Praying in the Spirit
Last week we talked about the power and impact of the word of God as our sword to destroy the works of the enemy. I am grateful that I heard from many of you this week that you really are applying these teachings in your life.
I know what I am teaching is stretching many of you but I am grateful that you are allowing the Lord to stretch you.
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he strongly brings correction to each one he accepts as his child.” 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
Today we wrap up this series with talking about talking to God something called prayer
Ephesians 6:10 – 18 Philips Translation
In conclusion be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armor so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you. Pray at all times with every kind of spiritual prayer, keeping alert and persistent as you pray for all Christ’s men and women.
Praying in the spirit is one of our most powerful offensive weapons.
There is a problem with prayer, that is if each of us were totally honest we would admit that we don’t spend much time in prayer.
It really is a reflection of our “can do attitude” as a culture.
See prayer is putting God first in all things, trusting that He is really able to take control of everything in our lives, leading and showing us how to accomplish things easier, more efficiently, more effectively and with greater results.
It is never wrong to read a book, talk to a friend, a pastor, a counselor about our problems but it is wrong to not pray first. Coming to the Lord should always be our first thought.
Our “can do attitude” says I can do it myself. Have you ever been trying to help a three year old put something together, build a puzzle, or such things only to have them take the puzzle piece or block from your hand and say, “let me do it, I can do it myself” this is part of their growth and as a child while it is disrespectful it is somewhat necessary for their independence the problem is we do this with God through our lack of prayer and it shows our lack of dependence on him and will causes us to take so much longer to accomplish our own growth, maturity and effectiveness in the Kingdom.
Praying in the spirit is simply allowing God to direct our prayers so we are not just simply shouting out a bunch of needs and concerns but really waiting on His heart to be revealed that is why many times my prayers literally begin by my praying in tongues, my prayer language because I want to have my heart and spirit align with His spirit then I begin to pray in English because I have aligned my heart with His heart.
If you don’t have a prayer language that doesn’t mean that you can’t pray in the Spirit, because simply put, praying in the Spirit is… God directed prayer, but at least for me it is easier to get to the point of directed prayer because of my prayer language
The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead, guide, give comfort, wisdom and encouragement, it is also to show and prepare us for things to come.
Through my prayer time I can understand better the big dream the Lord has for me our church, and at times many of you it is not spooky or out there it is simply spending time talking with my Father who knows everything and knows what is going to happen it is His good pleasure to let us understand things better
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Prayer makes that happen. Paul challenges our understanding of prayer by saying this
1 Thessalonians 5:17
pray without ceasing,
What in the world is he saying? How am I supposed to get work done, accomplish and live my life if I take this literally?
What Paul is saying is always be in communication with God, keep your mind focused on Him and on His word. We can do that when we fall in love, have good friends or from the negative have a difficult problem we are facing. In any of those cases we are influenced moment by moment by the people or situation. If we can do that in those cases we can do it with God.
Every relationship we have will be impacted by how much our minds are focused on God. If they are focused on God’s heart
Three things about prayer I need to discuss today
Pray with focus without rote
Pray with persistence
Pray with focus without rote
We as humans are creatures of habit we tend to drive the same path, go to the same places, eat the same foods because it is safe and comfortable while that is not bad it can lead to genuine boredom.
I don’t know if we can bore God but we certainly can bore ourselves if we are constantly praying the same prayers, in the same way.
In Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;”
The translation for keeping alert better lends itself to “stay awake”
If we believe that when we pray we are talking to the one who created everything and knows everything we remember who we are talking to and talk with Him in the confidence that we know He hears us.
Jesus said this Matthew 6:7
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.
When you pray keep it fresh and focused on a purpose. Stylistically you can mix it up and still be in line with Scripture
You can, stand, sit, kneel, lay down when you are praying. You can pray quietly, shout, in song, or just in your head.
You can pray in words or phrases of others, your own or scripture
You can pray by yourself or with others.
The other point Paul is making in Colossians about keeping alert as that we need to be aware of what is going on to make sure we to pray for what is happening in our homes, world, church, neighborhood with our leaders and our families.
It is important that we focus and that our prayers do not become so routine, that they lose their power and prayer becomes boring for us
Pray with persistence.
“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
We used to have to wait until we got to the office or home to make a phone call. We used to have to heat up the oven to reheat a meal. For at least the last 20 years we have been able to make a call anytime, and pop things in the microwave for instant access or instant cooking and we get instant results.
God rarely works that way. He is interested in the long term, in our character, on helping us to move forward not just cover something up.
I mentioned earlier that our prayers are not to be routine but that does not mean that we simply pray for something once and move on. We are to pray until we receive an answer. Persistently seeking God
When we give up on prayer we are giving up on relationship
As we pray God moves and we change and often relationships quickly get healed.
How many of you are hunters? If you are a hunter you know the difference between a shotgun and a rifle. A shot gun sprays lead pellets over a wide area hitting whatever is in that pattern out to about 100 yards tops. When you’re going after pheasant or quail or even rabbits, a shotgun can be effective. The prey is moving, often erratically, and so you point and shoot. Aiming is often kept to a minimum. You just hope you to hit what you’re pointing at. A shotgun is pretty indiscriminant in what it hits. If you’re in the path, watch out!
A rifle, on the other hand, is used very differently. A rifle is used to take intentional aim at a specific, single target, often hundreds of yards away. A rifle fires just one projectile, one bullet, at that target. And if your aim is accurate, you can drop your target from a great distance.
Both are good for their intend use
Many of our prayers are shotgun prayers
“Dear God, Give me good day today. You know that our church needs some help so please bless it and the pastor. Please take care of those that are sick and need you and please help us to be more effective for you. Amen.”
That is a shotgun prayer pretty common and OK but it doesn’t show real interest. Some of the Biblical prayers are shotguns but the most impactful ones are specific
It is kind of like having surface relationships where you really don’t know someone you simply are happy with nothing deeper. There OK and all of us have them but the real impact and danger come when you become more open and vulnerable
Rather than God give me a good day we pray God help me to be effective in my relationships with my family and Fred in accounting and sally in sales help me to be a blessing to them specifically in today
“God help our church.” No! God, our church needs to reach out to our community better than we do. Help us to discover what the specific needs of our community are and then give us a vision and creativity and workers and the finances to help us meet that need and show me how to be part of the answer.
You get the idea…God know what we need and he needs us to see the need with clarity and he will give us the strategies to meet those needs
We all need and desire to have healthier relationships; relationships that honor God.
God has given us some wonderful and powerful tools; some exercises that we are to use to build a better body of relationships.
We are to put on his strength
We are to ground our relationships in truth and integrity
We are to be right with God so that we can be right with others
We are to advance the Gospel of Christ in our relationships
We are to maintain faith in Christ
We are to align our thoughts with Christ
We are to immerse our lives and our relationships in the Word of God
And we are to be praying for our relationships.
We are to pray in the spirit. We are to pray continually, we are to pray with focus, we are to pray persistently and we are to pray specifically.
As a result, every relationship in our lives will be strong