Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, August 8
  • Meet With Me
  • Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
  • My Heart Is Yours
  • Today is Day 1 of 21 Days of Prayer.
    As I mentioned last week prayer is one of the most powerful things we can do as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Yet, it is the most neglected aspect among believers. How ironic is that. We've been given direct access to God. We’ve been given the opportunity for intimacy and relationship with our Creator, and we've been given power through prayer and yet most believers neglect all that prayer offers. Ironic.
    The enemy does not want us to pray - whether it’s in private, in public or something like 21 days of prayer. The enemy will do everything within his power to prevent you and me from becoming a believing praying Christian. And so each of us has a choice - who are we going to let win - the Spirit of God or the enemy?
    Again, prayer is one of the most powerful things we can do. As a matter of fact, there are some things that will never be accomplished in this world without prayer. No amount of compassionate ministry, no amount of community outreach or skill or church programs or whatever will solve some of these issues unless God’s people believe pray.
    Two examples. First, in Luke Chapter 9 Jesus gave His disciples power and authority to cast out demons, to heal and to proclaim the Kingdom of God. And they went out and they did it. But later in that chapter we find the disciples unable to cast out a demon from a boy. And remember they've already been given the authority to do so but they encounter this one particular demon that will not leave - until Jesus showed up.
    In Mark Chapter 9 the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast it out. He clearly said
    Mark 9:29 ESV
    And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
    Wonder how many people are inflicted with demons because we’re not praying.
    Second example,
    Matthew 9:37–38 ESV
    Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
    So, if there are certain things in our world that can only be accomplished when God's people pray, then I wonder how many things are not being accomplished because God’s people neglect prayer - specific prayer. If the advancement of the Kingdom of God and the salvation of souls, and the deliverance of the demonic depend on our prayers, how are we doing?
    I want to reiterate then the primary purpose of prayer is not centered around God doing whatever we ask. It's not about casting out demons or saving souls, though prayer is connected to those things. So what is the primary purpose?
    Well, in Matthew 6, Jesus said this.
    Matthew 6:5–6 ESV
    “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    The Christian life is prepared in private but lived in public.
    How’s your prep work?
    Jesus, the Son of the Living God prepared for His ministry through consistent private prayer that lasted more than 5 minutes. If Jesus needed to prepare for whatever His Father had for Him, how much more do we?
    Matthew 6:7–8 ESV
    “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
    Age old question - if God knows what I need, why pray? Because the purpose of prayer is not about getting what we need. It’s not about giving God our to-do lists. If that’s all prayer was intended to do, then yes, why bother? So what is the purpose of prayer? We’ll talk more about what prayer is over the next several weeks, but know this, the purpose of prayer is mostly about communion, communication, intimacy, receiving direction and power so we can participate in Kingdom work. God desires authenticity and a genuine relationship built upon faith, trust, truth, honesty, His Word, and submission. Not formulas and religions mantras.
    Let’s take a look at how Jesus taught His disciples to pray, and therein we also find the purpose.
    Matthew 6:9 ESV
    Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
    First thing about prayer is to know Whom we are speaking with? Know Him - not just about Him - through Jesus Christ.
    Q - Who is this God who has invited us to pray?
    He is everything He has revealed about Himself in Scripture - nothing more and nothing less - irrespective of our opinions, our beliefs, our experiences, or our traditions. We do not possess the authority, the option, or the intellect to pick and choose who God is or who He’s not. The God of the Bible is precisely who He has revealed Himself to be.
    So, not only is He our Father, He is our friend - but He is also our King, our Master, our Savior, our Lamb, our Way, our Truth, our Sovereign God, our God Most High, and so on. He is not some bobble-head figure you put on the dashboard of your car. He deserves our highest respect, honor, our obedience, our attentiveness, our submission, our time, our everything ….
    So for the next 21 days of prayer and beyond, my challenge is that we remind ourselves of who this God is - this God who has invited us to pray and talk with Him.
    Q - Do you know Him - all of Him?
    You can’t know Him unless you come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6). And it’s really hard to know Him if you ignore His Word.
    Here’s an odd question, but the intent is to help us to pray. Q - Do you know where your Father is?
    People, even Christians often talk and pray as if God is way out there somewhere in the galaxy - after all, He’s the man upstairs - looking down. Evaluate how you pray. When you talk with God, where do you believe Him to be?
    Here's where the battle between truth and faith and feelings comes into play.
    Truth -
    John 14:23 ESV
    Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
    Where is your Father?
    Jeremiah 23:23–24 NIV
    “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.
    Acts 17:27 … that all we have to do is reach out and discover that God is near - right beside us. And if we’re a Believer, He’s in us. The Spiritual realm where God resides is not up there, but right here! I don't always feel like God is right next to me or even living in me, but I'm not called to live by feelings. I am called to live by truth and faith.
    I don’t need a god who is in a galaxy far far away. I need a God who is near, present, next to me and in me. If I’m going to live that way, pray that way, then I need to believe what the Bible tells me about where my Father is.
    Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do.
    Somethings in this world can only be made right or accomplished by prayer.
    The purpose of prayer is less about getting what we want and more about talking with the Sovereign God of this universe.
    Prayer is talking with our Father who is near and in us.
    How might these truths change your life? Change how you pray?
    What adjustments do you need to make?
      • Mark 9:29ESV

      • Matthew 9:37–38ESV

      • Matthew 6:5–6ESV

      • Matthew 6:7–8NLT

      • Matthew 6:9ESV

      • John 14:23ESV

      • Jeremiah 23:23–24ESV

  • Goodness Of God
  • Good Good Father

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