Summary: Sermon is designed to motivate congregation toward prayer, especially praying for one another.
Pray for One Another
Today we launch a new prayer ministry in this church. You were given a brochure describing it as you came in this morning. It is called Gateway Online Prayer Community.
You’re probably aware of several ministries that are not yet in place as we restart this church. We are working on getting the Youth Ministry re-launched. Today the Children’s Ministry is being strengthened. And next Monday we will begin an outreach ministry.
But our highest priority at this point, is prayer. That’s why we have already re-established the pre-service prayer ministry in the Prayer Cottage. That’s why Wednesday evening is a prayer meeting. And that’s why Gateway Online Prayer Community is being established today.
Quoting Isaiah, Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” The only way any church can fulfill it’s calling from God is to be “a house of prayer.” For an organized group of people to function like a New Testament church, God has to be central to everything.
(1) He has to be the focus of our worship. We’re not here to entertain ourselves or each other. We’re not here to simply sing songs during the first half of our service. We’re here to worship God. The music simply facilitates that. Amen?
(2) The word preached must be more than humorous stories and positive motivation. It must be a word from God. “If any man speak, let him speak as an oracle of God.” Richard’s opinions are worthless. We need to hear from God. A Bible study needs to be more than an exchange of opinions. We need to hear from God. We need a prophetic anointing on everything that happens in our services. We need the Holy Spirit to speak to us in tongues & interpretation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and prophesy. It all revolves around God and what He’s doing.
(3) Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Nursery, all need to be centered on God and our relationship with Him.
“My house,” God says, “shall be a house of prayer.” Our propensity toward prayer or our reluctance to pray says a lot about where we are spiritually. Too many American churches are little more than a Rotary Club with a little spiritual veneer. Too many churches are only horizontal in their relationships with little vertical relationship with God. It shall not be so with Gateway Foursquare Church. Amen?
My subject this morning is prayer—and specifically the command in James 5:16 to pray for one another. Having talked some about the importance of our vertical relationship with God, let’s talk a little about our horizontal relationship with one another. The New Testament is full of instruction about how we are to treat one another. I’ve already mentioned the command in James to pray for one another. But here are a few other commands along those lines.
Rom 12:16 “Be of the same mind toward one another.”
James 5:9 “Do not grumble against one another....”
James 5:16 “Confess your trespasses to one another....”
Rom 14:13 “...stop passing judgment on one another...” (NIV).
Rom 15:7 “...receive one another....”
Gal 5:13-14 “...serve one another.”
Eph 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another....”
1 Thes 4:18 “...comfort one another....”
James 4:11 “Do not speak evil of one another....”
1 John 3:11 (The most all-encompassing statement of all) “...love one another....”
The command to “pray for one another” addresses both our horizontal relationship with each other and our vertical relationship with God. In Luke 11 Jesus tells the story about a man whose friend was on a journey. That friend arrived at his house late in the evening and needed a place to stay. That was fine; but the host had a problem. His cupboard was bare. He had no food to give his guest. So what did the man do? At midnight he went next door and woke his neighbor up asking to borrow food. Jesus told how the man received from his neighbor because he was bold enough to ask. Immediately after that Jesus told us to “ask and you will receive.”
That story is a picture of our need to pray for one another. We pray because we want to see each other’s need met. Here’s our problem. As far as meeting each others’ needs, our cupboard is bare. We have some things we can give. The man in Jesus’ story had a house and place to sleep that he could share with his guest. But he did not have everything that guest needed. Rather than deny the guest, what did he do? He went to someone who has plenty. That someone is God. God alone can supply what is needed. And God’s invitation to you and me is this: Come to me anytime, ask for bread to give to one another, ask me to supply what is needed. Come boldly to the Throne of Grace and I will give abundantly.