answers for? Is it possible that we need some Biblical modifications through study of God's Word?
Six months ago, I saw my local physician and heart doctor. They told me again to walk, drop weight down to healthy level, eat better and take your meds daily. A week ago I had an incident, which has caused concern for those who love me and my doctors. I was thinking a modification is in order as well as some honest evaluations. When I saw my doctor, there were questions asked of which she expected truthful answers. I might as well be truthful; she can tell by looking at me that she already knew. I wondered if the questions asked were not for only for her, but also for me to be honest with myself.
Transitional Sentence: Honesty before God enables us to apply the technique of examining ourselves with Biblical questions that tears at the spiritual heart. Psalm 66:18 says, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who tries to conceal his sins cannot prosper but he who admits them, confesses them, and forsakes them will have mercy." Anyone who covers up his determined sins by hiding, justifying, or blaming someone or something else will not prosper. He who is willing to confess his sins to God will be shown mercy. (Matthew Henry Commentary; The Pulpit Commentary; Commentary of the Old Testament) 1 John 1:8-9, "If we claim to be without sin, we're just deceiving ourselves. The truth is not in us. However, if we confess our sins, He's faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." This passage was written by the apostle John, instructing Christians on what to do when sin overcomes them as well as sharing the benefits of confession to the Lord. It begins with true confession: "confess" (homologeō - ὁμολογεω) means to agree with another or rather to agree with God in regards to the implication of the sin committed by a child of God. This includes the hatred of that sin, the Christian's sense of guilt because of it and his heart's desire to purge that sin out of his life. (Wuest's Word Study in the Greek New Testament; Word Studies in the New Testament)