2413 Dry Ridge Rd Saint Albans, WV 25177
Basics of Prayer

Basics of Prayer

Prayer was an integral part of the life of Christ and as followers of Christ we are called to follow the powerful example of our King.

Scripture – Mark 1:35, Ephesians 6:18, Matthew 5:44-47, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Welcome church! Today we’re beginning a new 4-week series called, Back to the Basics. And as you may have guessed, it’s a series about the basics…the foundations of our faith. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll cover PRAYER, SCRIPTURE, CONFESSION, and SERVICE.

It’s going to be an awesome journey together as we head back to the feet of Jesus. Back to where the “Church” originally began. Listening and learning as disciples with Jesus leading the way…“The author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)  

Speaking of Jesus, have you ever wondered how He was able to accomplish all He did in such a short period of time? What was His secret to ministry?

His prayer life. Jesus was always in conversation and communion with the Father. And from what we know from the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John it appears that Jesus kept a regular rhythm of prayer throughout His life.

And if prayer was a foundational part of Jesus’ life, the only Son of God, then it needs to be a foundational part of our lives as well.

To believe that God can reach us and bless us in the ordinary junctures of daily life is the stuff of prayer… But when we pray, genuinely pray, the real condition of our heart is revealed. This is as it should be. This is when God truly begins to work with us. The adventure is just beginning. – It’s an adventure in faith, vulnerability, hope, sadness, grief, and all the other stuff that life throws at us. It’s holy ground. In fact, there’s much more to prayer than I could ever cover in a week, so today we’re going to take a closer look at just a few of the ways the Bible describes prayer.

The first thing that comes to mind is something that we see in the life of Christ; that He was constantly in communion and prayer with the Father. 

Constant

Constant prayer is a daunting task. I know there are some of you in the room who’ve already tuned me out because you believe I’m going to ask you to do something impossible. But I don’t believe God would invite us to do something that we could never do… And even if He did, I trust that He sent the Holy Spirit to help us…Which is something we’ll talk more about later. But for now, let’s turn our attention towards 1 Thessalonians;

 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In this passage, Paul talks about several things we should be doing, all the time. Always rejoicing, always praying, always giving thanks… and he goes on to say that this is, “the very will of God in Christ Jesus” for our lives. And here’s the important part… There aren’t many places in the Bible where we are told so explicitly and clearly what the very will of God is for us. In fact, there are many people – maybe even in this room right now – who spend huge chunks of their lives trying to figure out what the will of God is.

Of course, the obvious problem is that it’s not so simple. It’s not easy, in the midst of a billion distractions and temptations to remain steadfast in prayer and thanksgiving. And yet, that’s God’s desire for us; It’s a life of constancy with Him.

It’s amazing to think the creator of the universe wants a consistent relationship with us. He wants us to pray, incessantly. Communicating with Him all the time, in every circumstance. So here’s an idea for all of us. Instead of seeing this as an impossible burden, try to think about the blessing of a heavenly Father who wants all of you – all your life – all your thoughts – all of it.

Try talking to him about the simple stuff, the ordinary stuff. It doesn’t always have to be crisis level prayer or desperate prayer. Try thinking of your prayer life as an ever-open line of communication. A phone call that never comes to an end with someone on the other end who never tires of hearing from you.

Let the Father’s love and desire for you embolden you in your prayers to Him.

Bold

Bold prayer takes practice. It’s admittedly difficult to reconcile the fact that we must have reverence and awe for God and at the same time be bold in our prayer life. That’s why I love the way the writer of Hebrews frames the concept for us;

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 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.” – Hebrews

We can have “confidence” and be bold as we approach the throne of God because of what Christ has already done. Christ was both fully God and fully human and he was tempted just as we are tempted. So when you offer your prayers to God you can trust that He understands and empathizes with your situation.

Going further, we read in 1 John; “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.” There it is again, confidence. In both passages the same Greek word is used and it originally meant; freedom, openness, confidence, and boldness.

I love the idea of having freedom when we come to God in prayer. People who understand they are free have an easier time being bold. And because Christ has set us free, because He is a great high priest, and because He fully understands what it means to be human… We can boldly bring ALL our prayers to Him.

For Everyone

To be both constant and bold in prayer is a huge task. It takes practice, it takes faith, it takes you out of your comfort zone. With that said, I can also tell you that the world around you needs your consistent and bold prayers. In fact, YOU need consistent and bold prayer in your life.

Life is simply too complicated, too frustrating, too much at times… and we need the same thing that Jesus needed when he was on earth. We need prayer. We need fellowship with the Father. Everyone needs prayer, and that includes the people you don’t want to pray for. People you may not like, including your enemies and adversaries.

Your enemies need your prayers.

Read Matthew 5:44
In this verse Jesus gives us absolutely clear direction to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Now, to be fair, persecution looks different for Christians in different parts of the world. For you it may be someone who bullies you or teases you about your faith. It may be an abuser, or someone in a former relationship. Whoever it is that comes to mind when I say, your enemy, that’s the person(s) who needs your prayer. 
In fact, here’s how Jesus further explains the situation for us;

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same?” – Matthew 5:46-47

It’s easy to love and to pray for those whom we love and care for. It’s difficult to pray for those who’ve harmed us or wronged us. Those whom we have offense against. And yet those are the people who Jesus says we should be praying for. Those are the people who need our prayers.

And at the end of the day, aren’t we so glad that “even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Even IN our sin, Christ traded His life for ours.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, prayer was an integral part of Jesus’ life and ministry. No matter what else was going on, He always made time for prayer. He always sought fellowship with the Father.  Mark 1:35 says, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”    Jesus made space for prayer.

And as we seek to learn from Him, we acknowledge the power of prayer in the life of Christ. As we follow Him, we too must be people of prayer. It’s a fundamental piece of life in Christ.

Constant prayer.

Bold prayer.

Prayer for everyone.

These are our challenges for the week. Or said another way;

  • What time, every day this coming week, can you stop and pray?
  • What big thing, concerning thing, or hard thing do you need to be bold in prayer over this coming week?
  • What enemy needs your prayer this week?

Make space for it, just like Jesus did.

2 Comment(s)
  • Jessica Brown Posted August 5, 2015 12:37 pm

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

    • John Miller Posted August 5, 2015 12:38 pm

      Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.