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Compassion is Praying

Passion for Compassion  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts
Introduction
The truth about prayer
Most people pray.
Many prayers go unanswered.
Most prayers lack two critical ingredients:
Isaiah 5:13 ESV
13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.
Hosea 4:6 ESV
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
First, many do not know God’s Word. So, we pray out of ignorance, rather than from a firm foundation in God’s truth.
John 14:13–14 ESV
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:13–16 ESV
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
John 14:
“In my name” refers to praying prayers that are in full alignment with God’s character and His will.
So, the second reason why many prayers go unanswered is that we do not take the time to know God’s Will. In other words, we do not ask God what He intends to do—we assume—and many times, we assume wrong.
Knowing God’s Word and knowing God’s will are essential elements in a productive prayer life. But, I want to take it one step further.
Our prayer life needs proper motivation. What should motivate us to take the time and effort to pray? The answer centers on our relationship with God.
A genuine Christian demonstrates the evidence of their relationship with God in two essential ways:
Loving God.
Loving People.
John 13:35 ESV
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:3
Illustration: Lloyd Olson (when he was diagnosed with blood cancer and the church came together to pray for him on a Sunday night.
When someone is in need, the church must rise together and intercede on their behalf.
2 Corinthians 1:8–11 ESV
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
Paul knew first hand the importance of prayer—especially intercessory prayer.
Paul faced such hardship and pain, he was convinced that death was just around the corner.
But, it was through his experience that he recognized a critical principle in the life of the church: Intercessory prayer.
2 Corinthians 1:9–10 ESV
9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
2 Cor 1:
Why?
It is because of intercessory prayer!
2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV
11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
How can intercession make the difference?

Intercession emphasizes reliance on God.

In our culture, we emphasize self-reliance: If you want to get something done, then you need to do it yourself.
Or, have we bought into this false teaching: God help those who helps themselves?
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he states a fundamental truth that a believer must embrace:
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Seeking God for everything—including the needs of others establishes the necessity of relying on God completely!
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Do we truly believe that God is greater than our problems—and do we truly believe God is willing to demonstrate His power to help us in our problems—and do we truly believe that through God’s power He will be glorified?
God is calling us to be intercessors—and rely on Him completely.

Intercession invites the believer to participate in God’s agenda.

Intercessory prayer is God’s invitation for us to join Him in His work.
That invitation to join Him includes prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 ESV
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
God uses prayer to enact His work. One of the benefits of being a believer in Christ is to join God in His work—and experience His power to deliver.
Illustration: The first time I discovered this principle, it what when I enlisted in the Air Force (Bill Hinkley).
When you engage in God’s agenda in prayer, you and others will experience a powerful attitude adjustment:

Intercession encourages gratitude.

2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV
11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
2 Cor 1:
Do you want to develop an attitude of thankfulness in your life? What about see those around you becoming for thankful? Then enter into that prayerful activity of intercession.
As you pray according to God’s will—and as you begin to experience your prayers being answered—and as those you pray for experience answered prayer—then those around you will become more thankful.
Attitudes will change. Your attitude will change when you pray for others. Those that you pray for—their attitudes will change. And, when you surround yourself with thankful people, your life will become much more enjoyable.
This leads us to another principle Paul identifies with intercessory prayer:

Intercession results in God’s blessings.

Paul experienced God’s blessings because of the prayers of others.
There is a direct correlation between prayer and blessing. When God’s people pray the prayers that God directs, God will demonstrate the value of prayer through blessings.
Paul was blessed because people prayed!
The people who prayed were blessed because of answered prayer.
If you want to experience the blessings of God, then engage in intercessory prayer.
Conclusion
Prayer changes things!
The church—if it is going to be pleasing to the Lord—must wholeheartedly embrace intercessory prayer.
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