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Pray! Pray!

The disciplines of a disciple.  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The greatest weakeness of today's church is prayer.

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We have learned that the most important discipline of a disciple is unconditional obedience to his Master. We have also learned that a disciple needs to know Him through the discipline of Bible intake (feeding). There are two complementary ways of knowing a person: 1- reading all you can about that person; and 2- talking to that person. Bible reading takes care of the first way, and prayer takes care of the second one.
Unfortunately, most Christians do not give importance to prayer. Which is the least attended service of any church? Prayer Service!
That’s only a reflection of their spiritual life: prayer is not an integral part of their spiritual walk. How much do you pray? Much? Little? Nothing?
Let me help you to answer that question!
Some statistics indicate that typical Christians pray only one minute per day and typical pastors pray five minutes per day. Since we have 1440 minutes a day, that’s equivalent to 0.069% and 0.35% respectively. How much is that per year? Six hours (believer)/ One day and six hours (pastors).
Jesus knew that prayer was His disciples’ weakness and that’s why He taught them the following parable:
The intention of the parable is clear: to teach them that they had to pray all the time without giving up.
Disciples must pray because...

Their Master commands them to pray.

“they ought to pray” 1
“ought” is a verbal auxiliary used to express obligation and natural expectation. As a noun, indicates “duty”.
To pray is an obligation given by God; prayer is the natural expectation from those who claim to have faith; prayer is the duty of believers.
Thru Paul, the apostle, God gives us an order, not an option:
1 Thessalonians 5:16–19 NASB95
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit;
1 Th 5:16-19
His will is that his disciples pray
1 Timothy 2:8 NASB95
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
Everything the Lord has commanded is for our benefit and must be obeyed.
Disciples must pray because...

Prayer is the most important need of the Church.

Many of the Church’s problem are due to lack of prayer. Divisions result from lack of prayer, lack of finances are related to lack of prayer:
James 4:2 NASB95
You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
), lack of workers is related to lack of prayer (“the harvest is plentiful
lack of workers is related to lack of prayer:
Luke 10:2 NASB95
And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Foolishly, we try to solve the problem thru other means and not thru prayer. Let’s consider this quote by E. M. Bounds,
What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer. (Bounds, E. M.; Power through Prayer.)
Even non-evangelicals acknowledge the importance of prayer. One of them, Father Patrick Peyton (1909-1992), a Roman Catholic priest, had a famous crusade whose slogan was: “The family that prays together stays together.”
The church is a spiritual family that needs to pray together to stay together (or to avoid divisions).
Bounds, E. M. (1999). Power through Prayer.
Disciples must pray because...

Prayer is for their benefit.

The widow did not asked for the benefit of the judge; she asked for her benefit.
Prayer is the resource God has given us to obtain from Him what we need most.
The benefits of prayer are innumerable, but, due to constraints of time, I want to mention just a few of them.
When we pray...

We become closer to God.

This is the most important benefit of prayer. When you hear God’s voice thru His Word and respond to Him in prayer, you develop closeness to Him. You know Him more, you trust Him more because your faith increases, and the relationship is strengthened.
Prayer is communication with God! Communion is developed thru communication. How can we be close to God if we seldom talk to Him?
Communion, closeness! That’s what God wants from you!
Jesus gave us the example of communication with the Father. Despite His busy schedule, He constantly set time aside to pray:
Matthew 14:23 NASB95
After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
His example of prayer was so powerful that the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray:
Luke 11:1 NASB95
It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”
Another benefit of prayer is provision:

We obtain provision.

In the parable we find a widow in need, in need of protection:
“Give me legal protection from my opponent.” 3
Only the judge could provide that: legal provision. She represent the christian who insists in his prayer requests.
Many know the words, “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and, it will be opened to you.” () But most of them do not know the context. Those words were told by Jesus after He taught them how to pray.
() The context is a man in need of bread to attend his visitor that came very late at night. His only option was to knock on his neighbor door and ask for bread. His persistence made his neighbor to give him what he needed.
Let’s not forget that in , just one verse before teaching the prayer, Jesus remind His disciples know what they needed even before they ask:
Matthew 6:6–8 NASB95
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Another benefit of prayer is inner peace:

We obtain peace.

We obtain peace.

Phil 4:6-7
Philippians 4:6–7 NASB95
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do not worry! Do not despair! Do not lose hope! Pray! Pray!
When we pray, we yield the control to God! Peace is the result because we know that our boat will not sink if He is at the helm.
Finally, another benefit of prayer is that prepares us to deal with temptation.

We are able to face temptation.

What do you think it was the greatest temptation Jesus faced?...
I think the greatest temptation was to avoid the cross. Crucifixion would be extremely painful for the body, but the abandonment from the Father would be even more painful.
What did Jesus do when He knew that the hour had arrived? He went to Gethsemane to pray!
Luke 22:40–41 NASB95
When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,
After praying for more than one hour, He got up and with determination to face it, He told them:
After praying for more than one hour, He got up and with determination
Matthew 26:46 NASB95
“Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”
Everyday, we need to get closer to God, we need provision, we need peace, and determination to defeat temptation and be obedient to God. Prayer is the answer!
How can you grow in prayer?
1- Every time you pray, add a request for someone else or something else.
2- Use idle time and waiting time to pray, not for the phone.
3- Offer yourself to pray. Ask others, how can I pray for you?
4- Make a prayer list and keep visible.
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