Core Value: Pray – Participating with the Heart of God

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Introduction:

We are coming towards the end of our series, All In and we are preaching through our Core Values.  This week and next we will look at prayer and seek to answer the questions “What is prayer, why should we pray? Then, how should we pray?”

We will look at several scriptures today but our main text comes from:

Colossians 4:2-6 NLT

Let’s say this together. “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Pray.

Story: Praying for God’s direction in college; NYC/PR groups

Testimonies of Prayer

Movement 1:

There are many stories on how prayer has touched our lives or someone else’s life. And there are a variety of approaches to prayer. Let’s take a look at a few…

Video: Skinny On Prayer

Approaches to prayer are diverse and we will deal how to pray next week. This week I want to talk about why we should pray.

Movement 2:

Definition of Prayer: “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.”

Prayer is a communication process. It is participation with the heart of God through listening and speaking.

Why Pray?

“It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” —Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Prayer is the line of direct access and communication with God the Father through Christ the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. As a disciple, it is vital to stay connected to God through communication.
    1. Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT Christ Is Our High Priest
      14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings 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 most.
  2. Our call is to be like Christ and He demonstrated for His disciples and for us the importance of prayer.
    1. Luke 5:16 “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer”
    2. Luke 11:1 (NLT)
    3. Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray…
  3. Scripture calls us to a life of prayer
    1. Colossians 4:2-6 NLT
      An Encouragement for Prayer
      Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

      Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[a] so that you will have the right response for everyone.

  4. Prayer changes things
    1. 1 John 5:14-15 NLT
    2. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
    3. Moses prayed to God on behalf of the Israelites and God changed his mind.
    4. Exodus 32:7-14
      The Lord told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
      Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are.10 Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”
      11 But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? 12 Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people!13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.[a] You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’”
      14 So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.
    5. Luke 11:5-13Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.[a]
      “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
      11 “You fathers—if your children ask[e] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Prayer is vital to the Christian life and the Church.

It is through prayer that we can know the heart of God.

Conclusion:

Story: Mom praying for angels to be in the back of my truck.

  • My mom knew that it wasn’t words that she said, it wasn’t more structure discipline for my actions that would protect me and change me. It was prayer.

Prayer reminds us that we are God’s and it is in Him that we live. It is through Him that the victory is claimed.

Response:

Evaluating My Prayer Life

  1. How high of a priority is prayer for you?  Is it somewhere close to the top of the list or is it an “I’ll get to it when I have time” sort of priority?
  2. How regular is your prayer life?
  3. What do you pray for?  Are your prayers mainly requests or are there other types of prayer included as well?
  4. When you do make requests what sort of things do you ask for?
  5. Do you find joy in prayer or is it usually more of a duty?
  6. Are you able to relax and to focus in prayer or is your mind always darting to and fro?
  7. How would you like to grow in your prayer life?

Pray.

All In
All In
All In