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Prayer


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#1 Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:51 AM

Hello everyone,

This is the exhort that I gave today... hope people find it benefial.. I did while preparing it.

God Bless

:smited:



During the week, I took part in a bit of self analysis, and it pointed out that there is a something seriously wrong with my spiritual life, and so this exhort is given firstly to myself and hopefully it will be of benefit to you as well.

It has been said that: Prayer is a measuring stick which tells us how well we are going in our discipleship.
To put it another way, Prayer is the measure of our relationship with God. Now isn’t that the very purpose of the truth?
To have a relationship with God and his son is what we are aiming to achieve isn’t it?
Without it, what do we have? Nothing.

So this morning I would like to explore some of the very basics of prayer. We will work through a number of headings:
1. What Prayer needs to be
2. What Prayer can be
3. Prayer is hindered by
4. Prayer should not be
5. Prayer will
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#2 Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:53 AM

So the first heading that we will look at is: What prayer needs to be

The first quote that we can turn up is James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

So, prayer in order to be effective needs to be fervent. What is fervent? It’s not a word we use very often today. So I looked it up and the simple definition is: Having or showing great emotion or zeal.

Do our prayers show great emotion, zeal or passion? Are our prayers fervent? Maybe in times of great trouble or trial that might, but on a normal day to day basis? I know mine haven’t been.

In Daniel ch 6 we find our next point of what prayer needs to be. Daniel here sets an example of consistency.

Dan 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime

or as was his habit/custom


Daniel, even in times of trouble, as was the case in this instance had his set routine of praying 3 times a day and not only that, everyone knew about it v13

Then answered they (the princes) and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

It wasn’t just a quick nod of the head and muttered prayer for lunch in a staff room, but he made a point of praying to God and everyone was aware that that was what Daniel did.
However, he wasn’t the only one who had this pattern of prayer in his life. King David also prayed 3 times a day. In Ps 55:17 it says

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.


So, we ask the question: Do we have a set time period in the day, in which we pray? Do we stop specifically to pray, or do we do it on the run?
Now, I’m not saying praying on the run is a bad thing for those who do that, as we all do lead very busy lives, but I guess the two examples that we have looked at, those people must have also lead extremely very busy lives. One a King and the other a president under the King and yet they found the time each day to pray to God.
Muslims have a set time for prayer and that is 5 times a day, where they stop everything and pray and while they are doctrinally incorrect, their devotion and commitment should be admired and I think it can leave our own devotions seemingly petty in comparison.

The last point under our heading of what prayer needs to be is a sobering thought found in

Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Another modern translation has God has no use for the prayers of the people who won't listen to him. Scary thought!
It really is common sense I guess, that if we aren’t listening to God, why should he listen to us?
The only way that we can listen to God, is by reading Gods word. If we pray daily we should read daily. Makes sense doesn’t it? How many people do it? I know I struggle to do a reading a day.
As a conclusion to this section I want to read the note in the NET translation which is very interesting and it makes quite a good observation-

it is hard to imagine how someone who wilfully refuses to obey the law would pray according to the will of the LORD. He is more likely to pray for some physical thing or make demands on God. Of course a prayer of repentance would not be an abomination to the LORD

. I think this quite a good observation and very true.

Edited by Corbather, 25 June 2006 - 03:54 AM.

The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#3 Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:56 AM

So we move on to our next heading which is: what prayer can be.

In this section, we will look at the different types/styles of prayers. The first we will look at is ordered or structured prayers, and the example we will look at is in Isaiah 37:10-20 The background is that Rabshakeh has come up against Jerusalem and has made a speech against Hezekiah and God in Ch 36 and now has sent a letter to the king

V10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.
Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by destroying them utterly; and shalt thou be delivered?
Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar?
Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arphad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah?

And what is Hezekiah’s response?

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.
Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,
And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.


Here is an example of a beautiful prayer that is a specific request to God. It starts out with praise to God and then Hezekiah presents the problem and then appeals to God to do something about it. And this was answered and the result is in verse 36 T

hen the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

We also have examples from the psalms of prayers that are not requests to God, but are praise and thanks for what he has done. Ps 18 is a good example of this. We won’t turn it up, but perhaps you can have a read of it afterwards. Here David praises God and thanks him for delivering him from his enemies. It describes his deliverance and his trust now in God. I think these are perhaps the most important prayers to offer, praise and thanks to God what he has done but I think we can sometimes forget to thank God for answering our prayers? And I think that is defiantly wrong.

Not all prayers should be wordy and of length.

Ecc 5:1-2 says Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

So some prayers should be short and to the point. Luke 18 is a parable of two men who go to the temple to pray.
Luk 18:9

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


Sometimes nothing more really needs to be said; sometimes there is nothing more that can be said.

The last point is that Prayer can also be instantaneous or on the spot. Nehemiah was a man who served King Artaxerxes in Shushan the Palace and when he heard of the bad news of Jerusalem and of his brethren, he wept for a long time and when he went before the King, the king noticed he was sad and so we pick up the record in verse 2

Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
Neh 2:3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
Neh 2:4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
Neh 2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.
Neh 2:6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Nehemiah never had the time like Hezekiah to present the situation to God, he had a maximum of a few seconds to respond to the King and in those few moments he turned to God. This is an example of incorporating God into ones life. Every decision that we make, we have a choice to make- do we make the decision on our own or do we ask for guidance for the best outcome to occur?
We have to learn to rely on God all the time, in every aspect of our life. Even if the only words to say are “God help me” or something similar. God will be with us.
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#4 Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:57 AM

Moving on to our third heading which is: Prayer is hindered by

The simple answer is sin. Sin obstructs us coming before God. Unrepentant sinners will not be heard by God.

Is 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Is 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

God’s hand is open and outstretched and he is willing to hear us, But God cannot look on sin and he will not hear prayer that is made from unrepentant lips.
David found himself in this situation when he sinned with Bathsheba. David did not and could not come to God for 9 months or more until God sent Nathan the prophet and then David repented. In Ps 32 David recounts his thoughts and experience.

Ps 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.


Here the unforgiven sin is described as being extremely oppressive against David, and until he confessed, he was exiled from God and God would not have heard his prayers if he did offer them at the time and I’m not sure that he did.
It was only once he was repentant and forgiven that he regained fellowship with God.
The comforting thing that we learn from this story is that God is willing to hear the prayers of a repentant sinner.
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#5 Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:58 AM

So we come to our fourth heading which is: Prayer should not be

Our Lord Jesus Christ warns a couple of times of vain or repetitious prayers. We have already read of Christs parable in Luke 18 of the Pharasee who was clearly trying to impress but Jesus says in Mat 6:5-8

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Flowery language, though it may impress the people who hear it, it will not impress God. Are our prayers full of clichés? Is the prayer we offer the same every time we pray? Do we just rattle of a prayer without thought? Are we given the time or do we take time to think before we pray?
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#6 Corbather

Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:59 AM

Our last point on prayer is positive and it is: Prayer will.

Those who pray sincerely and who are repentant will be pleasing to God. God is actually pleased to listen to us,

Pro 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

He’s not only pleased, but he is delighted! God cares about us so much; he wants to know what is happening in our lives and when we pray, he is delighted. And what’s more because he is delighted, God will also answer our prayer. Luke 18 again and this time from verse 1

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.

Is God going to be like that unjust judge who fulfilled his duty out of weariness? NO!
God, unlike the judge delights in prayer and when he answers (because he doesn’t always prayers immediately) he will answer speedily and the response that we receive is a loving and willing response that is ultimately best for us. We read in James earlier that effectual and fervent prayer availeth much or as the NET translation says it has great effectiveness!
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#7 Corbather

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 04:00 AM

Brothers and Sisters, Prayer is powerful and sometimes it is easy to forget, but hopefully this morning we have discovered what we have probably already known, but hopefully it has served as a good refresher. We have seen that

Prayer needs to be:
• Fervent
• Consistent
• In conjunction with daily reading of the bible
Prayer can be:
• Ordered and structured
• Short and to the point
• Instantaneous
Prayer is hindered by:
• Sin
Prayer should not be:
• Vain and repetitious
Prayer will:
• Be a delight to God
• Prayer will be answered.


So we come to the emblems before us, and we think of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he regularly stayed up all night in prayer to God. His strength came from prayer, and his final, ultimate victory was won in the garden of Gethsemane through prayer to his father.
So let us now remember him.
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet, until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet .
And wither when? I cannot say

#8 Deborah

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:43 AM


Prayer needs to be:
• Fervent
• Consistent
• In conjunction with daily reading of the bible
Prayer can be:
• Ordered and structured
• Short and to the point
• Instantaneous
Prayer is hindered by:
• Sin
Prayer should not be:
• Vain and repetitious
Prayer will:
• Be a delight to God
• Prayer will be answered.


:smited:
"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.".

"The Bible is like a prisoner of war -- if you torture it long enough you can get it to say anything"




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