Summary: "Pray?" you ask. "Why pray?" you ask. Because prayer is our great privilege! Talk to God. Let God speak to you. Let the Christians "pray up."
"A Wide Door for Effective Service:
Let the Christians ’Pray Up’"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: John 17:9-23, KJV
Purpose: "Pray?" you ask. "Why pray?" you ask. Because prayer is our great privilege! Talk to God. Let God speak to you. Let the Christians "pray up."
This Sermon Series
This message is the 5th of a 6-part sermon series titled, "A Wide Door for Effective Service." The key verse for this series is:
"I will tarry...until Pentecost; for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." (1 Corinthians 16:9)
The emphasis for the series is this: each Christian member of this church is, in fact, a minister. The time has come for you to find a suitable and enjoyable service in your church; for you to contribute in ways more than you have practiced until now.
==> I believe strongly--very strongly--that there are many ways YOU can be in effective service in Christ’s church; and at the same time, YOU CAN BE MORE FULFILLED by doing the thing that you enjoy, but doing it for God and His people. Whatever your particular ministry may be...EVERY CHRISTIAN’S MINISTRY IS PRAYER!
People Who Have Prayed for Me
I grew up in a household where prayer was not an important thing. In fact, I can’t remember ever having prayer together as a family; not even at meals. On the other hand, that I’m sure my parents must have prayed for me, even if their prayers went something like this: "Oh God, please keep that boy from doing the damage he is surely capable of doing!"
Fortunately, my parents have always been God-fearing persons, and so I am sure that they prayed sincere prayers for me. (They are now church attending Christians, thanks be to God!) My Granny Swindell and Grandma Hollis, I am sure, used to pray for me. They are both home with the Lord now.
And, I have always known that my wife, Vicki, prays for me daily--probably she prays hourly for me! She is a godly lady, and she prays for me.
I’m also very sure that my pastor and his wife, Rev. Marvin McDaniel and Fran, pray for me often; probably daily.
And I know that MANY of you beloved people pray daily for me!
So, I have always known something about being on the receiving end of prayer. But, it wasn’t until I met a senior saint, a lady I’ll call Mrs. Allen, that I learned about the true effects of prayer. She attended the church where I began my pastoral ministry, i.e., Peniel Church of the Nazarene. She knew that I needed a lot of prayer, and she had the time, the faith, and the will to pray for me.
Rev. John Wesley’s Emphasis on Prayer
Friends, it takes prayer to change the world. And it takes much prayer to accomplish anything for God. The Rev. John Wesley recognized that when he said:
"Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God; and I care not a straw whether they be clergy or laymen. Such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer."
==> God’s hand MOVES WHEN PEOPLE AND PASTORS PRAY TOGETHER. Through prayer, God makes the impossible, possible.
Our Scripture is a great prayer of the Great Savior. We typically call this prayer by a title, "The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus." The whole prayer is found in John chapter 17; we will examine verses 9-23.
JESUS HIMSELF PRAYED FOR ME
I hope that you have experienced the joy and wonderment of having others pray for you. Christian, you really do need to have other Christians praying for you.
Prayer is Special, and Prayer is Tough
Prayer is communication with the Almighty God. Prayer is a very special activity. It is a God-ordained activity. And make no mistake, it is a tough activity to do.
Tough activity? Yeah, it’s tough! The proof is this: how much do you pray? Hmmm?
But think about the purpose of prayer: in prayer we speak with the Almighty God--with God! And so, in the scheme of God’s workings, only those persons who are very sincere in their relationship with the Lord, only they will find the time, desire, and strength to pray.
==> Prayer is a special spiritual activity. And God has given you the right to engage in it.
Jesus Prayed for Me
In our passage, Jesus is the one praying, and look who He prays for: "I pray for them." Jesus Himself prayed for the disciples, including me!
I know that many people have prayed for me. Parents. Grandparents. Wife. Pastor. Sincere Christians. What a tremendous blessing they have been for me. And what a wonderful testimony I can give about their faithfulness, their concern, their care. They PRAYED THEIR PRAYERS UP to God in heaven.