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Praying God's Will

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Introduction

Big Idea: Praying God’s will is a core value of Oasis Community Church
Continuing through series on the church’s identity and direction
We are examining two parts of our identity: our mission and our values. Our mission answers the question of why we exist. Our values answers the question of what is most important to us.
Previously we looked at the church’s mission: to love all people into the family of Jesus, and the first of our values: teaching God’s word. We now turn to our second value.
Imagine soldier going into war. He is being sent into the enemy’s territory. He is young, and has little experience and ability, but he is part of an invading force. Before they send him off, his commander gives him a radio and tells him that at any time he can call for air support. The mission he is being sent on is so significant that it cannot fail. So all he needs to do is radio in for support and the bombers and fighters can come in and make short work of his targets.
Now, imagine, that this same soldier heads out and immediately forgets that he has this radio. He will think that the war effort depends entirely on him. He will be terrified when he sees just how outnumbered he is.
Or imagine that he believes he doesn’t need air support. He believes he has the skill and power as a lone infantry unity to take out the entire enemy on his own.
Both scenarios are exactly what happens when Christians fail to pray. We have been sent into enemy territory as the church. We are called to take ground for the King. And we have been given a radio that doesn’t just go to our commanding officer. It goes directly to the King himself who is willing to unleash all of heaven at your request.
Yet we forget to pray. Or worse, we think we do not need prayer. Prayer is the greatest untapped resource available to us as Christians and as the church.
As such, prayer is one of the core values of Oasis Community Church. To look at why we value prayer the way that we do, we are going to look at a few texts.

Prayer accomplishes the works of God

John 14:8–13 ESV
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:1–13 ESV
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Jesus came to bring us to his Father. His works were performed to convince people that he really was from the Father.
John 14.1-13
Jesus says that his disciples will do the same validating works that point to the authority of Jesus to bring people to his Father. How?
By asking Jesus to do the work through them. God means to do mighty works in validating the authority of his Son through our prayers.
Let me share something both incredibly humbling AND freeing. God’s mission to expand his Kingdom does not require you. You are not essential to God’s plans. None of us are. This is freeing though, since we need to be less concerned with our work, and more concerned with asking God to work.
We value prayer, not just as a prerequisite for doing a great work. We value prayer because it is the work.

Prayer invites the Father’s reward

Matthew 6:5–8 ESV
“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. 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. “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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Jesus does not forbid us from praying to be seen. He just tells us who it is we want to be seen by.
Matthew
Prayer is a horrible way to be righteous
Prayer is an excellent way to enjoy intimacy with God. When we pray to be seen by God, not man, we are rewarded with God, not men.
We value prayer because we desire intimacy with the Father

Prayer harnesses the Power of God

James 5:13–18 ESV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Matthew 6:5–8 ESV
“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. 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. “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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6.5
Prayer is powerful. We get to bend the ear of the most powerful being in existence and he delights to answer us.
Prayer is powerful enough to alter weather patterns and diseases.
Prayer matters. Prayer works. Prayer accomplishes much.
We value prayer because it brings into existence things that would have not otherwise existed had we not prayed.

How we value Prayer

Prayer will never be a hoop to jump through but part of the essential work of the church
We will pray in our services, small groups, and other ministries.
We will continue to take seriously our prayer ministry
Essential to our discipleship strategy will be teach our people to depend on God through prayer

Communion

On the night that Jesus was betrayed...
The Lord’s supper reminds us of why our prayers are able to be heard in the first place
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