Prayer Changes Things

 God promises that people who pray are far better off than people who don’t; things do change for the better through prayer (James 4:2-3 and Matthew 7:7-11). (simply Bible .com)

 

Image result for pictures of biblical prayerImage result for pictures of biblical prayer
Image result for pictures of biblical prayerImage result for pictures of biblical prayer
Image result for pictures of biblical prayerImage result for pictures of biblical prayer
Image result for pictures of biblical prayerImage result for pictures of biblical prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

By: Eddie Jones, 1.cbn.com

Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord’s Prayer

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
[a]For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

“Lord, how can I pray for you today?” the email began.

I re-read text, convinced it contained a typo. “Lord, how can I pray to you today?” Yeah, that’s what the writer meant to say. As in: “Lord, I’m beat and worried. The stress is too much. I can’t take (her, him, it) anymore. But here I am, anyway. On my knees, praying to you as if everything’s fine. But thing’s aren’t fine. So, how can I pray to you today?”

I called my friend to see if she was all right and learned she had, in fact, typed the line correctly.

“How many people pray for God?” she asked. “Not many, I bet. I just figured it was time to ask God what He needed for a change, instead of me telling Him what I wanted.”

Her prayer got me thinking — a thing I rarely do without the help of my wife (“I think, at the very least, you would want to read the instructions,” she’ll say, as my latest home repair project lies in pieces on the kitchen floor. “Dear, I think a different pair of pants would look better,” she’ll say, as I head off to church in jeans and boat shoes. “I’d think by now, after twenty years of marriage, you would be able to remember our anniversary.” And so it goes).

So I pondered on my friend’s prayer and this is what I thought. We pray for the sick, hurt or lost, for help with global warming and the containment of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. We plead to God for a job, beg for good health and ask Him to protect our kids. But praying for God? How’s that possible? And why would we?

When Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he told them to: Praise God for who He is, rejoice in what God has done, ask how we should respond to His nudging, and yield to His leading regardless of the circumstances.

Does God need our prayers? I doubt it. But He wants them. Perhaps that is what my friend was really trying to say: that the act of praying for God, for having a true “Lord’s Prayer” with His well-being… and will in mind, is the essence of prayer.

Study the persons God brings into your life. Observe their circumstances, feel their hurt. Help, hear and hold them when they weep. Then praise God that He’s allowed us to be His hands and ask, “Lord, how can I pray for you, Lord?” Chances are, you already have.

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 1 Peter 4:13-14 (Today’s New International Version).

Be Devoted to Prayer

 

My simple and humanly impossible goal this morning in this message is that you would all be devoted to prayer. This is my goal because this is what the Bible calls us to be. My text is Romans 12:12 which is part of a longer chain of exhortations. It says we are to be “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted (proskarterountes) to prayer.”

Your version might say, “constant in prayer” or “faithful in prayer.” Those all get at aspects of the word. “Devoted” is a good translation. The word is used in Mark 3:9 where it says, “[Jesus] told his disciples to have a boat ready (proskartere) for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him.” A boat was to set apart — devoted — for the purpose of taking Jesus away in case the crowd became threatening. “Devoted” — dedicated for a task, appointed for it.

Now, boats just sit there. But people are not dedicated that way. When the word is applied to a person it means devoted or dedicated in the sense not only of designation and appointment but of action in the appointed task, and pressing on in it. So for example in Romans 13:6 Paul talks about the role of government like this: “You also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.” That is, they are not only designated by God for a task, but are giving themselves to it.

What’s remarkable about this word is that five of the ten New Testament uses apply to prayer. Listen, besides Romans 12:12 there are:

  • Acts 1:14 (after the ascension of Jesus while the disciples were waiting in Jerusalem for the outpouring of the Spirit): “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.”
  • Acts 2:42 (Of the early converts in Jerusalem): “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
  • Acts 6:4 (The apostles say): “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
  • Colossians 4:2 (Paul says to all of us): “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

So we may say from the New Testament Scriptures that the normal Christian life is a life devoted to prayer. And so you should ask as you turn from 2002 to 2003, “Am I devoted to prayer?”

It does not mean that prayer is all you do — any more than being devoted to a wife means all the husband does is hang out with his wife. But his devotion to her affects everything in his life and causes him to give himself to her in many different ways. So being devoted to prayer doesn’t mean that all you do is pray (though Paul does say in another place, “pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

It means that there will be a pattern of praying that looks like devotion to prayer. It won’t be the same for everyone. But it will be something significant. Being devoted to prayer looks different from not being devoted to prayer. And God knows the difference. He will call us to account: Have we been devoted to prayer? Is there a pattern of praying in your life that can fairly be called “being devoted to prayer”?

“Praying only as crises enter your life would not be a pattern of devotion to prayer.”

I think most of us would agree on some kinds of praying that would not be called “being devoted to prayer.” Praying only as crises enter your life would not be a pattern of devotion to prayer. Praying only at meal times is a pattern, but does it correspond to Paul exhorting the church to “be devoted to prayer”? A short “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer at the end of the day is probably not “being devoted to prayer.” Hit and miss “Help me, Lord” in the car as you need a parking place is not “being devoted to prayer.” All those are good. But I think we would agree that Paul expects something more and different from followers of Christ when he says, “Be devoted to prayer.”

Let us not forget in all of this, as we saw last week, that the cross of Christ — his death in the place of sinners — is the foundation of all prayer. There would be no acceptable answer to why or how we pray if Christ had not died in our place. That’s why we pray “in Jesus name.”

As I have weighed the obstacles to prayer that I could address, some of them fall under the question, why pray? And some of them fall under the question how pray. I want to focus this morning on the how. Not that the question why is unimportant, but it seems to me that we can have all our theological answers in place as to why pray and still be very negligent and careless in the life of prayer. So I will give a short answer to the question why, and then focus on practical how questions that I pray will stir you up to venture new levels of “being devoted to prayer” in 2003.

 

A Passionate Prayer

By: George Vink, reframemedia.org

 

Scripture Reading — John 17:13-26

“[Father,] my prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” — John 17:15

On the night he was arrested, Jesus prayed this prayer to his Father, interceding for his disciples and all believers. This prayer is filled with compassion, revealing Christ’s mission for himself and his followers.

Does he ask that we may never face hardships? No, he asks that we may persevere. It’s a prayer for unity among believers so that others will believe. It’s a prayer of deep love, asking that all people may grow to believe in him.

Reflecting on this prayer of Jesus, we can see that as believers we have a mission—and we will accomplish it only by remaining in him who is the vine (John 15:5). The Bible’s message is designed to draw us into relationship with our Creator, who has revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ, and by his Holy Spirit.

It is appropriate that we close this month of lessons with this closing prayer of the Canons of Dort: “May God’s Son Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and gives gifts to humanity, sanctify us in the truth, lead to the truth those who err, silence the mouths of those who lay false accusations against sound teaching, and equip faithful ministers of God’s Word with a spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all they say may be to the glory of God and the building up of their hearers. Amen.”

Following Jesus’ example, let’s be faithful in prayer. May we love as God loves—and share his good news everywhere.

Prayer

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit guide us in truth so that we may walk with you now and forever. Amen.

 

Prayers that Matter

by Inspiration Ministries

“There was a prophetess, Anna…advanced in years…a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” – Luke 2:36-38 NASB

Do our prayers really matter? Even Believers who pray regularly may have doubts, wondering if God really cares about them or hears their prayers.

We can wonder if Anna ever had these thoughts. If she candidly evaluated herself, she might have wondered if her life really mattered to anyone, or even to God.

Although a “prophetess,” Anna did not seem to have credibility in the eyes of the world. She did not seem to be well known or have connections with political or religious leaders. In fact, her life had been marked by personal tragedy, as a longtime widow.

The only noteworthy fact about her was her commitment to God. She always was in His house, totally dedicated to prayer, fasting, and giving thanks. It did not seem to matter what other people thought. She simply focused on God and devoted herself to serving Him.

Anna might not have mattered to anyone else, but it was clear that she mattered to God. He honored her, allowing her to be among the few to see the baby Jesus. He had heard her prayers and seen the commitment of her heart. And He rewarded her for her faithfulness.

Over history, others have had a similar testimony. These men and women of all ages and all backgrounds have had this in common: They weren’t concerned with their reputations but simply were devoted to serving God. Their lives were focused on serving Him…praising Him…and thanking Him. They were committed to prayer, and they prayed with faith and persistence. They interceded for the needs of others and for the advance of God’s Kingdom throughout the world.

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