Summary: Prayer is the calling of every believer
Standing in Prayer
August 19, 2007
John Hyde is one of the most well known missionaries to India. One of his chief characteristics was an amazing prayer life. Early in his ministry he had an itinerant schedule and traveled from village to village. Hyde became frustrated with few converts.
One morning John was reading and came across the words of Isaiah 62:6-7: “They must remind the LORD of his promises… They must give him no rest until he restores Jerusalem.” John began praying that God would provide one convert for him that day. By the end of that year, he won over 400 people to Christ. The next year he began to ask God for two converts a day and again his prayer was answered. The following year he prayed for four converts a day with the same results.
Prayer worked incredible wonders for John Hyde and it can do the same for us today. Prayer has the power of God behind it and when we pray God moves.
Over and over again Paul calls the early church to the ministry of prayer. The most powerful example that Paul gives for prayer is often his own prayers that he prayed for the churches.
The central significance of prayer is not in the things that happen as results, but in the deepening intimacy and unhurried communion with God at His central throne of control in order to discover a "sense of God’s need in order to call on God’s help to meet that need" E.M. Bounds, The Weapon Of Prayer.
This morning, we are going to conclude our series on spiritual warfare. If you have your Bibles with you, please open them to Ephesians 6:18-20
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:18-20
The frequency of prayer
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path."Today in the Word, June 29, 1992.
When Paul says to pray on all occasions, does he mean to pray 24 hours per day? Most likely he is not. There are two things that Paul is referring to. The first issue is the attitude of prayer. Our day should be filled with an attitude of prayer. In other words, prayer should be an ongoing conversation with God throughout our day, not just a segment of it.
The second issue is the arrangement of prayer. Paul would have practiced a specific schedule of prayer. The Hebrew model of prayer was divided into three segments of day. These designated prayer times were observed by those who sought to know God. Each of these three times would have been around an hour in length.
The issue that Paul is dealing with is more than a specific set number of times for prayer. We are to live each day in a spirit of prayer.
The goal of frequency of prayer is to help us stay in tune with God. The idea of radio frequency – The number of times a radio wave gets repeated at a specific modulation. We are able to receive a radio station as long as you are able to stay within the designated frequency. The same is true with God, we can only stay in tune with Him when we stay in frequent communication with Him.
One of our problems in American churches is that we never truly get serious about prayer. We only really seriously pray when we are faced with problems beyond our abilities.
The form and function of prayer
with all kinds of prayers and requests
Paul tells the Ephesians to pray all kinds of prayers. When you stop to think about it there are several different kinds of prayers that we use and several different functions of prayer. This is in essence both the how and the why we pray. The form is how we pray and the function is why we pray.
Remember that there is no prescribed posture, position or even place in the New Testament for prayer. The issue of importance was the fact that we are to pray.