This is the sermon for Sunday Morning, August 10th, 2008.
PRAYER IT DOES THE BODY GOOD
This morning, we continue in the sermon series we started last week, “Prayer – it does the body good.”
Instead of a Scripture text for this series, we have a theme text as it were.
James 5:16b HCSB – The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful.
We also have a series theme that is important to learn during this series. Ordinary people praying to an extraordinary God produces powerful results.
I revealed last Sunday Morning that prayer is an area of my life that I sometimes struggle with. I don’t struggle with it everyday. I mean, there are times that the praying is rather easy and just flows. It can be during times of difficulty that it is just flows, but sometimes it flows when there are no difficulties present. Sometimes my mind is focused, and others I just can’t seem to focus on what I’m praying about at all. Sometimes I pray what I call “shot-gun” prayers. These prayers don’t aim at any particular direction, you just ask the Lord to bless everyone, not really having any details and meat in the prayers.
Now before you prepare to burn your Pastor at the stake, there are probably many of you here this morning that if you’d be honest, you struggle with the same issues at times. Does this make us bad people? No, just human.
Well, during this sermon series, we are going to look into Scripture and use Scripture as prayer points to help us in our prayer life. I believe that these prayers can help us in our own prayer life. It is called, “Praying Scripture.”
Before we get into these Scriptural prayer points, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us insight into the reading and preaching of the Word and to bless it.
1. A prayer for justice.
Luke 18:7b HCSB – Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [to help] them?
A. Well, right off the bat, I start off with a difficult passage to interpret.
How are we to pray for justice?
B. Well, let’s look at the context of the verse.
Jesus spoke the parable of the persistent widow. The reason he told them this parable is explained in v. 1, “that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” There was a widow that was having a problem with an individual, she calls her adversary. She continually goes to this unrighteous judge, who neither feared God or man, demanding justice. The word, “justice,” in the Greek means, “to be relieved of the oppression or the oppressor. The judge didn’t listen to her appeal, yet she kept coming. Finally the judge gave her justice, freed her from her oppressor, because of her continual coming to him. Jesus goes on to say that this story represents the fact that God will give justice to His elect, who cry out to Him day and night, asking for deliverance from the oppression they are facing. Ultimately, most scholars feel that this passage is referencing the second coming because of what Jesus says in v. 8, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
C. How are we to pray for justice to be done for our cause?
I don’t think it means to call for God to harm those who oppose us, but to deliver us from their oppression. So if you are going through oppressive times, cry out to the Lord for deliverance from the oppressor.
D. Let’s look at another important prayer point that can be found in Scripture.
2. A prayer for the salvation of the lost.
Romans 10:1 HCSB – Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation!
A. Though Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, he still had a love for his own race of people, the Jews.
Paul longed for them and desired for them to be saved, to break free of performance religion (trying to keep the law) and find that true righteousness comes by putting your trust in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross.
How many of you have felt like Paul? This heart’s desire for His own people was an anguish and sorrow that they might be saved. Notice what He says in Romans 9.
Romans 9:1-3 HCSB – 1 I speak the truth in Christ —I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit — 2 that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my countrymen by physical descent.
B. As believer’s in Christ Jesus, I personally believe the salvation of the lost should be our number one desire.
We should really seek the face of the Lord over them. Pray over them and ask the Father to draw them to Jesus. We should be specific on who we’d like to see saved. Call their name out in prayer to the Lord.
C. Let’s look at another prayer point that we can be applied to our prayers from Scripture.
3. A prayer for God’s Word to cut into the lives of other believers.
Ephesians 6:17b-18 HCSB – 17 and take … the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. 18 With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
A. We are not talking about God’s Word used as a weapon over other believers to cause harm and damage.
B. We are talking about God opening up their hearts through the word, to provide correction in areas of their lives they need correction, and that God’s word would help them persevere in whatever trial they might be going through.
C. We need to understand some things about this book we call the Bible.
First off, it is completely inspired and given by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21 ESV – 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, the Bible cuts like a sword to reveal the things hidden in our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
D. So our prayer for other believers should be that the Bible produces life change within them as they read it.
As you are asking the Lord to produce life change in fellow believers as they read it, do not be judgmental, and bring in what you think needs to be changed to the Lord. He knows what needs to be changed, just ask Him to change them as they read the Scriptures.
E. Also, be sure and pray this prayer for yourself.
Here you definitely can be specific and judge your life according to Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to change you and help you live out what Scripture says. Humble yourself before the Lord.
There are much more prayer points that we will cover in this series, but for now, we are done this morning.
Take these prayer points that I’ve given you this morning, and just ponder them. Study them out. Put them into practice. As you pray this week, if you know of any believers going through time of oppression, pray for God to give them justice, which is deliverance from oppression. Pray for the lost that you know specifically. Call their name out to the Lord. Pray that when believers open up the Scripture, that they would be changed by what they have read. The Word would cut into their heart and produce true fruit.
Just think on this for one moment. What would happen in our church, in our families, in our cities and towns, in our counties, in our states, and in our nation, if just a remnant of people would truly consider prayer a holy gift from God and seek His face for specific people and specific needs. I believe that the supernatural hand of God would flow in ways we’ve only dreamed of, if we dare to put His Word into practice and pray.
Will you become a prayer-warrior for Jesus this morning?