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December 14, 2003 AM

MK 1:32-35

INTRO: There are so many Biblical examples of people in prayer. And in the course of this series of lessons on the subject of prayer we will mention many of them. However, as I begin this series of lessons, it seems to me that we should recognize that Jesus epitomizes prayer in a persons life. For Jesus the communion of prayer was His lifeline with the Father. In our lesson text we see Him rising a great while before day to go to a quiet, solitary place to pray. Before the busy activities of a demanding day crowded into His life, He takes time to pray. His day began with the communion of prayer. May I share with you some reminders about prayer ... reminders which might refresh our own view of prayer.


A. 1 Jno 5:14,15 - ...this is the confidence that we have in him...

1. Ps 145:18,19 - this may be the place we should begin our study

2. do we have this confidence? or do we doubt?

3. over and again, the Bible assures that God hears & answers prayers

B. One of our problems? not giving God the room to answer

1. our mind set virtually requires Him to answer exactly as we ask

2. but that is not the promise of God - He answers, but He answers in ways best for the petitioner (according to his will)

3. Mt 26:39 - Jesus prayed for a very specific thing - but He gave God room to answer properly - if it be possible ... as thou wilt


A. Jas 5:16b - ...fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much

1. why would inspiration say such a thing if it was not true?

2. true, we do not know the how of Gods answering - it will likely be along lines of natural processes over which He reigns (there are no doubt things in nature of which we are ignorant, too)

3. prayer will change things ... and, often, it changes us!

B. Prayers power is limited, however, by unbelief

1. prayers is dead when we do not believe in its power

2. Mk 9:23,24 - could this mans plea to Jesus just as well be ours?

3. note Mt 13:58 - let us not limit Gods power!


A. Lk 18:1-5 - ought always to pray, and not to faint...

1. oh well, whats the use... - and prayers stop

2. spiritual maturity is keeping on even when it seems it is futile to go on

3. this woman continued pleading her case because she believed in it!

B. Could our prayers be too casual, too shallow, too infrequent?

1. this womans interest in prayer was very intense

2. there were no trite expressions, no doubts of efficacy of prayer

3. Col 4:2 - Continue in prayer...


A. Acts 12:5,12 - ...prayer was made without ceasing ... for him

1. what was the subject of their prayers? they were gathered together...

2. about inflation? about weather? about crops? about grades? - now, these things may be pointed, relevant, pertinent at certain times

3. but these saints prayed about a right then grave concern for Peter

B. Our prayers, public and private, need this pointedness

1. our sick folks need to be named - situations on our minds should be mentioned freely, frequently

2. prayers become a form - formulaized - I fear they become rituals

3. prayers power, in a very large measure, depends on its pointedness, pertinence ... its importance to right now

CLOSE: Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray? If we want to grow in spiritual strength, if we want to see great things accomplished, if we want to feel and be nearer to God, I suggest we must renew and revitalize our view, our practice, our joy in the communion of prayer.

Cecil A. Hutson

14 December 2003

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)