Faithlife Sermons

Pray First: The Prayer with a Path

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THANK EVERYONE FOR COMING
THANK THE DREAM TEAM
TAKE THE OFFERING
INVITE BACK NEXT WEEK (Family WE 9:30, Kids Ministry 11:15)
INVITE TO PWTP 10 minutes immediately after service
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John 10:10 (ESV)
...I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Illustration: Ordering food at a nice restaurant

You go to the places where they don’t put the price on the menu (you just pray it’s not a mortgage payment)
You order food knowing it has to be good for the price you’re about to pay
THEY BRING IT OUT TO YOU…AND IT BARELY COVERS THREE INCHES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PLATE (I’m used to Cheddars..15lbs of chicken for $12.00)
In these moments I’m left with one lingering thought…THERE HAS TO BE MORE...
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Are you simply existing?

I wonder if there are any individuals who ever have the feeling that they are just existing.
A LIFE OF MONOTONOUS AND MEANINGLESS ROUTINE...
Get up, go to work, fulfill your obligations, eat food, watch tv, go to sleep, rinse and repeat
This type of mentality often gives us the same thought: “THERE HAS TO BE MORE.”
The mundane reality of methodical life without meaning is all to common in our fast paced American society in 2023.
TR: This is a simple thought but it bears noting that God made you for more than existence...
Psalm 92:13 NKJV
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
God doesn’t simply want you to exist…He wants us to flourish!
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Doubters in the room saying…ahh, but I’ve been living in this mundane existence for too long.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Existence is what has always been and it’s what will always be.
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Illustration: Death Valley - LIFE COMES IN THE RIGHT CONDITIONS

In the northern mojave desert on the eastern coast of California there is famous area known as death valley.
It is the hottest and dryest place in America
Nothing grows in Death Valley because it never rains in death valley.
However, in the winter of 2004 something strange happened…it rained in death valley.
seven inches of rain fell in a very short period of time.
THIS RESULTED IN A PHENOMENON THAT NO ONE SAW COMING IN SPRING OF 2005
{THE SUPER-BLOOM TOOK PLACE}
This phenomenon proved something about death valley…it proved that death valley is not dead…it is simply dormant.
Even the driest and most desolate places have potential for flourishing when the conditions are right!
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There’s a Path to a flourishing life.

If you have been pondering the concept that there must be more to life than just existing…I have good news for you today…YOU’RE RIGHT!
You’re meant to flourish
YOU CAN STEP INTO THIS PLACE OF FLOURISHING IF CONDITIONS CHANGE JUST SLIGHTLY!
Truths like this are not all to uncommon to hear
social media is filled with motivational and inspirational statements.
BUT TODAY I DON’T SIMPLY WANT TO GIVE YOU A PROMISE OF FLOURISHINGI WANT TO OFFER YOU A PATH TO FLOURISHING!
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
There is a path that when we walk in it promises fulfillment, joy, and pleasure
Today we are going to look at a prayer in scripture that gives us a blueprint of that path.
It’s my prayer for me
It’s my prayer for you
It can be a prayer that you pray over yourself and walk out in your life.
Ephesians 1:16–18 (NKJV)
do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
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1. Pray that we will find relationship with God.

“Knowledge” in verse 16 is a term of intimacy and experience, not education.
The path to fulfillment doesn’t come from learning about God…it comes from drawing closer to God.
The path to fulfillment is not an instigation of religious activity but rather an invitation to relational connection
The sad truth is that hell is filled with individuals who had a level of education about God but never actually experienced the beauty of relationship with God.
THAT’S NOT MY WORDS
Matthew 7:21–23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
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A simple first step - And a never ending second one...

There are some in this room who your first step towards flourishing is an easy one but it is so profound…YOU SIMPLY NEED TO TAKE A STEP TOWARDS KNOWING GOD THROUGH PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP.
Others need to pray that they may go deeper in their relationship with God.
No matter how long you’ve been serving God…there is another level of intimacy and knowledge of who He is.
Ephesians 3:19 NKJV
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Paul prays for this church to come to a knowledge of God…and the consequence of that knowledge is that “their eyes may be enlightened.”
enlightened to what?
The fact that there is a better way of living than the one they are experiencing now.
This is the next part of this prayer....
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2. Pray that we will overcome our issues.

As I grow in my relationship with God…He begins to show me that there are areas of my life that serve as barriers to my intimacy with Him.
These are the issues that I begin praying for grace to overcome!
Often there are four areas that we all need help in finding freedom.

Our past

It’s hard to get past all the stupid stuff I’ve done.

Our present

I have propensities that are not in keeping with the plans God has for me.

People

There are some relationships of influence that I have to learn to take a step back from

Pain

One of the greatest barriers to many individuals relationship with God is not what they’ve done but rather what’s been done to them.
Paul prays that this church may have their eyes enlightened to see that there is a path wherein they walk in victory over their issues!
YOU CAN LIVE A VICTORIOUS LIFE!
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This prayer finds it’s fulfillment by two means.

Empowerment of the Holy Spirit

Zechariah 4:6 NKJV
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.

Encouragement of the church

James 5:16 NKJV
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
We go to God for forgiveness and empowerment
We get in community for healing and accountability!
RECAP: We pray to...
find relationship with God
overcome our issues
But this freedom from our issues not just so that we can flaunt our moral superiority to those who are still struggling.
We find freedom so that we can fully step into the next facet of this path.
“The hope to which he has called you”
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3. Pray that we will live a life of purpose.

Mark Twain said that the two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why.
We all have an understanding that we have a reason for existence.
YOU HAVE A PURPOSE!
This is not an uncommon belief…81% of Americans believe that they have been put on the earth with some level of higher purpose.
The tragic nature of this statistic is that nearly 87% of Americans say they haven’t figured out what that purpose is.
So many people are dealing with depression, anxiety and fomo…in large part due to a lack of purpose in our lives!
How can I find my purpose?
The best way to discover the purpose of a thing is to converse with the proprietor of the thing.
No one knows why you were made better than the one who made you!
He put some clues in your makeup…He gave you some gifts...
Romans 12:6 (ESV)
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us...
The word “grace” here is “CHARIS”= this is a grace gift (divine enablement.)
A good indication to your purpose at the beginning is what comes easy to you...
It’s not the same for everyone...
EVERY GIFT IS VALUABLE!
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Take a tangible step towards discovery of purpose.

My prayer is that every person in here over the coming year further discovers their purpose.
How can I do that PT?
Pray about it.
Begin serving the local church!
Tangible next step is to attend PWTP right after service.
There is no better tangible way to grow your life and step towards the flourishing life God promises than to begin serving God through the local church.
Pray to know God in personal relationship
Pray to overcome my issues
Pray to live a life of purpose.
And lastly...
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4. Pray that we will make an eternal impact.

You and I were created with a draw towards what is eternal.
We’re fascinated by the age of the earth and archaeology
We understand the minute nature of our existence on the earth.
ALL OF US HAVE AN AIM TO LIVE A LIFE THAT IS BIGGER THAN THE TIME WE HAVE ON THIS EARTH.
Even secular psychologists have come to this realization
Maslow’s hierarchy
The highest form of fulfillment is to live a life that is larger than the life being lived.
When we know God, walk in freedom, begin living in our purpose…we stand to change the course of someone’s eternity!
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Ending

It’s not just the opportunity of the pastor to make an eternal impact.
Edward Kimball lived in Boston in the late 1800’s..
He wasn’t anyone of merit in the realm of the church...
He just served every Sunday...
He would serve in students and every week give his students an opportunity to accept Jesus.
One day a young man named Dwight attended his class...
Dwight seemed intrigued by the gospel but was not willing to pray the prayer.
Edward Kimball found out where Dwight worked and visited him at the shoe store where Dwight sold shoes…Edwards lovingly presented the gospel again and personally asked Dwight if he was ready to pray
Dwight accepted Jesus because of the life lived by Edward Kimball.
Dwight grew up to accept the call to preach and minister around the world.
Dwight L Moody and conservative estimates say he won 1,000,000 people to Jesus.
A sunday school teacher who simply lived his life on purpose MADE A MASSIVE ETERNAL IMPACT.
That’s what a flourishing life looks like.
That’s what an abundant life looks like.
Relationship with God
Freedom from our issues
Living on Purpose
Making eternal impact.
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