A “sermon” on Prayer – 9/26/2010
I had the chance to preach at church on Sunday, September 26. The service was a little different than normal. The sermon was interspersed through the service and the songs were incorporated in it. Also, if I remember correctly, I got one of my scripture references wrong. I think I do this every time I preach, oddly enough.
- God has impressed upon me the need for prayer in my life and in the life of our church. Prayer is a means by which we live out our faith in Christ. In praying, we acknowledge we need God. We put our lives in his hands and follow the instructions of the apostle James — to be doers of the word and not hearers only.
- So this morning, we are going to pray like my Dad taught me to pray. He used a simple acronym — ACTS — which stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Now, this is not a formula to follow. Prayer isn’t a chant we recite so we say the “right things.” It is not an essay contest to see who can use the biggest, most churchy words, or to write the longest essay in class. God is not impressed with our words.
- What I am presenting is a logical form of prayer to help you in case you don’t know what to pray or need a little help getting started. First, Adoration gets you thinking about how amazing and wonderful God is. His goodness, then points out our sin, so that we must confess it to him. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The truth of 1 John 1:9 should lead us to Thank God for forgiving us of the sins we confessed. Now that we have confessed our sins and have been cleansed, we have the right standing with God to make requests, or supplications. These can be on our behalf or for others.
- Prayer is at its heart — dependance on God. He already knows what we need. Many times, we don’t. The good news, though, is that we have an intercessor praying for us on our behalf, as the Bible says in Romans 8:26-27:
- “26 In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 (HCSB)
- According to D. L. Moody, Adoration “literally signifies to apply the hand to the mouth, ‘to kiss the hand.’ In Eastern countries, this is one of the great marks of respect and submission.”
- As much as God is “Abba, Father,” he is also God Almighty. When we come to Him in prayer we should acknowledge His wonder, His glory, and greatness. If you read through the Psalms, you will note that most of them talk about God’s greatness — that no one and nothing are equal to Him. David prayed many prayers of Supplication, but they were interlaced with Truths about God’s character and divine power. As we read Revelation 4, picture in your mind the throneroom of heaven and the angels saints singing songs of Adoration.
- Revelation 4
- Let’s sing some songs of adoration to our King.
- All creatures of our God and king
- all hail the power of Jesus Name
- Guided prayer
- Godly men throughout the Bible prayed. Saved men. Men who put their faith in God continued to confess their sins to God throughout their lives. Daniel prayed a prayer of confession in Daniel chapter 8. Note that this is after the ordeal with the lions. Daniel has already demonstrated his faith in God — and yet he still prays prayers of confession.
- Note: In the first few words of his prayer, he speaks adoration to God, then he goes into his confession.
- The Psalmist says in Psalm 66:18 that if he had been aware of any sin in his heart, that God would not have listened to him.
- Isaiah 59:1-2 says that our sins build barriers between us and God, but 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Let’s confess to God the sins we’ve been harboring in our hearts.
- Psalm 51
- Guided prayer
- Come thou fount
- Jesus is tenderly calling
- Thanksgiving is not just about turkey and dressing and football, but I do love football. We thank God for being Holy, Righteous, and Merciful. If we just confessed our sins, he has cleansed us according to 1 John 1:9 and we have much to be Thankful for.
- Psalm 100
- Let’s thank him in song for what he has done.
- count your blessings, name them one by one
- Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine
- 1 Kings 17:17-24
- Supplication is the part of prayer that I think most of us dwell on. We make requests to God for broken bones and illnesses. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget to pray for the salvation of my friends and neighbors. I get so involved in praying for Rachel’s health, the sick people in my church and my family that I neglect to pray for the spiritually ill. Maybe you’re like me and you pray more righteous people out of heaven than you do the ungodly out of Hell. If you do, repent with me and let’s pray for our friends and neighbors who do not know Christ. Let’s put them first in our prayers. I’d love for Rachel to be healed of her chronic illness, but more than that I’d love to see my boss come to Christ. More than having my last remaining grandparent hold my first born child, I’d rather see our youth become the spiritual leaders of our next generation. I’d love to see our youth become a missionaries among the unsaved kids at their schools. I’d love to see our church reach out to the apartments within walking distance of our church. Praying for physical health is important and we should not forget it, but spiritual health is much more important.
- Let’s make our requests known to God and intercede on the behalf of our unsaved friends, family, and neighbors.
- Change my heart, Oh God
- God, give us Christian homes
There is much more I could say about prayer, but talk is cheap. Let’s renew our effort to be a people who call on God’s name instead.