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Prayers entry is thanksgiving and praise January 28 07

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Prayer’s entry is Thanksgiving and Praise

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Introduction: Last week we begin our study of prayer by looking at two principles of prayer:

1.     We are to pray in faith— the trust and belief that God is absolutely in charge of every aspect of a believer’s life—and that God rewards our belief, our trust, our faith (Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6, ESV)

2.     We are to pray God’s Will—1 John chapter 5, "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him." (1 John 5:14-15, ESV).  God’s will always centers on our value, our productivity, and our fruitfulness.

Prayer that absolutely knows that God hears and answers is kingdom advancing and expanding prayer.  The results of all answered prayer for a believer should be for God to remove everything that is unproductive in us and around us, and to ask the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in our life and in the lives of others.

This morning I want us to focus in on two more principles of prayer—two principles that will help us enter into prayer rightly. Open your Bibles to Psalm 100, "A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 100:1-5, ESV)

 Prayer is partnering with God to see that His will be done and that His kingdom comes.  Prayer’s central focus is NOT the answer to the prayer—but on the goodness of God—that He loves us and cares for us.  Because that is true—it is important that our entry into prayer, then, focuses on the goodness of our God.  Two principles help us focus on God’s goodness which is evidenced by his love and faithfulness:

Thanksgiving and Praise.  (" Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 107:1, ESV) ((comp. 1 Chron. 16:34; 2 Chron. 5:13; 7:3; Ezra 3:11; Pss. 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 125:3; 136:1; 145:9).  We will also recognize that thanksgiving and praise are two principles of worship!

1.                             Thanksgiving—a confession of thanksgiving, a thank-offering, a sacrifice of thanksgiving—the giving of thanks (eucharistia /yoo·khar·is·tee·ah/). As seen in Colossians 4:2  " Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." (Colossians 4:2, ESV) and in Philippians 4:6 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6, ESV) Thanksgiving flows from a heart that chooses to recognize that God is a good God.  Thanksgiving also trains our head and our heart to recognize the goodness of God.

2.                             Praise—(imperative language) to bless to speak (Eulogeo) well of, to adore,  to commend (Epaineo)to magnify, to exalt, to extol, to give glory to (Doxazo)—(with shouts, with singing one Hebrew word Zamar is to sing praise, to make music). To give glory and honor to God.  "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." (Hebrews 13:15, ESV) Praise acknowledges our dependence on God and specifically acknowledges God’s greatness and goodnessAgain, Praise helps change our thinking, our attitude—"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9, ESV)

We then through thanksgiving and praise recognize who God is in our life, His importance, His goodness as we then by FAITH ask of Him whatever we will (as it is in HIS WILL).  Thanksgiving and praise help us establish right relationship with the Lord, helps us in gratitude ask in prayer to change us into His image.

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