Today, Pastor Doug presented his second message in a two-week miniseries on prayer. He challenged us to give prayer a prominent place in our lives. Although many of us view prayer as an optional part of the Christian life, it should be as natural to us as breathing.
From Scripture, we can glean at least seven benefits from prayer:
- Prayer assures us of God’s presence. (Psalm 145:18)
- Prayer brings blessings from God. (Matthew 7:11)
- Prayer brings help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
- Prayer brings peace in the midst of anxiety. (Phil. 4:6-7)
- Prayer brings physical and spiritual healing. (James 5:15-16)
- Prayer brings wisdom from God. (James 1:5)
- Prayer strengthens us against temptation. (Matthew 26:41)
Most of us want to grow in our prayer life, we just don’t know how to go about it. We need a role model, someone to teach us how to pray. From Matthew chapter 6, we can study how Jesus taught His disciples to pray. No passage in the Bible is more straightforward in its teaching on prayer. And the truths contained here are just as applicable today as they were 2,000 years ago. When it comes to prayer, Jesus instructs us to pray in three ways:
Pray secretly (Matthew 6:5-6): A private place ensures a minimum of distractions, and it eliminates the temptation to try and impress others.
Pray sincerely (Matthew 6:7-8): In other words, when you pray, be “real.” Don’t try to impress God; just talk to Him like you would talk to anyone else. Tell God what’s on your mind. He knows it already, but He wants you to talk to Him about it.
Pray specifically (Matthew 6:9-13): Jesus doesn’t give us an exhaustive list of what we should pray for, but what He does include is instructive: that God’s honor be upheld; for God’s kingdom and will to be established; for our daily needs to be met; and for our sins to be forgiven. Another area about which Jesus said we should pray is temptation. We should pray for protection in this area since we all face temptations of many different kinds on a regular basis. Satan knows where you are weak; he knows which temptations have the strongest appeal in your life. He knows where you are most vulnerable. But through prayer, Jesus invites us to connect our weakness to God’s strength. Commit those areas you struggle in to prayer. Ask God to fortify you against temptation.
Application / Challenge
Pastor Doug challenged us to memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 as an antidote to temptation: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Additionally, Pastor Doug shared some common areas of struggle along with a Scripture passage that addresses each issue that may be helpful in your prayer life.
Area of Struggle: Scripture
Discontentment: 1 Timothy 6:6-8
Worry: Philippians 4:6
Desire to fit in, fear of man: 1 John 2:15
Lust: 2 Timothy 2:22
Anger: Proverbs 15:1, 18
When you commit to the regular practice of prayer, you will deepen your relationship with God, begin to align your will with His, and see powerful changes in your life.