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Experiencing God 12 - God Speaks Through Prayer

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Reading: Romans 8:1-17
Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14

I.   Prayer Prepares us to hear God

     A.  Prayer is Communion with God

           1.  What is prayer?

                 a.  Prayer isn’t simply “asking for stuff”

                 b.  But what is it really?

           2.  ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

                 a.  That isn’t all there is to prayer, is it.

                 b.  We must also “wait on the Lord” to renew our strength.

           3.  Prayer is intentionally being in God’s presence—communion with God.

                 a.  Words are optional.

                 b.  Sometimes we don’t know the words to say—then the Spirit prays for us (v.26)

     B.  Prayer Changes us

           1.  Being in God’s presence changes us.

                 a.  I’m not saying that our prayers have no effect on God — they do!

                 b.  Prayer changes us because no one can remain unchanged in God’s presence.

           2.  Prayer is humbling

                 a.  We acknowledge Someone is bigger

                 b.  We admit we need help

                 c.  We admit we have done wrong.

           3.  Leaning on God, results in the blessing of the Holy Spirit working in us.

                 a.  If we live life on our own terms, we can’t do better than die. (v.6)

                 b.  But if we live life on God’s terms, we have the blessing of real living! (v.11)

                 c.  God adopts us as children when we lean on Him!

     C.  Prayer Unburdens us

           1.  We are relieved of doing it all ourselves.

                 a.  As if it all depends on us! (It doesn’t!)

                 b.  It’s OK to ask for help.

           2.  We are relieved of our anxieties.

                 a.  Carrying it all drives us insane.

                 b.  Trusting God diminishes our worries

                 c.  But that isn’t so easy to do!

           3.  We are freed to serve and please God.

                 a.  Prayer frees us from our burdens.

                 b.  Prayer frees us to live a worthwhile life

II.  God speaks While we pray

     A.  Let me Pray about it first.

           1.  Do you say this about important decisions?

                 a.  Is this just a sentimental sort of appeal?

                 b.  Why then do we do this?

           2.  What do you expect will happen?

                 a.  We expect guidance.

                 b.  We believe God will give it.

           3.  The Spirit leads us (v.14)

                 a.  The Spirit is always leading us.

                 b.  How much more when we ask him to?

                 c.  How? In at least these ways.

     B.  The Spirit leads us Inwardly

           1.  That still small voice.

                 a.  Always in a way that conforms to the Spirit’s revelation in Scripture.

                 b.  The Spirit testifies with our spirit (v.16)

                 c.  How do we get to know God’s voice?

           2.  The felt urge or direction.

                 a.  Sometimes that’s all it is, isn’t it?

                 b.  Still this inner sense of direction can be clear enough to know what to do.

           3.  A confidence, or certainty.

                 a.  Sometimes what God gives us in our uncertainty is certainty!

                 b.  This isn’t arrogant certainty, though.

                 c.  I always assume there is more to God’s guidance than what I understand so far.

     C.  God answer may come Immediately

           1.  God’s leading sometimes comes before we’re even finished asking for it.

                 a.  While the words are still on our lips

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 (NIV)

                 b.  While it doesn’t always happen like this, sometimes it does!

           2.  This may sound like the conversation Jeremiah had with God (Jer.1:4-17).

                 a.  “Speak” “Uh, me?” “Yeah, you!”

                 b.  The conversation can last days, months or even years. Or just minutes.

           3.  Be wary of deceiving yourselves into having a conversation with yourself!

III. God speaks in Answer to prayer

     A.  We don’t receive because we don’t Ask

           1.  We are supposed to ask for God’s wisdom

                 a.  James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

           2.  Sometimes God waits to act until His servants ask Him to

                 a.  He doesn’t have to wait.

                 b.  Still He sometimes does.

           3.  We ought not expect God’s guidance when we don’t ask Him for it!

                 a.  But when we ask and wait for it, we can be confident He will give it.

                 b.  We have the promise of God’s control in our lives (v.9)

     B.  God always answers at the right Time

           1.  It isn’t always immediately.

                 a.  In fact it usually isn’t.

                 b.  Most often his answer unfolds over time

           2.  The inward voice isn’t always so clear

                 a.  We don’t always, or even often, confident that we know God’s leading

                 b.  Sometimes we have to act anyway!

           3.  In God’s time he does make His will known to His children.

                 a.  God’s guidance comes in His way.

                 b.  God’s guidance comes in time.

     C.  God answers clearly enough to Lead us

           1.  He promises to lead us (v.14)

                 a.  We have this assurance (v.9)

           2.  He does lead us

                 a.  It is my assumption that God gives me enough leading for today.

                 b.  That’s my assumption for us as His Church too—But we listen as Church

           3.  His leading is clear enough for us to follow

                 a.  God speaks so as to be understood.

                 b.  I don’t always do so good—God does.

The Bottom Line:

Pray with your heart open to His Leading. Look for His answers to your Requests for His help.

R#608 v. 1 Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

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