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Prayer for the Purpose of Godliness

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Prayers is Expected

Jesus expects us to Pray

Matthew 6:5–9 NASB95
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “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. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Luke 11:9 NASB95
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Luke 18:1 NASB95
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

Jesus Expects Us to Pray

God’s Word Makes is Clear

Colossians 4:2 NASB95
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB95
pray without ceasing;

“prayer is a walkie-talkie for warfare, not a domestic intercom for increasing our conveniences.” - John Piper

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (pp. 82-83). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

To abandon prayer is to fight the battle with our own resources at best, and to lose interest in the battle at worst.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 83). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

if we felt certain of visible results within sixty seconds of every prayer, there would be holes in the knees of every pair of Christian-owned pants in the world.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 83). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

While it’s true that our praying (as well as all aspects of our Christian living) should be governed by the truth of Scripture rather than our feelings, nevertheless the frailty of our emotions frequently erodes our desire to pray.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 84). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

Some circumstances drive us to our knees. But there are periods when life seems quite manageable.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 84). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

Prayer is Learned

Do you feel you know how to pray well?

The Bible says we must pray for the glory of God, in His will, in faith, in the name of Jesus, with persistence, and more.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 85). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
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.”

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (pp. 85-86). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

By Praying

There are many good resources for learning how to pray, but the best way to learn how to pray is to pray.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 85). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

The Holy Spirit teaches praying people how to pray better. That’s one of the applications of where Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (pp. 85-86). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

By Meditating on Scripture

Here’s the simple, but extraordinarily powerful truth: Meditation is the missing link between Bible intake and prayer.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 86). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
Psalm 5:1 NASB95
Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning.
Psalm 19:14 NASB95
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

The process works like this: After the input of a passage of Scripture, meditation allows us to take what God has said and think deeply on it, digest it, and then speak to God about it in meaningful prayer.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 87). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

By Praying with Others

But we pray with them to learn principles of prayer, not phrases for prayer.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 93). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

Many of the great movements of God can be traced to a small group of people He called together to begin praying.

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 93). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
FACT: The Moravian Community of Herrnhut in Saxony, in 1727, commenced a round-the-clock “prayer watch” that continued nonstop for over a hundred years.
FACT: By 1791, 65 years after commencement of that prayer vigil, the small Moravian community had sent 300 missionaries to the ends of the earth.
Could it be that there is some relationship between those two facts? Is fervent intercession a basic component in world evangelization? The answer to both questions is surely an unqualified “yes.”
That heroic eighteenth-century evangelization thrust of the Moravians has not received the attention it deserves. But even less heralded than their missionary exploits is that hundred-year prayer meeting that sustained the fires of evangelism.
During its first five years of existence the Herrnhut settlement showed few signs of spiritual power. By the beginning of 1727 the community of about three hundred people was wracked by dissension and bickering. An unlikely site for revival!
Zinzendorf and others, however, covenanted to prayer and labor for revival. On May 12 revival came. Christians were aglow with new life and power, dissension vanished and unbelievers were converted.
Looking back to that day and the four glorious months that followed, Zinzendorf later recalled: “The whole place represented truly a visible habitation of God among men.”
A spirit of prayer was immediately evident in the fellowship and continued throughout that “golden summer of 1727,” as the Moravians came to designate the period. On August 27 of that year twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted to spend one hour each day in scheduled prayer.
Some others enlisted in the “hourly intercession.”
“For over a hundred years the members of the Moravian Church all shared in the ‘hourly intercession.’ At home and abroad, on land and sea, this prayer watch ascended unceasingly to the Lord,” stated historian A. J. Lewis.
https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/one-hundred-year-prayer-meeting
1970 Asbury College Revival - 185 hours long

By Reading about Prayer

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 93). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

By Reading about Prayer

Proverbs 27:17 NASB95
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 13:20 NASB95
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Prayers is Answered

Psalm 65:2 NASB95
O You who hear prayer, To You all men come.
Matthew 7:7–8 NASB95
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
James 4:3 NASB95
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

“If it is coincidence, I sure have a lot more coincidences when I pray than when I don’t.”

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (p. 96). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
More Application
Because Prayer is expected, will you pray?
Since Prayer is learned, will you learn to pray?
Since Prayer is answered, will you persistently pray?

WARM-UP

1. Statistical surveys and experience seem to agree that a large percentage of professing Christians spend little time in sustained prayer, even though they know that prayer is a vital Christian Discipline. Why might this be so?
2. How do you know when you haven’t been praying enough? What are your feelings and concerns during those times?

God Expects Us to Pray

3. What do ,; ; and 18:1 teach about Jesus’ view of prayer?
4. How might you apply and in the midst of your busy schedule?
5. tells Christians to “pray without ceasing.” Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, page 82, says that “praying without ceasing means you never really stop conversing with God; you simply have frequent interruptions.” Do you agree with this definition? Why or why not?
6. Have you ever felt that prayer was more obligation than opportunity? If so, why? If not, why not?
7. Why did Jesus pray in “desolate places” ()?
8. Describe a time when God answered your specific prayer.
9. Why should our praying be governed by the truth of Scripture rather than by our feelings?

Prayer Is Learned

10. Has anyone ever taught you about prayer? If so, who? If not, who might you seek out to teach you?
11. What role, according to , does the Holy Spirit play in your prayer life?
12. How would you describe the relationship between biblical meditation and prayer? (See ; , and reread the quote by William Bates on page 43.)
13. a. Thomas Manton, a Puritan preacher, wrote, “It is rashness to pray and not to meditate. What we take in by the word we digest by meditation and let out by prayer.”[12] What is your response to this thought? b. Why do you think more churches today don’t teach about the relationship between meditation and prayer? c. How has this lack of teaching affected the church as a whole? Your life? The lives of others you know?
14. What is the difference between learning “principles of prayer” and learning “phrases for prayer”?
15. What book(s) on prayer have you or others in the group found helpful? In what ways? God Answers Prayer
16. Read again. Discuss the following phrases: “Ask, and it will be given to you.” “Seek, and you will find.” “Knock, and it will be opened to you.” “For everyone who asks receives.” “The one who seeks finds.” “To the one who knocks it will be opened.”
17. a. Andrew Murray wrote, “If you ask and receive not, it must be because there is something amiss or wanting in the prayer.” Do you agree with this statement? Explain. b. Discuss how the following may affect answers to prayer: Impatience/lack of perseverance in prayer Selfish motives Unrepentant sin in your life Unwillingness to accept that God may answer in ways that are not obvious Asking for things that are outside the will of God or don’t glorify Him

Going Deeper

18. a. At which times in your life have you felt that prayer didn’t work, that God wasn’t listening? b. How does what you’ve learned in this session relate to this situation?
Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Study Guide (pp. 48-49). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Study Guide (pp. 50-52). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
19. Does persistent prayer tend to develop deeper gratitude toward God? Faith in God? Explain your answers. (See ; .)
Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Study Guide (pp. 49-50). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Study Guide (pp. 47-48). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
20. In what ways does the Enemy sidetrack your prayer life? Be specific.
21. What do you think is the relationship between a Christian’s view of God’s willingness and ability to answer prayer, the person’s love for God, and his or her willingness to persevere in prayer?
22. Think about a time when you experienced the joy of answered prayer. What did you learn during that time that you might apply to your situation today?
23. If we do not persevere in prayer, what are we demonstrating that we believe about God’s love for us? About His promises to us?
24. This week, plan to link your Bible reading to prayer through biblical meditation. Share your experiences with the group when you meet again.
Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Study Guide (p. 39). The Navigators. Kindle Edition.
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