40 Days of Prayer: Week 5 - A Praying Life

40 Days of Prayer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:33
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I’ve asked us to focus on three simple steps as disciples. Gathering - connecting our life to Jesus and one another. Growing - Learning to follow Jesus as I discover his call on my life and develop the character of Jesus in my life. Then Going - to lead others to connecting their lives to Gods purpose living out of my call and His character.
So you will notice that usually our messages are directed at one of those three facets of discipleship…gathering…growing…going.
This series is about us growing spiritually. Prayer may be one of the most important resources God gives us to grow in our relationship with him, but it’s not the only one.
Four other ways you can grow in your relationship with Jesus.
Serve - on a team;
Join - a group;
Give - a little or a lot;
Invite - someone to church.
A week ago or so, I was coming back with some friends from the walk to emmaus closing. We were having a great time. We had been out to dinner, Lynn was telling stories of her weekend. Having a good time. Then we were rudely interrupted....right in Fairlee by a county deputy sherriff.
Apparently I was driving without paying attention to my speed. I know I slowed down coming into town, but he knew I sped up in my eaving town a little too much.
As he cam eup to the car, I found myself praying…Lord, let it be someone we know…let him be generous....MIchelle was reminding me…we on’t need a ticket.
He gave me a warning thankfully…but this was another one of those times when I remembered how easy it is to pray when the circumstances are right.
Getting pulled over is one of those times. When a loved one is in trouble is another. When we don’t know what to do next. When we get an unexpected blessing its easy to pray. If you had of won that 1.6 billion lottery I can imagine it would have been easy to pray. When you overcome a real difficulty it’s easy to pray. When everything seems to be falling apart, relationships, finances, it’s easy to pray.
It’s funny how we know where to turn in times like this, but it’s the normal times of life that we don’t see prayer as being a significant part of our lives. I mean if life is pretty good…your kids/gkids are on track for the most part…your health is stable…you work hard, but are getting by pretty well, the bills are all paid…it’s pretty easy to forget to pray.
I mean Lord, things are pretty good. amen.
That’s a pretty boring prayer…or is it?
The Bible teaches us several times about praying all the time.
Ephesians 6:18 NIV84
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Romans 12:12 NIV84
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV84
17 pray continually;
Colossians 4:2 NIV84
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Luke 18:1 NIV84
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
A parable that he explained:
Luke 18:7–8 NIV84
7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
What’s the basis for this call to pray all the time?
Often we talk about having a prayer life as though prayer was a part of what we do in life. But as I was reading this week, I was challenged to see God’s call is for us to

Live a praying life.

The difference is significant. A prayer life is when we are focused on our prayers…you know the right words, the right posture, the right form of communication with God…everything between the Father…and the AMEN.
But a praying life is about being aware of God’s presence, power, and provision in my life at all times…it’s not something I tap into in prayer…it’s something I possess as his spirit lives in me and I in him.
That’s what Jesus was teaching when he said I was grafted in to him the true vine. I’m connected…period.
The moment you become a Christian, you are given a direct line to God…he gives us his holy spirit to hold us in connection with him and the spirit of God never leaves us.
Now…remembering that we are connected to God at all times…let’s look at this call to live a praying life...Let’s go back to Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 6.
Ephesians 6:18 NCV
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people.
Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. And always pray for all God's people.”
1. Pray “in the Spirit” = let God lead you. Listen to impressions! Now!
2. At all times = no bad time! Always a good idea to pray because God is always with you.
3. With all kinds of = a prayer for every emotion...& situation
Psalms: complaining…crying out…comforting...confessing…clarifying
4. About everything – no subject off limits! phy...
5. Always be ready - Requires a plan! Must be prepared. Think thru
6. Never give up! - Never stop praying!
7. Pray for all people! Everybody! Can’t do that on 2 min a day!

By Developing Two Habits

The fist of these habits will be building on how many of us pray now. That is to schedule ties of prayer thought the day.


For 1000s of yr – Jews said prayers at set times. Fixed hours
Daniel knelt 3x a day 9, noon, 3
ILL NT - Roman cities; the bell in the forum rang 12x a day
6 am - Prime 1st hour
beginning of business
9 am – 3rd hr
Noon (6th hr) lunch break
3 pm (9th) back to work
6 pm (12th) end of work
Soon Christians starting using the bells for prayer times!
Monk put bells in monasteries! “Liturgy of the Hours developed
In 400s Monks invented the first mechanical devices to ring the bells!
Old Latin word for bell is CLOC!
Clocks were created to remind us to pray!
My 2 alarms…11:21 and 2:23
PS.119:164 (David) “Seven times a day I praise you!” (NIV)
Over centuries, the Divine Office- 8x to pray each day= complicated!
NO Reason for complication...
Think about your day....Pray your day
In the morning…When you wake…start with Praise God
When you go to work…for your tasks and focus
When you stop for lunch…Intercession
When you break…for wisdom and strength
When you stop…for all that was done
When you get home…that relationships grow
When you go to sleep...
At the least, a disciple should have a goal of starting the day with prayer and End the day in prayer.
If you can, you can just start tomorrow praying all the time.
BUt for mot of us, we won’t be able to start tomorrow praying at all times with all sorts of prayers.
WE need to build our prayer life. Here’s what you can do. Start with adding one more time of prayer in your life. Do you know pray at meals? Add praying afrer meals. Do you pray in the morning…start praying in the evening.
Just move a little, establish that habit, then add more. INCREMENTAL CHANGE is the key to dramatic change.
FIRST…establish regular times of prayer in your life.
Second, learning to keep a running conversation with God.
It’s hard to do two things at the same time. So to say pray while you are at work will be a difficult thing. I don't’ think that’s what Paul is talking about. I don’t think he’s talking so much about our action as our attitude. He’s saying, be continual spirit of prayer…a constant seeking of God’s will and connection with our Father.
It’s about being focused on Jesus and his presence with us and keeping a running conversation with him.
Like breathing - you don’t think about it. Just do it naturally
Like with any habit – with practice, get good at it


To pray conversationally = just talk to God about whatever’s on your mind at that moment! It’s a free-flowing conversation
Ephesians 6:18 GNB
18 Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.
“Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.” (TEV)
o “occasion” can talk to God anywhere... about anything...... all the time!
o ‘leads” - when you get an impression/idea – pray about it!
o If I don’t feel like praying... means I’m not praying what I feel!
1 Thessalonians 5:17 The Message
17 pray all the time;
“Never stop praying! Pray all the time!”
Brother Lawrence was born Nicholas Herman in the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France.
At 26, he joined the Discalced Carmelite Prior in Paris. Nicholas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for over 30 years and as a sandalmaker in his later years.
Yet despite, or perhaps because of, his somewhat lowly position, his character attracted many to him. He was known for his profound peace and many came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom that he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God.
As a young man, Herman's poverty forced him into joining the army, and thus he was guaranteed meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman had an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey; it wasn't, characteristically, a supernatural vision, but a supernatural clarity into a common sight.
In the deep of winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, waiting silently and patiently for the sure hope of summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped for the first time the extravagance of God's grace and the unfailing sovereignty of God. Like the tree, he himself was seemingly dead, but God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree "first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God," and a love for God that never after ceased to burn. At one point, he was taken prisoner by German troops on the march and was treated like a spy. The extent of his patience and tranquility under these terrible circumstances cannot be understated. They even threatened to hang him. He fearlessly answered their questions with an indifference to death. When the soldiers saw his courage they released him. Sometime later, an injury forced his retirement from the army, and after a stint as a valet for the King’s treasurer, he sought a place where he could suffer for his failures. He thus entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris as Brother Lawrence.
He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"
For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God's love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."
Brother Lawrence retreated to a place in his heart where the love of God made every detail of his life of surpassing value. "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world." Together, God and Brother Lawrence cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world.
He admitted that the path to this perfect union was not easy. He spent years disciplining his heart and mind to yield to God's presence. "As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshiper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I found it wandering from him. This proved to be an exercise frequently painful, yet I persisted through all difficulties."
Only when he reconciled himself to the thought that this struggle and longing was his destiny did he find a new peace: his soul "had come to its own home and place of rest." There he spent the rest of his 80 years, dying in relative obscurity and pain and perfect joy.

A Praying Life

For our Followers Made group, we talked the other night about how much prayer had become a much more common part of our lives. How we were starting to have a praying life, because we were becoming more aware of his presence, power, and provision in our lives.
That’s the key to this.
It’s about knowing that he is there, that he has a purpose for you. That the God of creation is working in your life 24/7.
Is that you? Do you live a praying life or are you trying to develop a prayer life?
The difference is real.
The difference starts with an intentional daily surrender
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