Summary: Part 2 of this series designed to keep our "fire" for God through spiritual disciplines. This message shows what prayer is and gives some common approaches to it.
“The Cure for the Common Cold” part 2 (Getting warm with your prayer life)
Brian A. Moon
Story – Testimony of healing from prayer by Doug Gates
Last week we began a new series called “The Cure for the Common Cold” which is looking into a cure for those times that we lose our passion for God. Most of us have had those times when we are “on fire” for God, only to be back to normal in few short weeks just like this church in this verse from Revelation.
Revelation 2:4-5 “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” NRSV
The cure we found out were what are known as spiritual disciplines, or spiritual training exercises you could say. The first one was getting aquatinted with, and reading, our Bibles. The most important things were to get a good version of the Bible like the NRSV or the NIV, find the place and time to read it, and then to make our reading meaningful we should:
Start with books like 1 John and James instead of
Pray and ask God to speak to you
Don’t read a lot at a time, slow down and enjoy it
Find a verse that jumps off the page and write it
When we do these things we are opening ourselves up to the very words of God and opening ourselves up to connecting with God in fresh and powerful new ways.
But reading our Bibles is only part of the equation…
It would be like only exercising your arms and never working out the rest of your body, you would look a lot like Popeye, but your body would be missing out on its full potential. There are many other ways to work out our spiritual muscles and tonight we are going to look at prayer.
Prayer has always been a vital part of the Christian faith. And not long and lengthy prayers like you might here in a church today, but simply prayers. Early Christian monks from the 2nd and 3rd centuries would take short verses of scripture and make them into prayers that they would repeat all day long. The most famous of these early monastic prayers was the Jesus Prayer and it goes like this:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
They would take that short little prayer and repeat it all day long as a way to stay in constant contact with God. The reason I share that prayer is because it illustrates the simplicity of prayer. Prayer is one of the most misunderstood things today in the church.
People think they have to be well educated and able to come up with poetic prayers that last for 10 minutes, but in all reality prayer is a simple heart felt conversation with God. Before we go on tonight, I want to take a few minutes and talk about our first topic:
What is prayer?
Just what to I mean when I talk about prayer? We all come up with different pictures in our heads when we mention the word prayer, from sitting Indian style with our palms up to Gregorian chants filling a huge cathedral in Europe, just what are we talking about here? Take a look at this clip… (SCENE FROM “THE APOSTLE” CHALLENGING THE MAN IN THE BULLDOZER)
Now most of us have never had a face down with a bulldozer, but we all face times when we are up against something that is too big for us to handle.
This is just one of the times we should stop and have a conversation with God, or pray! Prayer is also misunderstood today because of the prevailing attitude that it is asking God for favors. The idea is that we ask God to bless us here, and bless us there, bless us everywhere…
Recently, my wife and I went on vacation to Palm Beach and stayed in a really nice hotel, we were waited on hand and foot. All you had to do was make a quick phone call and you could have your breakfast in bed, clothes brought up to you from your car, things washed and ironed for you, afternoon tea at your favorite spot and so on and so on…
And many people have been taught that prayer is like that, But prayer is not supposed to make God into a “cosmic bellhop” Prayer is to accomplish God’s plans here on earth, not to accomplish our plans. That does not mean that we should not pray when we have a hurt or need, but we are not to view prayer as a means to a new car or whatever we need God to do at that moment.