Summary: Christians will not stay spiritually fit without making prayer part of their regular workout routine!
Cornerstone Church February 19, 2006
“Prayer 101 – Lord, Teach Us to Pray” Series
LESSON 1: “LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.”
“A man was being pursued by a roaring, hungry lion. Feeling the beast’s hot breath on his neck and knowing his time was short, he prayed as he ran. He cried in desperation, ‘O Lord, please make this lion a Christian.’ Within seconds, the frightened man became aware the lion had stopped the chase. When he looked behind him, he found the lion kneeling, lips moving in obvious prayer. Greatly relieved at this turn of events – and desirous of joining the lion in meditation, he approached the king of the jungle. When he was near enough, he heard the lion praying, ‘And bless, O Lord, this food for which I’m exceedingly grateful!’”
This humorous illustration clearly reflects the two times that Christians are most likely to pray: when in trouble and right before a meal!
Great mealtime prayers:
“Lord bless this bunch as they munch.”
“Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.”
Sometimes our prayers are like this song:
“The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you”
Burt Bacharach – ”I Say a Little Prayer for You.” 1966
Or they are as specific as this prayer: God bless all the Missionaries, Amen!
Why do we view prayer as a last ditch effort?
We use prayer like a “Hail Mary” play in a football game!
After we have expended all of our strength, all of our wisdom and all of our resources we cry out to God in prayer for help!
PRAYER IS VITAL TO OUR SPIRITUAL FITNESS!
“Prayer is to the soul
what exercise is to the body.”
Dr. Steve Farrar
What happens when we do not walk or run? Our physical health deteriorates. We are easily winded and have little staying power.
So it is with Christians who do not stay spiritually fit by making prayer part of their regular workout routine! A high fiber diet of the Word of God is not enough to achieve spiritual health.
A steady diet of the Word of God without an active prayer life gives birth to an individual with a cold, dead, orthodoxy. They are passionless. This is the breeding ground for pride.
Prayer without the Word of God is an equal imbalance. God uses His Word to communicate to us as His children.
WHEN WE FAIL TO PRAY, WE TRADE:
Material blessings for Spiritual blessings
Physical resources for Spiritual resources
Human success for Divine blessing
The Book of Acts records the account of the Apostle Peter being imprisoned by Herod Agrippa.
Herod Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great.
Herod Antipas was Herod Agrippa’s Uncle (he killed John the Baptist and was involved in Jesus’ trial).
This was the second time that Peter had been arrested for preaching the Gospel.
During his first arrest the leaders thought they had Peter locked away. However, during the night an angle of the Lord let them out.
Acts 5:22-24 NIV But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
Acts 5:25-26 NIV Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
Just prior to the time of Peter’s second arrest, James, the brother of John, was killed. This act pleased the crowd so much that Herod Agrippa, the good politician that he was, wanted to execute Peter as well.
Acts 12:4 NIV After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
4 night shifts each three hours long.
4 squads of 4 soldiers in each guarded Peter
He was chained to two of them while the other two watched him
So Peter was chained and put into prison. A guard was placed on each side of him and the other ones guarded him.
PETER’S SITUATION APPEARS HOPELESS!
The early days of the infant church were both exciting and vulnerable. At this point some may not have even believed the reports that the LORD Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead.