Date: Sunday 14th, January 2018.
Speaker: Rev. Errol Joseph
Scripture Reading – Mark 1:35-38
E.M. Bounds: “Praying is spiritual work; and human nature does not like taxing, spiritual work. Human nature wants to sail to heaven under a favouring breeze, a full, smooth sea. Prayer is humbling work. It abases intellect and pride, crucifies vainglory, and signs our spiritual bankruptcy, and all these are hard for flesh and blood to bear. It is easier not to pray than to bear them”.
The little estimate we put on prayer is evident from the little time we give to it.
“… the crying evils of these times, maybe of all times – little or no praying. Of these two evils, perhaps little praying is worse than no praying. Little praying is a kind of make-believe, a salve for the conscience, a farce and a delusion.” That is why you need to train yourself to pray. To train means to exercise effort like a sportsman or gymnast/ to discipline yourself so that you become accustomed to doing something.
Three essentials in training yourself to pray (How to get accustomed to praying)
1. Know what prayer is.
2. Know why you must pray (value of prayers).
3. Know what will be your prayer strategy.
What is prayer?
1. Prayer is communion with God. (Mark 1:36-37) Jesus’ life was very busy yet He found the time to pray. He communed with God who directed Him to go elsewhere Mark 1:38.
(1Tim.2:1) Synonyms for Intercession- praying for others, include an/a interview, meeting, visit to converse, conference, conversation and petition.
Public prayer is talking to God in the presence of others who overhear your conversation so there is no need to impress anyone with ‘big’ words and ‘foreign’ accents.
To pray is to talk to God. God is a friend, father, provider and He is alive therefore, I should talk to Him everyday.
2. Why must you pray? (The value of praying).
i. Prayer is a command. It is something we must do. Ps.32:6, Col.4:2, 1Thess. 5:17
ii. Prayer is therapeutic. To find help in the presence of God. Ps.61:2-3
iii. Prayer shows dependence on God. 2 Chron 20:12
People who do not pray are people who perceive life, whether consciously or unconsciously, in this way: ‘I do not need God. I can live without God. I can handle life on my own.’ They never talk to God. This is practical atheism.
iv. Prayer is relational. Ps.73:28
It gives us a chance to come near God.
v. Prayer is co-operation with God. 1Chron.17:25
Matt. 6:10 – “By our prayer, we co-operate with God to cause some things to happen.”
vi. Prayer is a weapon of war. Eph.6:12-20 We fight by prayer v.18.
vii. Prayer is a means to God’s answers. Jer. 33:3, Ps. 20:6, James 4:5, Ps. 2:8
Jesus says ‘we have not because we ask not’. Jesus says to ask and to keep on asking.
viii. Prayer is our highest privilege. Heb.10:19-25
No other creature in the universe, not even the angels, has the privilege of prayer. Jesus opened a door, a privilege not to be neglected. ‘I pray because I can.’ What a privilege!
3. What is your prayer strategy?
i. Set a time (Mark 1:35)
ii. Set a place (Luke5:16, Luke 6:12, Dan.6:10)
iii. Make a plan
a. How long to pray?
b. Who/What to pray for ( a prayer list)?
c. Decide whether to spend time in worship
d. Do I spend time quietly listening to God or do I talk all the time? Note that prayer is conversation not talking. When we listen to God, we bond… we connect.
iv. Adjust plan to cycles of life eg. changes in life.
Train/Discipline yourself to pray. Prayer must not be seen as toilsome. Prayer must not be seen as work. Prayer is communion with our God therefore, prayer must be both enjoyed and enjoyable.
What a privilege to walk into God’s presence at any time and converse with Him.