simple – week 4 – Colossians 4:2-4
Prayer is a Faith Thing - We are praying to someone we cannot see and expecting an answer we cannot control. And like every other thing which requires faith, prayer runs contrary to our cultural and lifestyle norms. Mother Teresa said that prayer is “putting oneself in the hands of God”
It is something we cannot explain, we cannot touch, but we can feel and can experience it - but that is a teaching on faith…which is exactly what prayer is - faith that you are heard, faith that it is answered.
You see…The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.
If we were going to be honest this morning, we'd have to admit that prayer is an undisciplined area of our spiritual life. I know it is one of my weakest spiritual disciplines.
It is an untapped resource, an unexplored continent where countless treasure remains to be undiscovered - And for the follower of Jesus it remains one of the necessary disciplines we must exercise in our daily lives.
Prayer was an undeniable part of Paul’s life, you will find that over and over and over again he calls all Christians to pray.
Prayer is the pipeline of communication between God and His people, between God and those who love Him and the growing follower of Jesus will be a person who is in the habit of praying. Paul teaches us a few things about prayer: he says we should…
The original language says, "Continue steadfastly in prayer." The word translated, "continue steadfastly," is one word in the original language.
It can be translated, remain devoted to or to give unending care to. It’s a powerful word and in this verse is given as a command.
This is exactly what Paul says in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 where he says "Pray without ceasing."
Remaining in a season in prayer is not an option, it is an order from the Lord Himself; a direct command.
Being persistent in prayer doesn’t mean pray for a long time.It’s more like you never hang up…you never end the chat…it remains an open channel.
Our challenge is that we give up so easily on prayer, we quit because we don't feel like praying, but we are not to live by our feelings but to live by the direction of Jesus who tells us to pray without ceasing.
If we are going to take up our cross and follow Jesus - prayer is not an option. If we are going to be like Jesus we will pray as He did. Pray Persistently, but also…
If you are persistent in something, you’ll be passionate about it. In fact, Paul says we should be the opposite of lazy in this area of our walk with God.
Jesus was passionate about His prayer life.And every time we see Jesus praying He was praying with passion.
In Luke 3:1 at His Baptism – Praying and heaven was opened. Passionate prayer opens Heaven.
In Luke 6:12 before He called His disciples – He spent the whole night in prayer. Passionate prayer gives us direction.
In Luke 9:29 at His transfiguration – Passionate prayer allows us to experience the glory of God.
In John 17 He prayed for us - folks that would follow Him, Passionate prayer reveals our love for others.
In Luke 22:44, where Jesus is praying through the night in the garden of Gethsemane, the bible says,
" And being in agony, He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground." Passionate prayer allows us to be totally honest with God, even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
In Luke 23:24 as He hung on the cross. Passionate prayer strengthens us and is a conduit for God's.
Jesus always prayed with passion, because He knew Who it was He was talking to and He knew that access to the Father is a powerful thing and not something to take lightly.
Prayer from the heart, that's what passionate prayer is, it is prayer from the heart not just from the head. Think about the last time you were passionate about something. James 5:16 says, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
If we are going to be disciples of Jesus Christ, to take up our cross and follow Him, it will require us to be passionate in our prayer life. But not only must we pray persistently and passionately, we must pray gratefully. Look at the last part of verse 2.
A constant theme which should run through our life is that of gratitude. Paul never fails to mention it.
Expressing gratitude as we pray does several things:
It displays our dependence – It says you know who God is, you know who you are and you are aware, at least to some degree, of how desperate you would be were it not for His presence in your life.
It generates our humility – expressing gratitude continues to remind us of how truly helpless we are without God.
It energizes our relationship – It says we know that He is our Father and that we are His children and as His children we know He loves us and has provided for us out of that love.
There are few things as disappointing or heart breaking as an ungrateful child.
When we fail to express gratitude we are taking God for granted and assuming that we somehow deserve His grace and His kindness.
Pray with gratitude. But there's more. Look at verse 3 where we are instructed to…
Pray selflessly - we must pray for others - read the prayers of Jesus and you find that a large majority of His prayer life was devoted to praying for others.
God's purpose in making us more like Jesus is not an end unto itself, it is always purposeful, He wants to conform us into the image of Jesus so that you can continue on with the work of Jesus.
We are called to pray for others.
There are three things I would say to you this morning about our prayer life, three things we need to examine as we pray:
1. Examine your attitude – because prayer is fellowship with God - Prayer begins in our hearts. It is an outpouring of our heart towards God and always reveals the truth about how we feel towards Him.
2. Measure your words – Prayer begins in our hearts but makes its way to our lips. This is what the psalmist means in Psalm 19 when he says, "may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight…" God hears what we say.
3. Release your life – How can you expect God to take you seriously if you are not at least willing to participate in God's answer to your prayer? Your involvement may be part of His answer to your prayer.
What does your prayer life look like this morning?
What would happen in your life if you really began to pray? What's keeping you from prayer and is it really worth it?