Desensitized to the POWER of PRAYER!
This is a growing problem within the Christian community, and this is why I felt led to bring it up! The only reason I know that I need to bring it up is because I am guilty of doing the exactly what I am about to talk about. Which is not realizing that our prayers have monumental power when done in the right mindset.(I am not saying that there is a right or wrong way to pray, its more of an attitude thing towards prayer, depending on how much faith you have and if you are really trusting God. We will get into this later.)
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 6:18 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,
My first point is one that I need to make clear before we start and really begin to dig into the text.
- Prayer is not an, ask God what I want and expect everything to be handed over to me, get rich, type of thing.
This is not a prosperity gospel message and we need to interpret these verses correctly and take them in the correct context. I am not going to spend the entire sermon discussing this topic if you would like more info on how to take these verses in context click here.
The power of prayer should not be underestimated. James 5:16-18 declares, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers.
Jesus taught, “…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20). 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The Bible urges us, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
Source – All About Prayer
A common misconception arises here at the beginning that I need to bring up; A Wondering Disciple Blog puts it like this;
Many Christians tend to be anti-Old Testaments. Isn’t the Old Testament old, after all? We Christians don’t live under that covenant, so why do we need to read it? It’s outdated. There are a number of parts that are troubling, and the New Testament is kinder. God in the New Testament is a loving God, whereas God in the Old Testament is an angry God.
There are a whole host of issues with this attitude. First, that’s pretty much the attitude of Marcion, a Christian Bishop from the 2nd century. He believed the Old Testament was inferior to the New Testament, or at least parts of the New Testament. He also thought the God of the Old Testament was angry and vengeful. He came up with an easy solution: rewrite the Bible. When he put his own Bible together, he simply did away with the Old Testament. However, much of the New Testament sounded too Jewish to him also. By the time he was done editing, his Bible consisted of eleven books: two-thirds of the Gospel of Luke, a short version of Galatians and Romans, I and II Corinthians, I and II Thessalonians, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon and Colossians. What frightens me about this is that many Christians I’ve known, and know, have done the same thing, but there’s a reason the early Church called Marcion a heretic. The problem with Marcion’s view of God and Jesus wasn’t in the Bible, it was in him. How Marcion treated the Bible only showed his own flaws.
Another issue I have with the attitude that there is no place for the Old Testament in Christian life is that, let’s be honest, most Christians aren’t familiar with the Old Testament. They don’t actually know what it says. Their judgment call is based on of rumor, speculation, and hearsay. Yes, without a doubt the ban is troubling. Yes, the Old Testament can be violent. Welcome to life, past, present, and future. It just might be that the violence of the Old Testament has more to do with the violence of the people writing the books than the God they worship. Christians have committed atrocities in the name of Jesus. Does that automatically mean Jesus is a blood thirsty Lord? Of course not. A person can’t read the prophets without acknowledging that God is a god of love and forgiveness, a God who shows mercy when he doesn’t have to, a God concerned for the needs of the poor and oppressed. The Old Testament God is a God who rescues and protects and saves. If you don’t believe me, go read the Old Testament. Familiarize yourself with it, then tell me what it does or does not say.
So in the end, confusion over the nature of prayer in Old Testament is actually confusion over the nature of God in the Old Testament. Yes, there are differences in how things are said between the Old and New Testaments, but does that really show a difference in what things are said? I don’t think so. Jesus’s prayer that “God’s kingdom come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is not a new prayer. Granted, there were people in the Old Testament who wanted that to just be a physical blessing for themselves and Israel, but there were a whole host of people in the Old Testament who longed for that the same way as Jesus did. Abraham, Moses, the Prophets…if we really wanted to take the time to go through the Old Testament and find people who wanted to see a day of righteousness and peace come to earth, I bet it would be a surprisingly long list.
He sums it up pretty nicely, and he is correct, the modern tendency especially in the Institutionalized Church today, is to just disregard it completely. OR, believe that God has changed somehow between the Testaments. None of which is true.
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Romans 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
So it is evident that God did not change and will not change, and that should overwhelm us with Joy because we have security as believers, that God is coming back and HE will rule over this earth with every knee on the ground and every tongue crying and proclaiming that He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Lets begin to talk about how we take the Spirit for granted in our every day lives. Now the only way I am able to notice this is because I am guilty of it, I am guilty of being desensitized, and I am convicted by it. Hopefully you are too.
We need to remember that the Holy Spirit is not in the heart of those who believe, as Jesus at the time of the OT, has not been born, therefore has not died and resurrected yet. So this is where the distinction comes into play. Prayer didn’t change, however the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit did. Now the change of dwelling places does not indicate a change in God or a change in the nature of God. So we have a privilege that the people in the OT did not have, and that is the presence of God DWELLING within our very body, within our very soul. Now if we remember this truth, and we consistently remind ourselves, that yes God is walking beside you and that is comforting, but also, WE HAVE THE PRESENCE OF GOD DWELLING WITHIN OUR VERY BEING. NOW THAT IS SOMETHING TO GET PUMPED ABOUT. When we pair that with THE POWER of God which we talked about a few weeks ago we begin to realize how this puzzle begins to get together.
- God dwells within our very Being.
Romans 8:26 – In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great, so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet the Holy Spirit supports them. The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for; as a sanctifying Spirit, works and stirs up praying graces; as a comforting Spirit, silences our fears, and helps us over all discouragements. The Holy Spirit is the spring of all desires toward God, which are often more than words can utter. The Spirit who searches the hearts, can perceive the mind and will of the spirit, the renewed mind, and advocates his cause. The Spirit makes intercession to God, and the enemy prevails not.
Prayer is such an intense time with God, that should not be taken with disrespect or ignorance, it has become a mundane act of the Christian lifestyle, but it is probably one of the most important things that a Christian can do. How does that make sense, I mean let’s be real, the most important part of the Christian walk, has begun to increasingly get less and less regard. We are speaking to the God of the universe, The God of yourself and myself, THE GOD OF THE ANGELS, and he wants to dwell in you. HE WANTS TO, Jesus died for that specific reason, so that the law would be fulfilled, grace would enter, and the Spirit can fill the hearts of those who believe.
I challenge you this week, to hit your knees in deep prayer, and if you do not know what to say that is entirely ok, it’s actually encouraged. Allow God to speak to you this week, as you take 5-10 minutes just to sit and meditate with God. Meditate with God and allow the meditations of His heart to fill yours. Allow God to speak to you in miraculous ways, bring your burdens, your shame, your hurt and place it in front of God. Truly surrender it to Him. God is a God of relationships, He wants to know you, this is not an acquaintance type of relationship. This is a deep Father and Son relationship, that when cultivated can produce miraculous fruit. God wants to use you, He wants to take your life and Mold it, HE WANTS TO LOVE YOU. Will you let Him?
Think about it this week Church.
Dear God, I just thank you for everyone who cam across this sermon, I pray that You touch the hearts of everyone reading and that you open their minds to what you have to say to them. Lord work amazing things in the lives of people who follow You, Lord I love you and I pray that you work amazing things through and with Grace Nation, however You see fir, Lord your will is superior to all. We love You, we thank You, and we praise You, Amen.