In the rhythm our our church life the first full week of the year marked the beginning of a period of fasting and prayer. For us it was 21 days of focus on Christ and the direction that he was pointing us for the coming year. Here are some thoughts that I wanted to share on Prayer today.
Prayer is unique to humans.
Prayer is the highest spiritual activity.
Pray in moments of joy
* “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever...” - Psalms 136:1-26 ESV
Pray in moments of distress
* “...Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” - Psalms 107:23-28 ESV
Prayer should be persistent, tenacious
* “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart..." - Luke 18:1-8 ESV * “...I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” - Luke 11:5-8 ESV
Prayer should be simple and humble
* “... For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” - Luke 18:10-14 ESV
The Lord's Prayer shows our prayer focus
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” - Matthew 6:9-13 ESV * God - "Our Father..." * His Kingdom - "Your Kingdom Come..." * His Glory - "Your Will Be Done..." * Our Need For His Forgiveness - "Forgive our debts..." * Our Need For His Daily Support - "Our Daily Bread..." * Our Need For His Daily Deliverance - "Lead Us Not into Temptation..."
The Early Church was be marked by Prayer
* “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” - Acts 2:42 ESV
Prayer deepens or faith in Christ and increases our our appreciation in God's Love
* “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” - Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV