Become – Foundation 3 – Prayer – Stephen Orr 21/03/21

Passage: Nehemiah 1 (Click here to view the reading)

Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This week take some time to pray for our town using this Prayer Walk.

Prayer

The Habit of Prayer is a vital foundation as we seek to become more like Jesus.

As a child I remember singing this kids song.

Read your Bible.
Pray every day (repeat 3 times).
Read your Bible.
Pray every day.
And you’ll grow, grow, grow (repeat 3 times).
 
Don’t read your Bible.
Forget to pray (repeat 3 times).
Don’t read your Bible.
Forget to pray.
And you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink (repeat 3 times).”

It reminds us of the importance of the habits of reading our Bibles and Prayer, two habits that are so easy to let slide.

In the Christian life there is no way we can grow if we ignore or skimp the practice of prayer. To gain a deeper knowledge of God we need to talk to him – to talk to him daily and for more than just a few minutes. (Selwyn Hughes in ‘Prayer a Fresh Vision’)

Prayer catapults us on to the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the spiritual disciplines prayer is the most central because it offers us into perpetual communion with the father.
To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are willing to change we will not abandon Prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.(Richard Foster in ‘Celebration of the Disciplines’)

As we seek to fulfil our vision, prayer enables us to become more like Jesus

Let us learn from some of the Old Testament heroes.

1. Daniel

  • 6:10 – Gave thanks
  • 6:11 – Asked God for help
  • 2:17 – Asked friends to pray for mercy
  • 2:20 – When he received the answer he praised God

2. Nehemiah

  • Prayed:
    • 1:4 – in response to news
    • 1:5 – praising God
    • 1:6 & 1:11 – calling expectantly on God
    • 1:6 – for the people
    • 1:6&7 – confessing for the people and himself
    • 1:8-10 – calling on the promises of God
    • 1:11 – knowing he was a servant of God  
    • 1.11 – seeking favour
    • 2:4 – Under pressure before the king
    • 4:9 – Under threat from enemies

Prayer as a way of life

What is your habits of prayer?

Habit alone isn’t enough, it’s about love.

The people of Israel had many prayers and blessings and still they went the wrong way, without love it’s just talking.

True. whole prayer is nothing but love. (St. Augustine)

This book is about a love relationship with the great God of the universe. And overwhelming love invites a response. Love is the syntax of prayer. (Richard Foster in ‘Celebration of the Disciplines’)

As we look at the life of Jesus we see that he loved God and prayed.

Jesus Prays for All Believers
John 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

3. Jesus’ Prayer Life

As we read through the gospels we see prayer was central to all Jesus did.

4. Our Community

Apply

When you pray let it not be out of guilt or legalism but as a loving response to the love of God.

Use Matthew 6:9-13 and Philippians 4:4-7 as guides to help you pray.

When praying it can be helpful to use ACTS

  • Adoration
  • Confession
  • Thanksgiving
  • Supplication

This week consider how you can pray as without ceasing.

Write a list of the people and situations you are currently praying for, during the week seek to add to this list.

What benefits to yourself and your community will you praying daily bring?

What have I found interesting? 

What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions

How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?

How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?

What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?

Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?

Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage?

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