Spiritual Discipline of Prayer #2 (10-8-16)
This is our second week on Prayer.
Last week to looked at.
Praying is communicating with God.
Prayer is To the Father ….Through the Son …..By the Holy Spirit
The two areas of a balanced prayer life that we covered so far are:
Praise/Thanksgiving & Repentant Prayer
Today we will continue going through the Lord’s Prayer and talk about the other two areas of a balanced prayer life.
Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread
This brings up the third area of a balanced prayer life with is to: ASK!
Jesus models for us that we are to go to our Father and ASK him for our needs. The problem is because we often, in sin, want God’s things more than we want God, so we treat him like a genie in a lamp or rich grandpa in the sky.
SO, what should we pray about?
Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.
Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done!”
IF ALL THINGS EXIST FROM GOD AND HAPPEN THROUGH GOD AND ARE FOR GOD…
Why would we not engage him on everything? Why would we think about keeping something from his grip?
We need to ASK more than we do.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
First: Know your Father in heaven loves to hear and respond to his children. What is cool about praying for the little things is it is a beautiful walk you are sharing with God in the daily ins and outs of life. It is a recognition that “he is able” in all things.
A good reminder when bringing your request to God is to: Bring your need, not your greed.
Now, how often do you find yourself wanting to talk to God in prayer but do not know what to say?
When this happens: Pray Scripture! Jesus prayed Scripture from the cross quoting…Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Scripture is also how God speaks to us! This is a beautiful way you have interaction with your Father in Heaven who loves you.
Back to the Lord’s prayer:
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Here we discover anther thing to pray for: This is a prayer for ongoing sanctification… to grow away from evil, sin, and selfishness. It is a prayer that acknowledges that God is Sovereign and over all things. It is a Prayer to be strengthened and be kept from sin and temptation. Do you pray before hardships come? … to prepare to for God appointed suffering …to strengthen your heart against sin and idolatry?
Why should we ASK?
You can be motivated to Prayer because:
- You think you deserve what God can give you. Often people who are good at praying often do this because they have a confidence in God’s obligation to fulfill his promises based on our good track record or righteous deeds.
- Desperation to have an “Over-Desire” fulfilled. When your good things become ultimate things, we lose our inner contentment. There are some things that become such “a must have” (such a non-negotiable) that we will prevail in constant prayer out of pure anxiety and fear to have or keep them.
Or.. We can be motivated to Prayer.because God calls on us to lean on him and do life with him.
-In this our hearts lose their self sufficiency! We are dependant on him.
-In this our hearts are welled up with praise as we rejoice in him being the author of our blessings.
-If we pray about more of life, we will rejoice more about the basic things of life and not just the big things.
Why should we pray?
Because he wants us to and He will answer! Do you trust him when you pray? That he will answer? It is important that you see God as Faithful and that he will hear and answer your prayer!
Three ways God always answers our Prayers!
Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No, Sometimes.. Later!
We need to always remember: prayer is answered in God’s time and in his way…not ours.
Luke 1:13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! For God has heard your prayer, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son! And you are to name him John.
If it’s not fast enough for you, you need to stop and remember and be ok with the fact that it is going to happen when God wants it to! He can do anything!
We must have confidence in Him that nothing is too big for GOD
1 John 5:14-15 And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. 15And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.
Who should we pray for?
Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread
“our” not just me and my.. it is us and our. Community… society.. those who do not have enough to eat.
Acknowledge all I have is from God… it is his provision.
Jesus also teaches us to:
Pray for your enemies:
Matt 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Pray for your Friends:
Luke 22:31-32 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
We need to be praying for each other!
When appropriate: Lay a hand on their shoulder and pray.. Why lay hands?
Because it makes the prayer stronger! NOPE! Because it is a sign of love, intimacy, affection, care., and a sign of community.
Pray for Strangers:
Most people I ask to pray for them are very open to it. Prayer can be a great tool to love on others. You know Jesus and they don’t. Praying for them is a great act of love.
How should we come to God in Prayer?
Reverent but bold in prayer:
Hebrews 4:16 16So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.
In John 12:27-28 Jesus says, I am troubled!
Do you know it is ok to be open and honest with God when you are struggling.
When should we pray? Can I ask God too much?
Matthew 7:7 “Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.
Do you see the true value and importance of prayer? How powerful it is to you?
Let me ask you…. How often do you pray? __________ “This is a sign of how powerful you believe prayer is”
Consistent prayer is key! To teach us this.. Jesus told this story in Luke 18
Luke 18:1-8 1One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up. 2“There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who was a godless man with great contempt for everyone. 3A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, appealing for justice against someone who had harmed her. 4The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she wore him out. `I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, 5`but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’ ”
6Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this evil judge. 7Even he rendered a just decision in the end, so don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who plead with him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when I, the Son of Man, return, how many will I find who have faith?”
If you know something is in God’s will… Keep Praying. Do not lose heart. Keep interceding. Keep going to the source.
Finally, the 4th part of a balanced prayer life… YIELDING PRAYER!
After we have Praised him…. thanked him.. confessed and repented .. asked him for the needs of our life and longings of our heart.. .we recognize that he is the one with the best perspective to the situation we are asking about. So we must YIELD TO HIM. TRUST IN HIM.
This is us asking for God’s will! Jesus models this when he says, “your will be done”
We have talked a lot about what Prayer is: Prayer is our opportunity to recognize God is in control.
Submitting to that control is to ask for things with the knowledge that the outcome is His to decide and that is what we want in the end!
Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Stop for a second and just think about what Jesus is thinking about as he says Your kingdom come!
In Christ, we are residents in God’s eternal heavenly Kingdom.
We live for a New KING! What this means is, we make kingdom decisions and have kingdom desires.
We have eternal eyes for things in instead of temporary eyes.
So the question is:
What does YIELDING Prayer look like as Kingdom Citizens?
<1> Solitude– Enjoying Time with God
Not just Yielding Prayer but Yielding Lifestyle. One that enjoys slowing down and getting alone with God In Prayer! Spending time with him. Solo time.. Is a form of Yielding. Really devoting time to God … Recognizing he is in Control that he is the Power source for living… that he is the Feast our hearts long to enjoy.
<2> Satisfaction– God is our greatest desire and prize so our prayers reflect this priority.
What we ask for and plead for reveals the Worship of our hearts!
If God’s creation ($, things, house, car, skills, status, friends and family) are the deepest affections of my heart then that is what I will ask for and long for from God. – But this is Idolatry!
But if God himself is the deepest affection of my heart then his Glory and will is what I will ask for constantly in my prayer. I will yield to him in tough times or when other treasures might be lost or taken because in the end it is God who satisfies!
*We need to remember that God’s will is not always our will.
When we pray for God’s will to be done, we shouldn’t be trying to manipulate God into rubber-stamping what we have already decided to do. The Bible tells us that our hearts are wicked and “deceitful above all things” – Jeremiah 17:9.
Most of the time, what we want to do is not what God wants us to do.
Jesus is charging us to truly mean it when we pray, “Lord your will be done!” He modeled this for us in the Garden!
Jesus did not “want” to be mocked, beaten, have his flesh torn off, and suffer a slow death on a criminal’s cross, but rather than demanding his way, he prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” –Luke 22:42.
This is a Yielding Prayer. Honestly ASK… and then Honestly YIELDING TO GOD WHO KNOWS BEST.
àThe Question is… Do you truly want what God wants? Or are you just saying that?
In another moment Jesus has a similar honest yielding!
John 12:27-28 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again
Does Jesus say, Get me out of this struggle?…NO. He says, Father, Glorify your name!
Yielding Prayer is a huge part of the Christian Life that far too many don’t truly practice enough.
I pray it becomes a central part of your prayer life from this day forward.
As we draw to a close…I want to help you put the pieces together of the 4 main parts of Jesus Prayer and the 4 parts of a balanced prayer life. They actually form an easy to remember acronym. It’s “PRAY”
- P raise (adoration) – Thank God! It is not about you, but all about God. For who He is!
- R epent (confession) – Confessing sin and asking for forgiveness. Experience renewal!
- A sk (Supplication) — To ask God earnestly for your needs and let him know your concerns.
- Y ield – Leaving it in God’s hands! Trusting His deliverance and timing and wanting His will to be done.
<1> We exist for God’s Glory. He is the Greatest Treasure we can know or enjoy.
So the authentic response of a heart that is satisfied is Worship.. Praise… Thankfulness.
So we ** Praise Him! (adoration) – Thanking God’
<2> Even though we are Forgiven in Christ…Because we still sin and make selfish decisions when we cast our hearts onto God’s stuff above God we need to CONFESS- REPENT- Thank him for Forgiving us.
So we ** Repent – Agreeing with God that it was sin and rethinking your strategy for living in light of the Gospel. Taking a new path.
<3> God wants us to demonstrate faith in him. He wants us to demonstrate our dependence upon him. Prayer is a powerful thing. Our prayers do matter! They are not just exercises in faith.
àHe eagerly awaits hearing from you.
So we ** Ask (Supplication) — To ask God earnestly your needs and let him know your concerns.
<4> Finally, God’s view and desire is far greater and more Holy than ours. To YIELD to God and trust in him is the only way we have true Peace in a world of pain and suffering.
To want his Glory and fame above our safety and selfishness, is always a better life.
So we ** Yield – Leaving it in God’s hands! Trusting His deliverance and timing and wanting His will to be done.
I pray that this 4 letter acronym will be a help to you growing in and practicing the spiritual discipline of Prayer.
May God be glorified in and through us as we commit to be faithful in prayer.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC