*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
But we don’t program this kind of discipleship for you. And lastly, we expect our members to regularly engage the lost and share the gospel with the non-Christians God brings across our path. But we don’t program evangelistic outreach for you.
All in all, with all these unprogrammed expectations floating around here in the life of our Church, we thought it would be a great time to take the first five weeks of 2023 to address these things head on. So the second unprogrammed item before us today is prayer.
Prayer: it is the single most essential thing of any Christinas life: All other aspects of the christian faith are of great value, but none carry the weight and on going perseverance of the saints as prayer
Now maybe that is a bold claim, but before all other aspects of the faith come into being one is essential:
How does one come to faith if not by repentance and faith, how does one communicate such things but by prayer. Our life begins and is sustained in Christ through he work of the spirit and prayer.
Thus the texts before us this morning point to the reality that prayer is not a passive activity but rather an essential ongoing reality that should be in our lives:
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 ESV
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 ESV
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
(The conclusion to wearing the whole armor of God)
Colossians 4:2 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
1 Timothy 2:1–4 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:8 ESV
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
As we unpack today the reality and the importance of prayer we begin with these core verses of Paul’s letters encouraging the church.
In these texts Pauls lays out clear admonitions on living out the faith in the world and at the heart is a believer who seeks to be continually in prayer their lives are reflective of the truth that prayer is an ongoing practice of their hearts.
This goes to the heart of the matter that lies before us, when it comes to living out the faith we cannot program prayer, because prayer by its nature should be the breath of live in believers.
While we may be able to set aside a time every other week to lift up the saints in prayer, or spend time in small group praying for one another, this is not sustaining prayer. We cannot program an aspect of our lives that the word tells us should be ongoing.
Prayer is so easily neglected in our lives because it it something so familiar, we have lost sight of the essential nature of the task before us. If you want to gauge your growth in the faith, I would ask you first to examine your prayer life. Do you speak with God.
-Anyone can read the bible
-Anyone can attend church services
-Anyone can sing a song
-But a heart transformed by God should be one continually seeking to be near to him in prayer, for it is where it all began it is where it is all headed. for in prayer we communion with God as we will in eternity.
Then I guess the question i what is prayer:
If it is so important that it is the center of our lives in Christ , then what is it:
Well in short it is communion with God. It is speaking to God, pouring out our dependence on him. just as we did in the beginning so too we continue in it.
The Lord himself gives us a good reminder on prayer in the Sermon on the mount:
Matthew 6:5–13 ESV
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Our Lord lays before us the reality of prayer that is simple and yet so profound.
-It identifies that God is God
-It is not self seeking
-It is not meant to be used as a tool to make us look great
(A man may prayer great words of Sunday and yet have no love for God in his life)
-It is not filled with superficial pleasantries
-It recognizes that our Father in heaven knows our needs, encouraging us in our prayer
-It recognizes that sin is ever present
-It recognize our need for forgivness and to be forgiving others
-What is also important though in this text is that Jesus is not saying these things so be recited as if some kid of mantra.
-Repeating the Lords prayer does not make it any more effective. The prayer points us to the things we should cover in our prayers.
-The recitation of words without heart or meaning serves little purpose in the hearts of the saint,
-We then just become the Israelites of old who went through the motions without faith and are cast out by God.
-A heart of prayer is one that seeks to know God and communion with Him.
For those who have neglected prayer: return
JC Ryle in his letter on prayer lays out 12 important things we should remember when it comes to prayer:
(1) the importance of reverence and humility.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 ESV
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
(2) the importance of praying spiritually.
(3) importance of making prayer a regular business of life.
(4) the importance of perseverance in prayer.
(5) importance of earnestness in prayer.
Hebrews 5:7 ESV
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
(6) the importance of praying with faith.
Mark 11:24 ESV
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
(7) the importance of boldness in prayer.
(8) the importance of fullness in prayer.
(9)the importance of particularity in prayer.
(10) the importance of intercession in our prayers.
(11) the importance of thankfulness in prayer.
(12) the importance of watchfulness over your prayers.
Ryle, J. C. Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians. London: Charles Murray, 1900. (Pages 86-96)