Summary: A short 3 week mini-series on prayer. Week 1: the basics. Week 2: Prayers of thanksgiving and praise. Week 3: What are intercession, supplication, and prayers of confession.
Good morning! I hope you all had a great week; I trust it was full of the Lord’s blessings. I’m sure it was. I hope you were able to see the countless things in your life which come from God, which are His blessings. I hope then that you were thankful, had a heart of thanksgiving, to God. Remember, the blessings which we have in our life that are from God are a direct result of His mercy. Without the mercy of God we deserve nothing but eternal condemnation – which is separation from Him. All of the blessings we have are a result of His mercy. We thank God for His blessings and we praise God for who He is (gracious, merciful, just, omnipotent, omniscient).
Today we will finish our mini-series on prayer. The past two weeks we examined first, what exactly is prayer, and secondly, last week, we examined thanksgiving and praise prayer petitions. Today we examine the three remaining types of prayer petitions: intercessory, supplication, and confession. My hope through this series is to give you a better understanding of the absolute importance and power of prayer. Prayer is talking to the God that spoke the universe into existence, that parted the Red Sea, that walk on water, that raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, and has made a difference in many of your lives. Knowing that God did these things, and that He is still able to do them, why would you not want to pray? Why would anyone of you not see the utmost importance of talking with God? God cares about your prayer petitions and wants you to talk to Him.
Let us pray.
A. Intercession John 17: 15-19.
a. What is happening here? Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He is crucified, just hours or minutes before He is betrayed by one of His own disciples, Judas Iscariot. What is happening here in these verses? If you look, Jesus is actually do this is verse 6- 19. That is, He is praying for His disciples.
b. When you pray for someone else it is called intercession. This word literally means “to stand between.” Here is John 17, Jesus is standing between the His disciples and the Father, as He prayers for the Father’s blessing and protection on them.
c. Earlier today we took prayer requests. As we went into quiet time we were praying for these requests, or so I hope you were. If you were, you were standing between the subject of the request and God the Father. Another definition of intercession is “favor of”, you were bring the request in favor of God’s healing, blessing, help, whatever it was that you prayed for.
d. Romans 8:34 Jesus is praying on our behalf to God the Father. You see my friends, if it is important enough for Jesus to pray for earnestly for others, as He did in the Garden the night before His crucifixion, and as He is doing so sitting at the right hand of the God the Father, don’t you think it is vitally important that we, too, intercede on behalf of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ that are sitted here in the sanctuary?!
a. What do we learn these two passages?
b. Often I hear other people saying that they don’t feel it is right for them to pray for themselves because it is selfish. There are starving children in the world and they think it is not good to pray for themselves when they could be praying for the children.
c. Well, I have a solution to that, and of course, as always, it is found in the Bible. In John 17 and Luke 22:42, Jesus is praying the Garden just hours before His execution as a criminal. Up until this point Jesus had never sinned in His life. He was completely free from sin. But now we see Jesus praying for Himself? Yes, absolutely! Praying for yourself is not a sin, but rather praying for yourself is following in the example set forth by the Sinless Savior. Jesus prayed for Himself, it was not sin. You too can pray for yourself. God cares about what you care about. God made you so intricately, He knows your emotions, your passions, and your cares. So, just like Jesus did, take them to Him. Jesus’ prayer in Luke 22:42 was a prayer of desperation. He was hours away from the cross – a brutal, bloody, humiliating death – yet Jesus made His request known to God.
C. Confession 2 Samuel 12:13
a. Romans 3:23 says that “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That means that all people have sin in their lives. As we just read, even the anointed, hand picked king of God’s people was a sinner. You are a sinner and I am sinner. I say this not on judgment, but on the firm foundations of the teachings of Scripture. If we had no sin, there would have been no reason for Jesus to come to die and rise again for us.