December 1, 2020

Living a Life of Prayer (Part 1)

Hey! Good morning! Welcome to Coffee and the Word with Sherry!

I'm very excited! We're going to be talking about a series of different things over the next few days. And, one of them is living a life of prayer.  I call this the “Live it Out Series''.  We are all about practical application. We can read the Word. We can read the scriptures. We can hear sermons. We can listen to podcasts and watch videos, but if we're not applying practical application of the word to our everyday life, we're not as effective and we're not going to have the victory that we can have in Christ. The Word never returns void, but we also need to read the word, study the word and then learn how to apply it to our lives.  So, that's what we're doing. 

I'm going to start out today by talking about living a life of prayer. A lot of times we talk about our prayer life. We might have our job life, our work life, our family life, and our prayer life. But, it really should not be categorized in a separate contained area. We should be living a life of prayer rather than having a prayer life. I think it's something that we haven't thought about very much. So, i want to talk about that.

So, in this “Living it Out” series, we're going to explore growing closer and going deeper with the Lord - not as requirements or rules or regulations, but as steps to freedom to knowing Christ in a more intimate way.  And, I want us to learn the practical steps that we can incorporate into our daily lives to bring us closer to him. That's the ultimate goal. That's actually the only goal.  It's not to look religious or spiritual to anyone else.  It is a personal issue where we want to grow closer to him.  So, I want us to learn some practical steps that we can incorporate into our daily lives.  That's something that we will be focusing on.  So, it doesn't matter if you've been following Christ for a few days or weeks or many years.  I think we can all benefit from these teachings.  So grab your cup of coffee or tea.  Get the Word and a journal and maybe a place to take notes, and settle in. We're going to be talking in this session about prayer and having a life of prayer - living a life of prayer rather than a prayer life.  

So, the number one thing I always like to start with is, “why do we pray?”  Let's get really practical and really basic here.  Number one, God's word calls us to pray.  He's asking us to pray. He's telling us to pray, so prayer is an act of obedience.  God calls us to pray and we must respond.  So, one key reason to pray is because God has commanded it.  What else do we need to know, right?

If we are to be obedient to his will then prayer must be a part of our life in him.  Philippians 4:6 says: “Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then in Colossians 4:2, I just love this! - devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.  Now, “alert mind” means being aware of what you're praying about - what you happen to be reading in the Word.  Whatever it is. But, keep alert. But, in our hearts, be thankful. Be thankful that we can come to him in prayer. Be thankful for the Word. Be thankful for everything he's done in our lives. So, the number one reason why we pray is because god asked us to, told us to.

The second thing is, Jesus prayed regularly, and we know this from the Word, right? So, why did he pray? Well, one reason - it was so he could be an example - so that we could learn from him.  After he had dismissed them he went up on the mountainside by himself to pray. That's in Matthew 14:23. I love that! And then, Matthew 26:36 says “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called gethsemane and he said to them “sit here” while I go over there and pray. And then again, Mark 1:35 says “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. So, Jesus is setting an example for us. He prayed regularly to communicate with the Father, and he prayed to set an example.

The third thing is it's communication with God. That's what prayer is. It allows us to worship him and praise him, confess our sin, repent, submit our request - all of those things.  So, in Hebrews 4:15 through 16 it says this,  “The high priest of ours understands our weaknesses for he faced all the same testings, yet he did not sin. So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.  This prayer is not just about asking for God's blessings or submitting our requests and what we “need”.  It's fine to do that, and we are welcome to do so. But, it's also about communication with the living God. Without communication, you know, relationships would fall apart, right? What kind of marriage are you going to have if you don't communicate? What kind of child/parent relationship are you going to have if you don't communicate? 

So, our relationship with God suffers when we do not communicate with him. So, it's really good to remember that this is communication. So, we need to communicate with him. We need to talk as well as listen.

The fourth thing is that prayer gives us power over evil. I don't know that we always remember this or think about this. But, prayer gives us power over evil forces. So, remember Ephesians 6:12. “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world; against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in heavenly places. But, but in prayer even the physically weak can become strong in the spiritual realm.  So, we can call upon God and he will grant us the power over evil.  We do not fight flesh and blood. As human beings going through the things that we go through, and what the world is like right now in our culture, it would be easy to think that we need to fight a person. Not true! We fight spiritual powers in the dark world.

Prayer also keeps us humble before God.  Listen, we need to remember that he's God and we're not. In Matthew 18:4 it says, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. So, we're not in control.  We are not God, but god is. So, it keeps us from being in pride. If we can just remain humble and realize that when we come to prayer, and when we are studying the word, he is God and we are not.

Answered prayer is also a potential witness. I think this is another thing that sometimes we might not realize. If our prayer is answered, it can actually serve as a witness for those who might doubt prayer.  We could say, “This is what happened to me”. “This was my situation. I prayed and this is what God did.” So, it can be a testimony, an actual witness to others. And I also want to say that prayer strengthens the bonds between believers. So, we're still talking about why we pray.

Prayer not only strengthens our relationship with God, but with other believers and connects us. Prayer can strengthen the bond between your fellow Christians and your fellow Christ followers.  As we pray together, and we see the answers, and we see the answer manifested right in front of us, we can actually grow closer to our fellow Christ followers. It's nothing that we often think about, but it can actually strengthen their thoughts.  I could go on and on about that, but I'll move on.

It's not a prayer life, but the goal is to live a life of prayer. We've often heard that term, “prayer life” and, maybe we've even been asked the question, “How's your prayer life”, or maybe we've even asked someone else, “How's your prayer life going?” I made the statement, “I really need to improve deep in my prayer life.” Most of us categorize our life in segments - home life, work life, and job life. 

A number of years ago, through a variety of circumstances. I realized that my prayer life was not the issue, but that my life should be a life of prayer. So, I'll stop here for today.  We are going to continue this in our next session.  Again, living a life of prayer in our prayer life. 

So, what i would like to leave you with today is just a little bit of a challenge.  And, that's go to the Lord in prayer, and ask him, “Lord am I living a life of prayer, or am I separating out my prayer life, separate from the rest of my life?”  Ask him to show you. He will bring up things for you to understand. He will bring things up to you our consciousness that we can actually understand just how we're living and how we might need to change.  God bless you!  I will talk with you next time!

Article written by Sherry Poundstone

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