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Summary: John Wesley considered prayer an essential part of Christian living. He called it in many of his writings the most important and powerful means of grace. Prayer empowers us for ministry and following God. Jesus showed us this through His own example. Afte

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Prayer: A Means of Grace

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I found a series of “Dear God” prayers on the internet, a few of which I’d like to share with you:

7-year old Debbie prayed, “Dear God: Please send a new baby for Mommy. The new baby you sent last week cries too much.”

Hank, 7 “Dear Lord: Thank you for the nice day today. You even fooled the TV weather man.”

Lois, age 9 “Dear God: Please help me in school. I need help in spelling, adding, history, geography and writing. I don’t need help in anything else.”

David age 7 “Dear God: I need a raise in my allowance. Could you have one of your angels tell my father. Thank you.”

Diane age 8 “Dear God; I am saying my prayers for me and my brother, Billy, because Billy is six months old and he can’t do anything but sleep and wet his diapers.”

I think that raises the question, “Why should we pray?” Five reasons. First, we are exhorted, encouraged and commanded us to pray. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:17 calls us to “pray without ceasing.” I could go on and on but the point is that God wants us to pray. He wants to hear from us. He wants to talk with us. He wants to speak to us His heart’s desire but that can only happen when we pray.

Second, Jesus equipped us to pray. "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven…” Matt. 6:7-9 This passage is from the Sermon on the Mount. In the middle of His sermon, where Jesus is focusing on teaching his followers how to live, He turns His attention to the subject of prayer. He not only begins to teach his followers how to pray but by interrupting his sermon, he’s telling them that prayer is meant to be a part of how they live their daily lives. And so Jesus gives them a model for prayer in the Lord’s Prayer.

Third, God uses our prayers to advance His purposes. This is why we pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” When we pray for God’s will and for God’s work, we enhance it and speed its completion. Prayer is what ensures the triumph of the Gospel and the establishment of God’s kingdom here on earth. Everything that comes to pass takes places according to God's unchangeable decree. When God answers our prayers, we have been used as instruments in forwarding His purposes! It is not that our prayers change God's plans - but that in a wonderful way He uses them as a powerful means to accomplish them. God harnesses the prayers of His people to His unchangeable plans as one means by which He will bring them to pass! This is why God loves when we pray, why He puts all that power into our hands, and why He so highly esteems people who pray, because they become co-laborers and partners in His mission. Every movement in the advancement of the Gospel was created by and inspired by prayer. In all these, prayer precedes and attends as an invariable and necessary condition for a new initiative in the work of God.

Fourth, prayer is a spiritual weapon. Ephesians 6:12-13, 18 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm….With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” Paul reminds his readers that we are engaged in a war, a war between the armies of heaven and those of hell. Even though these forces are invisible to us, they are very real and they are very powerful, and that the struggle that is taking place with them is our struggle. You are a part of God’s army and God has enlisted you to fight this war and our most powerful spiritual weapon is prayer. It enables us to engage the powers and principalities and fight for the kingdom of God.

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