This is the sermon for Sunday morning, August 31st, 2008.
PRAYER IT DOES THE BODY GOOD
We are continuing our Sunday morning series, “Prayer – it does the body good.” When we say, “body,” we are not talking about individual’s bodies, but we are talking about a community of believers, the local body of Christ.
Here is our theme verse for this series.
James 5:16b HCSB – The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.
There are some moments I remember with fondness. When I saw the hand of God just move is such powerful ways. This story I’m going to share is one such moment. It was December 24th, Christmas Eve, and I was at work at Walmart. It was about 4:30 that morning. A very good friend of mine came up to me, he used to work at Walmart and he was someone who really loved the Lord. He had a stressed out look upon his face. I didn’t even notice that he didn’t have any shoes on his feet, or that his children were covered with blankets. He had tears in his eyes and was just shaking. I asked him what was wrong. He told me that they just lost everything they owned in a fire. All their belongings, the house itself, Christmas gifts, everything but their clothes, or should I say, the blankets on their backs. It was difficult to see him like this. I prayed for him and talked to the managers of the store, reminding them he used to work there. A most amazing thing happen; They let me share the need with the associates of Walmart. And guess what, they came through it a great way, we raised a thousand dollars in donations from just associates, plus bought them some other items to go into their new house, like some tables, chairs, microwaves, things of that nature. When I invited my friend down to the store to get the stuff and show him, he just broke down crying. You see, he lost it all, but one thing the fire couldn’t take was his faith in Christ Jesus. He saw evidence that God was going to take care of them.
Within this true story I believe we see the power of two things: (1) the power of community when it unifies behind a cause or need; (2) the power of prayer. Why prayer? Because they were crying out to God in the midst of their need and God answered them big time. Let me ask you a question? Have you had such a big need in your life that all you could do is fall on your face and cry out to God? Words couldn’t describe the hurt of your broken heart, so you just wept before Him? Have you ever had God meet those needs in such supernatural and miraculous ways?
Well, this is what this series is all about. Believing God for the impossible, crying out to Him in your hour of need.
Remember our series theme? Ordinary people praying to an extraordinary God produces powerful results.
We are going to look at three more prayer points that I believe we can utilize in our prayer lives and make them more meaningful.
But before we do, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten His Word and speak to us through the preaching of the Word this morning.
1. A prayer for our daily needs.
Matthew 6:11 ESV – Give us this day our daily bread…
A. This passage of course is found in what is commonly called, “The Lord’s prayer.”
Here Jesus is telling His disciples to pray for daily provision, daily sustenance. He is teaching them that their dependence should not be on their daily ability to provide for their needs, but on the Lord.
B. I believe that this is a prayer that we should pray daily.
Asking the Lord to provide for your daily needs, and to give you what you need this day to survive. We also shouldn’t rely so much on others concerning our needs. You see, we all may have limitations to help one another supply the other need. Our ultimate supplier of our needs is the Lord God and it is on Him that we must put our complete dependence upon: Not ourselves, others, the church, or even our government.
C. Should you only pray for your personal needs this alone?
No, I believe you should also pray this for the needs of your family, the church and leadership, your job and employers, your neighbors, friends, and enemies.
D. Let’s look at our next prayer point.
This one deals with a need that all of us have, whether rich or poor, no matter the color of our skin, and not matter what country we live in.
2. A prayer for specific wisdom.
James 1:5 HCSB – Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
A. Now let’s look at the context that this verse is found in first.
This verse is not talking about daily wisdom. We have proverbs and other writings of Scripture concerning those type issues. It is talking about a specific type of wisdom. Let’s read the entire context and see what type of wisdom this is talking about.
James 1:2-5 HCSB – 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. 5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
In a nutshell the specific type of wisdom this verse is talking about for us to ask for is the wisdom that counts it great joy whenever you go through trails, knowing that the trying of your faith produces endurance.
C. So when you are going through fiery trails, or you know someone who is, ask the Lord to give you or them the wisdom to rejoice in the midst of the trial and to see that God is working endurance in their lives.
D. The next prayer point is one that it is my heart’s desire that each one of you will consider to pray daily.
Too often people complain about this group of people within the church. They don’t need our complaints and gossip, they need our prayers.
3. A prayer for the leadership in the local church.
Acts 14:23 ESV – And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
A. The Apostles were church planting through Asia as they were preaching the gospel and many were coming to Christ.
They had to leave overseers there with each church they were planting, so they appointed elders in every church, prayed for them, and then continued to reach out.
B. I know that one of the burdens that leadership has to carry is the fact that people like to complain about the leadership, whether it is in church, government, business, whatever.
One of the things that you might hear is, “well, if I ran the show, or the ship, things would be different.” Well, I’ve got news for you: this isn’t a show, or a ship; it is a local church, a representative of the body of Christ. And whether you like it or not, or had a say so in the decisions or not, there is God-appointed leadership within this church.
C. Can’t we be like the early church and the Apostles, and pray for the leadership that you have here at Faith United Church.
D. What should you pray?
For wisdom and direction. That the Word of God is preached under the Spirit’s power and leading. Finances. I could go one, but I will stop here on this one.
E. The final prayer point that we will look at this morning is one that we definitely have need for here at Faith United Church.
4. A prayer for more ministers within our local church.
Acts 13:2-3 ESV – 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
A. As the believers were worshiping (ministering) to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit set apart Paul and Barnabas for ministry.
B. In our church, we desperately need workers and ministers.
We could ask or beg, but I think we should pray for the Lord to raise up from within our body, or send to our body workers for the ministries we need. What kind of workers do we need here at Faith United Church? Worship team members, visitation team for visitors and the afflicted, prayer workers, outreach workers, children church workers, the list goes on and on.
We are going to stop here this morning.
Have you been praying for the local needs of the church as well as the leadership? If not, I strongly encourage you to do so. I and the Elders and the staff of Faith United Church desperately need your prayers, not your criticism.
Can you imagine what God just might do in our small body of believers if people would quit going to one another with complaints and started pounding the doors of heaven in intercession for the church and leadership?
Let’s be this type of church that prays for the needs of others, for the current leadership, and for God to send in more people to minister for Him.