Sermon Outline

Equipped: God is With You - Prayer

Pastor Stephen Hayes

Sunday January 8, 2017

 

Theme – One of the best ways to become equipped to accomplish meaningful things with God is through communication with Him in prayer.  Prayer enables us to talk with God, to hear back from God, and to witness His response to our needs.


Becoming equipped

  • Most of us want to accomplish meaningful things.

  • Accomplishing things requires submission to a process.  Life requires us to go through many processes by which we become capable of doing things.

  • God has a plan for us - through numerous processes - to be equipped.  

Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”


God is with us during the process

  • God is with us during each step of the processes we go through.

  • Not only is He with us where we are at every point in time, but – simultaneously - He is going ahead of us to where we are about to go.

  • Deut 31:6 (NKJ) – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you.

  • Deut 31:6 (Message) - Be strong. Take courage.  Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you.  He’s right there with you.  He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.  

  • Revelation 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.


During a process we can communicate with God through prayer

  • Prayer is talking to God.  It is a simple conversation between us and our creator.


The Lord’s Prayer

  • Matthew 6: 5-15 contains Jesus’ instructions on how to pray.

  • In Verse 5 Jesus tells us to avoid being hypocritical when we pray.  In other words, we are not to make a big public display of our conversations with God.

  • Verses 6-7 teach us that, when we go to God in private, He will visibly reward us.

  • Verse 8 says that God knows our needs even before we ask.


The model of the Lord’s Prayer

  • Jesus gave us a strategic approach to prayer that will help us effectively communicate with God.


The first strategic step in prayer is to select the proper place

  • Before Jesus taught us how to pray, He taught us where to pray.

  • We can pray to God at any time and in any place.  However, to hear back from Him, it is best to be in private.

  • Matthew 6: 5-7 tells us to pray in private.

  • Privacy is necessary to avoid distractions.  When we are not distracted we are better able to hear back from God.

  • We should become comfortable being alone with God.  If we regularly initiate private conversations with God, we will be at ease when crises put us face-to-face with Him.


Jesus doesn’t condemn short prayers, but He does condemn long ones

  • Matthew 6: 7-8 tells us that God doesn’t appreciate vain repetitions during prayer because He knows our needs before we even state them.


Begin your prayer with worship

  • The first clause of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9) instructs us to acknowledge who God is at the beginning of our prayers.  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” is our recognition that God exists and He is above everything.  This recognition is a form of worship.

  • Pray hard or pray soft, pray long or pray short.  It’s not you, it’s who you’re praying to.


Preventative faith and resurrection faith

  • John 11: 1-44 recounts the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

  • Even though Lazarus had died, Jesus still had plans for him.  No one knew these plans except Jesus (verses 4, 32, 37).

  • Preventative faith is when we pray for God to someway intervene to help us.  This is the type of faith we often demonstrate through our prayers.

  • Resurrection faith is when we realize God’s glory in a life-changing way (verses 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 40-42.)


Becoming expert at prayer

  • It’s easy to become expert at prayer.  Simply go to Him and He will be with you.

  • It’s not difficult to find a private place to regularly talk with God, and to have Him powerfully and intimately interact with you.


Reflective Questions for Equipped: God is With You - Prayer

  1. How would you describe your conversations with God?  Do you have a regular process you use to talk with Him through prayer?  If so, briefly describe it.

  2. InMatthew 6:5 Jesus said those who pray hypocritically have their reward.  What did He mean?  Why is this encouraging to us?

  3. What are the benefits that come from keeping our prayer requests short, rather than long and involved?

  4. It is easy to quickly become “expert” at prayer.  What would you say to someone who said s/he didn’t know how to pray?