Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Prayer

Prayer is talking to God.

(I have used this definition for many years…because so many felt intimidated to pray.

But as the years have gone by, I fear it is too simplistic….

…and now would want to stress:

prayer is talking to God….with the attitude of coming before His throne of grace.

I add this, for many think of talking to the sky…or to trees…when God is God over all, Almighty….and the heart must bow before Him..even when we can not bow our knees.

Coming before Him…in prayer is an act of faith…for we reach out to Him….and grab ahold on His Almightiness for us or for others.)

But there are kinds of prayer….

There is confession of our sin and iniquity, seeking cleansing from it.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Our sins were forgiven, once for all….when we were born again….but the Lord requires us to confess our daily sins before Him, that we might see them….and that the fellowship with Him will not be hindered.

We are also asking that they be cleansed. This cleansing is a cleansing of our affections and thoughts, that we will not sin this way again.

We all know about “making our requests known unto God”

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Here we come before God and tell Him our needs….both spiritual and physical.

Then there are intercessory prayers….which include praying for others, and the circumstances of others….. at a particular time.

1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men;

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

We entreat God, for the person, and the situation…..through prayer.

Then there is supplication..

Here we pray and continue to pray until the answer or promise is given,…for the Lord has given us a “burden” (and His burdens are light)…to continue in prayer for this person or thing. (Isaiah 62:6)

It usually includes diligent time….as Paul asking for prayers for his work. In other words….continue to pray for me….

“…..for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel….for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Eph.6:19-20).

Paul was in prison….yet did not feel the work was done….but endeavored to speak the gospel….everywhere he could: in letters to churches, in witnessing to guards and even before Caesar….

….and he sought prayers for the words and courage to speak.

There should always be thanksgiving in our prayers for the mercies He has given us.

Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Hebrews 13:15 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is , the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.

Then there is worship….when our heart is drawn out to God, as we think on Who He is and What He has done….the greatness and wonder of His Person….and we adore HIm.

Psalm 118:14-16 “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation

The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.

The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.”

Ephesians 3:20-21”Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

“Unto Him”….Christ Jesus. His life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection laid the foundation of all His conquests now. He has supreme power and dominion.

He is King upon HIs throne…and Priest for us.

He was given “all power” (Matthew 28:18) and is now bringing all things to pass according to His Purpose…”upholding all things by the word of HIs power” (Hebrews 1:3)

Our prayers are sent up to God as the incense ministered at the golden altar in the Holy Place.

The incense was to be placed and burnt up, sending up clouds of perfume in the Holy Place….right outside the veil to the Holy of Holies (this veil was rent when Christ died). Though at that time they could not see the Mercy seat….yet they were to look toward it.

The incense symbolized the prayers of Israel….going up to God in sweet perfume….for they were to be praying at the time the incense was offered.

Exodus 30:1, 6-8, 34-35 “And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon…

And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the Ark of the testimony,…

And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning:….

….at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord…

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall be a like weight:

And thou shalt make it a perfume…tempered together, pure and holy.”

The incense itself was made up of a compound of spices and …so like our prayers ….

…made up of many parts: cries for direction, supplication for family and friends, interceding for the needs of others, praise for His gracious answers and help, and worship of Him.

So like the golden altar of incense in the Old Testament…. there are these verses in the New Testament.

Jude 20-21 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

We pray, because we need to talk to our Lord and Savior….we need HIs fellowship and mercy.

We pray, because we know The Lord’s character and that He will hear and answer.

We pray in complete dependence upon Him….because He is the Only One who can deliver us, and hold us up.

We pray because He is the answer we need. He does not just have the answer….but He is the answer.

HIs love sustains us….His peace stabilizes us….His joy strengthens us….He is what we need.

Prayer is talking with God….and as Christians we come in Jesus name and merit.

We come to God, who says our prayers are a sweet incense to Him. When we pray….Christ our Mediator in heaven, intercedes for us….by His preciousness…by HIs merit….by His Word….our prayers are accepted and heard.

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