INTRO: How busy is your day? Are you rushed from the time you awake in the morning until you lie down to sleep in the evening? This just seems to be the American way these days. So, we are always too busy. Too busy to enjoy a good book. Too busy to enjoy a hobby. Too busy to visit a friend. Too busy to have a special lunch with a child. Too busy to do the important things because we are doing the urgent things. And too busy to find time for quiet reading of scripture. Too busy to spend time in needed prayer. I wonder how busy the psalmist was ... the king of a nation. But he dedicated time in his day for prayer. In our text we have read another of his brief prayers, and it has some points worthy of our mentioning.
1. First, there is the wholeheartedness of prayer - v. 145
a. I wonder if we may be too casual in praying?
b. I wonder if prayers may go unanswered for lack of fervency?
c. here, the psalmist refers to his praying with his whole heart
d. Col 4:12 - ...laboring fervently for you in prayers...
e. some illustrations of this kind of praying?
aa. Hannah - 1 Sam 1:10
bb. Elijah - Jas 5:17
cc. Jesus - Lk 22:44
f. Jas 5:16 - ...fervent prayer of a righteous man...
g. I recognize that there are many distractions - so, Mt 14:23
2. Supplication: hear me - v. 145
a. I know there are times some may wonder if He really is hearing
b. it may be at those times when we are at some deep valley and are desperately needing answers ... but we just dont see them
c. it may be at those times when sin has overtaken us, and we are wondering if He really wants to hear us (weve disappointed Him, etc.)
d. Neh 1:5,6 - out of the depths of struggle, concern Nehemiah pleads
e. Ps 130:1,2 - Out of the depths have I cried unto thee...
f. Isa 38:4,5 - is there not wonderful assurance here ... God does hear; God does see; prayer can change things! but these are fervent prayers
g. ...I will keep thy statutes - he could not expect God to hear him if he was not hearing God!!! how necessary it is for us to understand this in prayer
3. Supplication: save me - v. 146
a. consider Mt 14:30 - ...and beginning to sink...
b. I do not think the psalmist is praying for eternal redemption here
c. I think that he is finding himself in much the same position in which Peter was ... beginning to sink!
d. do you ever have that sinking sensation? bad news which is affecting come ... a knot in the pit of the stomach, a feeling of total helplessness
e. a simple and fervent prayer which covers the need? save me
f. Mt 14:31 - And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand... - once again, I see in this factual presentation a point of great assurance
g. question? do we have the faith, the confidence to utter the prayer?
4. Praying early and late - vv. 147,148
a. I begin these thoughts with the busyness of our lives
b. I consider these thoughts knowing that so many comment on lack of time for studying, praying, meditation
c. listen: Ps 55:17 with Dan 6:10 - these men established habits of prayer
d. or, Mk 1:35 - ...rising up a great while before day...
e. things work better in our lives with patterns, routines - but such routines must be established and become life habits
f. I know as well as anyone about the intrusions of a day - so did the psalmist
g. so, early and late ... wonderful times when we can often find solitude
5. Hear me because you love me - v. 149
a. I am far more ready to hear someone I love than someone I hardly know
b. I am far more confident of getting a hearing with someone who loves me than from someone for whom I am only a number or a name
c. this, then, is the appeal of the psalmist - he knows God loves Him ... so, he appeals to that love for a hearing
d. truth: most satisfying of prayer is the prayer of/from relationship!
e. so, Jesus teaches us to pray, Our Father... (Mt 6:9) - and Paul tells us we can address God as Abba, Father (Rom 8:15)
f. is your voice that of a stranger to God?
g. if you pray without ceasing, it will not be
CLOSE: I encourage you to begin to establish some life habits relating to prayer. Will it be easy? Probably not. But if prayer is important to us, those habits can be formed.
Cecil A. Hutson
May 15, 2005
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)