Prayer that is theological – based on God’s word.
Sunday September 18,2022
When the Lord entered the Temple during His passion week, He drove out the merchandisers and money changers and said: “Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a robbers' den” (Mar 11:17).
The Temple was to be a place of prayer and worship of God. The same is true of the church. We come together for the purpose of learning about God, communicating with God, thanking Him, singing together to Him with joy in our hearts. We don’t buy or sell anything in our church, so that will never be an issue, but one thing that can happen to us is that our gathering and service become familiar and stale.
Joy over God and His word and His people and the gift of a local church (there are many who would love to be in these seats right now who cannot), has to come from the heart, whether we have a ten-piece band on stage or no stage at all. We so easily get into ruts, which by their nature, slowly drag us deeper and deeper into ourselves and mundane misery and boredom. One of the keys to breaking away from this trend is prayer; fresh, vibrant, original every day (for this is another area that can become routine and stale).
A Psalm for Thanksgiving.
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3 Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations.
“Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.”
He made us, and not we ourselves, reminds us that we each have a purpose given to us by God. We are the sheep of His pasture. Let us enter His gates with thankfulness.
Introduction: Prayer is both a communication and an encounter with God concerning many things.
Is prayer an ecstatic experience? Is it a calm contemplation of God? Is it a wonderful understanding and thankfulness for God’s glory and love? Is it an intercession for the dear and great needs of those you know need help? Is it petition for the things we need?
Prayer defies a definition. It is so many things just as a relationship with another person is one thing made up of so many things. Relationships become stale when we crawl into our own selves, objectify others, cease to see every moment as a potential for the expression of God through us and through them. We become so expectant of what other do and say and so expectant of our routine that we go through it like a ghost. Paul writes:
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you” (Eph 5:14).
Prayer is simply communication with God.
So if you passed God in the supermarket, prayer is just saying “Hey,” with a nod? Not quite.
Prayer is the sinner hitting his knees (figuratively).
Prayer is so many things that if we enter into it as we should, we will be exploring more and more of it our whole lives. The potential for exploration is endless because we are exploring almighty God.
Realization of the glory of God and the ineffectiveness of ourselves makes conversing with the Father less than a conversation among equals.
Jesus started us out with this and it must be at the front of every effective prayer – Our Father who is in heaven, Holy be Your name.
The searching believer spends a lifetime exploring holiness and the purity of it in God. Such purity of holiness and exacting righteousness is fearful to look into from the terrible sinfulness of ourselves. The grace of God overcomes it, but that same fear should never go away.
This is the fear of God. A real and hearty awe of the Creator who made all is in your midst. You get to talk to Him directly and hear from Him directly, based on His word. Every answer from God will be found based on the principles of His word.
Prayer is searching. God seems illusive, but He’s omnipresent. So the problem must be on our end. Our hearts and minds must sit in the same room as Him. How else are we to see Him? Faith and clear thinking based on sound truth will guide you to experience the presence of God every day. When His presence is known and felt (cautious and intelligent mysticism), prayer will be easier and much more frequent.
It has to be a life of hearing and learning and finding that is going to eventually make the person who is like Christ.
No one can motivate you for it other than God Himself. We still encourage one another and serve one another which will help another to see the wonder of God’s purpose for them, but help is all we can do for one another. The desire and pursuit of God can only be within us, independent of any other person or circumstance.
Prayer is intelligent, based on God’s revealed Word.
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He didn’t tell them that it was some feeling, He gave them actual words. He told them to first know God as Father, the reality of which could only be through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He then told us to honor the Father as holy which includes the desire for His holiness in our own lives and in the lives of our neighbors. He then told us to desire the coming of His kingdom, living as members of it, and then to desire to execute the Father’s will, which constitutes the law of the kingdom and its way.
When they asked Him how to pray, He also didn’t tell them that it was a search for certain emotions or waiting to hear something from God. Prayer is us talking to the Father, first praising Him and secondly asking for ourselves. Of course, we can experience wonderful times in silence with God, but we find that eventually we will speak with Him, even if it is only thanksgiving.