Last week we discussed the principal that we all know.
Instinctively, we know this to be true.
Equally true, this week we consider,
How many people here would say they would like to improve your prayer life?
Touch someone near you and tell them....today is your day!
Today I’m going to ask us to pray some bold prayers. Prayers like Joshua prayed in Joshua 10.
Joshua had led the army to drive out the people in the promised land. Amazingly successful in this. Here in Chapter 10, the Gibeonites, some folks who are like trade partners with the Israelites, are in trouble and they reach out to Joshua.
Joshua and the army marched all night. As they marched, God spoke to Joshua:
“Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”
Joshua knew that God was on his side. God had delivered over and over. Joshua knew he was on mission for God…even though this would be a difficult battle. He knew that God was with him...so he prayed a bold prayer. He asked God to stop the sun over Gibeon.
That’s a bold prayer. God, stop the sun please because we are going to need some daylight to finish the task you have before us; and do you know what happened. The sun stopped. God was with them, they totally defeated the armies of the Amorites and the survivors scattered. God stepped in and sent hail down from heaven and those killed by the large hailstones were more than those killed in battle.
I want to pray boldly like that. I believe God wants us to pray boldly too. I truly do.
Mark Batterson: “Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.
But all too often, bold isn’t the word I would use to describe my prayers.
Small, selfish, boring, timid prayers are more common. Frankly my prayers are more sleepy than they are soul stirring.
Wake up, you need to hear this.
Instead of praying timid prayers. I’ve started to notice more and more that I say “just” a lot in my prayers. I’ve begun to correct myself, but I still do it. Lord if you would just…Father can you just...
It’s as though I pray like my prayers are an inconvenience to God. I know what kind of sinner I am, what business do I have interrupting God when there is a man of God like Dave Kelly crying out to God. Or Sandy Waugh. Or Mrs BiBi. I’m not like them. SO I give God an out in my seeking. God JUST...
These aren’t bold prayers.
Is that you too?
How would you describe your prayers?
God does not answer vague prayers, he doesn’t need to…we actually don’t need him to. The more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.
I believe God wants us to pray bold prayers....not just saying bold things to God. I want Bold things to come from my heart. That’s why I say I have a prayer problem, but my prayers aren’t the problem.
Abraham Heschel once said, "The issue of prayer is not prayer, the issue of prayer is God."* He means that our prayers reveal what we believe about God, and when we have the right understanding of God, our prayers will reflect it.
How big is God? How powerful is God? Do our prayers reflect it?
Too often we pray like we mis-believe God. Maybe I should say I do; but I think this applies to more than just me. We think God isn’t interested in us. We pray like God isn’t able to deliver. We pray like God only works in big pictures and not in the details. But that is not true of God.
Are your problems bigger than God, or is God bigger than your problems? Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And it’s a high view of God that is the solution to all other problems.
I want us to learn today to be bold in our relationship with God, to pray bold prayers. To ask God for his blessing, and expect him to show up. This is the way Jesus taught us to pray and its what we see in Peter and John’s prayer in Acts 4.
Remember Peter and John amazed the spiritual leaders because they were just a couple of regular guys who had spent time with Jesus and now they had amazing courage and boldness.
You may remember that they were sent away with the threat of death if they ever taught in the name of Jesus again. Let’s see what they did next.
After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them,
So see this. You have just been arrested. Those who are in authority told you, if you do it again, I’m going to kill you. What do you do?
Well they went and praised God. They thanked God for all he had done. Notice there in vs 24 they called god sovereign.
In charge of everything…everything and everyone answer to Him.
That makes the rest of the prayer in
For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
They saw themselves as part of what God was doing. Everything that had happened was under God’s hand.
Knowing who God is, and their relationship with Him as his disciples, his followers, they saw themselves as part of the next chapter of God’s story. They had been arrested, so they celebrated. They had gone through trials and difficulties, but they rejoiced. They had seen their friend and leader Jesus beaten and crucified, but now they could praise God. Because they had seen the resurrection. they had experienced new life, they were filled with the Holy Spirit power, just as Jesus had promised and now they were here in this moment for God.
See what they prayed. Not lord protect us…not lord deliver us…not lord get us out of here…no they just said,
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.
Consider. Lord consider our circumstances, and give us boldness to accomplish your mission.
See that’s the key to bold prayers, they are for God’s glory and mission. I believe these are the prayers that God longs to answer.
It’s what Jesus was explaining in
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
God wants to give us what we seek. But remember we were created to be in a relationship with Him. That’s what makes disciples, followers in relationship with Jesus. SO when we pray out of our relationship with Jesus, where he is leading us, where he wants to take us…not where we want to go…that our prayers can move from
These are the sort of prayers that are prayed out of that relationship with Jesus and not out of US. Praying out of God’s heart, not my desires. Praying out of an experience with God. Because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence.
This comes with time. Just like Peter and John had spent time with Jesus, and now they could pray boldly, for more boldness and more miracles, because they wanted to live for Jesus.
They were willing to be used by God for things that were way beyond their ability or talent. That if God didn’t show up, it was going to be a horrible failure.
This is where God is glorified. In big, bold, specific prayers that are in keeping with God’s mission.
We know how God answered Joshua’s prayer for provision on God’s mission. Now look God did with the prayers of Peter and John for boldness and miracles:
When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
God answered the prayer right there. A miracle and boldness.
You see God wants to answer our prayers, but too often we don’t pray out of our relationship with God. Instead we pray out of US.
Instead of praying small - asking God to do things that are possible with human effort, like: Lord send us 2 new people to church…a bold prayer would be: Lord, call 200 people to faith in you today!
Instead of praying boring when I pray so general and vague that I see answers everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Father, bless my son today… where a bold prayer would be Lord, surround him with your angels of protection today, strengthen him against the influence of sin lust and self doubt. Keep him from temptation to alcohol and or any other substance that will cover over his need for the salvation only you can deliver. Stir his heart to know you and to grow in his relationship with you. Use these blessings in his life as his testimony that he might tell others of your saving work. Make him your servant so that others might live.
Instead of praying selfishly, when I ask God to do things that I am not willing to do. Lord will you help that lady find the money for her electric bill. Lord will you send someone over to visit him? Father, will you send some Christians in to the schools so there can be prayer in schools again? Why am I praying these things? I can be the answer to these prayers…problem is, I’m too busy. Between the other things I do and the time I waste on me…I don’t have time, I want God to do it.
Instead of praying timid prayers, we begin to pray like the disciples, praying out of our relationship with God. No more, lord if you could, would you please…God, if you just.... instead we begin to proclaim God’s goodness. Lord, You have done amazing things in my life. I know you say I can do all things through Christ who is my strength, today, I pray for boldness in speech and wisdom in seeing opportunities to share your good news.
There are some answers to bold prayers right in this room. Some of you are an answered prayer. A prayer for a child when the doctors said we couldn’t. A husband, wife, son, or daughter who someone was praying boldly for something to happen in your life so you might turn to Jesus.
Maybe you were at the end of your rope one day and you prayed, God ill do anything if you get me out of here…and he did. And he’s waiting for you. God’s not harassing you…but he is waiting. And you know he is.
A lot going on at the Priddy House, we just moved to town and now our kids are moving off to college. We swing between excitement and scared to death.
I want to help my kids get ready. I am excited about their classes, their roommates, their dorms or apartments, I”m more excited than they are. I want to set them up for success too. We buy all the stuff they need, we help them get all organized and everything. We give them more advice than they want, but I truly want them to be successful. It is exciting to see them doing what we have spent years planning for.
Now imagine God’s excitement for us when we begin to pray God out of where he wants us to go…rather than where we want to go.
Imagine how he would hear our prayer: Father, God, I ask you to bless me financially so that I can give more away to help the poor. God make my business flourish so I can hire more people and pay them a better wage. Lord, bless my children in order that they become a blessing to your kingdom. Lord bless me in my illness that I might be a witness of your transforming power heal me for your glory. Lord give me a position of influence and authority so that I can tell more people about you.
This is how disciples pray bold prayers, out of their relationship with Jesus.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Pastor stands behind the Lord's table.
Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another. Therefore, let us confess our sin before God and one another.
CONFESSION AND PARDON
Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love, we have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
All pray in silence.
Leader to people:
Hear the good news: Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; that proves God's love toward us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
People to leader:
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Leader and people:
Glory to God. Amen.
Let us offer one another signs of reconciliation and love.
All, including the pastor, exchange signs and words of God's peace.
As forgiven and reconciled people,
let us offer ourselves and our gifts to God.
A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung as the offering is received.
The bread and wine are brought by representatives of the people to the Lord's table with the other gifts, or uncovered if already in place.
A hymn, doxology, or other response may be sung as the gifts are presented.
If a Great Thanksgiving other than that which follows here is to be used, the service proceeds with A Service of Word and Table III. Otherwise, the service continues as follows:
THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION
TAKING THE BREAD AND CUP
The pastor, standing if possible behind the Lord's table, facing the people from this time through Breaking the Bread, takes the bread and cup; and the bread and wine are prepared for the meal.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
One of the musical settings may be used, the pastor using the following text:
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
The pastor may lift hands and keep them raised.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life.
When we turned away, and our love failed, your love remained steadfast.
You delivered us from captivity, made covenant to be our sovereign God, and spoke to us through the prophets.
And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
The pastor may lower hands.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
The pastor may raise hands.
Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.
Your Spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to announce that the time had come when you would save your people.
He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners.
By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. When the Lord Jesus ascended, he promised to be with us always, in the power of your Word and Holy Spirit.
The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the bread, or touch the bread, or lift the bread.
On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:
"Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the cup, or touch the cup, or lift the cup.
When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
"Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
The pastor may raise hands.
in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the bread and cup.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine.
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.
The pastor may raise hands.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world,
until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet.
Through your Son Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church,
all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father,
now and forever. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
The pastor's hands may be extended in open invitation.
And now, with the confidence of children of God, let us pray:
The pastor may raise hands.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
BREAKING THE BREAD
The pastor, still standing behind the Lord's table facing the people, breaks the bread in silence, or while saying:
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.
The pastor lifts the cup in silence, or while saying:
The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.
GIVING THE BREAD AND CUP
The bread and wine are given to the people, with these or other words being exchanged:
The body of Christ, given for you. Amen.
The blood of Christ, given for you. Amen.
The congregation may sing hymns while the bread and cup are given. Many hymns, songs, and choruses in UMH in addition to 612 41 and others listed under Holy Communion are effective in expressing the people's loving communion with God and with one another. The day or season of the Christian year and the people's knowledge and love of particular hymns are important considerations in the selection of appropriate hymns. It is particularly effective if the people can sing from memory.
When all have received, the Lord's table is put in order.
The following prayer is then offered by the pastor or by all:
Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
HYMN OR SONG
DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING