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Praying Scripture, Watching, and Intersession

The Hour that Changes the World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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4th Element: Scripture Praying

Have you ever been writing a letter or an email and realized you didn’t know how to spell a word correctly, so instead of trying to figure it out you just changed the word?
Have you
I for one have become dependent on spellchecker for the diversity of my vocabulary, otherwise my emails would look a lot like a 2nd grader.
The words we use matter don’t they? And I think we are keenly aware of this when we go to pray.
For those who are not seasoned in prayer, the question I hear a lot is “What am I supposed to pray about?”
It isn’ that they don’t want to pray, they just don’t know what to say and where to start.
What to focus on and what to not.
For those seasoned in prayer you might be asking “How do I make my prayer time less boring?” Yes I used the “B-Word”
The reality is that our prays tend to be boring because we pray for the same things, in the same way most of the time.
Persistence in prayer is important, but prayer can be come mechanical when we prayer the same way for the same things.
How do we learn how to pray and/or learn how to pray more passionately and effectively?
Through the Word of God!
One of the most
God spent thousands of years writing a book that we as His people can simply pick up and read. Why is this significant for prayer? Well if you want to know what someone enjoys talking about, what they find most important in their life, then you should listen to what they talk about the most.
God spent thousands of years writing a book that we as His people can simply pick up and read.
Why is this significant for prayer?
If you want to know what someone enjoys talking about, what they find most important in their life, then you should listen to what they talk about the most.
1 John 5:14 ESV
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
1 John
Where does our confidence in prayer come from?
Through our knowledge of God
Through knowledge of God Will
Also through knowles
The mind of God is open to us in the book He has written FOR US.
The Bible and prayer are interdependent; we can’t understand what to pray for, or even how to pray without the bible.
Nor will reading the bible be as effective and formative in our lives without prayer being a regular part of our faith lives.
Eastman says “Our prayer time, no matter how intense, is never truly complete without the divine nourishment available only from God’s Word. Indeed, the Word of God is the Christian’s true prayer book. It is our guide and foundation for all effective praying. To neglect God’s Word is to neglect God’s power.”
If you want to know how to pray and what to pray for, start by picking up the Bible and soaking in the Words of God Himself.
Let them shape your words as they shape your heart.

Allowing GOD’S WORD to become YOUR WORDS

One of the most effective ways to let the Word of God shape your prayers is to literally pray the Word of God.
One of the most effective ways to let the Word of God shape your prayers is to literally pray the Word of God. John Piper says ““Virtually all of the Bible leads us to praise God, thank God, cry to God, and confess to God.” So using the Word of God to guide our prayer is both a helpful method for learning how to pray and a powerful way to let the Word of God speak for us.
John Piper says ““Virtually all of the Bible leads us to praise God, thank God, cry to God, and confess to God.”
So using the Word of God to guide our prayer is both a helpful method for learning how to pray and a powerful way to let the Word of God speak for us.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews
Putting it into practice:
Psalm 23:1 ESV
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
A shepherd is the protector and provider for a sheep herd.
They rely on the shepherd to live and to thrive.
Psalm 1:1–2 NLT
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
Spend time thanking God for providing for you in all the ways He does.
Thank Him for His intentional, sacrificial, grace-motivated love.
Psalm 1:1 NLT
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
Psalm 23:2 ESV
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Acknowledge how God guides you into good places and to good things when you listen to Him.
Think of the people in your life who do not follow the God’s leadership.
Pray that they would
Psalm 23:3 ESV
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 1:2 NLT
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
God help me to find your word and you ways delightful and realize that they lead to joy.
Help me find more delight and joy in your word and your ways than I do in the ways of this world.
Help me discern truth from lies.
Give me a desire to read your Word and help me to understand what it is saying so that I might follow it.
Psalm 23:4 ESV
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 1:3 NLT
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Psalm 23 NLT
A psalm of David. 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
ps 1
God allow you word to strengthen my faith and my obedience to you.
Help me to grow deep, hearty roots of faith that lead to fruitfulness in life.
May the roots of your word grow deep to keep me through hard times and times of temptation.
Psalm 1:4 NLT
4 But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
Psalm 1:4–5 NLT
4 But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.
Psalm 23:5 ESV
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 1:5 NLT
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.
I know people like this Lord, and I was one of them at one point God.
Break my heart for the wicked, but don’t let me become envious of the illusion of freedom they have when I know truth of their hopelessness.
Psalm 1:6 NLT
6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
Watch over me, watch over my family, watch over our church
Protect us from falsehood and keep us from temptation.
Give us
Psalm 23:6 ESV
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
3 Steps for Scripture Srayer.
1) Read a passage or chapter from the Bible. Any passage of scripture can be used to guide our prayers, but I have found starting with a Psalm is easier, since many of the Psalms are prayers.
2) Slowly read the passage, listening for a verse that “impresses a particular truth upon your heart.” Then meditate on that truth and ask yourself these questions
a. Does this verse prompt me to pray for something specific?
b. How can this passage be directly applied to my petition?
c. Is it possible to use some of the words of this scripture, verbatim, as I pray?
3) Finally, form a personal prayer “enriched” by that promise from God.

5th Element: Watching

I have a one-tracked mind.
I cannot listen to music with word and read at the same time.
I can’t talk on the phone and watch a TV show without either tuning out the person I am talking to or totally missing out on the plot line of the show I am watching.
Prayer is not much different.
The moment I stop what I am doing to spend time speaking to God or listening for Him to speak to me, every possible thought that could will enter my mind and I will inevitably wander off into utter distraction from the purpose of my praying.
Matthew 26:41 ESV
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus diagnosed our problem
It isn’t necessarily that we are not willing, most of us would admit that we want to have an active and vibrant prayer life
But we have weak flesh and our minds and bodies are often against us as we seek to pray.
Jesus also gives us a prescription for our problem: “WATCH”
Literally means to “stay alert” “don’t fall asleep” “be watchful”.
Colossians 4:2 ESV
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Col
Paul has a similar encouragement in Colossians
As we are steadfastly (not stopping/continuing) praying, we should be alert and thankful.
He is saying we should have a “Constant spiritual alertness” as opposed to being “careless and mechanicalness” in our prayers.
Though Paul is talking generally about our prayers, this time of “Watching” is a time of focused, intentional Spiritual alertness.

A time of Spiritual Alertness

Two Particular Areas of Alertness:
Eastman, rightfully, makes the case that this should be a specific part of our prayer time.

1) Be alert to the Spiritual forces around us.

eph 6
Though we should be alert during our entire prayer time, a specific time spend watching and praying attention is a practice that will benefit our prayer time as a whole.
Ephesians 6:11–12 ESV
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Spiritual

We are spiritually influenced and we need to be awake to those forces and influences around us.
It is not about just staying awake (physical), but more so about being aware/alert to the Spiritual component of our prayer time.
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Be aware of the lies, temptations, and accusations of the Evil One and how they are affecting your walk with Christ.
Call them out and pray against them.

2) Be alert to the Spiritual needs around us.

Often times when we stop to pray we forget everything we were thinking about praying for.
Or we pray for the same things, with almost the same words.
A time of “Watching” allows the Spirit of God to make us aware of ways we can pray.
Rather than praying “Be with our teachers and administrators.” The Spirit lead us to boldly pray against the influence of Evil over the families in our schools.
He may call you to pray for neglectful parents to be exposed and kids be brought into healthy families.
Pray that God would break the bonds of addiction in the lives of parents of our school children.
We are giving God room to guide our prayers as we are alert and awake to the Spiritual world around us.
Could be something in the news, a newsletter from from a mission agency, or something you saw on Facebook that prompt you to pray over that thing.
Practicing Watchfulness
1) Take a few moments during prayer to become spiritually alert. Watch for methods Satan may try to use to hinder your Christian walk that day. Prayerfully claim power to defeat Satan in each of these areas.
2) Read something from a Christian ministry that shares about the needs of the nations or something from the news, asking how the Evil one is working in the world and all around us.
2) Also consider some of the news you have read recently, asking how the Evil one is working in the world and all around us.
3) Boldly pray for the nations and for yourself against the schemes of the evil one. Speak against him specifically and directly.
4) Pray for God’s spiritual protection from the lies, accusations, and temptations of the Evil one.

6th Element: Intersession

I worked at a Homeless Shelter for 2 years.
We talked about the need to feed, cloth, and shelter those in need so that they could have a chance to hear about Jesus.
That is so true, but ultimately they needed to hear about Jesus.
There is nothing wrong with praying for the physical needs of others.
Life issues, struggles, sickness, pain, for good things to happen...
But if we only focus on the physical or life issues they may have good health, a nice job, and other good things, but do they have JESUS?
Intersession is the “going between” for those that don’t know Jesus.
It is to stand between a lost being and an almighty God, praying that this person will come to know about God and his salvation.
It is to stand between a lost being and an almighty God, praying that this person will come to know about God and his salvation.
There is no other mode of prayer that reaches out to all the world as does intercessory prayer.
We are engaging the Power of God to accomplish His mission through His people through the power of His Spirit.
Intersession is an act of ultimate selflessness in prayer.
Romans 9:1–2 ESV
1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
Romans 9:1–3 NLT
1 With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. 2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them.
Not thinking about MY needs, but thinking about he ULTIMATE NEED of ALL OF MANKIND.
Being broken for those who do not know Jesus.

Asking God to open DOORS, open MINDS, open HEARTS, and open HEAVENS.

Open Doors means asking God to make know to you those who do not know Him.
Colossians 4:2–3 NIV
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
col
Those in your immediate circle of influence
Family, friends
Those you interact with somewhat regularly
coworkers, acquaintances, others you interact with
Those at a distance from you
People in need of Jesus in our community or country
Influencers, politicians, leaders
The lost around the world
Unreached people groups
Closed nations
Pray that God would open doors for you to speak and for others to speak the name of Jesus to them.
Open Minds means asking God to open minds to hear and receive the Gospel.
Acts 26:17–18 NIV
17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Overcome language and cultural barriers for them hearing the Gospel
Asking God to open minds to hear and receive the Gospel.
Overcome language and cultural barriers for them hearing the Gospel
Overcome the lies and temptations of the EVIL ONE
John 16:8–9 NIV
8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me;
jn
Change their minds about God and shine light on the truth.
Open Hearts means that they would not just hear the gospel but they would be transform by it.
Ephesians 1:18 NIV
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
2 cor
2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Open Heavens means that the glory of Jesus would be revealed to them and through them.
Practicing Intersession
Pray in circles, starting with those closest to you, moving to your community and country, leaders and influencers, then finish with the lost around the world.
Pray for God to break your heart for the lost and for Him to lead you and equip you to share Him with those He brings your way.
Ask God to send labours into the harvest, to open doors for the
Ask God to send labours into the harvest, to open doors for the gospel to penetrate lostness, and for those He sends to see fruit as they share.
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