Summary: This sermon looks at the power available through prayer and the real purpose behind praying.
The Power and Purpose of Prayer: Making Prayer Your Second Language series part 1
Pastor Carlis Clinton (Community Seventh-day Adventist Church)
ESL (English as a second language) classes are for people who want to learn English as a second language. There are courses like this available all across the U.S.
I’d like you to think of our time together over the next month as a “PSL” class—prayer as a second language class. Like ESL, these are designed for people who say they’re not all that comfortable speaking the language of prayer. They don’t use it fluently and, if the truth were known, they really don’t speak it much at all.
I hope that this month as we fast and pray and study the subject of prayer that we will learn prayer as a second language.
There is probably no question in our minds that prayer is an important part of knowing God, but it is actually also an imperative command from Scriptures, both in the OT and the NT. Look at these texts with me please:
1Ki 8:30 "And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray….
2Ch 6:26 "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray….
1 Peter 4:7 (NKJV) But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
Mt 6:5-9 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. Mt 6:6 "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Mt 6:7 "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words…. Mt 6:9 "In this manner, therefore, pray: ….
Mr 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,…
Lu 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray ….
Lu 22:40 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray ….”
Not only did Jesus tell us to pray, He also demonstrated by His example its importance.
In Mtt 14:23, Christ went alone to a mountain to pray
In Mark 1:35 He rose early in the morning and went alone to pray
Mark 6:46, again Jesus alone in prayer
In Luke 9:18, Jesus again in solitude and prayer
Over and over we find Jesus off praying by Himself. For 40 days He fasted and prayed as He began His ministry. It was the secret to His power and relationship with His Father.
Let’s look at the power and purpose of prayer.
When we look at the Scriptures and we see so many examples of answered prayer and we compare our puny prayer list, something doesn’t seem to jive.
When Joshua prayed the sun stood still! When Elijah prayed it rained down fire from heaven! When Jesus prayed, the dead rose to life! When the church prayed, an angel drug Peter from prison! When Hezekiah prayed his life was extended! When Hannah prayed God gave her a child!
Here is my favorite, Acts 4:31-- (NKJV)And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
When the NT church prayed, God shook the whole building and they had power to witness like never before!
So it is clear from these examples that when God’s people pray, prayer gets results.
But prayer is much more than just power from God, it is the foundation of our relationship with God. Prayer is our one-on-one link with the Lord……Defined like that, it says something about the importance of prayer.
It means that if we are not praying, we are not communicating with God!
Take that one more logical step and that means if prayer is our communication link with God and we are not praying then we are not communicating with God, and if we are not communicating with God then we do not have a relationship with God since all relationships are built on communication!
There can be no relationship, whether earthly or heavenly if there is no communication. “It should therefore come as no surprise that men and women of God in every generation have been, without exception, people of prayer.” (Ministry Magazine, Dec 2003, p 14)
While it is true that no one will be saved merely because they pray, I don’t think anyone will be saved unless they pray. “When the last Bible study has been given and the last sermon preached, the fact is that it will have been through prayer [that people receive salvation]….because Jesus comes into our hearts as an answer to prayer (Luke 11:9). (Ministry, p 14.)