Summary: 5 Reasons to saturate the year in prayer: 1. Bank blessings; 2. Prayer makes you smell good to God; 3. It sets the direction and tone for the year; 4. The season demands it; 5. You can avoid evil decrees.
Great Reasons To Saturate this Year in Prayer
PPT 1 Message Title
1. You can/need to bank Blessings for the future.
Every year I approach the week of prayer from a cautious perspective. Danger ahead. I think that is wise and we will talk about that shortly, but I want to begin this morning discussing prayer for the year ahead in the sense that prayer is like making a deposit into your spiritual banking account.
Jesus put in a lump sum on Calvary and we can always draw from that which He has purchased for us with His blood, but there is also a sense that we can by prayer and other means add to our spiritual banking account. The bible talks about laying up treasure in heaven. Sowing and reaping etc.
Some things about the future are written in stone, others are not settled though they are known.
God knows what will happen but He describes the future for us as several possibilities.
PPT 3 Text
Mt 24:20 "But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath;
Mt 24:21 for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.
Jesus in this passage is warning Christians that in about 40 years the Romans would come and absolutely destroy the temple and Jerusalem. In essence He says to them start praying now and bank blessings that will make that horrible situation better for you.
He told the church to be praying almost 40 years before the events He spoke of would unfold. Some soils require a lot of preparation before the fruit can take root.
We could look at this passage as advice for retirement. You know it is coming and you want to get ready for it. The more you do now they better it will be later.
You start out small but after 40 years the interest really begins to compound.
So how did it turn out for the believer in 70AD, was their flight in winter and snow and harder difficulty? No! The Romans started their seige in Spring and the city fell in September, during the warmer months. Apparantly they banked enough prayer to make a difference for the better.
Some of you are living on prayers you banked 30 years ago.
How is that working out for you?
Lord teach us to not only pray for our daily bread, but also to bank blessings. Who knows what your grandkids are going to need? A little banked prayer every day can compound into a great blessing down the road. I know Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow, but this is not about worrying about tomorrow, but laying up blessings. Saturate your year and the years to come by praying blessings down the road!
The 2nd great reason to be much in prayer is that it makes you smell good to God.
In the bible we are instructed that there are many types of prayer that are not very good. For example:
Don't pray like the hypocrites to be seen by others as spiritual. Mt. 6:5
Don't pray with vain repetition. (Mt 6:7) Buddhist prayer wheels.
Pray with humility. Be merciful to me a sinner (Lk 18:10ff)
If a man mistreats his wife his prayers will be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
James 1:6,7 if you don't pray in faith you will not get anything from God.
With all those types of bad prayers as a backdrop, I want to show you from the book of Revelation how God describes the prayers of the saints:
PPT 4 text
Re 5:8 And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Ex 30:7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
So our prayers are called golden bowls of incense.
If we go back into the OT we will read over and over again that this incense is sweet smelling
as in Exodus 30:7 and many many other places.
In God's description of our prayers they are all beautiful even though many may not pass critical examination. In God's eyes they smell beautiful. They make us smell good, they make it enjoyable for God to be around us.
Which do you enjoy more? Being around nasty smelling people or nice smelling people. The sweet smell of prayer invites, and welcomes, and ushers in the presence of God.
Not only are our prayers like sweet smelling incense God orders that they be pumped up to smell even better: