Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Sermon on the difference between active and passive prayer.


A. Importance of prayer.

B. Some ask question: "What is Biblical prayer?"


A. Passive prayer is internal prayer. Active prayer is done with the mouth.

B. I used to believe that all prayer was to be done with the mouth. I still believe this to an extent, and I will tell you my reasons. Once in a Bible study, I was told that prayer was in your head because of the commandment in I Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. I understand the comment. Prayer could not be with the mouth because your lips would never quit flapping and you would never be able to talk to anyone else. But I would like to ask a question. Would you not run into the same problem if prayer was in your head? Would you not be able to think of anything else? The argument presented is weak at best.

C. What I Thessalonians 5:17 is referring to is the attitude of prayer, the constant internal communication between one’s self and God. It is a vigilance toward the things of God that the communion not be broken. With this passive prayer attitude, it is easy then when something happens to be able to engage in immediate prayer and supplication.


1. It is literally talking to God.

2. Brethren, historically, O.T. saints did not pray in their heads.

a. When they prayed or meditated in public, they expressed themselves to God by forming their words with the tongue inside their mouths, lips moving slightly so that others would not see or hear what they were praying (see I Samuel 1:13).

b. There is nothing wrong with communicating to God in your head, especially when you are among people. He knows it and hears it. Again, this is passive prayer, but when you are alone, talk to Him using your mouth.

3. Scriptural support.

a. Matthew 6:5-6 – "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

1. Jesus was rejecting the loud, public prayers of hypocrites who simply wanted men to know how religious they were.

2. Personal prayer is to be private, but it is also to be utilizing the mouth.

3. Consider this: If Jesus meant for you to pray in your headwhy didn’t He say, "But thou, when thou prayest, do so in thy head, so that no man heareth or seeth?" I believe that if that’s what Jesus meant, that is what Jesus would have said!

4. But what He said was, "Go into thy closet and shut the door."

5. If prayer was to be done in the head, there would be no reason for you to go into your closet and shut the door.

b. Philippians 4:6 - "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

1. God knows before you ask Him—"I the Lord search the heart."

2. So to make your requests known, you must, what? Tell Him.

c. It is recorded in Daniel 6 that King Darius had signed a decree signed that anyone who made any kind of request from any god or man except the king for thirty days would be thrown into the lion’s den.

1. Daniel 6:10:11 – "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God."

2. The decree prohibited anyone from making a request from aany god or man except the king. How did these men know what Daniel was praying? How did they know that he was not simply praising Jehovah God? How did these men know that Daniel was asking anything of God?

3. They must have heard what he was praying.

d. Isaiah 62:6 - "Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep notsilence and give him no rest, til he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."


Adjunct Professor, Freedom Bible College & Seminary

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