Summary: Shows the need for prayer warriors and teaches how to become one
A Praying Knight”
September 7, 2008
"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
" ’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
Last week I shared with you about becoming a praying knight. We saw that Jesus was a praying Knight. We saw Paul was a praying Knight. And we saw how important a team of prayer warriors was to success against the enemy forces.
I feel led to share on this very common, but neglected topic – because none of us are the prayer warriors we need to be. We all probably pray a little. We all probably pray a little each day. But for real victory; to really succeed; to move the awesome hand of God; we need to wrestle in prayer.
Real prayer is a struggle, isn’t it? We decide we are going to do better at prayer. We are going to get up early and pray for an hour or so. Then we sleep in or something breaks, or some emergency happens, the baby cries, work calls. Do you think that’s an accident? Paul said,
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 KJV
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
One book that may not be too far from fact, is the fiction book, “This Present Darkness”, by Frank E. Peretti. In this book he shows how angels, demons, prayer, and spiritual warfare work, as demons and angels interact and struggle for control of people’s lives. I especially like how he shows the power of prayer. When people pray - they unleash the angels of God to work. When people don’t pray, the angels are bound by our free will. They are just waiting to help. They long to come to our aid – but can’t until we ask in prayer. I think it would be a good book for everyone to read.
Last week, as we studied Jesus’ teaching on prayer, we talked about, first, how NOT to pray. We aren’t to pray for show and we aren’t to use vain repetition and we must not have rebellion in our heart, and our relationships on earth must be right. Jesus said,
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
“Husbands… be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7
Prayer is simply communication between us and God, and it can only be effective with the right relationship. Communication is a lot more effective between two people who love each other, than it is between two people opposing each other, isn’t it? It’s true at home; at work; in the church; and between us and God. To be effective we need to be right. The relationship must be right. Our actions need to be right. The bible says,
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” Psalm 66:18
So in teaching us how to pray, Jesus first teaches us how NOT to pray. Apparently there was a lot of ineffective prayer going on. And the sad thing about it was that it was the religious people who were most guilty. You would think they would have been the best at praying. But prayer is a matter of the heart. Everything starts from the heart. And if the heart isn’t right – nothing else will be either.