We have scheduled three weeks of concerted prayer for the year 2014 in addition to the many prayer meetings we already have here at Koinonia each week. Why have done so?
- We are living in perilous times, and there is need for desperate prayers to express those desperate needs unto God.
- There is a trend in the church to trust in man-made programs or clever marketing skills to make disciples and reach the lost rather than the power of God through prayer.
- We want to make a statement as a church―a statement to God, to the world, and to our own self-confident, self-reliant flesh that apart from the special, supernatural grace of God, wisdom of God, and power of God, we can do nothing of any significance in the kingdom of God or for the glory of Jesus Christ.
1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
- Be sober and watch unto prayer could be translated be self- controlled and sober-minded. Why? Because the end of all things is at hand. If that was true when Peter wrote these words, it stands to reason that the end is “more” at hand today than ever before, and thus the need to be sober and watchful in prayer is even more necessary as well.
- To be “self- controlled and sober- minded” implies here not to be swept away by emotions or passions, thus maintaining a proper eternal perspective on life. The doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus Christ should not turn the Christian into a zealous fanatic who does nothing but wait for it to occur. Instead, it should lead the believer into a watchful pursuit of holiness.
- Moreover, a watchful attitude for The Lord’s return is meant to create within us a pilgrim mentality (1 Pet. 2:11; Heb 11.13). This reminds us that as Christians, we are citizens of heaven only sojourning on earth. It should also remind us that we are called to redeem our time here in earth, for one day we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ where we will give account of how we have used our God given time, talents and resources, and the motive for doing them.
- A mind victimized by emotion and passion, out of control, or knocked out of balance by worldly lusts and pursuits, is a mind that cannot know the fullness of Holy Communion in prayer with God (cf. 1 Pet. 3:7). A mind fixed on his return is purified (1 John 3:3) and enjoys the fullness of fellowship with the Lord. Mac Study Bible
- When Peter writes about the importance of being alert in prayer, he is writing from first hand experience. Peter knew all too well about sleeping when he should have been praying; it happened in the Garden of Gethsemane, and it happened on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.
- The description of the Christian soldier given by Paul in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians is compact and comprehensive. He is depicted as being ever in the conflict, which has many fluctuating seasons-seasons of prosperity and adversity, light and darkness, victory and defeat. He is to pray at all seasons, and with all prayer, this to be added to the armor in which he is to fare forth to battle. At all times, he is to have the full array of prayer. The Christian soldier, if he fights to win, must pray much. By this means, only, is he enabled to defeat his inveterate enemy, the devil, together with the Evil One’s manifold emissaries. “Praying always, with all prayer,” is the Divine direction given him. This covers all seasons, and embraces all manner of praying. E.M. Bounds
Prayer in the book of Acts
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the secret weapon that lies behind the power of God and His unmistakable presence and work in His church in days gone by was that they made it a habit of spending time together in prayer. Let’s look at a few examples.
- We learn from Acts 1 that the Spirit of God was poured out when 120 people were gathered together in a room praying for a period of 10 days.
- Ac 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
- The overflow of the work of The Spirit in the lives of this church is that among other things, they continued stedfastly in prayers. The Greek word translated steadfastly describes someone who is devoted or given to something.
- They were a church that was devoted and given to prayer.
- Ac 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
- If God only used perfect people, than He wouldn’t have anyone to work with. I do not know a whole lot, but this one thing I do know. God uses men and women who are given to prayer. Peter and John were men of prayer who attended set times of prayer.
- Please look over the morning, lunch time and evening set times of prayer for this next week and do not ask yourself if you will attend, but when.
- Acts 4.23-33 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
- It is to be noted that gathering the church together to pray was the first response of the apostles after being threatened by the religious authorities following God’s miracle of healing the lame man.
- Oh that prayer would be our first response to any and all threats, dangers and needs.
- Please note in these passages what God did in them and through them as they were seeking His face in prayer. (1) They were filled afresh of God’s Spirit and (2) they spoke the Word of God boldly. (3) They were knit together with an unselfish love that manifested itself in ministering to one another. The church that prays together stays together. (5) Great grace was upon them all. Prayer is a means of God’s grace in our lives.
- Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. Act 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
- The church gathered together to pray for Peter who was in prison for his faith in Christ. Even though it is clear when you read the entire chapter that their faith was not exactly perfect, but God was faithful to hear their cries unto Him.
- Prayer is the means that God has given unto us to intercede on behalf of those who are in prison relationally, financially, physically or addictively.
- God answered prayer breaks the powers of bondage and darkness.
- Acts 13.1-4 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been
- brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
- Please note that it was when these saints were ministering to The Lord and fasting that The Holy Ghost spoke to them prophetically about Who He was raising up to go forth on a missionary journey.
- Oh how we need The Holy Ghost to speak to us and give us divine direction. The church today seems to be obsessed with looking for better methods or man made programs or advertising strategies to get the work of The Lord done. Jesus grants vision and direction and gets His work done in and through praying saints.
- This passage reminds me of a very important point regarding prayer. Prayer is not meant to direct God, but to seek God’s direction. Prayer is not meant to persuade God to walk with us. Prayer is meant to enable us to walk with God. Prayer is not meant for my will to be done, but for God’s will to be revealed and then submitted to in every area of our lives.
- Act 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
- The church at Philippi was born out of a woman’s prayer meeting. This women’s prayer meeting was at a place that was known as a place of prayer. Oh how I thank my God for a praying wife and all the ladies who are given to prayer in this body!!!!
- As we have seen from prayer accounts in the Book of Acts, the express presence of God, the manifestation of the gifts of The Spirit, such as the word of knowledge or the word of wisdom were displayed during these times of prayer.
- We know that it was during these times of prayer that God imparted vision (Acts 10), and that people were called into ministry and sent out on mission’s trips during times of prayer and fasting.
Throughout the week, we will be praying for:
Refreshment and protection
Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
- Matt 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
- Since the sun could be a cause of severe danger at times in the Middle East, the shadow or shade would provide a place of refreshment from the heat of the sun for weary travellers. It would be under the branches of a tree that a person would find protection from pouring rain or any other kind of bad weather.
- How appropriate it is that these are the thoughts that would be ingrained in the minds of those who read this Psalm at that time, and that they are illustrations of the refreshment and protection that we find as we dwell in that place of prayer and fellowship with The Lord.
- For in the time of trouble, He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me: He shall set me up upon a rock.
- Now I know that when the Psalmist wrote he did not write in terms of chapters and verses, but I like to call this verse God’s 911! Beloved, this week is going to be a week of dialing 911 in the Name of Jesus!!!
- The one who regularly lives in the shelter of the “Most High” will find rest in the shadow of the “Almighty”.
Fresh vision and open doors of evangelism to reach the lost with the gospel
- Col 4:2,3 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
- 2Co 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord.
- Acts 14.27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
- Rev. 3.8 I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.
- We will be thanking God for the open doors to preach the gospel here in ER, in India, in Nursing homes, at the Open Door Missions, through TFH, in prisons. But we will asking God to set before us any other doors that He would have for us to walk through.
- The advance of God’s saving power in the world happens in response to prayer of Jesus, pray ye to The Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into His harvest.
- James 5.13-15 Is any among you afflicted (undergoing hardship; trouble)? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick (diseased, weak, without strength) among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
- The antidote to suffering affliction or hardship is seeking God in prayer.
- Though there are many mysteries regarding healing and God’s will. This one thing we know for sure. It IS God’s will that we pray for healing.
- Further on in this section, James cites Elijah, a prophet who prayed effectively even though he had “a nature like ours,” stumbling as we do.
- Ps 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.
- Prov 16.3 Commit thy works unto The Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
- God promises to establish our thinking when we are sincerely seeking His face for guidance and direction. Note Who brings to pass the answer to prayer.
Six ingredients of effective prayer
Pr 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
- Trust- To place confidence in; to rely upon. I believe that after we have committed our ways unto The Lord, we need to believe by faith that we are walking in a progressive unfolding of the providential will of God for our lives.
- Ps 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
- Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts (thoughts) and minds (emotions) through Christ Jesus.
- Trust in God through prayer is God’s remedy for anxiety and mental stress and turmoil.
- The effect of trusting God in prayer here is stated first negatively, then positively. Negatively: “Don’t be anxious about anything.” Positively: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul promises that a life of faithful, Christ- dependent, Christ- exalting prayer will be a life protected from anxiety (and its many sinful fruits) by God’s peace.
- Col 4.2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving
- Paul here us echoing the teaching of Jesus in Luke 11.5-13; 18.1-7 regarding persistence in prayer.
- The word continue speaks of how important it is for us to cultivate a life of persistent prayer (4:2; cf. Mark 1:35; 14:32–39). It is a word that means to be courageously persistent.
- Being watchful means to stay alert and focused rather than being vague. As those who have been adopted into God’s very family, we have full and free access to the Father through Christ.
3. Faith in God
- Heb 11.6 But 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.
- When the Bible mentions faith, we need to remember that the faith that is spoken of is not faith in your own faith, but a faith that rests completely in the character of The Lord Jesus.
- One of the Old Puritans said that prayer could do what God can do. Many of you are facing situations that seem humanly impossible, and you may be absolutely correct! But thank God that what is impossible with man is possible with God.
- Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
- Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
- Job 37:5 God thundereth marvelously with His voice; great things doeth He, which we cannot comprehend.
- Prayer is where we go in a broken and contrite heart when we have fallen and are in need of forgiveness and restoration. 1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- James 5.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
- There is a tremendous power when a church family grasps the reality of confessing our faults one to another and praying for one another.
- Mr 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
- I truly believe that a key for any church that desires to walk in the power of God is found when a church family learns to forgive and love another as Jesus forgave us and loves us.
- Eph 2.18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
- Eph 3.12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
- Every person who comes to Christ in faith can come before God at any time in prayer, not in self- confidence but in Christ- confidence. “ our access, our boldness and confidence in prayer is through our faith in Him.” ALFORD
- Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
- Jesus Christ has fully accomplished the work of redemption for us, and because He is now seated at the right hand of The Father, we are able to come boldly before God’s awesome heavenly throne of grace that we might obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need.
- 1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.
- 1 Timothy 2.1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.
- Being thankful to God in prayer is evidence of a renewed and trusting heart. Being thankful is linked with being made whole in the account of the 1 thankful leper in Luke 17.