Living Ready – Being Ready in Your Prayers
Good Morning from the Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team to all who are listening to or reading this message. What a glorious day to worship God!
We’re continuing our series on “Living Ready.” The title of today’s Message is “Being Ready in Your Prayers.” Our Bible reading comes from the New Testament Book of Colossians, Chapter 4, verse 2 and you may want to turn there in your Bible.
The second coming of Jesus is mentioned throughout the Bible. Are we ready for His return? The most important aspect of being ready is having a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We do not know when He will return, but one day He will. The Bible is clear that there is a heaven and a hell, and the decisions we make in this life time will determine where we will spend eternity. We must all take an honest assessment of our hearts and lives and ask ourselves if we have placed our faith, hope, and trust in Jesus and the saving work He did on the cross. Then, we need to do as today’s scripture tells us in Colossians 4:2: “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
Heavenly Father, thank You for life, love, and Your truth. Thank You for Jesus and the cross. Thank You for love and joy and all the other gifts of Your Spirit. Thank You for the time You give us here on earth to enjoy Your goodness. Make our lives count; use us at work, at home and in every relationship to share with others Your goodness and Your truth. May the world see Your light shining in and through us and may all we do be for Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
A pastor is invited to a family’s home for Sunday supper. The mother brings in the food and they all sit down at the table to eat. But, before anyone says grace, the children start to eat. The embarrassed mother gives them a quick reprimand, while the children stare in confusion.
The pastor then offers grace in the stunned silence.
The mother explains, “We don’t always say grace before meals at our house.”
Of course, this has been fairly obvious, but the pastor butters his roll and waits, because he knows there is another line to the script.
“We just take it for granted that God knows how grateful we are.”
The trouble with this kind of attitude is that it doesn’t stay at the dinner table. It leaves the table and roams all over the house. And soon we find ourselves saying, “Why pray at all? God knows everything that we need.”
Didn’t Jesus Himself say that God knows all that we need before we even ask Him?” But Jesus also said, “Therefore, do pray.”
Prayer is simply communicating with God. This can be through spoken words, written words, tongues, meditation, or song.
We are to pray so that we might commune with God and share with Him the most deeply felt needs of our lives. We are to express to God the gratitude and the praise and the joy we feel in Him and in our salvation. Prayer is not for us to selfishly ask God for things, but to honor and glorify God by spending time with Him.
Prayer is a command of God and is to be practiced both in public and in private. Such a command brings those into great intimacy with God. Prayer will ensure great things from God, both for the person that prayed and for those who are prayed for. Yes, prayer is talking with God but it also is listening to God. Prayer is enjoying the presence of God.
Many people think of prayer as being a one-way communication. Prayer can take many forms such as worship, confession, thanksgiving, praising, asking for things, waiting silently and listening. Prayer is not simply saying words. It is not repeating formulas. God is looking for a heartfelt relationship. Prayer can and should be both ways, with us also listening to what God has to say. God can speak to us through the Bible, through others, through circumstances, but especially through His Holy Spirit. God can place specific words and thoughts in our minds and has been known to speak to us in an audible voice.
Through prayer we actually experience a relationship with God. The quality of our prayer life determines the quality of our relationship with God.
We pray because we love God. We spend time with God in prayer and communion because we love Him. Just as a man and woman in love desire to be together and communicate, so we desire to be with Him and to fellowship with Him in proportion to our love for Him.
We pray because we depend on God; He is our source. Through prayer we receive comfort, strength, and all the other resources that we need in life both naturally and spiritually.
Jesus prayed constantly and was always in perfect communion with the Father. He always knew what the Father wanted, what the Father was saying, and what the Father was doing.
Prayer should not to be a spasmodic outburst in a moment of emergency; rather it should be persistent calling on God for His guidance and blessing.
God desires a relationship with each one of us but gives us the freedom of choice whether we want it or not. He communicates with us through His Word, His servants, and through prayer.
If any one of those elements is missing, we do not have the relationship that God wants us to have.
If we aren’t reading His Word, we miss out.
If we aren’t in church, we miss the Word that He had for us.
If we don’t pray, we miss His words to us.
Prayer is the outpouring of the heart and a way to experience the presence of Jesus in our life. Below are seven points of effective prayer.
1) Relationship: Ensure our relationship with God is on solid ground.
2) Praise: Spend a vast majority of our prayer praising His holiness and worthiness to be praised.
3) Surrender: Give God permission to do in our life and with our life whatever He wishes.
4) Provision: Allow our requests to be known but make a daily need so we will be prompted to pray each day.
5) Forgiveness: Ask God to forgive us of our sins.
6) Compassion: Ask God to give us compassion even for our enemies.
7) Protection: Ask God to keep His hands upon us so that we will be kept safe from the schemes of the enemy.
When we neglect prayer, we will experience less intimacy with God. Prayerlessness indicates that we place more confidence in our own abilities and talents and systems than in the promise of God's power through prayer.
When we neglect prayer, we will experience less than what we could, had we prayed. We will lose His peace, His provision, His plan and the joy of seeing others set free.
When we fail to talk to God, the ideas and promptings of the enemy seem more persuasive. When we neglect regular interaction with God, our focus veers from the eternal and fixates on the temporal. Prayer flourishes intimacy, fosters dependence, furthers Kingdom work and therefore enables an eternal focus which strengthens us to resist temptation.
The Lord Jesus Himself was immersed in a lifestyle of prayer, punctuated with many prayer retreats and He even continues to intercede for us from heaven. If we are to follow Jesus, surely it makes sense to follow His lead in prayer.
God promises that when we bring our anxiety to Him in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, His peace acts as a guard over our hearts and minds.
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7
We cannot control the time of our death. We cannot control when Jesus is coming back. Therefore, we need to live our lives so that we are ready to meet our Lord any time without reason for fear or panic.
However, there may be someone reading this Message who hasn’t trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and doesn’t yet have a personal testimony. If so, I want to encourage you to invite Jesus to come into your heart and life right now.
I John 5:13 tells us: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Jesus has provided the gift of salvation to us which gives us not only hope for today, but hope for eternity. Have you believed on Him from your heart? Have you acknowledged Him as your Lord and Savior this morning? If you’ve never accepted Christ into your life, then this is your opportunity. You can receive God’s grace and begin a relationship with Jesus today.
In Romans 10:9, we are told that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
We receive salvation when we:
(1) Repent of our sins.
(2) Trust Jesus Christ as our Savior.
(3) Confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him into your life right now.
Or maybe there are those who are far away from Jesus. Have you allowed your comfortable, personally focused desires to act as an eclipse between you and God? Is Jesus obscured or completely blacked out of your life? Do you miss Him?
All it takes is to open yourself and say "I want things to be different. I know things need to be different. I know what’s wrong, what doesn’t belong and I invite You, Jesus, to come and change me.”
When we turn back to Jesus in repentance, when we ask for forgiveness, intending to live a godly life, God’s mercy reaches out to us with a message of love. God is a God of mercy, of redemption, of restoration and of renewal. Just come by faith to the throne of grace to receive it. He is waiting for you with open arms. Repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life.
I’ll close with a familiar story.
A cowboy lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh Amarillo Theater.
When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the cowboy, "Sorry, sir, but you're only allowed one seat." The cowboy groaned but didn't budge.
The usher became more impatient: "Sir, if you don't get up from there I'm going to have to call the manager."
Once again, the cowboy just groaned. The usher, realizing he’s dealing with an ‘impaired’ individual, marched briskly back up the aisle, and in a moment he returned with the manager.
Together the two of them tried repeatedly to move the cowboy, but with no success.
Finally they summoned the police. The Texas Ranger surveyed the situation briefly, then asked, "All right buddy, what's your name?"
"Fred," the cowboy moaned. "Where ya from, Fred?" asked the Ranger.
With terrible pain in his voice and slowly pointing one finger painfully toward the ceiling, Fred replied, "...The Balcony..."
Remember, effective communication is essential in some circumstances, but communication with God is essential in every circumstance.
Let us pray: Thank You, Father, for being a perfect Heavenly Father for us, for sending us Your Son to save us from our sins, and for putting Your Holy Spirit into each one of us so that we are never without Your presence. Help us to depend on You, to trust in Your truth, and to serve like You. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible, please click here and may you be blessed by singing along with "Sweet Hour of Prayer."