Faithlife Sermons

Prayer Not as a Last Resort

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Ever find yourself saying “Prayer is the least I can do for you”? Or shared your heart out with someone and they reply with well “I will pray for you”. Your thinking I poured my heart out and told you all about my struggles and all you got for me is I will pray for you and for some of you your saying you didn’t even put the I will in there all you wrote back is praying. You’re thinking come on are you kidding me. Wives you ever find yourself pouring your heart out to your husband and telling him how bad you feel and he responds with I will pray for you? You’re thinking I was not going there with that conversation I just wanted some sympathy and I just wanted someone to understand what I am going through and their response is I will pray for you.
You ever find yourself listening to someone else’s story and you are not sure how to respond and so you resort to, well “I will pray for you”. I wish I could have done something but that was so overwhelming that I didn’t know what to say.
Acts 6
Acts 6:1–7 HCSB
1 In those days, as the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint by the Hellenistic Jews against the Hebraic Jews that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. 2 Then the Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching about God to handle financial matters. 3 Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.” 5 The proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.
Ephesians 3:14–16 HCSB
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit,
According to the standard of: His Glorious riches
Strength: be strong to overcome resistance
Power: Dynamic living power
inner man: Believers innermost beings
Ephesians 3:17 HCSB
17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love,
The reason fr the strength and power in the inner man through His Spirit is that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith.
Dwell: That Christ might literally, “be at home in” your hearts through faith.
This idea of be at home in your hearts. Imagine with me this morning if we came to your home and in your house we decorated it with all the things that you hate. If you are a Cardinals fan we, then we decided to put Cubs stuff up everywhere. Or if you are a Cubs fan, we decided to put up Cardinals stuff all over the house. Perhaps you love Fords and we went throughout your house and decorated it with Chevy stuff everywhere. Maybe you are a Harley guy and we came in and put up Honda parts and decor one everything. It would be very hard to feel at home in this environment.
Paul prays that the Messiah may dwell or literally be at home in your hearts through faith. If your heart is full of hate, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness then Christ is not literally at home in your hearts. Paul is praying that Christ might literally be at home in their hearts. This would mean that he is at home in your hearts all the time. This not just a Sunday a thing. This is all the time.
For Christ to dwell in your hearts, our hearts would be full of love, forgiveness, patience, kindness, gentleness, joy, peace, faithfulness and self-control. This would be always present in our lives.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Seven: Get Your Hands on Your Wealth (Ephesians 3:14–21)

What Paul is praying for is a deeper experience between Christ and His people. He yearns for Christ to settle down and feel at home in their hearts—not a surface relationship, but an ever-deepening fellowship

What would life look like if we made a conscience effort to make our hearts a place that Christ can be at home in?
This is not a soft prayer. He is praying that Christ would dwell or be made at home in their hearts.
I pray that you...
He continues to pray that Christ be the center of the believers lives. He uses two words rooted and established. These participles are in perfect tense, indicating past action with continuing results. (break this down)
Rooted: Tree must get its rots deep into the soil for it to have nourishment and stability
Jeremiah 17:7–8 HCSB
7 The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. 8 He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Seven: Get Your Hands on Your Wealth (Ephesians 3:14–21)

If there is to be power in the Christian life, then there must be depth. The roots must go deeper and deeper into the love of Christ.

Tomato plants in the summer watering them too much verses me letting them go down and get rooted on their own. Don’t let church and Sundays be the only source for being rooted in Jesus. We must search for depth on our own.
Firmly Established/Grounded: Architectural term; it refers to the foundations on which we build.
The most important part of the building is the foundation. It the foundation is week the rest of the building will not stand. In order to build high you must go deep into the ground.
It is essential that we ground ourselves in Christ. That in Christ we establish a firm foundation in love.
Ephesians 3:18 HCSB
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love,
Comprehend: to grasp or to lay ahold of something for yourself.
This means to not only understand it but to understand it to the point of making it your own.
Ephesians 3:19–21 HCSB
19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The prayers of saintly leaders do much in making saints of those who follow them. -E.M. Bounds
Colossians 4:12–13 HCSB
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills. 13 For I testify about him that he works hard for you, for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 HCSB
10 as we pray very earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith?
I have a confession to make that in the first 11 years prayer has not been to this extent for me as a leader. I am working to change this. So I had to ask myself how in the world have we accomplished so much and the Lord done so much through us in 11 years?
I was reminded of all the people that over the years have talked to me, called, written letters, sent emails, text messages and said we are praying for you. I 100% believe this ministry has been sustained by the prayers of the people.
Prayer is not a last resort. Prayer is the first response. Church what if we heard the words that I will pray with you and we said THANK YOU because we believe this is the most someone could do. What if relationships and marriages were strengthened because daily we heard the words I prayed for you. Imagine church if we took this serious and when we heard someone say they have been praying for us that we would stop and see the power of someone praying and when we tell someone we will pray for them that we grasp and understand being sacred holiness of God and praying for the saints.
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