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Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:16-20
Prayer Without Ceasing
1. Prayer is conversing with God; the communion of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to Him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, forceful outbursts or formal. It isÖ
a. Pleading with the Lord (Exo. 32:11).
b. Pouring out the soul before the Lord (1 Sam. 1:15).
c. Crying out to heaven (2 Chrn. 32:20).
d. Seeking unto God and making supplication (Job 8:5).
e. Drawing near to God (Psa. 73:28).
f. Bowing the knees (Eph. 3:14).
2. Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to commune with us, his personal control of all things & of all his creatures & all their actions. (Eastonís Revised Bible Dictionary)
3. God wants his children to pray to Him; He wants to answer our prayers, Matt. 7:7-11
4. The righteous pray -- and they are heard, 1 Pet. 3:10-12 (Jno. 9:31).
I. THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER IN OUR LIVES.
A. Prayer must have Precedence in our Daily Lives, Mk. 1:35; Lk. 5:16; 6:12; 9:28-29.
1. Do you think David was praying as he should when he tried to hide his sin? (Silent: to God & to men) Psa. 32:3-4
2. When he made prayer to God a priority again it was because he wanted to confess his sin & be right with God! Psa. 32:5
3. Prayer isÖ
a. Addressing God (prayer, 1 Tim. 2:1; cf. Matt. 6:9-10).
b. Asking Godís help (supplication, 1 Tim. 2:1; cf. Matt. 6:11-13).
c. Praying for others (intercession, 1 Tim. 2:1).
d. Giving of thanks for all, (1 Tim. 2:1; cf. Matt. 6:11; 1 Tim. 4:3-5).
B. Put Prayer into Practice, Lk. 11:1; Matt. 26:41.
1. Public prayer, 1 Cor. 14:15-16.
a. Congregational: all are involved, led by holy men, 1 Tim. 2:8.
b. Groups: cf. Jas. 5:14-16 (Acts 1:14; 12:12).
2. Private prayer, Matt. 6:5-8 (Acts 10:9).
3. Prayer may be planned (Dan. 6:10), special (Neh. 1:4) & spontaneous (Neh. 2:4).
II. THE POWER OF PRAYER IN OUR LIVES, Jas. 5:15-18.
A. Almighty God Listens to You; Prov. 15:29.
1. We must listen to Godís law to be heard, cf. Prov. 28:9.
2. We must pray with reverence for God, Neh. 1:11 (cf. Heb. 5:7).
3. We must be obedient to Him; we cannot practice sin & expect God to hear (respond), cf. Jer. 11:14 (time of wrath, Isa. 1:10-15).
B. Almighty God Responds to You, Psa. 66:16-20.
-To those who praise Him & put away sin, cf. Prov. 15:8-9.
C. Almighty God Cares for You, cf. Phil. 4:6-7 (Matt. 7:11).
III. THE PERSISTENCE OF PRAYER IN OUR LIVES, Lk. 11:5-8; 18:1-8 (Acts 10:2); Eph. 6:18; 1 Ths. 5:17. (Our prayers are often too late, too leisure & too limited!)
A. Trust in God, not yourself (Matt. 21:20-22).
1. Faith, dependency on God, Jas. 1:5-8. Prayer is evidence of a working, living faith; cf. Lk. 18:8.
2. Humility, not selfish pleasures, cf. Jas. 4:3.
B. Be Committed to & Guided by Godís Will, 1 Jno. 3:22; 5:14.
C. God Answers in His Time, His Purposes, & our Best Interests, 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Lk. 22:40-46 (Matt. 7:11).
1. Prayer must have an important place in our lives, Jas. 4:17.
2. Otherwise, how can we say God has an important place in our lives?