Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Prayer is our primary means of seeing God work in others’ lives. Because it is our means of “plugging into” God’s power, it is our means of defeating Satan and his army that we are powerless to overcome by ourselves. Therefore, may God find us often befor

Opening illustration: Three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background.

One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face.

By this time the phone man couldn’t stay out of the conversation any longer. He interjected, "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, suspended forty feet above the ground."

It doesn’t really matter how and where you pray but whether we have a heart and attitude to pray. Are we perseverant, passionate and pursuant in our prayer? After observing our country and world situation, should Christians really pray?

Let us turn to Luke 18 in God’s Word and see the instructions Jesus gave pertaining to prayer …

Introduction: Edward McKendree Bounds said this about prayer: “Prayer concerns God, whose purposes and plans are conditioned on prayer. His will and His glory are bound up in praying.”

“When the church is in the condition of prayer, God’s cause always flourishes, and His kingdom on earth always triumphs. When the church fails to pray, God’s causes delays, and evil of every kind prevails.”

Few observant souls would deny that evil of every kind seems to be prevailing in our beloved country. Why is this so, if our God is able “to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think?” (Eph. 3: 20) Could the answer be, “You do not have, because you do not ask?” (James 4: 2)

There is no greater motivation for prayer than this: Jesus lived a lifestyle of prayer. He left us an example, so that we might follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2: 21)

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1: 35)

For the Christian, praying is like breathing. It is easier to do it than to not do it. We pray for a variety of reasons. For one thing, prayer is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38) and obeying Him. We pray because God commands us to pray (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer is exemplified for us by Christ and the early church (Mark 1:35; Acts 1:14; 2:42; 3:1; 4:23-31; 6:4; 13:1-3). If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray, we should also. If He needed to pray to remain in the Father’s will, how much more do we need to pray?

Another reason to pray is that God intends prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations. We pray in preparation for major decisions (Luke 6:12-13); to overcome demonic barriers (Matthew 17:14-21); to gather workers for the spiritual harvest (Luke 10:2); to gain strength to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41); and to obtain the means of strengthening others spiritually (Ephesians 6:18-19).

We come to God with our specific requests, and we have God’s promise that our prayers are not in vain, even if we do not receive specifically what we asked for (Matthew 6:6; Romans 8:26-27). He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15). Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God’s will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.

Dr. Henry Blackaby writes in Experiencing Prayer with Jesus – The Power of His Presence and Example, “At this critical time in history, we don’t need simply ‘more prayer’ from God’s people; we need specifically the kind of praying exemplified in the life of Christ.”

God desires a praying people and a people who will pray in union with Christ Who intercedes from heaven. God shapes the world through prayer and when God’s house on earth is a house of prayer, then God’s throne is busy with plans and interventions in the affairs of earth. The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be and the mightier the forces of good will be against evil everywhere. God has declared that His house will be a house of prayer. (Isaiah 56: 7; Mark 11: 17)

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