Summary: Prayer provides the opportunity for us to have conversations with God that will transform our lives. We must increase our prayer lives: individually and corporately if we want to obtain the promises that God has made us. We will be intentional about

Maturing Prayer

Kitten Prayer - The story is told of a young girl who was saying her bedtime prayers while her parents knelt beside her. “Dear God, bless Mommy and Daddy and my little brother, Tommy. God, I would really like a pony, but if You can’t get me a pony, a kitten would do. Amen.”

Get off of the milk and on to the meat

How do we mature in the faith?

Let’s look at the life and words of Christ to answer this question.

Matt: 6:1-16

God is instructing us to continue to practice the basics:

Giving, Prayer, Fasting,

In fact, on Wed. Nights, I have been teaching on seven disciplines:

daily prayer. daily Bible study. fasting. church attendance . serving. witnessing. giving.

Today, we are going to be talking about prayer.

Prayer provides the opportunity for us to have conversations with God that will transform our lives.

In 2008, we must increase our prayer lives: individually and corporately if we want to obtain the promises that God has made us.

In 2008, we will be intentional about everything that we do. Especially about prayer.

Scientist are studying prayer today for health related issues pouring millions of dollars into research. Keep in mind, that science is designed to study the natural not the supernatural.

During His earthly mission, Jesus prayed often and modeled a life of prayer that is an example and pattern for all believers to follow.

Jesus’ regular practice of prayer compelled His followers to plead, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

The principles Jesus shared with them are relevant to every generation.

Let’s look at some of these principles:

1. Why Jesus Prayed

Luke 5:15-16 (NIV)

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. [16] But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

1. Solitude and communion with God (Luke 5:16—getting away and getting alone)

a. People were flocking to hear Jesus preach and to have their diseases healed, but Jesus made sure he often withdrew to quiet, solitary places to pray. Many things clamor for our attention, and we often run ourselves ragged attending to them. Like Jesus, however, we should take time to withdraw to a quiet and deserted place to pray. Strength comes from God, and we can only be strengthened by spending time with him.

b. In contrast to his earlier freedom to minister in "the towns" (v. 12), Jesus must now make a practice of finding solitude in deserted areas.

c. we live in a “multitask¬ing” society, which is constantly seeking ways to get as many different things done as possible. Sadly, this type of mindset can creep into our prayer lives. If we’re not actually doing something else while we pray, we’re tempted to think about other things. Jesus’ example is key; we need to set aside special time devoted only to our Heavenly Father. In that quiet place, apart from all distrac¬tions, we can share the deepest thoughts of our hearts as we also listen for His voice.

d. Where can you go to find a private place of prayer?

Luke 6:12-13 (NIV)

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. [13] When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:

2. Decision making (Luke 6:12,13—selecting His disciples)

a. The Gospel writers note that before every important event in Jesus’ life, he took time to go off by himself and pray. This time Jesus was preparing to choose his inner circle, the 12 disciples. Make sure that all your important decisions are grounded in prayer.

b. Don’t go through life flipping a coin to make decisions.

c. Discernment comes as you spend time with God!

Mark 1:35-42 (NIV)

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. [36] Simon and his companions went to look for him, [37] and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"

[38] Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." [39] So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

[40] A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean."

[41] Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" [42] Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.

3. Jesus needed refreshing & Power for ministry (Mark 1: 35–42—spiritual warfare, healing)

a. He was ready to go “somewhere else”

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