Prayer Practicalities

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Good evening and thank you for joining us in-person and online at Charity Baptist Church. Does it occur to you, that you being here or watching online is not coincidence? It is not by chance or luck that you are hearing this sermon. It is a divine appointment that the Lord scheduled.
Did you know I have been praying for you. Praying that God would speak to you tonight and possibly give you answers you have been seeking. I have been praying that God would reveal Himself to you in such a real and memorable way that it would change your life forever. I’m praying that the Holy Spirit would fill this room, tonight. And that He would renew our love for Him - while strengthening our resolve to do His will.
For the past 5 weeks we have been walking through scriptures examining what happens when God’s people pray. Hopefully, these sermons have been more than just an encouragement to you - I hope they will serve as a constant reminder of our need to be in prayer constantly. We are going to flip tonight’s service on it’s head. Usually, we begin our service with a time of individual and corporate prayer. After prayer we typically will have the sermon. Tonight I want to preach first and pray last. Why? Because my goal is that by the end of the service, our prayer time will be something you deeply desire - something your soul longs for. My fear, is that our prayer time may be a time where you check out. Where you let your mind go into autopilot mode and wait for the clock to run out. So tonights sermon is, hopefully, going to be a practical resource for your prayer life.
Do you find it difficult to pray. If we took an anonymous poll and asked everyone listening to this sermon tonight if they thought prayer is important - I guarantee you, that overwhelmingly the congregation would agree that, YES prayer is important. This is something I have been trying to convince you of for the past several weeks. Remember when we looked at:
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 KJV 1900
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Yes! We all can agree that not only prayer is important, but it is also vital to the Christians well being. The will of God is often a confusing subject or Christians to discern. But find assurance in the fact that God’s will for your life is to rejoice, pray, and give thanks.
About 5 weeks ago, we learned that prayer is so important, the apostles in Acts elevated its status to that of the preaching of the Word of God:
Acts 6:3–4 KJV 1900
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Prayer and Preaching was something the 1st century church gave themselves to continually. Paul reminds us of this fact in the letter to the Romans in:
Romans 12:12 KJV 1900
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Paul teaches us to continue in prayer. But even though we proclaim with our lips that praying is vital, we so often do not practice what we preach. Scripture gives us several examples of those who do not pray:
Psalm 79:6 KJV 1900
Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, And upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
And again in:
Psalm 53:4 KJV 1900
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread: They have not called upon God.
We are reminded by the prophet Jeremiah of why the nation of Israel was in such a bad shape:
Jeremiah 10:21 KJV 1900
For the pastors are become brutish, And have not sought the Lord: Therefore they shall not prosper, And all their flocks shall be scattered.
Ask yourself: are you guilty of putting the things of this world above the things of God? Have you made an idol out of your possessions or of another person?
Zephaniah 1:4–6 KJV 1900
I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, And upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, And the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; And them that worship and that swear by the Lord, And that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the Lord; And those that have not sought the Lord, nor inquired for him.
This evening, yes, all of us would agree prayer is important, that prayer is powerful, and that prayer is pivotal for getting God involved! Why don’t we pray? For weeks we have read about the power of prayer from Scriptures and we have learned about great movings of God throughout history. So, again, why don’t we pray? Over the past few weeks I would be so bold as to proclaim that we have even experienced answered prayers first hand - to God be the Glory! But why don’t we pray like God can do for us like He has done for others?
With this in mind I would like to preach a sermon tonight entitled, ”Prayer Practicalities”. You see, I believe, most Christians want to pray but when it comes time to pray we quickly discover that the hardest moment in prayer is often the first moment. Do you find that when you decide to pray, distractions abound? I have found, when I go to God in prayer, my mind tends to wander. Sometimes when I begin to pray I lose focus and my mind becomes fixated on the problems of the world. I would like to give you some practical prayer tips tonight that will help you develop your walk with Christ.
Do you find it difficult to pray for more than a few moments. Does your prayer time feel more like the shaking of an 8 ball than a conversation with the creator of the universe? I would like to briefly point out 5 Hindrances to Prayer, 5 Helps to Prayer, and lastly I would like to show you a Pattern to Prayer.

Hindrances to Prayer

Isaiah 59:2 KJV 1900
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
What is in your life that is causing separation between you and God? Examine your heart and ask God to reveal to you what is in your life that you need to give up. What is hindering your walk with Him? If you have a secret sin that comes to mind - pay attention - the Holy Spirit is convicting you to give it up!
Zechariah 7:13 KJV 1900
Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; So they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:
God sent the prophets and the people did not listen. God sent the plagues and the people did not listen. God sent peace, prosperity and provision, and the people did not listen. God cried out for their attention and they did not listen. Now with the armies of the Persians at Israels gates, they cry out to God but He does not listen. How is God crying out in your life? God has sent you, too, prophets and pastors. We have seen plagues in our lifetimes and horrible wars. We have experienced his blessings more so than perhaps any generation before. But will we listen to what God has to say.
James 4:3 KJV 1900
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Are your prayers selfish? Are you going to God with a selfish request or petition. Are you praying for things that will bring you glory or for the things that will bring God glory? Are you praying for your Will to be done or for God’s?
Isaiah 1:15–17 KJV 1900
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: Your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
If our relationships with others are not right, our relationship with the Lord wont be either. God sees you in secret and in open. Are you honest and upright? Do you treat others the way that Christ does? Do you see the value in others that Christ sees in you?
Lack of Faith
James 1:6–7 KJV 1900
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Are your prayers full of doubt? Do your prayers end in a questions mark? Are you unsure of the power of your heavenly Father? Remove all doubt. Trust in Him. He knows you, all of you - and yet still loves you. Loves you more than your best friend, more than your spouse. More than your parents ever could. He loves you and he thinks of you. He loves you so much He gave His only son to die for you. To be humiliated for you. To be separated from the Father for you. You don’t need

Helps to Prayer

Humility - Pray Simply
Matthew 6:7–8 KJV 1900
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
We don’t need wax eloquently when we go to our heavenly Father. He is not impressed with our alliterated prayers or our many words. The greatest orator to ever live, sounds foolish when compared to God. We should go to God openly and humbly. Not lifted up or impressed with ones self. Approaching the celestial throne room should bring you great admiration for who He is. He is God alone. Remember the story of the two men who went up to the temple to pray?
Luke 18:9–14 KJV 1900
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The Pharisee went to God with pride in His heart. God sees you. The real you. Theres no need to put on a mask for Him, He will see right through it. Be honest and open with your Heavenly Father. Our prayers should not be motivated by what others think. The Pharisees were a people of prayer, however, even though their lips professed righteousness their hearts were desperately wicked.
1 John 3:21–22 KJV 1900
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
God wants your heart. You can’t fake obedience. Obedience is not an attitude or a decision. Obedience is the outworking of your love of God. If you want to know how your relationship with the Lord is - if you are curious where your heart is spiritually - look to your behavior. Are your actions reflective of your love of God? To drive the point further and emphasize tonights sermon - are your prayers reflective of your love of God?
Proverbs 15:29 KJV 1900
The Lord is far from the wicked: But he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Righteousness not in ones self - but through Jesus Christ.We are not to trust in our goodness or in our works. Filthy rags are they.
2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV 1900
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jeremiah 29:13 KJV 1900
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
What could possibly be more important than seeking the Lord? What is distracting you in your walk? What catches your eye during prayer? What causes you to become double minded? Focus on God with all your heart when you go to Him in prayer.
Matthew 21:21–22 KJV 1900
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
God doesn’t expect you to have the faith of moses, but that of a mustard seed. He doesn’t expect you to have all the answers or have your life perfectly planned out - thats for God to do. He wants us to have faith.
Hebrews 11:6 KJV 1900
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Have you been praying for luck, or good fortune? Have you been praying for future success or gain? Have you been praying for security from the world in this world? Or are you prying for God’s will to be done? Whatever His will whatever his way - I will go!

Pattern to Prayer

Adoration - Praise, giving Glory to God
Confession - Confessing your faults and mistakes
Thanksgiving - Thank God for what He has done for you
Supplication - Ask God to help you where you struggle
Alone, Kneel Down, Out Loud, With a list, Using the Pattern
Secret to prayer is prayer in secret.
Posture promotes humility.
Use a partner in prayer.
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