Summary: Series of messages on prayer - This messages deals with the purpose of prayer.
The Purpose of Prayer
We have been looking to understand and implement into our lives the habits or discipline that conditions the spiritual dimension of our lives that in turn increases our capacity to relate to God. Only when these activities become a way of life will we see the desired growth we all long to experience. It is sad, but unless we actually schedule time for God in our life it won’t happen. Then we need to take time each day to remind ourselves and affirm the fact that He is boss and we are not. We also need to take time daily to acknowledge our failure to keep God the center of our life and the areas that we have failed to obey His will for us. Since the Word of God sustains spiritual life, a healthy walk requires some level of interaction EVERYDAY. It is not just enough however to interact at some intellectual level or even an emotional level but genuine trust is validated by action. Faith has to do with a decision to do what God instructs based on a settled confidence that God always does what He says. Interaction with the truth enlightens our perception concerning God and stirs the core of our being to respond in some way. The response of man’s heart to revelation of God’s person and purpose and awareness of His presence has many facets. Such response is called worship, praise, thanksgiving, celebration, obedience, adoration, exaltation. Praise and thanksgiving must become an every day habit.
Daily conversation is another essential building block for relationships. The first sign of trouble in a relationship is that the conversation decreases and degenerates. Prayer is not that mysterious. At the very least, prayer is simply conversation with God. Just as our human conversations vary, so our conversation with God varies.
Seek information Convey information Express admiration or gratitude Affirm commitment
Express concerns Seek help Offer help
These all also describe our conversations with God. Such vital conversation is a central part of our relationship with God and the power source of the church on earth. God is more engaged by the honesty of our heart than the eloquence of our words. Scripture describes and prescribes two avenues of conversation with God.
Personal conversation with God – personal prayer
Public conversation with God – public or corporate prayer
Nearly every monumental movement of God has been the result of a group of people praying together.
The Pattern left by Jesus
In the Gospels we find the picture of a praying Jesus like an etching, a sketch in black and white, the fewest possible strokes of the pen, a scratch here, a line there, frequently a single word added by one writer to the narrative of the other, which gradually bring to view the outline of a lone figure with upturned face. In all this praying, only fragments of the actual prayers of Jesus, save a most important intercessory prayer in John 17, have been recorded. Christ left us a record of the consistency of His prayer life rather than the content. Prayer is personal communion from the heart of the individual. In fact, all the recorded prayers of Jesus could be recited in 10 minutes. Yet we know that Jesus prayed constantly. There are 15 references of Jesus praying recorded in the Gospels.
1. Before difficult or impossible tasks
* The raising of Lazarus John 11:41-42
* The Garden of Gethsemane Lk 22; Matt 26; Jn 18
* The choosing of the disciples Lk 6:12
2. During difficult times
The first and last words on the cross were prayers. Forty strenuous days of temptation was thoroughly resisted with prayer and fasting.
3. After a difficult and trying day
He prayed after a long day of ministry and confrontation with Satan’s kingdom. Lk Lk 4:42; Mk 1:35 Mark says that after this long day of ministry:
"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."
"And after bidding the crowd farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray. (until evening) Mk 6:46
Jesus knew where to refuel. He knew where His energy to sustain a people ministry was to be found; intimate conversation with the Father.
4. During times of joy and success
As a result of the joyful return and report of the seventy missionaries Jesus took time to thank God for the revelation of truth that had been opened to them. Lk 10:21
5. To avoid trap of notoriety
But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed." Lk 5:15-16