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Why Pray?. Why Pray?. 1) Because humans seek a spiritual dimension to life! 2) Because God’s people have always wanted to respond to His initiative!. Why Pray?. 3) Because Jesus taught and expected His disciples to pray – so the early Church was a praying Church! 4) Because Jesus prayed!.

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Why Pray?

1) Because humans seek a spiritual dimension to life!

2) Because God’s people have always wanted to respond to His initiative!


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Why Pray?

3) Because Jesus taught and expected His disciples to pray – so the early Church was a praying Church!

4) Because Jesus prayed!


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Why Pray?

  • Because humans seek a spiritual dimension to life!

  • Because God’s people have always wanted to respond to His initiative!


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Why Pray?A Spiritual Dimension - Longing for the Transcendent!

  • Pre-Christian Etruscan, Ancient Greek Gods

  • Legal bargaining between higher power and worshipper

  • Sacrifices of animals

  • Homer’s epics 9th BC

  • Greek Gods corrupt, vain and self-serving


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Why Pray?A Spiritual Dimension - Longing for the Transcendent!

  • Pagan Roman

    worship of Isis

  • Adopted from Egypt


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Why Pray?A Spiritual Dimension - Longing for the Transcendent!

  • Throughout the

    Roman empire

  • ‘I give so that

    you may give in

    return’

Priestess of Isis


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Why Pray?A Spiritual Dimension - Longing for the Transcendent!

Is there something about human nature that impels us to seek the spiritual?

Raymond Williams memorial lecture 2002

The very Rev Dr Rowan Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury


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The Transcendent –Found!

  • Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

  • Bishop, priest, father, theologian and thinker

  • ‘You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless till it finds rest in you’

Botticelli 1480c


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The Transcendent –Found!

  • ‘Lord, give me what you have made me want; I praise and thank you for the desire you have inspired; perfect what you have begun and grant me what you have made me long for’.

  • Argues that human longing has its origins in God

Anselm of Canterbury

(1033-1109)


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The Transcendent - Found!

‘Still the small inward Voice I hear,

That whispers all my sins forgiven,

Still the atoning blood is near,

That quenched the wrath of hostile heaven,

I feel the life His wounds impart,

I feel my Saviour in my heart’.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


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The Transcendent Found Me!

Amazing grace! how sweet the soundThat sav’d a wretch like me!I once was lost, but now am found,Was blind, but now I see. ’

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear,And grace my fears reliev’d;How precious did that grace appear,The hour I first believ’d!

1779

John Newton 1725-1807


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The Transcendent Found Me!

  • Novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist.

  • ‘I experienced the steady unrelenting approach of Him who I so earnestly desired not to meet’

C S Lewis (1893-1963)

(Surprised by Joy)


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Why Pray?

  • Because humans seek a spiritual dimension to life!

  • Because God’s people have always wanted to respond to His initiative!


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Why Pray?Response to God’s Initiative!

Noah, Abraham and Moses had communion with God on behalf of His chosen people

John Everett Millais


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Why Pray?Response to God’s Initiative!

King David and the Prophets (e.g. Jeremiah and Ezekiel) developed a more personal faith in the Lord

Rembrandt van Rijn


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Why Pray?Response to God’s Initiative!

Devout Jews in our Lord’s time with a personal relationship with God

  • Simeon: Simeon took him (Jesus) in his arms and praised God….

    (Lk 2;28)

  • Anna: She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day (Lk 2:36-38)

Alexey Yegarov 1830


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Why Pray?Response to God’s Initiative!

  • Prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer 31;31-34).‘The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel’.

  • Jesus sacrifice on the cross brought in the New Covenant for us

Greco 1580


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Why Pray?Response to God’s Initiative!

  • No longer fear /atonement under the Old Covenant but grace and love under the New

  • Forgiveness and salvation are available through faith in Christ. (Heb 8;6-13)

Greco 1580


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Why Pray?

  • Because Jesus taught and expected His disciples to pray – so the early Church was a praying Church!

  • Because Jesus prayed!


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Why Pray?Jesus taught the Early Church to Pray!

  • ‘All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer’ Acts 1:14

  • Peter, Apostles and 3000 baptised – ‘They devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers’ Acts 2:42

  • Peter and John – ‘When they had prayed, the place in which they had gathered was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness’. Acts 4:23 - 31

Pentecost


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Why Pray?We can Praise and Worship our Lord in Prayer!

  • To demonstrate our Faith – ‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him’ (Heb 11:6)

  • To receive salvation – ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness’

    (1 Pet 2:24)


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Why Pray?We can Praise and Worship our Lord in Prayer!

  • To access the Father through Jesus and to discern his will – ‘for through him, both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father’ (Eph 2:18)


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Why Pray?We can Prepare for Major Decisions!

  • Selection of Matthias to replace Judas. ‘Then they prayed and said “Lord, you know everyone’s heart…’ (Acts 2:24)

  • Gathering of workers for spiritual harvest. ‘…therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’ (Lk 10:2)


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Why Pray?We can Prepare for Major Decisions!

  • Gaining strength to overcome temptation. ‘Stay awake and pray that you may not come to the time of trial’ (Mat 26:41)

  • Discerning God’s will. ‘So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on water, and came toward Jesus’ (Mat 14:28-29)


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Why Pray?We want our Lives to Make a Difference!

A Form of service –

  • We pray for Christian leaders. Paul says ‘pray for us’ (Heb13:18)

  • We want to see prayer answered in his will. ‘You do not have because you do not ask’ (Jas 4:2)

  • Fervent prayers can accomplish much. ‘The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective’ (Jas 5:16)


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Why Pray?Prayer provides our relationship with Jesus!

  • God plants and inspires the seeds of prayer in our hearts – in his will.

    ‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness…….’

    (Rom 8:26-27)

  • But we also want to intercede with the Lord for others As Abraham’s prayer led to Lot’s deliverance. (Gen 19:29)

    This tells us

  • God wants our relationship to grow

  • In his love/grace, he calls us to be partners in our involvement in his world


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Why Pray?Prayer is the Living Breath of Christ’s Church!

By prayer

  • The Church resists Satan. ’Therefore, take up the whole armour of God’ (Eph 6:13)

  • Receives gifts of grace. ‘…they were all filled…’ (Acts 4:31)

  • Seeks deliverance, healing and restoration of fellow Christians. ’Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication’ (Eph 6:18)


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Why Pray?Prayer is the Living Breath of Christ’s Church!

By prayer

  • Is witness to the Gospel. ‘Pray…that God will open to us a door for the Word’ (Col 4:3)

  • Seeks the return of the Lord. ‘”Surely I am coming soon”. Amen. Come Lord Jesus’ (Rev 22: 20)


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Why Pray?

  • Because Jesus taught and expected His disciples to pray – so the early Church was a praying Church!

  • Because Jesus prayed!


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Why Pray?We must follow the example of Jesus!

  • Preaching in Galilee. ‘In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed’ (Mk1:35)

  • Before selection of disciples. ‘…he went out to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God’ (Lk 6:12)


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Why Pray?We must follow the example of Jesus!

  • Prayer for himself, for the disciples and for future believers. ‘…he looked up to heaven and said, ”Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you..’ (Jn 17: 1-26)

  • Prayer under stress in Gethsemane. ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done’ (Lk 22:42)


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Why Pray?Summary!

  • Prayer means ‘plugging-in’ to God’s power

  • Prayer allows us to see God at work in others lives

  • Prayer allows God to work in our lives

  • It is our only means of tackling the forces of evil – our guided missile

  • Prayer is worship

  • Prayer is relationship


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