John Lloyd - Prayer
Growing in Our Walk with Jesus
May 5, 2019
Pastor John Lloyd
Devoting attention to our walk with God is important and should be a priority. How is it going? How could it improve? Our relationship with God is first. Our relationships with other Christians are second. Our daily pouring out the love and resources of God to those outside our door is third. Hope you can join us as we explore how to be a fruitful follower of Jesus.
Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
2 Thessalonians 1:11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power
Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,
“Prayer—secret, fervent, believing prayer—lies at the root of all personal godliness.” William Carey Missionary to India
Big Idea: Prayer changes me!
“Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.” Richard Foster
How can we do this as well? How can we live this way in the restlessness of our current society? How can I make space for God in my life?
I. Praying is ______________ out to God.
Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 2 from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Psalm 77:1-2 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. Psalm 86:1
I John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Expressing our feelings and fears to God is an avenue for us to experience his unconditional love. Prayer changes me!
II. Praying is a continual ______________________ with God.
I Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Prayer versus prayerfulness
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord,
2 Thessalonians 1:11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, Romans 1:9
Take Away: Present your whole thoughts to God both good and bad. Ask him for help! Cry out to Him. It is not so much what we think but who are we presenting our thoughts to. God knows our minds and hearts without anything being hidden.
William Temple noted that coincidences occurred much more frequently when he prayed.
Prayer changes how I handle people and situations.
Prayer is how God changes me!
III. Prayer is ____________________ and __________________.
I Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
I Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
Question is not should I pray, but when should I pray.
Matthew 6:6. Go to your private room, shut the door, and so pray to the Father who is in that secret place.
Jesus chose to climb a mountain, enter a garden, depart to the desert, or rest in a boat on the water to pray and listen to God. Choose a place!
What do we do while prayer?
Be with Jesus
Find a focus: gospel text for the day, sing a psalm or pick a verse of scripture and read it slowly.
Expect distractions: smile at them, let them pass, return to your focus.
Write down things to be thankful for.
Write down prayer requests and prayers.
Give praise to God for answered prayers.
Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Prayer Changes ME!
What time, place and focus for prayer will you commit to this week?
Spiritual Growth Questions for May 5, 2019
Opener: Share about an experience of answered prayer.
1. Read Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22. Why should prayer be not just asking, but listening? Why is it so hard to make time to listen to God?
2. Read Psalm 22:1-2, 77:1-2 and Psalm 139:1-4. Observe and circle key words in these verses. What did these verses mean to the original audience? Paraphrase them in your own words. What is the psalmist teaching us about expressing our real thoughts to God? How can it help us to know that God wants us to express these thoughts to Him through prayer?
3. What parts of your life are you tempted to hide from God? What thoughts could you offer to God right now? Stop and take a moment and offer them to God as a conversational prayer.
4. Read Luke 18:9-14. Observe and circle key words in these verses. What did these verses mean to the original audience? Paraphrase them in your own words. How could this passage be applied to your life? How can it be applied to those you minister to?
5. Read Matthew 6:5-14. Observe and circle key words in these verses. What did these verses mean to the original audience? Paraphrase them in your own words. How could this passage be applied to your life? How can it be applied to those you minister to?
Assignment: What time, place and focus for prayer will you commit to this week? Share your plan with a friend.