Thursday, May 01, 2008

Proper Prayer Life

As we get ready to concluded our “Semper Paratus…Always Ready” series this Sunday here at Grace Church we will see that in order to survive our daily spiritual battles we must have a proper prayer life (Eph 6:18-20). This includes five characteristics.

First, we must pray in the SPIRIT (v18, see also Jude 20). This is not praying in tongues or praying in some dramatic way. To pray in the Spirit is to pray in agreement with the will of God. This is taught also by the Apostle John (1 John 5:14). Praying in the Spirit can only happen if we are walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). To survive our spiritual battles we need to discover God’s specific will for our lives as outlined in Scripture and pray for these things. It is God’s will that none should perish so we should pray for unbelievers to come to know Jesus. It is God’s will that our children walk in truth so we should pray for our children to walk with the Lord. It is God’s will for our marriages to reflect Christ and the church so we should pray that our marriages would glorify God!

Second, we must pray without STOPPING (v18, see also Thessalonians 5:17). In other words, we are to pray at more than prescribed times. The Jews had three prescribed prayer times (3rd hour…9am; 6th hour…Noon; 9th hour…3pm). You can see this in Psalm 55:17 where prayers were offered morning, noon, evening. In Acts 3:1, the 9th hour (3pm) was called the hour of prayer. We also tend to limit our prayers to prescribed times (meals; bedtime; offering; benediction, etc.). But in reality prayer is needed throughout the entire battle. We must live in a constant attitude of prayer. We should be throwing up ongoing prayers all day long. How often do you pray during a normal day? What is it that you should be praying about right now?

Third, we must pray with SENSITIVITY (v18). The command, “be on the alert” is a compound word made up of the words “to chase” and “sleep.” It is the idea of chasing away sleep or being watchful (2 Corinthians 11:27). In other words we must continually be on the alert. We should constantly be asking the Lord to reveal to our spirit things that we need to be praying about at that moment!

Fourth, we must pray for the SAINTS (v18). Part of our defense in our spiritual battles is the prayers of other saints. This involves praying with intensity (Romans 15:30; Acts 12:5) and identifying with the person you are praying for (Hebrews 13:3). We should pray for a believer that is struggling with an illness as if we were enduring the suffering. We should pray for a believer who is struggling in a relationship as if it were our very own relationship that was hurting.

Finally, we must pray with SPECIFICS (v18-20). The word “petition” refers to specific requests (see also Philippians 4:6-7). Paul didn’t just say “pray for me”, he gave them specific requests. He asked them to pray that he would have the right words to speak and that he would have the courage to speak them. When you pray for needs, pray specifically. Make your requests measurable. You will be amazed at how you see the miracles of answered prayer taking place and the spiritual battles being won.

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