Prayer in the Press
Luke 22.39-46 Prayer in the Press
Ricky Bobby: Dear Lord baby Jesus, we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Dominos, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. I just want to take time to say thank you for my family. My two beautiful, beautiful, handsome stricking sons, Walker, and Texas Ranger, or TR as we call him. And of course my red hot smokin' wife Carley, who is a stone cold fox.
Cal Naughton, Jr.: mmm...
Ricky Bobby: Dear tiny infant Jesus...
Carley Bobby: Hey, um... you know sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don't always have to call him baby. It's a bit odd and off puttin' to pray to a baby.
Ricky Bobby: Well look, I like the Christmas Jesus best, and I'm sayin grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus, or whoever you want
Shadowlands (context of Joy’s cancer)
In conversation with two colleagues, Magdalen College (Oxford) Chaplain Harry Harrington declares that if Joy (Mrs. Lewis) recovers from cancer, it will be a "victory for the power of prayer." He is challenged immediately by atheist professor Christopher Riley, who goads him with questions about who qualifies for divine aid and whether or not God intervenes only when asked and whether or not there's a need to pray if God already knows and does what's best for us. Harry, obviously stumped, dodges the questions.
CS Lewis interrupts to tell them that Joy’s cancer had gone into remission.
Reverend Harrington feels vindicated and announces, "God is answering your prayers."
Jack replies with fervor: "That's not why I pray--I pray because I can't help myself--the need flows out of me. It doesn't change God; it changes me."
Riley (an atheist friend) thoughtfully comments, "That's the first sensible thing I've ever heard anybody say on the subject."
What is prayer and how do we pray?
1. Jesus in Gethsemane
- Olive Press
ILL – Tuesday Night
Like flies on a summer day
Just keep pestering, coming back, swatting only annoys them more
? Do you think Jesus was afraid?
3. What’s Our Olive Press?
A. The Disciples
Soon would scatter when the guards came
Three Days of fear and hiding.
John 21 – Jesus appears in their room.
“Peace” / Shalom
John 20:21 "Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”"
· Jesus’ blood was still on the courtyard where they’d beaten Him
· His cross still stood on Golgotha
· Jesus died because the Father had sent Him to the cross
· “As the Father sent me, I am sending you.”
B. What Brings Us Fear?
· The Unknown
Ill- Christian Lawyer in Seattle w/ a family practice
- ½ of his cases were with Christian families
Mal 2:13-16 "Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith." (Malachi 2:13-16, NIV)
What is this church’s children’s ministry?
- moms & dad – raise your hands
Kids like to mirror their Parents
ILL – Shaving with Tahlia
John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
Matthew 18:6 "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
2. What is the Role of Prayer in the Press?
- That, when Christ was in his agony, there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him, v. 43. (1.) It was an instance of the deep humiliation of our Lord Jesus that he needed the assistance of an angel, and would admit it.
- That, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, v. 44
- That, in this agony, his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (v.44).
!!! B. Prayer Connects us To God Through Gospel Means
I am accepted, nothing else matters
I am loved, everything else is okay.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
ILL – Cutis “The Voice” Allen
· Last October invited to perform at John Piper’s church in Minneapolis
o First person ever to rap at the Church
o People received him well and the night could be called a “success”
· Then the video of the service was up-loaded to the internet
· And the criticism began
o A dozen blogs fired up about this
o On one blog in particular, there were 34 pages of posts, over 20,000 views and whole lot of vitriol.
o Here's an example of one of the milder posts:
§ "I am arguing, however, that the God pictured in Isaiah 6 as high and lofty, The thrice-holy God, the One on whom even sinless angels dare not look, the One who scared the prophet to death, is not honored by music borrowed from the hip-hop scene, which even from Allen's on-line testimony, reminded him of his sinful past. "Holy hip-hop" as they call it, is an oxymoron, at least if holy means anything at all".
o Allen’s personal favorite was this one:
§ "That said, though I'm grieved by the genre, I do rejoice that Allen gives testimony of Christ's saving power (Philippians 1:18). But his testimony about how God delivered him from sin & hopelessness would have been clearer without the thumping that not only surrounded his hopelessness, but helps push others further into it."
o Some people said they even doubted his conversion
· Angry, most of the comments were dripping with racism
· Logged in, got the pastor’s e-mail address … then paused to pray
? What good is prayer in the press?
? What good is prayer when you’re criticized?
? What good is prayer when 20,000 anonymous people on the internet are saying that your life and ministry are a joke?
After his pause for prayer, he posted his response.
“And … I told him how much I wanted to thank him. That's right. I thanked him. I told him I appreciated his desire to protect himself and his flock from what he thought was ungodly. I told him that I disagreed with his judgment that rap is sinful, but I said that I hope I protect my own family the same way he does his.”
In prayer, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind a 1999 Journal of Biblical Counseling article called "The Cross and Criticism," by Alfred Poirer.
- The article pointed out that Christ's death on the cross criticizes us more than anyone else ever can.
- The fact that Jesus had to die for us to be forgiven indicates that we are a lot worse than we think.
"In light of God's judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God's criticism of me in Christ's cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. And the most devastating criticism turns out to be the finest mercy. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blame-shifting."
- The Lord also worked in his own heart
- Showed that he has been wrong before, angry before, acted morally superior, gossiped and slandered.
- He wasn’t any better than them
- And the Holy Spirit convicted him of his own self righteousness.
Response - The pastor and others on the Web site asked Allen to forgive them, and said that his response was more Christ-like than any of the criticisms that were made of him and his music.
True Love Casts Out Fear
If I have love from Jesus, I can die
I can be criticized
I can face failure
I can … live in the press.
3. Incorporating Gospel Prayer Into Life
We have 4 strategic goals for CGS this year, and one of them is to be a congregation of prayer.
THIRD TRANSITION: PASSION
We have to move from a congregation that respects God to a community that delights in God. This will be expressed in:
- Engaging Worship Services
- A Congregation Permeated by Prayer (We Want to be a praying church)
o We will develop a prayer ministry team to serve after worship experiences.
o We will schedule times of prayer and fasting in our church’s life.
o We will spend more times of extended prayer in current meetings and ministries.
- Classes that help connect knowledge about Jesus to a life of worship of Jesus.
1) Repent and Be Baptized
- Be Converted to Jesus
- Take your fears, your “press” to Him
- ask him to drive out your fears and replace them with faith
- “I believe, help my unbelief”
2) Learn to Pray
- Be converted to Jesus’ mission
- Classes on “how to pray”
- Join prayer team for after the services
- Make prayer a part of your small group
- Learn how to prayer walk your neighborhood