Given to Prayer Series | Part 1
A Praying Church
For a church to be a praying church, she must be full of praying people
God wants you to PRAY
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,
Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Jesus is extending His teaching on prayer…
- Sermon on the Mount
- Mt 6:5-18
- Since God knows (Mt 6:8) why pray?
We DO NOT PRAY to:[i]
1.) Impress (Mt 6:5)
2.) Inform (Mt 6:8)
- If there is anything the Bible teaches us about God, it is that He is all-wise[ii]
13 “With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13)
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable (Isaiah 40:28).
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Romans 11:33; see also Job 9:1-4; 36:5; Isaiah 31:1-2).
Why Do We Pray: TO INVITE GOD to involve Himself in our life
TRUTH: “God’s power flows primarily to people who pray”[iii]
Exodus 17:8-13, Moses, Joshua, and the battle against the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.
When we work, we work, BUT when we pray, God works.
God’s power is available to praying people who are convinced to the core of their beings (i.e. faith) that He can make a difference
PRAYER IS THE VOICE OF FAITH – it is what causes us to depend on God
When we depend on God, we are abiding in Him
5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
The Greatest Problem in Our Prayer Life IS THAT WE DO NOT PRAY
The greatest problem is not an unanswered prayer – IT IS AN UNOFFERED ONE
The Devil can’t keep God from answering SO he will try to keep you from asking
And so Jesus teaches us to ask…
ASK: Putting a voice to the desires of your heart
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
- God knows ALL the desires of your heart – the spiritual and the not so spiritual
- Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (Ja 1:17)
- In God’s eyes there is no distinction between the sacred and the secular
- Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)
1.) Ask with faith
If you could ask God for one miracle in your life, knowing with 100 percent certainty that he would grant your request, what would you ask for?
- Would you ask for your marriage to be put back together?
- Or for a situation in your job to change?
- Would you plead for a straying son or daughter to return? Or for a loved one to surrender to Christ?
- Would you pray for regained health—in your body, in your finances, in your prayer life?
The fact is, of course, that God is capable of handling any problem we could possibly bring to him.
- Creating planets didn’t seem to be much of a problem for him
- Neither is keeping us in orbit
- Neither was raising the dead.
2.) NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR GOD TO HANDLE, but we won’t see much proof of this UNTIL WE ACTUALLY ASK him to handle it.[iv]
SEEK: God providing direction to your desires
We ask and we seek. The 2 are linked together.
It is possible to ask amiss – whiff! (James 4:3)
Our want-to is not aligned with God’s will-to
So when we ASK we SEEK so our WANT-TO becomes aligned with God’s WILL-TO
1.) Pray First
2.) Wait on God
If the request is wrong, God says, “No.”
If the timing is wrong, God says, “Slow.”
If you are wrong, God says, “Grow.”
But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, “Go!”[v]
Illustration: (1) Ms. Billy Graham, thankful for unanswered prayer, would have married the wrong man 5x. (2) Me applying to many places
3.) TRUTH: When you pray, either your circumstances will change or you will change
KNOCK: Holy determination to hear from God
“Knock” = knock and keep on knocking with one’s knuckles (not faint)
We give up to easily… God doesn’t want us to give up He wants us to look up and keep looking up
Jesus illustrates this command: Luke 11:1-13
Illustration: “Ronnie, I need 4 slices of cheese”
Illustration: Abbey asking then begging on her knees for cake
1.) Don’t give up so easily!
God invites you:
- to keep asking,
- to keep seeking,
- to keep praying,
- to keep depending,
- to keep abiding in Him
And God really means it!
- Not exactly like us when we say, “Ask me for that one more time…” We don’t exactly mean it do we? We mean, “If you ask for it one more time, you’ll be sorry.”
- NOT GOD.. He really means it! “Ask me one more time, my child.”
Why? To reinforce our ongoing complete reliance on Him
2.) Whatever your request might be, regularly and diligently, every single day, bring it to God in prayer, trusting that he will intervene in your situation
Illustration: We’re Not Going to Make It
Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine – a pill every night before going to sleep.
Imagine that you were told that you could never miss it or you would die.
Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some nights?
No – it would be so crucial that you wouldn’t forget, you would never miss.
If you don’t pray (if we don’t pray together) to God, you’re not going to make it because of all you are facing.[vi]
Don’t forget this:
- Your Enemy is powerless against God.
- He can’t keep God from answering your prayers.
- But your enemy will try to keep the power of God from you by keeping you from prayer
We must Pray
We must Ask
We must Seek
We must Knock and keep on knocking
We must be a praying church, therefore you must be a praying people
We must have praying families, therefore we must have praying moms and dads
We must have praying couples, so we must have praying spouses
We must Pray
We must Ask
We must Seek
We must Knock and keep on knocking
This is the way Jesus is praying for you
Therefore [because of the resurrection] JESUS is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb 7:25)
[iii] Hybels, Bill (2009-08-20). Too Busy Not to Pray (Kindle Locations 186-187). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
[iv] Hybels, Bill (2009-08-20). Too Busy Not to Pray (Kindle Locations 449-451). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
[v] As quoted in Hybels, Bill (2009-08-20). Too Busy Not to Pray (p. 86). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
[vi] Keller, Timothy (2014-11-04). Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Kindle Locations 149-153). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.