Faithlife Sermons

How to Pray

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Call to Worship

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,    Psalm 105:1-5

*Praise                                   # 408        “I Will Sing of My Redeemer”

*Invocation (Lord’s Prayer)        O God, we gather to hear of the mighty acts you perform, of how you deal justly with your people.  By the hands of Christ you lift us up to safe places, and give us a vision of how we may dwell secure in your love.  We give thanks for your  providence and praise for your mercy.  Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen

*Gloria Patri (Sung together)                                                                                 

*Psalm for Today                                                   Psalm 105:16-22 , 45 (NLT)       He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply.                 Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them—Joseph, who was sold as a slave.                                                                                                                     They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar.                    Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.             Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door.                                                                                                       Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions.                                                                                               He could instruct the king’s aides as he pleased and teach the king’s advisers.            All this happened so they would follow his decrees and obey his instructions.        Praise the Lord!

Our Offering to God  All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God.            

*Doxology                                                                                                                                                                

Prayer of Dedication  Loving God, may these gifts be useful in your work of lifting the spirits of those who are feeling low-those who feel like no one cares.  Use them to ease the burden of those who are being held down and held back, and who do not trust the rich and abundant life of your kingdom.  As we offer our gifts, we offer ourselves to you.

Scripture Reading                 Matthew 14:22-33 (NLT)

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

*Hymn of Prayer         # 407        “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”

Pastoral Prayer   Great and gracious God, how awesome it is to realize you know us  well, and yet you continue to love us.  How amazing it is to acknowledge that nothing can separate us from your love and that you are present in all places.  Whether we are riding high or struggling to find our way, you are not distant from us.  You come to us regardless of the depth of our fear or the weakness of our faith.  When we find life to be a voyage on rough waters, you draw near to bring us peace and calm.  When it is hard for us to keep our heads above the water, you offer the life-preserving presence of your son, Jesus Christ.  We thank you for being the kind of God who is an everywhere, ever-present source of help.

*Hymn of Praise          # 40          “To God Be the Glory”

Scripture Text                                                   1 Kings 19:9-18 (NLT)

9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.  But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

15 Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

Message                                          How to Pray

7.  Pray Initially.  Make prayer your first choice, not your last resort. Remember that problems often come because you did not pray in the first place.   Joshua 7:7 After Joshua fit the battle of Jericho when he first went against Ai (7:3), he did not consult God but relied on the strength of his army to defeat the small city. Only after Israel was defeated did they turn to God and ask what happened.

Too often we rely on our own skills and strength, especially when the task before us seems easy. We go to God only when the obstacles seem too great. However, only God knows what lies ahead. Consulting him, even when we are on a winning streak, may save us from grave mistakes or misjudgments. God may want us to learn lessons, remove pride, or consult others before he will work through us.

Seeking God’s direction, blessing and provision must be our first priority -not an afterthought.

8. Pray unselfishly.  Be sure that your focus in prayer is not only inward but upward and outward as well.  In John 17 Jesus prayed for his disciples, including those of us who follow him today. He prayed that God would keep his chosen believers safe from Satan’s power, setting them apart and making them pure and holy, uniting them through his truth.  John 17:11 Jesus was asking that the disciples be united in harmony and love as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united—the strongest of all unions.  vv21-23  Jesus’ great desire for his disciples was that they would become one. He wanted them unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love. Are you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? You can pray for other Christians, avoid gossip, build others up, work together in humility, give your time and money, exalt Christ, and refuse to get sidetracked arguing over divisive matters. In v13 Jesus prays for our joy. Joy is a common theme in Christ’s teachings—he wants us to be joyful. The key to immeasurable joy is living in intimate contact with Christ, the source of all joy. When we do, we will experience God’s special care and protection and see the victory God brings even when defeat seems certain.

In v17 Jesus prays for our sanctification. A follower of Christ becomes pure and holy through believing and obeying the Word of God. A daily application of God’s Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts. Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renews our relationship with Christ, and guides us back to the right path.

9.  Pray Boldly. Prayer is our approach to God, and we are to come “boldly.” Some Christians approach God meekly with heads hung low, afraid to ask him to meet their needs. Others pray flippantly, giving little thought to what they say. Come with reverence because he is your King. But also come with bold assurance because he is your Friend and Counselor.

Pray boldly because of who Christ is:  our high priest and advocate. That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. Heb 4:14-16 Christ is superior to the priests, and his priesthood is superior to their priesthood. To the Jews, the high priest was the highest religious authority in the land. He alone entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple once a year to make atonement for the sins of the whole nation (Leviticus 16). Like the high priest, Jesus mediates between God and us. As humanity’s representative, he intercedes for us before God. As God’s representative, he assures us of God’s forgiveness. Jesus has more authority than the Jewish high priests because he is truly God and truly man. Unlike the high priest, who could go before God only once a year, Christ is always at God’s right hand, interceding for us. He is always available to hear us when we pray. :15 Jesus is like us because he experienced a full range of temptations throughout his life as a human being. We can be comforted knowing that Jesus faced temptation—he can sympathize with us. We can be encouraged knowing that Jesus faced temptation without giving in to sin. He shows us that we do not have to sin when facing the seductive lure of temptation. Jesus is the only perfect human being who has ever lived.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely.  He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.    1 John 2:1, 2

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned, John offers reassurance. They know they have sinned, and Satan (called “the Accuser” in Revelation 12:10) is demanding the death penalty. When you feel this way, don’t give up hope—the best defense attorney in the universe is pleading your case. Jesus Christ, your advocate, your defender, is the Judge’s Son. He has already suffered your penalty in your place. You can’t be tried for a case that is no longer on the docket. United with Christ, you are as safe as he is. Don’t be afraid to ask Christ to plead your case—he has already won it.

-Pray boldly because of who you are:  a believer priest.  5And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 Many hesitate to pray or to witness about their faith in Christ because they don’t feel the change in their lives has been spectacular enough. But you qualify as a priest for Jesus because of what he has done for you, not because of what you have done for him. Christ demonstrated his great love by setting us free from our sins through his death on the cross, guaranteeing us a place in his Kingdom, and making us priests to administer God’s love to others. The fact that the all-powerful God has offered eternal life and priesthood to you is nothing short of spectacular.  Because of this gift from God to each of you, each of you have the right and the responsibility to come boldly to God for mercy, and to come boldly for God’s grace.

10. Pray Biblically.  One of the reasons that I’m using so much scripture in sharing with you how to pray is to confirm for you that the Bible tells us to pray these ways and are not something made up by scholars or myself.  Do

NOT pray contrary to the Scriptures.  As we know God will not bless the student who prays, “help me to pass this test even though I could have studied but haven’t.”   Instead always pray according to God’s will.  If you remember a promise that God has made that relates to your concern, remind God of that promise as you converse with Him.  God’s will is never contradicted by God’s Word. / God promises to grant wisdom to any one who earnestly seeks it.  5 If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.  James 1:5-8

By “wisdom,” James is talking not only about knowledge but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. Whenever we need wisdom, we can pray to God, and he will generously supply what we need. Christians don’t have to grope around in the dark, hoping to stumble upon answers. We can ask for God’s wisdom to guide our choices. :5 This Wisdom means “practical discernment.” It begins with respect for God, leads to right living, and results in increased ability to tell right from wrong. God is willing to give us this wisdom, but we will be unable to receive it if our goals are self-centered instead of God-centered. To learn God’s will, we need to read his Word and ask him to show us how to obey it. Then we must do what he tells us. :6 We must believe not only in the existence of God but also in his loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting that he will hear and answer when we pray. We must put away our critical attitude when we come to him. God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request. We must have confidence that God will align our desires with his purposes.:6 A doubtful mind is not completely convinced that God’s way is best. It treats God’s Word like any human advice and retains the option to disobey. It vacillates between allegiance to subjective feelings, the world’s ideas, and God’s commands. Remember that you can trust God. Then be loyal to him. To stabilize your wavering or doubtful mind, commit yourself wholeheartedly to God.

:6-8 Doubt leaves a person as unsettled as the restless waves. If you want to stop being tossed about, rely on God to show you what is best for you. Ask him for wisdom, and trust that he will give it to you. Then your decisions will be sure and solid.

Recognize that God wants you to know his will.  9 So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Colossians 1:9

Paul was exposing a heresy in the Colossian church that was similar to Gnosticism. Gnostics valued the accumulation of knowledge, but Paul pointed out that knowledge in itself is empty. To be worth anything, it must lead to a changed life and right living. His prayer for the Colossians has two dimensions: (1) that they might have complete understanding of what God wants to do in their lives, and that they might be wise with spiritual wisdom; (2) that they would continually do good, kind things for others and learn to know God better and better. Knowledge is not merely to be accumulated; it should give us direction for living. Paul wanted the Colossians to be wise, but he also wanted them to use their knowledge. Knowledge of God is not a secret that only a few can discover; it is open to everyone. God wants us to learn more about him, and also to put belief into practice by helping others.

:9-14 Sometimes we wonder how to pray for missionaries and other leaders we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not. We can request that they (1) understand what God wants them to do, (2) gain spiritual wisdom, (3) honor and please God, (4) continually do good, kind things for others, (5) learn to know God better and better, (6) be strengthened with God’s glorious power, (7) have great patience and endurance, (8) stay full of Christ’s joy, and (9) give thanks always. All believers have these same basic needs. When you don’t know how to pray for someone, use Paul’s prayer pattern for the Colossians.

We can know God’s will through the study of His Word.  /  We can know God’s will through walking in the Spirit.  17  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:17.  The clincher is that we need to obey God’s will I order to be effective in prayer. 21 Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please him. 1 John 3:21, 22

If your conscience is clear, you can come to God without fear, confident that your requests will be heard. John reaffirms Jesus’ promise that whatever we ask for will be given to us (Matthew 7:7). You will receive if you obey and do what pleases him because you will then be asking in line with God’s will. Of course this does not mean that you can have anything you want, like instant riches. If you are truly seeking God’s will, there are some requests you will not make.  42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me.” John 11:42  Jesus could say that God always heard him because he could also say And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do those things that are pleasing to him.” John 8:29 Asking must come from a heart that is abiding.  7But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! John 15:7

Remaining in Christ means (1) believing that he is God’s Son (1 John 4:15), (2) receiving him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12), (3) doing what God says (1 John 3:24), (4) continuing to believe the Good News (1 John 2:24), and (5) relating in love to the community of believers, Christ’s body (John 15:12).

:5-8 Many people try to be good, honest people who do what is right. But Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful. Are you receiving the nourishment and life offered by Christ, the vine? If not, you are missing a special gift he has for you.

11. Pray Unitedly.  God has promised to respond when we join together in prayer.  19“I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19, 20  Jesus looked ahead to a new day when he would be present with his followers not in body, but through his Holy Spirit. In the body of believers (the church), the sincere agreement of two people in prayer is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands, because Christ’s Holy Spirit is with them. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, will pray according to God’s will, not their own; thus, their requests will be granted.

United prayer ought to be consistent, regular and fervent – not just on special occasions.  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity -all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. Acts 2: 46-47

United prayer has often preceded great spiritual awakenings-like the spiritual awakening that swept major portions of America in the 1850’s after beginning with one prayer meeting in New York City.

12. Pray Patiently.  Praying patiently means listening to God.  Listening may be a school of silence.  Exodus tells us that Moses studied there and it was many long years before they were told 4‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I brought you to myself and carried you on eagle’s wings. 5Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6And you will be to me a kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ Give this message to the Israelites.” Exodus 19:4-6

God had a reason for rescuing the Israelites from slavery. Now he was ready to tell them what it was: Israel was to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation where anyone could approach God freely. It didn’t take long, however, for the people to corrupt God’s plan. God then established Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi as priests (Leviticus 8, 9), representing what the entire nation should have been. But with the coming of Jesus Christ, God has once again extended his plan to all believers. We are to become holy, a “kingdom of priests” (1 Peter 2:9). The death and resurrection of Christ has allowed each of us to approach God freely.

Mark 1 tells us that John the Baptist studied there.  Paul tells of his conversion to show that his message came directly from God. God commissioned him to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. After his call, Paul did not consult with anyone; instead, he spent three years in Arabia. Then he spoke with Peter and James, but he had no other contact with Jewish Christians for several more years. During those years, Paul preached to the Gentiles the message God had given him. His message did not come from human insight; it came from God during Paul’s school of silence.

Praying patiently means waiting on God.  Wait for God’s provision.  Place your full confidence in Him. Rely on His unlimited ability to provide, not on your own limited ability. // Wait for God’s power. 14They all met together continually for prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. Acts 1:14

The main order of business was to appoint a new disciple, or apostle, as the 11 were now called. While the apostles waited, they were doing what they could—praying, seeking God’s guidance, and getting organized. Waiting for God to work does not mean sitting around doing nothing. We must do what we can, while we can, as long as we don’t run ahead of God.

In 1 Kings 19:10-13, Elijah also needed a message from God. There was a great wind, then an earthquake, and finally a fire. But God’s message came in a “gentle whisper.” God may use dramatic methods to work in your life—or he may speak in gentle whispers. Wait patiently and always listen.

31 But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Waiting on the Lord is the patient expectation that God will fulfill his promises in his Word and strengthen us to rise above life’s difficulties and give us power to serve. It means to completely trust in God.

*Hymn of Response        # 434    “Sweet Hour of Prayer”

         

*Sending forth

*Postlude

 

  

   Announcements:

August 24th - Birthday Sunday for July and August will be celebrated

August 31st -  The fifth Sunday of the month we will have a hymn sing, an half-hour organ concert by Dorothy Yoreo, followed by coffee hour recognizing her last Sunday serving as our organist.

August - cookout

Related Media
Related Sermons