John Lloyd - Prayer

Strengthen Your Core Series

Prayer:  Avenue to God’s Transforming Power

August 25, 2019

Pastor John Lloyd


Our physical bodies are made up of several core muscles.  If kept in shape through exercise, they will function properly.  God’s goal for followers is to make us more like Jesus.  This happens when we think like Jesus, CORE beliefs, act like Jesus, CORE practices and be like Jesus, CORE virtues.   We need to exercise our CORE in order to glorify God.  The journey of becoming like Jesus begins by thinking like Jesus. When we start thinking like Jesus, we are well on our way to becoming like Jesus.  Today, we will explore some answers to the question: “How do I grow by communicating with God?”


Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. 


Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, [4] that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22: 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.

Key Idea:  I pray to God to know Him, to find direction for my life and to lay my requests before him.


Key Question: How do I grow by communicating with God?


I.               Follow the ________________ of Jesus.


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. (Lk.6:12, Mark 6:46)


Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”


Prayer is the practice creating the vital connection between God’s heart and ours.  Randy Frazee


“I pray because I can’t help myself.  I pray because I’m helpless.”

C.S. Lewis concerning his wife’s battle with cancer.


II. Prayer is a way to __________ God.


Psalm 77:10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.


Luke 22: 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.


“Prayer, secret, fervent, believing prayer-lies at the root of all personal godliness.” William Carey


Job 13:15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.


Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Philippians 3:8-10)


Take Away:


III.  Prayer is a way to find the __________________ we need.


Psalm 25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.


“To pray is to change.  Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us.  If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic in our lives.  When we pray God slowly and graciously reveals to us our hiding places, and sets us free from them.” Richard Foster


Psalm 25:12 Who is the man who fears the LORD?  Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.


Prayer is not talking; it is listening.


Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


Take Away:


IV.  Prayer is a way to lay our ___________________ before God.


I Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.


When we are in the spirit of prayer… we want what He wants… we love what he loves.  Richard Foster


Luke 11:9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.


Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.


Hebrews 11:39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,


Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Prayer is not only a practice; it is a privilege! To have direct access to the one true God 24/7 proves he is a personal God who wants to be in a relationship with us. Each time we pray we affirm our identity as children of God. He not only gives us the right to come to him, but he also longs for us to come to him. Jesus modeled the life of prayer during his stay on earth. Prayer (talking, listening and resting in God’s presence) is an effective way to know him better and find direction for our lives. Why carry life’s burdens alone when God invites us to lay them before him? When we do, we find a peace that transcends all understanding.”  Randy Frazee Think, Act and Be like Jesus


Which statements are easy to declare with certainty?  Which are more challenging, and why?


_____ I seek God’s will through prayer.

_____ I regularly confess my sins to God.

_____ Prayer is a central part of my daily life.

_____ I seek to grow closer to God by listening to him in prayer.


Take Away:


Spiritual Growth Questions for August 25, 2019


(Take one question each day for your daily devotions.)                                           How do I grow by communicating with God?


1.     Read Mark 1:32-35, Luke 6:12-16, Mark 6:39-46, Matthew 26:36-46

Notice how Jesus prayed before and after every major event in his life.  What can we learn from the pattern of prayer Jesus demonstrated?


2.     Read Psalm 77:1-20, Ecclesiastes 5:1-3.  What can we learn about prayer from the psalmist and Solomon? 


3.     Read Judges 6-7.  What do Gideon’s interactions with God teach us about God’s character?


4.     Read Luke 11:1-13.  What main points does Jesus teach about prayer?


5.     Read Philippians 4:6-9.  How do Paul’s words about prayer encourage you?  How do they challenge you?


Group starter questions:

A.     In what ways have you seen and experienced the power of prayer at work?

B.     In what ways has prayer helped you navigate the tough decisions that life throws at us?

C.    What one aspect of Jesus’ prayer life would you like to emulate?


KEY VERSE: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:18 – 20)


As you recite this verse, ask yourself, “Does my life reflect this statement?”  I pray to God to know Him, to find direction for my life and to lay my requests before him.


1.     How could this practice be applied in my life?

2.     What visible attributes can be found in someone who regularly connects with God through prayer?

3.     What impedes your ability to communicate with God?  How can you overcome these obstacles?

4.     What action step can you take this week to develop your connection with God through prayer?