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Making Prayer a Priority

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MAKING PRAYER A PRIORITY
(ESV)
INTRODUCTION:
IN 2012, KIMBERLEY AND I AND THREE OTHERS WENT TO NEW YORK CITY FOR A WEEK-LONG MISSION TRIP…
WE DID LOTS OF STUFF THAT WEEK, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS WE DID WAS WHAT WAS CALLED AN AUDIO PRAYERWALK OF THE PART OF THE CITY SURROUNDING THE CHURCH…
BEFORE WE DID THIS PRAYERWALK, THE PASTOR GAVE ME A SHORT TOUR OF SOME OF THE LOCATIONS INCLUDED IN THE PRAYERWALK…
ONE OF SPOTS WE WERE ASKED TO STOP AND PRAY OVER WAS NEAR A MUSLIM MOSQUE, JUST AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE CHURCH….
HE AND I WALKED THROUGH A COFFEE SHOP THAT WAS JUST ACROSS FROM THE MOSQUE, AND WHEN I LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW, I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I SAW…
THE STREET WAS LITERALLY BLOCKED WITH MEN IN A POSTURE OF PRAYER.
I COULDN’T COUNT THE NUMBER OF MEN WHO WERE THERE, BUT I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT IT WAS EASILY 300…
I ASKED THE PASTOR IF THIS WAS NORMAL, AND HIS RESPONSE TO ME WAS, “HAPPENS EVERY DAY…”
NOW, BEFORE YOU THINK I AM PRAISING THESE MUSLIM MEN OR THE GOD THEY SERVE, WHO IS NOT THE GOD OF THE BIBLE, BY THE WAY, LET ME SAY THAT I AM NOT PRAISING THEM, BUT I AM TRYING TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT THAT ONE’S FAITH CAN AND SHOULD HAVE ON HIS OR HER PRAYER LIFE.
AND THAT’S THE SUBJECT I WANT US TO ADDRESS THIS MORNING…
AND I WANT YOU TO TRY TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION…
IS PRAYER A PRIORITY IN MY LIFE?
TAKE YOUR BIBLE AND TURN WITH ME TO MATTHEW’S GOSPEL…
MATTHEW, CHAPTER 6, VERSES 5 THROUGH 13 CONTAIN WHAT IS COMMONLY KNOW AS THE LORD’S PRAYER…
I WANT US TO READ THOSE VERSES THIS MORNING AS WE THINK ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT PRAYER A PRIORITY…
STAND – READ – PRAY
IS THERE POWER IN PRAYER?
HISTORY TELLS US THAT THERE IS…
READ FROM WHAT GOD DOES WHEN MEN PRAY
SHOULD PRAYER BE A PRIORITY IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN?
WELL, CERTAINLY THE ANSWER IS “YES…”
SO WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE WORDS OF JESUS ABOUT THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER?
HERE’S THE FIRST THING…
1. PRAYER IS EXPECTED.
a. VERSE 5 – “AND WHEN YOU PRAY…”
b. VERSE 6 – “AND WHEN YOU PRAY…”
c. VERSE 7 – “AND WHEN YOU PRAY…”
d. NOTICE THAT JESUS DOES NOT SAY, “IF YOU PRAY…”
e. DO WE HAVE OTHER BIBLICAL EVIDENCE THAT POINTS TO THIS IDEA THAT PRAYER IS EXPECTED?
i. SURE WE DO…
ii. STICKING WITH THE WORDS OF JESUS, IN , JESUS SAID THIS…
1. (ESV) - 13 HE SAID TO THEM, “IT IS WRITTEN, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ BUT YOU MAKE IT A DEN OF ROBBERS.”
iii. THIS MEANS THAT IN ADDITION TO OUR PERSONAL PRAYER TIME, THERE SHOULD BE TIMES WHEN THE CHURCH GATHERS FOR CORPORATE PRAYER…
f. BUT THE THING WE MUST UNDERSTAND IS THAT PRAYER IS EXPECTED…
2. PRAYER IS TO BE RESPECTED.
a. 2 CAUTIONS REGARDING PRAYER ARE GIVEN BY JESUS…
b. THE FIRST IS A CAUTION AGAINST PRAYING TO BE SEEN BY MEN…
i. - 5 “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. 6 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.
ii. THIS IS NOT A CRITICISM OF CORPORATE PRAYER OR PUBLIC PRAYER…
iii. IT HAS TO DO WITH ONE’S ATTITUDE OF PRAYER…
iv. BOTH OF THESE CAUTIONS DO…
v. THE POINT IS THIS…
1. IF THE FOCUS OF YOR PRAYER IS TO RECEIVE THE PRAISE OF MEN, THEN THE ONLY REWARD YOU SHOULD EXPECT FROM YOUR PRAYER IS THE PRAISE OF MEN…
2. AND WHAT VALUE DOES THE PRAISE OF MEN HAVE IN THE ETERNAL SCOPE OF THINGS???
a. NONE…
c. HE ALSO CAUTIONS US NOT TO PRAY TO BE HEARD BY MEN…
i. - 7 “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. 8 DO NOT BE LIKE THEM, FOR YOUR FATHER KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE YOU ASK HIM.
ii. THE TENDENCY OF SOME PEOPLE IS TO TRY TO ENHANCE THE IMPACT OF THEIR PRAYERS BY USING BIG WORDS, AND FLOWERY PHRASES…
iii. BUT JESUS TEACHES US HERE THAT SIMPLE LANGUAGE IS JUST FINE…
iv. YOU KNOW WHY I THINK GOD HONORS PRAYERS THAT CONSIST OF SIMPLE LANGUAGE?
1. BECAUSE OFTEN THE BEST EVIDENCE OF BROKENNESS IS WHEN WE SHAKE OFF ALL OF OUR PRIDE AND JUST GET REAL HONEST WITH GOD.
2. SOME OF YOU MAY NEED TO DO EXACTLY THAT THIS MORNING…
3. JUST SHAKE OFF YOUR PRIDE, AND GET HONEST WITH GOD ABOUT YOUR SITUATION.
d. SO JESUS CAUTIONS US NOT TO PRAY PRAYERS THAT WILL CATCH THE EYES AND EARS OF MEN, BUT PRAY PRAYERS THAT WILL TOUCH THE HEART OF GOD…
3. INSTRUCTIONS FOR PRAYER.
a. OUR PRAYERS SHOULD BE WORSHIPFUL
i. - 9 PRAY THEN LIKE THIS: “OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME.
b. OUR PRAYERS SHOULD BE SUBMISSIVE
i. YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
c. WE SHOULD PRAY FOR SPECIFIC NEEDS
i. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD,
d. WE SHOULD ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND ASK GOD HELP US TO FORGIVE OTHERS…
i. AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS.
e. WE SHOULD PRAY FOR THE LORD’S PROTECTION
e. WE SHOULD PRAY FOR THE LORD’S PROTECTION…
b. IT IS ACTUALLY A WORD THAT IS BETTER TRANSLATED IN
e. WE SHOULD PRAY FOR THE LORD’S PROTECTION…
i. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL.
CONCLUSION:
D.A. CARSON, IN HIS BOOK PRAYING WITH PAUL, GIVES A LIST OF 8 LESSONS HE HAS LEARNED IN WHAT HE CALLS THE “SCHOOL OF PRAYER…”
LET ME GIVE THEM TO YOU AS A WAY TO MAYBE ENHANCE YOUR PERSONAL PRAYER LIFE…
1. MUCH PRAYING IS NOT DONE BECAUSE WE DO NOT PLAN TO PRAY.
2. ADOPT PRACTICAL WAYS TO IMPEDE MENTAL DRIFT.
3. AT VARIOUS PERIODS IN YOUR LIFE, DEVELOP, IF POOSIBLE, A PRAYER-PARTNER RELATIONSHIP.
4. CHOOSE MODELS – BUT CHOOSE THEM WELL.
5. DEVELOP A SYSTEM FOR YOUR PRAYER LISTS.
6. MINGLE PRAISE, CONFESSION, AND INTERCESSION, BUT WHEN YOU INTERCEDE, TRY TO TIE AS MANY REQUESTS AS POSSIBLE TO SCRIPTURE.
7. IF YOU ARE IN ANY FORM OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, WORK AT YOUR PUBLIC PRAYERS.
8. PRAY UNTIL YOU PRAY.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPACTFUL PRAYERS IS THE PRAYER OF SALVATION…
WHEN A PERSON BECOMES DESPERATE ENOUGH TO RECOGNIZE NOT ONLY HIS OR HER OWN SINFULNESS, BUT WHEN HE OR SHE GETS TO THE PLACE WHERE THEY KNOW THAT ONLY GOD CAN SAVE…
MAYBE THIS MORNING, YOU’RE HERE…OR YOU’RE WATCHING THIS SERMON ON VIDEO, AND YOU WOULD SAY THAT YOU HAVE BECOME DESPERATE ENOUGH TO REACH OUT TO GOD…AS HE IS REACHNG OUT TO YOU…
…AND TODAY YOU WOULD COMMIT YOUR LIFE TO JESUS CHRIST BY ADMITTING YOUR OWN SINFULNESS, BELIEVING THAT JESUS IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS, AND THAT HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS WAS SUFFICIENT TO PAY YOUR SIN DEBT, AND BY COMMITTING YOUR LIFE TO JESUS CHRIST TODAY.
OR MAYBE THIS MORNING, YOUR PRAYER IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF PRAYER…
- A PRAYER OF REDEDICATION AND RECOMMITMENT TO CHRIST AND TO GOD’S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE…
- A PRAYER OF SUPPLICATION FOR SOMEONE OR SOME ISSUE IN YOUR LIFE…
- A PRAYER FOR STRENGTH TO RESIST THE TEMPTATIONS THAT YOUR ENEMY, THE DEVIL, ASSAULTS YOU WITH EVERY DAY…
- OR JUST A PRAYER OF WORSHIP, RECOGNIZING AND ACKNOWLEDGING THE GREATNESS AND THE MAJESTY OF ALMIGHTY GOD…
WHATEVER YOUR NEED, WHATEVER YOUR ISSUE, WHATEVER YOUR SITUATION…I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT GOD IS BIGGER THAN THAT NEED, THAT ISSUE, THAT SITUATION…
AND HE WAITS FOR YOU TO TALK WITH HIM THIS MORNING…
PRAY OVER WEDNESDAY DAY NIGHT WORKERS…
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