Matthew 21:13 (NIV) – “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.
A) God has called us to be a house of prayer. He didn’t say a house of worship, or a house of evangelism, or a house of fellowship (althrough these things are important) but a house of prayer
B) If we are corporately going to be a House of Prayer we need to allow the Lord to make us individual Houses of Prayer.
C) If you missed Melissa Medina’s message from last week I encourage you to listen to the MP3.
II LET’S LOOK AT SOME KEY VERSES ON PRAYER
A) Col 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
B) 1 Thess 5:16-18 – 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
C) Rom 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
D) Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
1) If Jesus, God in the flesh, was committed to a life of prayer should that not encourage us to do this same?
E) Acts 1:14, 2:1-2 – They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers… When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
1) The church was birthed in a prayer meeting. Prayer is the foundation!
F) Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
III GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER IN PRAYER
A) My heart is to move past the predictable pattern of hammering away that we need to pray but then most of us not actually doing anything about it.
B) Prayer is not the root. Prayer is fruit. It flows out of a right heart perspective.
C) If I get my heart in the right place, and I get my thinking in the right place prayer becomes the most natural thing for me to do
D) So what are the roots that I need to work on? What seeds do I need to ‘sow’ so the fruit of prayer will spring up in my heart?
IV ROOT 1: REAL, AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
A) Prayer in it’s simplest form is talking and listening to God. The more you walk with God, the more you get to know Him the more natural prayer becomes
B) If you are not walking with God in a close way, prayer becomes very robotic and awkward and you do not have a passion to talk and listen to Him.
C) The more I get to know God, the more my love for Him grows… the more I will want to pray
D) The key is not to try and force yourself to pray… but to pursue a deeper walk with God. Pursue the knowledge of Him
Phil 3:9-10 (TPT) – 9 My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God. 10 And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death.
E) “Real prayer comes not from gritting our teeth, but from falling in love.” – Richard Foster
F) “You can fulfill the commands of the Bible better by falling in love with God than trying to obey him. The Christian faith is not a business transaction… Christianity only works if you’re in love” – N.T. Wright
V ROOT #2: A REVELATION OF THE POWER OF PRAYER
James 5:13-18 (NIV) – 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James 5:16 (NKJV) – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
A) Prayer is supposed to be a regular part of our lives as disciples of Jesus
B) The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much – makes much power available
C) Every move of God was sparked by a prayer movement
D) Much prayer = Much power. Little prayer = Little power. No prayer = no power.
E) Elijah was a human being like us… but He partnered with God through prayer to shift a nation. God is telling us: “you can do the same thing!’
F) God has placed the pen of history into the hands of a praying church – Lou Engle
G) “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services, but few conversions; much machinery, but few results.” – R.A. Torrey
VI ROOT #3: THE URGENCY OF THE DAYS WE LIVE IN
1 Chron. 12:32 – from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;
A) God is looking for those who will seek Him, and position themselves to be those who ‘understand the times’
Isaiah 60:1-3 (NKJV) – Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
B) We live in a time when darkness is covering the earth and the people
C) God is calling us to arise and shine… He wants to demonstrate His glory through us!
D) Those who are far from God, the leaders will come to us
E) They are not looking for lukewarm people with cheap religion… they are looking for the glory of God! A praying people are the people who will steward the glory!
Matt 9:35-38 (NKJV) – 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.[e] 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary[f] and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
F) It’s harvest time!
G) Where are those who will ‘pray the Lord of the harvest’?
H) Those who truly catch the spirit of prayer will go!
I) “The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history.” – Andrew Murray
J) “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” – Charles Spurgeon
K) “What the church needs today is not machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use – men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men of prayer.” And we might add, through women of prayer.” – E.M. Bounds