In the past few weeks, we have talked about the Christian Armour, our Spiritual weapon as we battle our powerful and wicked enemy, Satan. We have talked about the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, the helmet of
salvation, and last Sunday, the sword of the Spirit. I thought that was it. But looking at the context, we may have complete battle gear but without prayer, we can still lose the battle. Spiritual victory is won on our knees through prayer. We may have the best training, we may be brave and skilful in
battle but without prayer, we will be defeated. It is prayer that gives us strength and courage. The Christian soldier must be in constant communication the Lord of Hosts, the Lord Jesus Christ in order
Illustration: Why Pray
One of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith is that God wants us to talk to Him about everything that is going on in our lives, even though He already knows everything. So why pray? If you’ve ever wrestled with that question, perhaps the thoughts of the 19th-century preacher R. A.
Torrey can help. Among the reasons he gave for prayer are these:
1. Because there is a devil, and prayer is a God-appointed way to resist Him (Eph. 6:12-13, 18).
2. Because prayer is God’s way for us to obtain what we need from Him (Lk. 11:3-13; Jas. 4:2).
3. Because prayer is the means God has appointed for us to find “grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
4. Because prayer with thanksgiving is God’s way for us to obtain freedom from anxiety and to receive “the peace of God” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Besides these reasons, it’s enough to read the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” and realize that God wants us to talk with Him. Yes, He is all-knowing, but He also desires our fellowship. When we seek God’s face in prayer, we strengthen our relationship with Him. That’s
the most important reason to pray. (Our Daily Bread)
I. Definition of Prayer:
A. Praying is simply talking to Jesus or talking to God.
B. To intercede or to communicate with God.
C. Prayer is the greatest force and probably the Christian’s most powerful weapon. Prayer moves the hand that moves the earth.
Illustration: Aim of Prayer
The aim of prayer is not to force God’s hand or make him do our will against his own, but to deepen our knowledge of him and our fellowship with him through contemplating his glory, confessing our dependence and need, and consciously embracing his goals. Our asking therefore must be according
to God’s will and in Jesus’ name.
The context of such asking is assured faith. In that day when Jesus teaches them, by the Spirit, plainly of the Father, there will be no question of enlisting Jesus’ support in prayer, as if he were more merciful than the Father or could influence him in a way that they could not; in that day they
will know inwardly that as believers they are the Father’s beloved.
To asked in Jesus’ name is not to use a verbal spell but to base our asking on Christ’s saving relationship to us through the cross; this will involve making petitions which Christ can endorse and put his name to. When God answers in Jesus’ name, he gives through Jesus as our mediator and to
Jesus as the one who will be glorified through what is given.
(Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986)
II. Some truths about Prayer
A. Prayer was first mentioned in Genesis. Genesis 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
B. Prayer is more than asking things from God. It is an exercise in the worship of God, to extol His name and to offer thanks for all His benefits. The child of God is assured that in prayer he is approaching a throne of grace, not a throne of judgment (Heb. 4:16). The Christian enters the divine presence in the name of Christ (John 14:14, 16:23). If he prays under the control of the Holy Spirit, he will offer petitions within the will of his Heavenly Father (Romans 8:26, 27). Prayer should be made in faith and with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2). The prayer that Christ taught His disciples, known as the Lord’s Prayer, is a model to guide His followers concerning proper principles and goals of prayer (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).
C. In our text, “Praying always” tell us about the frequency of prayer. As it written in the Bible, we should pray:
1. Always – Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). Men ought always to pray and not to faint (Lk. 18:1)
2. In the morning. (Ps. 5:3), at noon and in the evening. (Ps. 55:17), daily. (Ps. 86:3), day and night (Ps. 88:1)
3. We are to be in a constant communion with God. Be aware of His presence and “have intimate relation with Him
D. With all prayer and supplication” tells us on the variety of prayer
1. There are many kinds of prayer I can see from the Bible. There are silent and vocal prayer, there is private and public prayer, there is what we call prayer for intercession and supplication, confession, adoration, thanksgiving, worshipful, etc. There is prayer that we pray suddenly during emergencies and sudden unexpected unwanted situation that requires you to call upon the name of the Lord for help and deliverance. All this, a good Christian soldier must be able to use so he can always be in constant communication with our commander in chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. We are to pray before making an important decision. Before Jesus chose the 12 apostles, He went to pray. Major decisions require a special time to pray.
3. We must pray even under pressure by our busy life for the ministry. Some
pastors set aside prayer due to heavy workload in the serving the Lord. I would admit that my prayer life is a battle ground. Sermon preparation is difficult and time consuming that I struggle and gives little time to pray. A big mistake. I may have the right words, intentions, and actions, but without the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit to quench the spiritual thirst of others, the result as I have seen is not even satisfactory which is heart breaking.
4. We must pray when being tempted. Through prayer our Lord Jesus Christ
withstood the tempter. We should never forget to mention “Lead us not into
temptation”. We cannot resist temptation in our own strength. Many times, I
have failed but in the midst of temptation I always say, “Lord, I am too weak to handle this, please give me the strength and be with me to deliver me and to provide a way of scape that I may not sin against thee.
5. We must for others. For civil government (1Ti 2:2), for men to be saved (1Tim. 2:3-4), for Christians (Eph. 6:18), for Christian workers (Eph. 6:19), for daily needs (Mt. 6:11), for sicknesses and other problems (2Cor. 12:7-8; Jas. 5:14). For wisdom (Jas 1:5), for strength and mercy (Heb. 4:16), for all things (Ph. 4:6-7). We must make intercession on behalf of others.
6. We should ask God to make the gospel message clear (Col. 4:4).
7. Pray for boldness in the one doing the evangelism (Acts 4:29; Eph. 6:19).
8. Pray that the individual believes the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Thess. 2:13).
9. Pray that Satan is bound from blinding them from the truth (2 Thess. 2:13).
10. Pray for the safety of the messengers (2 Thess. 3:2).
11. Pray for the success of the gospel and that they will believe in Christ as their Saviour (John 1:12, 5:24, 6:27-29; 2 Thess. 3:1).
12. Pray that the one who receives Christ as Saviour may grow spiritually and bear fruit (Matt. 13:23; John 15:16; Col. 1:6, 2:6,7).
E. “In the Spirit”. We must be guided by the Holy Spirit in our praying. Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. We must pray in the will of God. Jesus prayed …not as I will, but as Thou wilt”.
1. Our prayer lives must always be under the control of the Holy Spirit, if not, then our prayers will always be self centered, not God centered. This will result in unanswered prayer and ineffective prayer life
F. “Watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saint”, tells usabout the watchfulness and persistence.
1. We must be watchful for the opportunities to pray, and watchful for things that would hinder prayer. We are expected by God to pray but He also wants us to be alert on what Satan is doing. We are exhorted to watch and pray.
2. We must continue praying even though it is difficult or others wants us to stop (Lk. 11:9, 18:7,8).
3. We must continue praying until the answer comes from God or God says stop.
The early church practice perseverance in praying (Acts 12:1-9).
4. We must also remember that we are not fighting the battle alone. There are
other Christians who are fighting the devil too. That is why we must pray for one another. Others may belong to other denomination and we may have some
differences with them but they are not our enemies. We can still pray for them.
G. Hindrances to prayer:
1. Sin in the heart: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me” (Ps. 66:18)
2. Unforgiving attitude: “When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any” (Mark 11:25).
3. Carnal motive: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may
consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).
4. Selfish family relations: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (I Peter 3:7).
5. Unbelief: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (James 1:6,7)
Our armour will never be complete without prayer. Without prayer you will never be a good soldier of Christ. Spiritual power, wisdom and courage come through prayer and the Word of God. Would you pray to God? How is your prayer life?