Summary: The importance of prayer in church growth.
(We Will Grow In 2007, IF #2)
(The Importance of Prayer)
The Scripture reading for this morning is from Philippians 1:3-11. I encourage you to follow along in your Bibles as I read.
Grace Memorial Baptist Church will grow significantly in numbers in the year 2007, but more importantly, we will grow closer in our walk with the Lord if we commit ourselves to five “IF’s.”
The five “IF’s” are listed in your workbook along with the daily reminder worksheets – one worksheet for each “IF.” Last Sunday morning we started a series of messages based on these five areas of commitment.
We spoke on the importance of studying our Bibles. It’s as simple as this - if you don’t truly study the Bible, the inspired Word of God, you won’t grow in spiritual maturity.
As you study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will guide you and help you understand more about God, His purposes and His ways.
If you don’t study God’s Holy Word, how will you know if someone is preaching the truth or if he is preaching false doctrine?
This morning’s message is entitled “Pray Daily” (The Importance of Prayer). Let’s begin reading with Philippians 1:3, “ 3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,”
As you are talking to God, please pray for your church, for each other, and for at least one lost person. And when you talk to Him:
1.Don’t Forget To Thank Him.
I can’t think of a better way to begin a prayer than by thanking our Creator and Sustainer, God. After all, if it weren’t for the love of God and His wonderful grace, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.
Paul begins by thanking God for the memories he has of the Christians at Philippi. Wherever Paul traveled, he lovingly remembered these Christians. Even though they were far away, they were often on his mind.
When he remembered the Philippians, he thought of them with joy in his heart. He probably spoke of them a great deal, and he enjoyed hearing news about them from others who had traveled there.
It is a wonder that Paul’s thoughts of the Philippians made him happy, because, in Philippi, he was badly mistreated.
He was scourged and beaten. He was put into stocks, and while he was there he didn’t see much reward for his efforts.
Paul really suffered while he was in Philippi, but he remembered his work there with delight.
This may sound a little strange to our ears. If you went on a journey to, say, Mexico City , and while you were there you were falsely accused, arrested and thrown into jail.
In jail you were shackled and beaten. Then, by some miracle, you were able to escape and find your way back to the United States.
When you were safely back home, would you look back and remember Mexico City with joy in your hearts? Probably not.
Paul remembered his sufferings in Philippi with joy, but it wasn’t because he liked pain.
He remembered this time with joy because of the reason for his suffering.
Paul suffered for Christ, and he found spiritual comfort in his physical suffering. He was pleased at every mention of the place where he had suffered for Christ.
James wrote, “ 2My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2,3) He and Paul thought a lot alike, it seems.
When Paul remembered the Philippians he didn’t say, “ Oh, Philippi. What a terrible place! The Pharisees there whipped me and put me in jail. I got out of that place by the skin of my teeth!”
No. He said, “ I thank my God on every remembrance of you.”
So, in our prayers, let’s not forget to thank God for everything – for the good times as well as the bad times; for the failures as well as the successes.
Look at verse 4, “ 4always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,” This brings us to:
2. Intercessory Prayer.
I know that this is a high-sounding word, but all it means is praying on behalf of others. One of the earliest and best examples of intercessory prayer is in Genesis 18 where Abraham spoke to God on behalf of Sodom.
Abraham asked God to spare Sodom if fifty righteous people could be found, then forty-five, then forty, then thirty, and so on down to ten.
God promised He would not destroy the city if ten righteous people could be found there.
And in Exodus 15:25, Moses prayed to God on behalf of the Hebrew people. The sacrifices and prayers of the priests in the Old Testament were acts of intercession.