Saturday, July 4, 2009

MY PREACHING # 3

BORED WITH PRAYER MEETING
Matthew 18:18-20

GOD CALLS US TO PRAY TOGETHER.
We will find in our study of Scripture, particularly Matthew 18:18-20, three reasons that demonstrate why we should pray together.

OUR STUDY:

I. The first reason why we should pray together is HOSTILITY (18). state of deep-seated ill-will; aggression: violent action that is hostile and usually unprovoked.
Jesus says…“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This is a warfare ( II Corinthians 10:3-4)!
This is what Paul describes…”For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
We are to pray together because the fight is so great, and it is not to be fought alone.
We are to pray together because we have been given power to make a difference for the kingdom!


II. The second reason why we should pray together is HARMONY (19). “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

1. We exist in community.

We saw that the Lord’s Prayer reinforced this principle of community when Jesus prayed, “Our Father” and “Give us this day our daily bread.” Our prayers are to reflect that we do not live in isolation. God has designed us to exist among others and not on our own. But it is more than that. He expects the community to work well together.

2. Prayer is meant to be a concert.

The word translated “agree” in this passage is interesting. It means “sound together” or “harmony.” In other words, our prayers are to be a symphony, like musicians that play together. So when you hear us speaking about having a “concert of prayer,” it is not about music, but about possessing a kindred spirit when it comes to our worship, confession and petition. We sound good together. It is pleasing to God’s ears.

III. The third reason why we should pray together is HUMILITY (20).

Jesus said…“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

1. Prayer is approaching God, coming on His merits, not our own.

When we come to God, who we are is not the issue. Who Jesus is, is the issue. We must humbly accept this. We like to bring attention to our faithfulness. We like to bring attention to how knowledgeable we are.

But we cannot appeal to how good we have been or how much faith we have. We cannot appeal to the history of our church. We come in His name, not our own. We do not come asking for what we want, but for what He wants. When it is on our hearts to desire what will bring God glory, we are praying in His name. And in turn, we discover that He is the “with-us” God.

2. Prayer is discovering and recognizing God’s Presence.

When we gather to pray, (and we only need two), we discover that we are not alone.
Jesus does not say “I will be there.” He says, “I am there.” He is there because He is in every one of us.

3. Prayer is discovering and living out the Lord’s purposes.


APPLICATION:

Let me admit that I have been bored with prayer meeting. It is not that I am bored with prayer, although sometimes I think we could use some creativity. What it really is, I believe, is a lack of excitement that is rooted in disbelief. We don’t believe the difference that God can make when we pray together. Prayer meetings often fail because Jesus is not actively in charge.

When we gather for prayer as a church, let’s let Jesus take charge!
“Our unity is the instrument in God’s hands that awakens people in the kingdom of death and darkness and moves them into the kingdom of life and light.” He will use us to make this kind of difference. When the early church exploded with growth, it began with a gathering of prayer.

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