Summary: What are we to pray about? 1- Pray for the spreading of the message 2- Pray for the deliverance from evil people 3- Pray for the strengthening of God’s Spirit
INTRO.- Prayer is the one of the great privileges that we have as Christians. People outside of Christ can only meditate, but we can talk to God, knowing He is there, listening, loving, etc.
ILL.- A group of bats, hanging from the ceiling of a cave, discover a single bat STANDING upright below them on the floor of the cave. Surprised by this unusual behavior, they ask, "What’s wrong with you? What are you doing down there?" The standing bat answers, "Yoga!"
What’s the big deal about meditation that Yoga instructors preach? Thinking is not bad, but what are people thinking or meditating about?
ILL.- Two men meet on the street.
One asks the other: "Hi, how are you?"
The other one replies: "I’m fine, thanks."
"And how’s your son? Is he still unemployed?"
"Yes, he is. But he is meditating now."
"Meditating? What’s that?"
"I don’t know. But it’s better than sitting around and doing nothing!"
I contend that praying to God is better than meditating on nothing! And to me, that’s exactly what Yoga meditation is. Any time our thoughts are merely focused on self or nothing, we will get no where and certainly not be pleasing to God.
ILL.- A woman in Tallahassee, Florida, was in the grips of severe depression. For weeks she wept and felt helpless. She was barely able to get through each day. She was afraid to be left alone for fear that she would kill herself. When she went to bed, she often hoped that she would never wake up. SOUNDS BAD. What did she do?
Then her Sunday School class entered into what they called “The Brave Christian’s Experiment.” In desperation the woman decided to try this simple plan which basically provides some simple steps for letting God be the center of one’s life.
The plan proposed five steps—
(1) Spend a half hour each morning in prayer and meditation (on scripture)
(2) Give God one-tenth of your earnings.
(3) Give God two hours of your time each week.
(4) Meet once a week to pray with others who are trying to do the same thing.
(5) Witness to others about your experiences.
It worked. She got better. She overcame her depression.
Any time we focus on the Lord, His Word, and spend time talking to Him and serving others, life will get better! It’s God plan and it works. But any time we focus on self or the things of this world we are headed for disaster.
Psalm 1:1-2 "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."
Job 33:26 "He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state." That sounds very good to me!
I think that scripture and prayer are our two best defenses in life. They provide spiritual strength for the battles of this life and keep us in line with God and on good ground with Him. it’s called HOLY GROUND. We need that holy ground every day.
PROP.- In our text, Paul said, "pray for us." What are we to pray about?
1- Pray for the spreading of the message
2- Pray for the deliverance from evil people
3- Pray for the strengthening of God’s Spirit
I. PRAY FOR THE SPREADING OF THE MESSAGE
1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.
ILL.- Preacher Leighton Ford said, " I was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark glasses, no one recognized him.
"Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening intently to my presentation. When I invited people to come forward as an open sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, ’Would you like to accept Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want to.’
"The old man looked him up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, ’Naw, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night.’" Big Guns meaning Billy Graham.
There is no doubt that Billy Graham has done his share of leading people to faith in Christ, but big shot or little shot, we all need to do our part in leading people to faith in Christ so they can be saved.