Summary: Since prayer is really just talking to God, then why is it so hard? Some of us have no problem spending a lot of time talking to other people? So why does it take so much effort to talk to God?

Purpose: To show that a false commitment to Christ will cause a lack of desire to pray.

Aim: I want the listener to be sure that he is totally committed to Christ.

INTRODUCTION: For many years medical science thought that ulcers were caused by stress and spicy foods. But, in 1979 two Australian researchers discovered helicobacter pylori bacterium. They went on to prove that it caused ulcers. In 1994 the National Institutes of Health announced that ulcers would now be treated with antibiotics rather than cream.

Before a disease can be treated successfully the cause needs to be found. Many books on prayer have been written, thousands of sermons on prayer have been preached, and even Jesus has given us examples of prayer and yet most Christians admit that they don’t pray very much.

There is no arguing with the fact that prayer meetings are the least attended of all church gatherings. Why? Why don’t we pray more? We know we should pray more. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NAU)

Spurgeon reminds us that prayer must be a priority in the church if we want to see God’s blessing. "It is good for us to draw nigh to God in prayer. Our minds are grieved to see so little attention given to united prayer by many churches.

"How can we expect a blessing if we are too idle to ask for it? How can we look for a Pentecost if we never meet with one another, in one place, to wait upon the Lord? Brethren, we shall never see much change for the better in our churches till the prayer meeting occupies a higher place in the esteem of Christians." [1]

The obvious answer is that real prayer is hard work. Discipline is a necessary ingredient of real prayer.

The Bible often portrays prayer as hard work:

Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. (NAU) The English word for FERVENT comes from a term meaning "to boil."

James 5:16 ... The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (NAU)

Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, (NAU)

Luke 21:36 "But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place...." (NAU)

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; (NAU)

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (NAU)

Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer... (NAU)

Romans 15:30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, (NAU)

Since prayer is really just talking to God, then why is it so hard? Some of us have no problem spending a lot of time talking to other people? So why does it take so much effort to talk to God? So...

➽I. Why Does Prayer Require Discipline?

➽A. Prayer interferes with our selfishness

When we talk to a holy God it exposes our un-holiness. John Bunyan said, "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, and sin will make a man cease from prayer."

Real prayer exalts God, not us. Psalm 22:3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (NAU) Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. (NAU)

➽B. Prayer is spiritual warfare

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (NAU)

"There is such a thing as invading Satan’s territory. Some of His churches, Jesus said, were located in ’the synagogue of Satan’ (Rev. 2:9--11; 3:9), others where ’Satan’s throne is’ (2:13). Jesus spoke of one area ruled by a ’Jezebel’ spirit (2:20--23), and another committed to ’the deep things of Satan’" (2:24). [2]

"We need a work of the Holy Spirit of a supernatural kind, putting power into the preaching of the Word, inspiring all believers with heavenly energy, and solemnly affecting the hearts of the careless so that they turn to God and live. We would not be drunk with the wine of carnal excitement, but we would be filled with the Spirit. We would behold the fire descending from heaven in answer to the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men. Can we not entreat the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the people in this day of declension and vanity?"[3]

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