Faithlife Sermons

The Practice of Prayer

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What do we believe about Prayer?

The forces of our individualistic culture have influenced what was once a more communal and corporate conception of Christian identity to one now focused primarily on the individual. This “personal” faith focus plays out most explicitly in the practice of prayer: almost all American adults (94%) who have prayed at least once in the last three months most often choose to pray by themselves. Not only are most prayers a solo practice, but the vast majority are also most often silent (82% compared to 13% audible and solo prayers). Affirming this shift is the fact that only a very small percentage most often pray audibly with another person or group (2%), or collectively with a church (2%).
American adults who pray with regularity do so with varying motivations, the most common being to offer “gratitude and thanksgiving” (62%)
Silent and Solo: How Americans Pray; Barna Research Group, Aug 2017

What is Prayer?

Prayer is an expression of sincere desire. It is not to inform God of matters that he would otherwise be ignorant of, and the validity of prayer is not affected by length or repetitiveness

Occasionally it seems from our Lord’s teaching that anything that is prayed for will, without restriction, be granted. But such teaching ought to be understood in the light of Christ’s overall teaching about prayer (“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”

Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible The Elements of Prayer

When the recognition of God’s goodness is in respect of what he has done for the one who prays, or for others, then the prayer is one of thanksgiving, for life itself, for the use and beauty of the physical universe, for Christ and his benefits (“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift,” 2 Cor 9:15), and for specific answers to prayer.

What is the Purpose of Prayer?

American adults who pray with regularity do so with varying motivations, the most common being to offer “gratitude and thanksgiving” (62%
“Prayer is not primarily about what we can get out of God, but what He purposes to do in and through us for His own pleasure. Prayer is a major way we come to know Him and hear His voice. Through prayer, we abide in Him and allow Him to live through us. Prayer is how Christ purifies His bride and builds His kingdom. The greatest secret to prayer is to align ourselves to God’s purposes rather than seeking to align Him to ours.” (How to develop a powerful prayer life, Dr. Gregory Frizzell, p. 3)
Silent and Solo: How Americans Pray; Barna Research Group, Aug 2017
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible The Elements of Prayer

When the recognition of God’s goodness is in respect of what he has done for the one who prays, or for others, then the prayer is one of thanksgiving, for life itself, for the use and beauty of the physical universe, for Christ and his benefits (“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift,” 2 Cor 9:15), and for specific answers to prayer.

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