Summary: This series is to make the church more aware of the importance of practicing the biblical discipline of prayer.
I get many emails in my inbox, as perhaps you do forwards, Viagra advertisements, political jokes.
Sometimes get emails with jokes about certain groups of people- no lack of blonde/pastor/lawyer jokes.
How about charismatic jokes?
How many Charismatic’s does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten- one to change the bulb and nine to pray
against the spirit of darkness.
This joke comes in many varieties …
Three- one to cast it out and
two to catch it when it falls!
Medical profession, doctors- gets their share of jokes.
ILL: When I talk to people about doctors and their personal experiences with doctors, they joke about the fact that doctors are practicing medicine. If I have to have an operation, I do not want someone practicing on me? The implication is that doctors do not always know what is wrong, and they practice w/hope of finding an answer.
Now, spiritually, I would also say that the practice of prayer is at the foundation of all Biblical faith.
As Christian’s we do not always know what we are doing,
we are not always sure how to respond to life,
life is complicated and it is not always clear what path we should travel down.
Since we do not know, we MUST practice the biblical discipline of prayer.
And as we practice it, we improve our effectiveness.
Practice does not sound spiritual, but it is Biblical
Php 4:9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be w/you.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. NASU
Practice- to perform repeatedly or habitually.
Ill: Pastor Mario in town, asked me how my Spanish was coming. Not good. If I want to learn Spanish- recommended- I start memorizing words- develop a vocabulary. That takes going over the words repeatedly until I know them- becoming practiced in the use of those words.
If we want to pray effectively- must practice praying- give ourselves repeatedly/habitually to prayer.
Thrive and Survive
We must become people of prayer both to thrive and to survive in the days ahead (Matt Hedrick)
If we are going to survive the persecution that may lay ahead, we must become people of prayer.
However I do not believe we are called just to survive.
God wants us to thrive in what may yet be the greatest move of the Holy Spirit that mankind has ever seen Jonah’s cry from the big fish
Tell the story of Jonah 1:1-17
Jonah must have had some favor in God’s eyes for God to send him on such a significant mission.
God may have selected Jonah because He knew weaknesses He wanted to strengthen in Jonah’s life.
Sometimes God does the same in our lives.
Jonah 1:3- Jonah paid to flee from-God’s presence.
Sometimes we exert energy and resources to do anything but what God is asking us to do.
Who does it say caused the storm? God did.
Jonah could have rebuked the storm all day long and it would never have abated.
Sometimes we rebuke storms that God has caused.
Satan opposes us to keep us from the place of prayer.
God sometimes appears to oppose us as He redirects us, to get us into the place of prayer.
Look at Jonah Jonah 2:1-3
Jonah prayed, called on God, and cried out for help even though he knew he had greatly sinned.
He fell upon the mercies of God, not his own goodness
Prayer is not just for those who are perfect.
Jonah 2:4, 7
even though the stormed was against him and
now he found himself in the belly of a fish,
he turned his heart again towards God.
God is a God of multiple chances-
he wants us to succeed.
He will respond to our sincere, humble, repentant prayers, even when we have been terribly wrong.
The work that God wanted to accomplish in Jonah was not completed in the belly of the big fish (stubborn)
Jonah struggled to find in his own heart, the heart of God for the people of Nineveh.
But Jonah spoke to God openly and honestly about his struggles- as must we.
Sometimes we get upset with God about our situations and God would say the same thing to us
“Do you have good reason to be angry?”
We need to humbly go to God in prayer and throw ourselves at His mercy.
Prayer and Proclamation
God is looking for men and women who will engage in prayer and proclamation.
As we pray we will enter into a place of revelation, a place of encounter w/God, and