1 TIM 2:8
INTRO: Prayer may be a mechanical, ritualistic, empty exercise; or it may be a war, sincere, intense communication with God. Obviously, it should be our hope that we learn to pray in such a way that is benefits will begin to flow into our lives. Thurs, we must think through prayer so that we are no entrapped in ritual ... rather, that we are freed to sincerely address the Heavenly Father. To the end that we should desire to pray more often by learning to be morecomfortable in praying, consider these thoughts.
I THE POSTURE OF PRAYER
A. Lk 18:11 - The Pharisee stood and prayed...
1. posture of prayer has been much discussed
2. note some of the postures mentioned in scripture: 2 Ki 20:1,2 (in bed), Ps 95:6 (kneeling), Mt 26:39 (prostrate on ones face), Lk 18:11 (standing), 1 Tim 2:8 (hands upraised), Lk 18:13 (striking ones chest)
3. each was praying ... but postures were different
B. Well, does posture make a difference? Is it prescribed?
1. fact: posture in/of prayer is not prescribed in the Bible
2. but reverence in prayer may well be symbolized by one posture over another in some cultures
3. however, posture does not hinder fervent prayers
II THE PLACE OF PRAYER
A. Mt 6:6 - Enter into thy closet...
1. is ones closet the only place to pray?
2. note some places mentioned: Acts 10:9 (housetop), Acts 21:5 (seashore), Acts 12:12 (at home), 1 Cor 14:15,19 (in worship assembly)
3. a multitude of places is mentioned in scripture
B. Is one place better than another? More scriptural?
1. place of prayer should be determined by the need for prayer ... where you are when you need to pray is the place of prayer
2. at times privacy should be sought ... deliberately
3. but we should be accustomed to praying that is comfortable for us wherever the need arises!
III PROPRIETY IN PRAYER (REVERENCE, WORSHIP)
A. Mt 6:9 - Hallowed be thy name...
1. what was the disposition taught here?
2. reverence! reverence for One deserving of total reverence, awe!
3. Jesus was equal with God ... still, His prayers were always filled with proper respect, reverence (Jno 17:1,5,11,21,24,25)
B. What about the language of our prayers?
1. first, we must view God as approachable (Rom 8:15 - Abba, Father)
2. but to pray to God in slang, gutter language, down on my level familiarity is in total contradiction to what He teaches at Mt 6:9!
3. certainly one may pray in terms with which he is most comfortable (KJ English versus more modern pronouns) ... but propriety must never be overlook as we address the Father
IV PROPER PRAYERS (WHAT IS APPROPRIATE?)
A. Jno 17:11 - Holy Father, keep...those whom thou hast given me...
1. this prayer is for Gods care of Jesus disciples
2. in the Garden He prayed about His death by His tormentors
3. on the cross He prayed for the forgiveness of His enemies
B. Point? Pray what is appropriate to your need!
1. the model prayer is brief, but it covers a lot of ground
2. a key? Phil 4:6 - pray about the source of your concerns
3. in prosperity, in sickness, at decision times - what would be proper? do we think out our prayers? (is a little childs simple prayer less proper than that of an adult?)
CLOSE: How easy and natural it should be for children of God to approach their Father. The size of ones vocabulary is not the vital thing. Its the size of the faith in him who simply prays, God, be merciful to me a sinner!
Cecil A. Hutson
15 February 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
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
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)