Christian Fellowship 1996-05-14 - The Importance of Prayer

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"Men ought always to pray." (Luke 18:1)

"I will that men pray everywhere" (1 Timothy 2:8)

"Pray; and be both safe and happy." --Joseph Hall

Yesterday was a polemic on our need to pray. Today I hope to provide encouragement to those who do pray. If you are one who prays, you feel that you must pray, you cannot give it up, you must go on in it.

  1. I commend the importance of reverence and humility in prayer. Let us never forget who we are and what a solemn thing it is to speak with God. We must remember that when we pray we are on holy ground.

  2. I commend the importance of praying spiritually. We must labor to have the help of the Spirit in our prayers.

  3. I commend the importance of making prayer a regular business of our lives. Just as we give time each day to eating, sleeping, and work, so we ought to give time everyday to prayer. It is a good practice to speak with God before we speak with the world, and to speak with God at night when we are done with the world. Prayer should be one of the great parts of our day.

  4. I commend the importance of perseverance in prayer. If you have begun the habit never give it up. Your body will say, "I am to tired to pray today", your mind, "It has been a long day, skip just this once". Think that these suggestions come straight from Satan. A Christian never finds he loses out, in the long run, by persevering in prayer. I remember a story I read once, I think it was of the Reformer Martin Luther. He had a long day before him, in speaking to a friend, his comment was, "I must rise extra early to pray".

  5. I commend the importance of earnestness in prayer. We should be hearty, fervent, and warm, and ask as if we are interested in what we are praying.

  6. I commend the importance of praying with faith. We should cultivate the habit of expecting answers to our prayers. Robert Trail says, "There is no surer mark of trifling in prayer, than when men are careless what they get by prayer."

  7. I commend the importance of boldness in prayer. It was said of Luther's prayers, "What spirit, what a confidence was in his very expressions! With such a reverence he sued, as one begging of God, and yet with such hope and assurance, as if he spake with a loving father or friend."

  8. I commend the importance of Fullness in prayer. We are not likely in this day and age to be guilty of praying too long or too much. Our private times with God are often scanty--just enough to prove our spiritual life is existent. How many of us have so much fullness in our prayers that our cup is overflowing?

  9. I commend the importance of particularity in prayer. We should specify our wants before the throne of grace and not be content with general petitions. It is not enough to confess we are sinners, we need to name and confess our sins. It is not enough to tell the Lord we are in trouble, we need to describe our trouble and all its peculiarities. This is what Jacob did when he feared his brother Esau (Gen. 32:11)

  10. I commend the importance of thankfulness in prayers. Asking of God is one thing, praising Him is quite another. George Whitfield was known to be running over with thankfulness in his prayers, let us be as well.

  11. Lastly, I commend the importance of watchfulness over your prayers. It is in prayer that true religion begins and here it flourishes, and here it decays. Prayer is a spiritual pulse, find out the state of some ones prayers and you have found out the state of their soul.

I offer these to you for your private consideration. The one person I know of who most needs to be reminded of these things is myself. May the times we live in be praying times and the Christians be praying Christians and may it be as it has historically been, when the faithful pray, God sends revival, which sadly has been absent from our nation since the revival of 1858.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim]

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