Prayer Obedience for Prayer
Power • We need electrical power to operate this building in which we worship. • If something goes wrong in our circuit panel the electricity we need is not available.
Prayer • The power system we use here can be seen as a picture of prayer. • In prayer, God wants an “open channel” – a good circuit – where we can talk to him freely and sincerely, and he can answer without being hindered. • If our connection to God in prayer is broken, if there is something wrong with the “circuit”, we lose power.
What Hinders Prayer? • Unconfessed sin • Disobedience • Things we cling to that we know are wrong • These stop God’s answers to prayer.
Psalm 66:16-19 16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. [NIV]
Proverbs 1:28-31 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, 30 since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. [NIV]
Spiritual Warfare • Every Christian is the target of spiritual attack. • We are automatically targeted by Satan. • He tempts us and deceives us about our sin, so that we are cut off from the truth and the power of prayer.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. [NIV]
Ephesians 6:13-14 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place… [NIV]
“Truth” • In Ephesians 6:14, when Paul speaks of “truth”, he is talking about having our hearts aligned with what is true and accurate. • No hypocrisy, no acting, no hiding! • Truth is intrinsically connected to prayer. • Where there is no truth, prayer is fruitless.
Answers to Prayer? • If we desire that our prayers be heard and answered, then we cannot be deceitful in our relationship to God. • I can’t hold on to sin in one area and then expect God to help us in other areas. • How could we be in sin – sexual, financial deceit, whatever – and go to God? • “God, don’t look at that – let’s not talk about that; but would you help me in this other area?” • God does not work that way!
Who are we fooling? • It is easy to fool a lot of people, but can we ever fool God?
Maintaining Communion • We should continually ask if there is anything in our lives that hinders our prayer life – • a relationship God does not approve of • an attitude developing • a relationship that needs mending • <insert your favorite sin here!> • “Is there anything that would stop my communion with you, Lord?”
The Privilege of Communion • Jim Cymbala was kept awake in prayer for no apparent reason the entire night of September 10, 2001. He didn’t know why. • In the morning his daughter called and told him to turn on his TV, that an airplane had just flown into the World Trade Center.