Summary: I am proposing that the foundation of your spiritual house and the church itself consists of prayer and worship, our part of the relationship with Jesus. Obviously without the blueprints, the Bible, you can’t even get started. That is the receptive mode,
We have over the past few weeks prepared the property and looked at the blueprints for building this spiritual house, and now its time to get started on the most important part of any building, the foundation. No building can stand without a good foundation.
I am proposing that the foundation of your spiritual house and the church itself consists of prayer and worship, our part of the relationship with Jesus. Obviously without the blueprints, the Bible, you can’t even get started. That is the receptive mode, but now you actually have to respond and start building, so we come now to the actual outworking, the construction begins now.
The Bible is how God primarily speaks to us. Prayer and worship is now us speaking to and responding to Him. Of course prayer can also be receptive as well, but in essence it is our responding to God. Prayer and worship together form the foundation of our spiritual life as we respond to God’s word and creation remembering that without God’s word there is no foundation.
What is Prayer?
You know I had never looked up the original words for prayer before, and it was pretty interesting when I did for this sermon. Did you know that the most often used word for prayer in the New Testament is the same as the root word for worship? Literally to move toward or draw near to God. That is what we are doing when we pray, we are drawing near to the Lord.
To interrogate or make requests is another word used in the NT found mostly in the High Priestly prayer Jesus sends up in the book of John. Even Jesus pleads with the Father.
Why is Prayer important?
In New Mexico there is the biggest bank of satellite dishes in the world with the very creative name, “Very Large Array” or VLA. They can pick up the faintest radio waves from light years away. In fact the total energy of all radio waves ever recorded barely equals the force of a snowflake hitting the ground.
Well God has an even more sensitive array in heaven that hears everything the universe has ever transmitted, and this can only be because he wants to hear from us. God expects his children to talk to Him. Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer”; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray continually”, which really means have a constant awareness of the presence of God. Be tuned into his frequency.
God doesn’t want a one way relationship. Would you stay in a relationship where you were completely committed to the other person, but they never spoke to you or never desired to give anything to you?
There’s another reason prayer is important and it relates to a passage we heard a few weeks ago toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I like how Andrew Murray summarizes this passage, “This is the fixed eternal Law of the kingdom; if you ask and receive not, it must be because there is something amiss or wanting in the prayer. Hold on; let the Word and Spirit teach you to pray aright, but do not let go of the confidence He seeks to waken. Everyone who asks receives…. Let every learner in the school of Christ therefore take the Master’s word in all simplicity…. Let us beware of weakening the Word with our human wisdom.”
God has promised to answer our prayers when we pray for the things he wants to give us, and by the Spirit living in us.
Here’s yet another reason prayer is important. When were the only times Jesus demonstrated real anger? It was twice when he went into the temple and found people selling and ripping people off to make a profit, and what did he say? He said my Father’s house is to be called a house of prayer.
How was the church born? It wasn’t when people were singing, it wasn’t during a good sermon, it was when they were all just sitting there in prayer waiting on the Lord. That’s when the Holy Spirit was poured out and believers became the temple. So doesn’t it make sense that now we should be a house of prayer as individuals and as a church?
When God speaks to Ananias after Paul’s conversion and tells him to go to Paul, Ananias hesitates because he knew this Saul of Tarsus was bad news for Christians. But listen to what God says, “Go to him for behold, he is praying”. Probably for the first time in Saul’s super religious life, he is really praying from the heart and this is what now distinguished him as a true follower of Jesus.