Summary: A sermon on the phrase "continuing instant in prayer" KJV (Outline and material adapted from Charles Spurgeon's sermon at: http://www.sermoncentral.com/outsideurl.asp?outsideurl=http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/1480.htm)
Dear Lord, So far today, God, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few minutes Lord, I'm going to get out of bed And from then on, I'm going to need all the help I can get.
faithful in prayer- This command for the Christian is placed around other brief commands. Prayer has a connection with all of these.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11, NIV. The word fervor or fervent literally means to boil with heat or to be hot. How do we keep a fire hot? Need oxygen and need fuel. In the Christian life, we need a lot of prayer and Bible to keep our love and devotion for the Lord hot. Without these things our zeal for the Lord will be lacking, our service for the Lord will get tiresome and weary. Eventually we will be tempted to quit.
Roman Christians seem to be going through a time of persecution. We see references to that in this section. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14, NIV.
“Be joyful in hope and patient in affliction”- Hope and patience can get these Christians through the trying times. However, these two are impossible without prayer. How can we be joyful in hope, if we know nothing about prayer to the God of all hope? As for patience, how can we be patient if we do not pray? Without prayer, our hope grows dim and we lose sight of our heavenly home. Without prayer, our patience grows thin and we want to give up during times of affliction. Through prayer, we can be joyful and patient in all tribulations, and endure even to the point of torture and death.
“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13, NIV. Because we are praying for others, we are ready and willing to share with them. If we are not praying for them, we are not given to hospitality. Praying for others opens up the heart, the home and the hard cash.
Thesis: 3 words this morning: Instant, constant, and expectant
Instant- KJV- Continuing instant in prayer
Not what we think of when we think of instant. Comes out of the microwave in an instant.
Instant brings to mind that it needs to be done right now. This is right but more than that. This word instant means pressing, urgent, and earnest. Another way of saying this phrase, “always applying strength in prayer,” or “continuing with all your might in prayer.” Intensity applies here.
A way of looking at this is of a hunting dog who will not give up until the game is caught. A hunting dog when in pursuit of its victim uses every part of its being on bring down the game. No glance this way or that, it is all on the victim.
This is the way we are to pray. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12, NIV. In wrestling a man has all of his mind and body occupied with the desire to pin his opponent. In prayer we need our minds, memories, affections, hopes, fears and even our imaginations to be fixed upon praying.
Need to be like the man who came at midnight and asked his neighbor for bread. Jesus said this about him: “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:8, 9, NIV.
Should God be expected to give to us that which we do not value? If we are not eager in receiving, why should we blame God if he should withhold it until we are in a more eager state? Should we expect God to honor our half hearted requests?
It’s like a mother with a baby. The baby rouses from sleep and beings to cry a little, but mother leaves the baby alone. The mother goes about her duties. The baby cries a little more fervently, the mother still does not stop what she is doing. Finally, the baby give full force to crying, then the mother quits what she is doing and picks up the baby. Sometimes it is not until we give full force to our petitions that the Lord honors our requests.