Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Revitalizing Prayer

The holidaze is over. Time to write 2005 and scratch through it several times on important papers till March. All is looking good for this newyear. Generally speaking my house is healthy, not too wealthy, and could be a little wiser so we have something to look forward to. Hope your year will be a great success for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. - Kirk

Revitalizing Prayer
Jn. 14:12-24
The short of it:
1. The joy to REQUEST 12 - 14.
2. The blessing to RECEIVE 16, 17.
3. The duty to RESPOND 15, 21a, 24.
4. The opportunity for God to REVEAL himself 20, 21b.
5. The pleasure of him taking up RESIDENCE within us 23.
The long version:
Revitalizing Prayer
Jn. 14:12-24
A. Definition of Revitalize
1. Webster: To bring back after a decline. - Examp. Inner City Projects; Corporate Mergers; Marriage seminars. One may make a quick connect to the word REVIVAL.
B. Could it be the case that we need to revitalize our prayer life.
1. Not only is it commanded - “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). It’s what spiritual minded people do - “When you pray....” (Matt. 6:5).
C. A lack of prayer ties the hands of God and holds back showers of blessings.
1. Psa. 81:10 “Open mouth wide...”
a. How many things are not received because we simply failed to ask?
D. Perhaps we have been taught “too well” not to abuse the privilege of prayer to the point that we fail to pray as we ought.
1. James 4 - Christians were praying to heap it upon their lusts.
2. Matt. 6:5ff - to be seen and heard of men.
3. Lk. 18:10ff - without humility
4. These and many other “rules of engagement” must not be used as “suppressers of the heart.” (Phil. 4:6) “Let your prayers be KNOWN unto God.”
E. Today I wish to examine five ways to revitalize, renew, bring back, our prayer life.
1. The joy to REQUEST 12 - 14.
2. The blessing to RECEIVE 16, 17.
3. The duty to RESPOND 15, 21a, 24.
4. The opportunity for God to REVEAL himself 20, 21b.
5. The pleasure of him taking up RESIDENCE within us 23.
I. A child of God must count it a joy to MAKE REQUEST to a CAN DO God 14:12 - 14.
A. If Jesus said you can do greater works than him we must be working for a “can do” God.
1. The works Jesus did were actions which pointed the people to God.
a. There was just one Jesus, who fed 5,000 - universally, the church may feed thousands daily.
b. He was but one voice - Today there are millions of voices working the works of God.
c. Therefore since we work for a “can do” God - together we are doing greater works than Jesus - therefore......
B. Ask - make request - don’t be shy (Matt. 7:7, 8).
1. The very words; ask, seek and knock seem to suggest an ever increasing intensity in prayer.
2. Every father wants his children to come to him for whatever they need. Our heavenly Father wants us to ask Him for anything we need. There is no prayer request too big to ask the Father. Your heavenly Father is waiting for you to ask because He’s waiting to do what you need Him to do. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” Where we see an obstacle, He sees an opportunity to show Himself strong. Where we see an impossibility, God sees a chance to show that what is impossible with man is possible with Him. There is nothing that we can’t ask because there is nothing He can’t do.
3. Do you think that walking on the dry bed of the Red Sea, or the Jordan river would prompt you to ask for great things? Would being fed bread from heaven or quail from the earth cause you to ask the desire of your heart? Could it be that if we watched the walls of Jericho fall flat, the sun standing still, or Lazarus coming forth from the tomb this would stir desire in our weary spirit to ask more frequently? If these are just stories to you, then of course not! But if you believe in these events....Ephesians 3:20 then what you ask is really nothing. God is above what we can ask or think. The only thing that we can’t ask is what we can’t think.
C. Preacher, you want me to ask anything?
1. Anything that brings glory to God - absolutely! v. 13b Rom. 8:27, 28 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” v. 28 and we know - called according to his purpose.

How an individual approaches God and what that individual is willing to ask for reveals how he or she views God. Revitalize your requests because we serve a ‘can do’ God.

II. Which leads us to know... What a blessing it is to RECEIVE that for which we’ve made request 14:16, 17.
A. Though the apostles did not request it, they received what they needed most - future direction.
1. The text would naturally be interpreted that since Jesus was communicating to the 11 (Judas being absent) this Helper, Comforter, Paraclete would be given with a specific mission in mind - To continue to dispense truth to the apostles.
2. Since it is not in man to direct his footsteps (Jerm. 10:23), and because every man thinks he is right in his own heart (Prov. 14:12), it became the mission of the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth (Jn. 16:13).
3. After receiving His instruction and making a written record, you and I may be guided into all truth today as we read and live that which is written (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
4. Direction for righteousness and heaven is what man needs most.
“Things” are not.
1. Jesus stands ready to give you the Holy Spirit if you ask.
2. Since the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide one into all truth, should not that be our request - to be guided into all truth?
a. Many are asking to perform miracles, see signs, speak in tongues - what man needs to seek is the truth - “buy the truth and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23).
C. God is longing to give gifts (Luke 11:1-13) Midnight friend of importunity (5-8)
1. Importunate – troublesomely urgent: overly persistent in request of demand. (Pressing, burning, clamant, clamorous, crying, imperative, insistent, instant, urgent). Importunity is not asking repeatedly. Importunity is having the nerve just to ask in the first place. In John 11:41-42, Jesus tells us that we don’t have to beg for everything.
a. Our grandpuppy (Springier Spaniel) comes over and stares at you while you eat. He doesn’t lick, harass, or get in your face, he just sits until his longing look is satisfied with a morsel. Though he never says a word, he expectantly looks for satisfaction because he knows the nature of the owners and the love his grandparents have for him. Importunity is not asking repeatedly. It is having the nerve to ask initially, then maintaining a stand to wait for God to drop down his blessing. Importunity looks for opportunity to ask. Importunity has the guts, the gall, and the gump to ask what most people won’t ask. Importunity knows how to ask, seek, and knock. “Wait on the Lord and he will bring it to pass” (Psa. 37:5).
D. The message should be clear - first seek truth, then receive the blessings.

It is such a joy to make our requests made known to God, It is a wonderful blessing to receive that which we ask. Which brings us to our next important step in revitalizing our prayer life -

III. Each one of us have a duty to RESPOND to the instruction of God v15, 21a, 24.
A. The eye of the Lord is upon the righteous and his ear open to their prayer, but his face is against those who do evil (1 Pet. 3:12).
1. Herein lies the problem with most prayers - unfaithfulness.
2. Love requires duty - Jesus understood duty - the cross proved that.
3. Obedience requires sacrifice and service - If you love - KEEP.
B. Keep the commandments does not mean to love them from afar, but to write them upon your heart and mind then putting them into practice (Heb. 8:10).
C. Rebellious lives ties the hands of God and stops up the windows of heaven.
1. Repentance and obedience is the key to revitalizing your prayer life.
When this is done.....
IV. God is given the opportunity to REVEAL himself to you v. 18, 20, 21b.
A. The manifestation of God is not seen:
1. On a grill cheese sandwich sold on Ebay and many other false illusions.
2. God is manifested to us each time our prayers are answered whether His response is, “Yes” or “No.”
3. Man may look to the beauty of the earth and say, “I see God manifested in the face of a flower or the aura of the sunset.” Another may exclaim, “I see God manifesting himself in the wonders of the heavens, the stars, planets, galaxies.” Yet another may say, “Every time you see a new born baby, you know God is revealing himself.”
4. God manifested himself by his son Jesus (Col. 1:15). All these created things cannot love you like God does. Even your own child may turn against you, but never the savior (Matt. 28:20). Every time you see the cross you see God and know he desires to reveal himself unto you. See past the wood, look beyond the anguish, behold the love of God as he sent the only one who can redeem you and me from our sins. Herein is love, not that we love him, but “he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19).
5. Every time we pray, and each time he answers he is revealing himself more and more. Look back in your life and see how God has revealed himself to you by the prayers you’ve prayed and the answers you’ve received.
6. So if any man is in Christ, seek those things which are above (Col. 3:2).
7. To get into Christ one must respond to his commands (Gal. 3:27).
When this happens........
V. God takes the pleasure to take up RESIDENCE in us v. 23 This alone should cause us to revitalize our prayer life.
A. Now Paul wrote that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith (Eph.3:17).
1. The mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations has been revealed in the saints - Christ in you, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:26, 27)
2. This hope was given on the day we obeyed the gospel and by that baptism, we received the gift of the holy spirit (Acts 2:38) which will never leave us orphaned so long as we walk after the spirit and not according to the flesh (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8).
B. One may say, “Well I don’t feel God/Christ/Sprit in me.”
1. Its not about feeling. Do you feel your mother or father in you? Well then will you deny that they are your parents? Do you not have habitual traits of your parents?
2. Then we know God is in us when we deny the pleasures of the flesh and do that which we normally wouldn’t do because the Holy Spirit has taught us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust as we study him daily. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. Recall the latter words of Eph. 3:20 - according to the power that works in us. - That power is that which the gospel has done for us in redeeming us from all ungodliness. That power is the faith we have which prompts us into godly action when the flesh pitches a temper tantrum when we deny it devilish pleasures.
3. Its not about feelings - its about behavior. But isn’t it true... one has never felt better who is going about doing good.
4. Knowing that the divine presence of God takes up residence with us should help us revitalize our prayer life.

1. There is a great joy to make our REQUEST known unto God.
a. Together, we can do greater works than Christ. I’ve never raised the dead, but I have brought congregations back to life. You may never have healed one who was sick, but if you opened their eyes to the gospel you have cured a sin sick soul.
b. We serve a ‘can do’ God. Let’s pray like he can.
2. What a blessing it is to RECEIVE gifts from God.
a. Especially the Holy Spirit, the word of truth. Let the words of this Book guide you to receive that which you so desperately need - Salvation, comfort, hope.
3. Remember, to revitalize our prayer life there is a duty to RESPOND.
a. Love and Keep the commands. You can’t live like a sinner and die like a saint.
4. Every time you pray, he has the opportunity to REVEAL more and more of himself to you. Therefore, pray more and more so you may get to know God better.
5. Take pleasure in the truth that he RESIDES in us.
a. For this reason, I bow the knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named. That he might grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might, through his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your heart by faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love.....(Eph. 3:14-21)
b. The greatest man standing is the one not afraid to fall on his knees.

Haven’t you ever wanted to take your food back to the counter of a fast-food restaurant, and point to the picture on the overhead menu, and asked, “Can I have one that looks like that?” Sometimes we get the one which was smushed, reheated, and generally unappealing.
At those places, many times we get LESS than what we ask for.

The stories in the Bible reveal that GOD GIVES MAN MORE THAN HE ASKS FOR. Wonder what we would get if we would only ask more?

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