Disciples PraySeries: Follow. James Dewhurst November 10, 2019
True disciples of Jesus commit to following, imitate and duplicate all that Jesus did!
Someone once said – “When life gives you more than you can stand… kneel!”
Another person said – “Satan tries to limit our prayers because he knows our prayers will limit him.”
Corrie Ten Boom – “Any concern that is too small to be turned into a prayer, is too small to be made into a burden.”
Someone else said – “Prayer is the place where we let go of our burdens and pick up God’s.”
A wise person said – “Don’t forget God when you get what you prayed for.”
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)
Prayer is not a burden, it’s a blessing. It’s not a task it’s a treat. It’s not a vocation it’s a vacation. It’s not a weight, it’s a reprieve! It’s where God picks up what we drop off!
Prayer exists to lift our burdens, not add more to them!
1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (ESV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (ESV)
Prayer is not another withdrawal in your life, it is a deposit that will fill you up!
The reason people say, “I have to pray” instead of “I get to pray”, is because we see prayer through the wrong lens!
Since Jesus was the master of disappearing to private places and praying alone, the disciples rarely saw him do it. The only ministry request the disciples ever made to Jesus was in:
1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (ESV)
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: “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 also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (ESV)
+The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had a tendency to sensationalize their prayers!
+Sometimes there are beliefs we have or habits we learn, that we need to unlearn!
+Prayer is not about the form and presentation, it’s about the motives and content!
+Jesus was saying to them, “This ain’t Broadway. I don’t want a show, I want you!”
Sensationalism changes the focus of our prayers from substance to style!
Rehearsed prayers impress people. Honest prayers impress God!
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (ESV)
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (ESV)
+If prayer was limited to a holy location God wouldn’t have said: “pray on all occasions!”
+If prayer was mean to be eloquent God wouldn’t have said, “with all kinds of prayers!”
+If prayer was a scheduled event, God wouldn’t have said, “always keep on praying!”
We should never let prayer become too complicated!
If you really want to know how to pray, then go listen to a child!
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)
God not only receives us just as we are, but he also accepts our prayers just as they are!
I believe that people often struggle to pray for a number of legitimate reasons:
(1) People don’t think they are good at it!
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Richard Foster- “Real prayer comes not from gritting our teeth, but from falling in love.”
Prayer is simply a conversation between a seeking child and a loving Father!
(2) People don’t think they have enough time!
Our prayer life shouldn’t be limited by our schedule, it should be motivated by it!
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing.”
Since prayer isn’t limited by time or location, we are able to pray wherever we go!
Jesus spent most of his earthly life working a blue-collar job as a carpenter. Most of us see our vocation as a hindrance to prayer. Our vocation is actually an asset to prayer because our work becomes prayer. It’s prayer in action! Prayer is not another duty we add on to our already overcommitted schedule, it is how God leads us in it. The artist, the surgeon, the plumber and the social worker partner with God, and they both work!
(3) People don’t think it does very much!
1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Billy Graham was once asked what the secret was to his leading an estimated 2.2. Million people to Christ and his answer was 3 things: 1. Prayer. 2. Prayer 3. Prayer!
James 5:16 tells us that “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Faith has the power to move mountains, just as quickly as our doubt can create them!