Summary: Why all Christians need to dedicate ourselves to daily prayer: 1. It is God’s priority for us (vs. 1) 2. It brings God’s peace to us (vs. 2) 3. It pleases God (vs. 3) 4. It helps accomplish God’s purpose for people (vs. 4-6)
New Habits for a New Year
Part 2: Dedicate Yourself to Daily Prayer
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Jan. 25, 2009
*What is God like? We could never get to the end of describing His goodness and glory. But today I want to focus on the fact that He has come to seek and to save the lost.
*God wants to meet you right where you are, and take you to a new place in life.
-You don’t have to change yourself to come to Him.
-You come just as you are and He will give you a new heart, new dreams, new attitudes and new habits.
*You may have been locked into bad habits for years, but all things are possible with God, so don’t give up. And Christians, God certainly wants to bring some good new habits into our lives. So Paul was “confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6)
*Right now is a great time to start new habits in your life.
-Last week we focused on the single most important habit you need to add to your life: A daily diet of God’s Word, feeding on the Word of God, listening to God as He speaks through His Word.
-This habit has to be number one, but today’s habit is almost as crucial: a daily time of personal prayer.
*As Christian, we all need to dedicate ourselves to daily prayer, and God’s Word shows us why.
1. Pray first because it is God’s priority for you.
*Paul put it this way in vs. 1: “I exhort (or urge) first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.”
-This word “first” means “first in importance,” an urgent, crucial thing.
*What really matters? -- I remember watching part of a documentary about the crash of a Concorde jet in France. It happened on July 25, 2000.
-Over 100 people died. And it all started because of a strip of metal that had fallen on the runway. It was only 16 inches long. I could hold it here in my hand.
*What matters? -- Sometimes it’s hard for us to see, but God knows.
-And of all the words you think or speak every day, none are more important than the words you speak to God. “I urge first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.”
*In this verse God gives us 4 words for prayer.
 The first prayer word is “supplications.” It’s the idea of having a need and asking for help, but the root word is “to bind.” So there is great strength here, like binding ourselves with chains to our purpose in prayer. But also binding ourselves to God and His will, no matter how He chooses to answer.
*We know that we are in the best Hands with God. So, we are willing to accept the answer He gives, even if it’s not the answer we want.
*Elisa Morgan saw a perfect picture of this in her 11-year-old daughter’s prayers.
-Elisa was troubled one night, because her friend had a teenage daughter whose hair had started mysteriously falling out. The sick girl’s name was Amy.
*Elisa asked her own daughter Eva to pray for Amy and she simply prayed, “Jesus, please hold Amy’s hair on her head.” *Over time the doctors experimented with different treatments, but Amy continued to lose her hair.
-And Eva continued to pray: “Jesus, please hold Amy’s hair on her head.”
*After 6 weeks the doctors determined that Amy had an extremely rare disorder where hair loss can be complete and permanent.
-That night, Eva’s prayer was different. She said, “Dear Jesus, if you won’t hold Amy’s hair on her head. Would you please hold Amy?” (1)
*We bind ourselves to the Lord with supplications,
 And we offer our “prayers.” The word picture here is bowing before the Lord.
-We bow before Him to give Him the glory and praise He deserves!
-We bow towards Him to draw close in worship. We offer our “prayers.”
 And we carry our “intercessions,” bearing the burdens of others to our King.
-Intercession is standing in the gap for other people through a close, personal conversation with the King. We plead with our King on behalf of our friend, knowing that we can come before Him with childlike confidence. We carry our “intercessions.”
 And we give our “thanks,” coming before God with grateful hearts for all that He has done, and will do! This is one of God’s greatest priorities for our lives.
*Dedicate yourself to daily prayer, because it is God’s priority for you.