30 December 2010

Prayer is?


1 John 5:14-15

What do you find the hardest thing to do in your Christian life?.........Think about that before you answer! There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to God’s people when it comes to the matter of prayer. Many Christians today are often confused by prayer and usually ask the question: What is Prayer? Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying? How should we pray? What should we pray for? Can we be sure that God always hears our prayer? Can we be confident that He will answer our prayers? We need to take prayer seriously! Why? Prayer is our way we express our submission to the Sovereignty of God and our trust in His faithfulness. Prayer is our way we express all that is in our hearts to our loving and wise Father. Prayer is not to give God information because God knows everything, but prayer brings us into reverent communion with God, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as the Giver of all things. Prayer is our way to communicate, humble ourselves, acknowledging that without Him we can do nothing and it is also a command to all Christian’s! “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Phil 4:6. Listen to some of the comments by the saints of old and today as they talk about the importance of prayer!! Andrew Murray “The great thing in prayer is to feel that we are putting our supplications into the bosom of His omnipotent love.” D. L Moody “Prayer is a serious thing. We may be taken at our words.” Martin Luther says "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Corrie Ten Boom says "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" E. M Bounds “Non-praying is lawlessness, discord, anarchy.” Jude half brother of Jesus said “it’s very hard to stumble when you’re on your knees” (v24). John Piper says “prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. If you do not treasure breath, you do not treasure life. If you don’t treasure prayer, you don’t treasure eternal life. If you don’t love prayer, you don’t love GOD”. Joni Eareckson Tada “Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will appreciate not only the greatness of prayer, but the greatness of God.”

PRAYER IS AN EXERCISE OF OUR FAITH (v14- v15)

As our text says, “this is the confidence” (means: frankness, bluntness, a boldness, by implication assurance). This phrase literally means.....freedom of speech...or an openness to the confidence found in Jesus Christ. “Before Him” is a sense of “being in His presence”. Our confidence of prayer lies in the Lord Jesus Christ. John knew this.....because he wrote this down when Jesus said "Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:13-14. In order to enjoy the fullness of these glorious promises! We must believe......Because! Without faith it is impossible to please God. We must come with a spirit of complete submission to the Father's will, feeling that His will is best, and saying in our hearts, "Thy will be done". How? By what Jude said “.........build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20-21. Praying through the Holy Spirit - Who alone is able to build you up. Do you realize the prayer that is not sent up through the influence of the Holy Ghost is never likely to reach heaven. so keep yourselves in the love of God. By holy living and prayer! Not by your own strength......But "in the love of God”.

PRAYER IS NOT A REQUEST LINE (V14- V15)

When we ask for something it better be in His will not ours. God always hear the prayer’s of His children when we are obedient to Him. Our request’s are not what we desire or insist what He should do for us! Remember, God is not some genie in a bottle that we can rub when we feel like it! Before we step before the throne of grace we must always ask ourselves........Am I in proper fellowship with God? Are my motives pure or defiled with unrepented sin? Are my lips sincere withg this request? We have to remember that God is under no obligation to hear our prayers if we are harbouring SIN! Why? The Bible tells me so......“If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” Ps 66:18. “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him.” John 9:31. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3. “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Isa 59:2. REMEMBER WE must approach the Throne of Grace with confidence and humility; not self-righteousness and I motives. Prayer is not some tool or formula for personal gain or some religious ceremony. Why? Jesus warns the disciples about this very thing when it comes to prayer (TURN TO MATTHEW 6) "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.” Matt 6:7-8
What Jesus is saying is.........................We are never to not pray like the world! Hypocrites (Job 27:8-9) “for what is the hope of the hypocrite”......Self righteous (Luke 18:11-12) “God I thank You that I am not like other men”......Proud (Job 35:12-13) “they cry out, but He does not answer,...”.....Idolaters (Rom 1:23) “and changed the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man...”......Cult worshippers (1 Kings 18:26) “as the worshippers of Baal” and of Diana of Ephesus. But there is something else Jesus reminded the disciples and us when you pray in verses 9- v14 of Matthew's Gospel. When you pray remember who your praying too!
Pray to God ......................................... Our Father who is in Heaven
Exalt Him saying .................................. Hallowed be thy name
Submit to Him seeking ............................ Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
Look to Him pleading ............................ Our daily bread (sustenance)
Confess to Him pleading .......................... Forgive us our debts (sins)
Depend on Him asking .............................. Lead us not into temptation
Trust in Him requesting ........................... Deliver us from evil

 But this must always come from a sincere heart that desiring to do His will not mine (or agenda). As the Psalmist says “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4. Literally means..... “He will plant His desires into your heart”


PRAYER IS A BONDING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (V14 - V15)


(Ps 34:15) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. The Lord will be the protector of the righteous; he will watch over and defend them. This is the personal relationship we have with our God. When we are in trouble and in danger. He will hear our cries, and will deliver us. When we pray we may not see present results or answers, but be assure that He is listening to your cries........Oswald Chambers says "Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men."


PRAYER IS ALSO A PUBLIC AND CORPORATE DISPLAY OF OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER (v14-v15)

 It says in the earlier church they “.....devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” Acts 2:42.....Prayer is one effect of the influence by the Spirit. A genuine revival will be always followed by a love of prayer for others. We must always humble and earnestly pray. (Matt 18:20) "For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them." In My Name - That is, By My authority........acting for Me in My church. Even though this passage is speaking on discipline and restoration....we can for application sake say the same thing about prayer amoung brothers and sisters in Christ. Two born again believers shall constitute a Christian fellowship. The united prayers of this fellowship for any legitimate request shall be heard by a holy and sovereign God. (Heb 10:25) "not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" - That is, for purposes of public worship and prayer.  But exhorting one another; to prayer, to attend public worship, to regard all the duties of the assembly of Believers. This is how we are to encourage one another through fellowship and praying for the saints.


Prayer can be hard work. But that should not keep us from praying, even if it requires YOU to sacrifice: T.V time, social life or functions, your comfort zone. Prayer is vital part of the Christian life...it's a vital par to our walk of sanctification. If you don’t believe this then you are already defeated in this area of your life!! And you desperately need to seek God, to help you in this vital area of your life. Remember when Jesus selected His 12 apostles "In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, He called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles" Luke 6:12-13. If our Lord....if King Jesus thought prayer was important...what makes us think we should treat it any differently? So ask yourself and be truly honest with your answer! Am I willing to pray all night long for something so important? Do I really believe that my prayer will change anything? Do I believe by faith, He will answer? Have I been experiencing a quiet, peaceable, godly and morally honest life because of the quality of my prayer life?..................... The only way to answer these questions is to do it! SO WE MUST PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...........! As John MacArthur says “Surrender your requests to God’s wise and loving plan, acknowledging your willingness to receive His answer with thankfulness”

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