Summary: A Lenten Service
The Prayer of a Righteous Man
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
This first week of Lent is focused on our prayer life. Lent is a season to revitalize and renew our relationship with God. There is no better way to do that than to first focus on our prayer life.
How many of you feel like you have an awesome prayer life? Me either. I always wish my prayer life was stronger than it is. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have daily conversation with God. I’m just not sure I really have the quantity and quality God would have me possess. Have there been times in your life that you felt your prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling and falling to the floor like dust bunnies from the ceiling fan?
One desire I have is that my prayer life be as powerful as it can be. It’s all about the relationship. I don’t want to have to feel like I have to introduce myself to God when I come to prayer. Or, feel like I have to strike a bargain with Him because I’ve been such a rotten person, that even I don’t feel like my prayer should be heard.
Let’s spend a little bit of time talking about the subject of prayer. How do we stay in close contact with our heavenly Father through prayer? How do we overcome the distractions and monotony of the daily grind to have a vital, vibrant relationship with God?
I. The foundation of our prayer life is found simply in our Lord’s prayer – Mt. 6 & Lk. 11
A. Your relationship with God must be proper for you to go to Him as “Father”
B. We must acknowledge His Sovereignty – “Hallowed be Your name”
1. It is only when we understand who we are in Him, that we can comprehend the importance of prayer.
C. We must appreciate how we fit into the overall plan of God’s kingdom – “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.
D. We must acknowledge our needs to God – not that He doesn’t already know what they are. It is by this acknowledgement that we admit our inability to meet them in our own power. “Give us this day our daily bread”
1. Phil. 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
E. We must acknowledge our sin – “Forgive us”, and admit our need to love and forgive our fellow man, - “As we forgive others.”
F. We must ask God to direct our path – the path that fulfills His purpose for our life – “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
II. Pray about things with prayer partners
A. Matt 18:19-20 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
B. Sometimes it’s difficult to ask others to join you in praying about a personal situation, but we have this promise – Jesus will be with us when we do.
III. Have faith
A. Mark 11:22-24 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ’Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
A. I’d like to tell you I have this faith thing all figured out, but I don’t. I remember a time when I was pastor of another church in Kentucky and as I was on my way to church a huge rain storm came. When I left home, it wasn’t raining and I neglected to take an umbrella or overcoat. I was not looking forward to going through the service and preaching in a soaked wool suit. So, I prayed for God to hold back the rain until I got into the building. As I pulled into the parking lot, suddenly the rain stopped and I zipped into the building only to have the rain begin again as soon as I got into the building. That morning from the pulpit I shared how God answered my prayer for the rain to stop. Unknown to me, a boy of about 6 years old was sitting there that morning listening to my testimony. A couple weeks later, he was riding in the car with his parents and another rain came. Jason told his mommy and daddy, “Let’s pray for it to stop like Pastor Sam did so we won’t get wet.” The parents didn’t know what to say. They felt like it was really just a coincidence that the rain stopped for me when I prayed and they were fearful that if they prayed and it didn’t stop raining that Jason would loose faith in God’s ability to answer prayer. Reluctantly, they told Jason to go ahead and pray for the rain to stop. That little guy prayed for the rain to stop and by the time they got home, it did indeed quit raining. When momma told me that story, tears were streaming down her face as she thought about how mighty the faith was in that little boy and how week their faith was in comparison. Today, that little boy is a pastor in a local church in the Tri-state. It’s amazing what a seemingly small prayer of faith will do.