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Ministry/Preacher And Prayer
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PREACHER AND PRAYER

 

Prayer is a communication with God. Because God is personal, all people can offer prayers.

 

Prayer has power over everything

God can intelligently act in any part of the universe or human history. Although some people think prayer is a waste of time, the Bible declares that "the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much"

James 5:16

16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV)

 

Prayer’s meaning and importance for the preacher’s life:

I. For his relation with God

II. For his personal needs

III. For his ministry

 


I. For his relation with God

1- Prayers comes out of faith

The most meaningful prayer comes from a heart that places its trust in the God who has acted and spoken in the Jesus of history and the teachings of the Bible. God speaks to us through the Bible, and we in turn speak to Him in trustful, believing prayer.

Assured by the Scripture that God is personal, living, active, all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful, we know that God can hear and help us. A confident prayer life is built on the cornerstone of Christ's work and words as shown by the prophets and apostles in the Spirit-inspired writings of the Bible.

 

2- Prayer is an act of worship

In worship we recognize that God deserves our highest respect. Guided by Scripture, we set our values in accord with God's will and perfect standards. Before God, angels hide their faces and cry, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts".

Isa 6:3

3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (NIV)

 

3- Prayer is an act of confession

Awareness of God's holiness leads to consciousness of our own sinfulness. Like the prophet Isaiah, we exclaim,:

Isa 6:5

5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (NIV)

By sinning we hurt ourselves and those closest to us; but first of all, and worst of all, sin is against God <Ps. 51:4>. We must confess our sins to God to get right with Him.

Ps 51:4

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,. (NIV)

I Jn 1:9

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

 

4- Prayer is an act of adoration

God is love, and He has demonstrated His love in the gift of His Son. The greatest desire of God is that we love Him with our whole being <Matt. 22:37>.

 

Matt 22:37

37 Jesus replied: "`love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' (NIV)

Our love should be expressed, as His love has been expressed, in both deeds and words. People sometimes find it difficult to say to others and to God, "I love you." But when love for God fills our lives, we will express our love in prayer to the one who is ultimately responsible for all that we are.

 

5- Prayer is an act of praise

The natural outgrowth of faith, worship, confession, and adoration is praise. We speak well of one whom we highly esteem and love. The one whom we respect and love above all others naturally receives our highest commendation.

 

We praise Him for His "mighty acts... according to His excellent greatness!" <Ps. 150:2>, and for His "righteous judgments" <Ps. 119:164>. For God Himself, for His works, and for His words, His people give sincere praise.

 

Ps 150:2

2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. (NIV)

 

Ps 119:164

164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. (NIV)

 

6- Prayer is an act of thanksgiving

As sinners, we are not people of God by nature. We have no claim upon His mercy or grace. Nevertheless, He has forgiven our sins, granted us acceptance as His people, and given us His righteous standing and a new heart and life.

Ingratitude marks the ungodly <Rom. 1:21>. Believers, in contrast, live thankfully. God has been at work on our behalf in countless ways. So in evervthing, even for the discipline that is unpleasant, we give thanks <Col. 3:17; 1 Thes. 5:18>.

Rom 1:21

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (NIV)

Col 3:17

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)

1Thes 5:18

18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

 


II. For his personal needs

 

1- Prayer is request for our needs

Prayer is not only response to God's grace as brought to us in the life and work of Jesus and the teaching of Scripture; it is also request for our needs and the needs of others.

 

Prayer is request to a personal Lord who answers as He knows best. We should not think that we will always have success in obtaining the things for which we ask. In His wisdom, God hears and answers in the way that is best.

 

God has promised to answer our requests when we start helping the hungry and afflicted <Is. 58:9-10>, when we believe that we will receive what we ask <Mark 11:22-24>, when we forgive others <Mark 11:25-26>, when we ask in Christ's name <John 14:13-14>, and when we abide in Christ and His words <John 15:7>, pray in the Spirit <Eph. 6:8>, obey the Lord's commandments <1 John 3:22>, and ask according to His will <1 John 5:14-15>. Until we have properly responded to God and His Word, He cannot entrust us with His powerful resources.

 

Isa 58:9-10

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (NIV)

 

Mark 11:22-24

22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered.

23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (NIV)

 

Mark 11:25-26

25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. (NIV)

 

John 14:13-14

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (NIV)

 

John 15:7

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (NIV)

 

Eph 6:8

8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. (NIV)

 

I Jn 3:22

22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. (NIV)

 

I Jn 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15 And if we know that he hears us-- whatever we ask-- we know that we have what we asked of him. (NIV)

For good reasons God's holy and wise purpose does not permit Him to grant every petition just as it is asked. Several hindrances to answered prayer are mentioned in the Bible: iniquity in the heart <Ps. 66:18>, refusal to hear God's law <Prov. 28:9>, an estranged heart <Is. 29:13>, sinful separation from God <Is. 59:2>, waywardness <Jer. 14:10-12>, offering unworthy sacrifices <Mal. 1:7-9>, praying to be seen of men <Matt. 6:5-6>, pride in fasting and tithing <Luke 18:11-14>, lack of faith <Heb. 11:6>, and doubting or double-mindedness <James 4:3>.

 

Ps 66:18

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; (NIV)

 

Prov 28:9

9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable. (NIV)

 

Isa 29:13

13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (NIV)

 

Isa 59:2

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (NIV)

 

Jer 14:10-12

10 This is what the LORD says about this people: "They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins."

11 Then the LORD said to me, "Do not pray for the well-being of this people.

12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague." (NIV)

 

Mal 1:7-9

7 "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, `How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible.

8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.

9 "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"-- says the LORD Almighty. (NIV)

 

Matt 6:5-6

5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (NIV)

 

Luke 18:11-14

11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men-- robbers, evildoers, adulterers-- or even like this tax collector.

12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (NIV)

 

Heb 11:6

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)

 

James 4:3

3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (NIV)

 

2- Prayer meets our inner needs.

One who prays will receive:

(1) Freedom from fear

Ps 118:5-6

5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.

6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (NIV)

 

(2) Strength of soul

 

Ps 138:3

3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul. (NKJ)

 

(3) Guidance and satisfaction

 

Isa 58:9-11

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (NIV)

 

(4) Wisdom and understanding

Dan 9:20-27

20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill--

21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.

22 He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. NIV

 

(5) Deliverance from harm

Joel 2:32

32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (NIV)

 

(6) Reward

Matt 6:6

6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (NIV)

 

(7) Good gifts

Luke 11:13

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (NIV)

 

(8) Fullness of joy

John 16:23-24

23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (NIV)

 

(9) Peace

Phil 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(NIV)

 

(10) Freedom from anxiety

1 Pet 5:7

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you. (NIV)

 

 


III. For his ministry

 

1- Prayer has power to be filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit

Acts 4:31

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (NIV)

 

2- Prayer is the source of the dedicated Action

Christ's example does not require us to withdraw from society, but to render service to the needy in a spirit of prayer. He wept over Jerusalem in compassionate prayer, and then He went into the city to give His life a ransom for many. Authentic prayer will be the source of courage and productivity, as it was for the prophets and apostles.

Luke 19:41

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

(NIV)

Neh 1:2-4

2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

(NIV)

Acts 20:19

19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.

(NIV)

Acts 20:31

31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

(NIV)

2 Cor 2:4

4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

(NIV)

2 Tim 1:4

4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.

(NIV)

 

3- Prayer has power for healing the sick

James 5:14-15

14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. (NIV)

 

4- Prayers has power for deliverance from the enemies

When the disciples prayed, the building around them shook <Acts 4:31> and an earthquake opened the doors of their prison <Acts 16:25-26>.

Acts 16:25-26

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. (NIV)

 

5- Prayer can make a difference in the lives of others

Biblical writers believed prayer for others could result in greater:

(1) Wisdom and power:

Eph 1:18-19

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

 

(2) Inward strength, knowledge of Christ's love, filling with God's fullness

Eph 3:16-19

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (NIV)

 

(3) Discernment, approval of what is excellent, filling with the fruits of righteousness

Phil 1:9-11

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,

11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God. (NIV)

 

(4) Knowledge of God's will, spiritual understanding, a life pleasing to God, fruitfulness, endurance, patience, joy

Col 1:9-12

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (NIV)

 

(5) A quiet, peaceable life

1 Tim 2:1-2

1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--

2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (NIV)

 

(6) Love for one another and all people, holiness before God

1Thes 3:10-13

10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (NIV)

 

(7) Comfort and establishment in every good word and work

II Th 2:16-17

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,

17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (NIV)

 

(8) Love for God, steadfastness in Christ

II Th 3:5

5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. (NIV)

 

(9) Sharing of one's faith, promotion of the knowledge of all that is good

Phile 1:6

6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (NIV)

 

(10) Equipment for every good work that is pleasing to God

Heb 13:20-21

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (NIV)