Prayer;The Conversation of Faith Luke 6;2-16 081207
Prayer: The Conversation of Faith (Luke 6:12-16)
Intro: It seems these three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background. One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong -- the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face. By this time the phone man couldn't stay out of the conversation any longer. He interjected: "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, suspended 40 feet above the ground."
Give Background. In the three historical accounts prior to the selection of the Twelve Apostles, were all filled with controversy and opposition. One might conclude that all Jesus received was opposition, yet today we see in our passage in Luke that Jesus had many disciples. We are not told the exact number, but many people were disciples/ Followers of Christ and those who learned from Christ. It is out of these many disciples that Jesus selects Twelve whom Luke calls Apostles. Read Luke 6:12-16
· The topic of prayer must always begin with this clear teaching that the prayer we are speaking of today is the prayer of a believer in Christ. If you are here today and you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior; If you have never received the gift of salvation through Christ; Then the only prayer you can pray that God will receive and answer is the prayer of a sinner coming Christ by faith.
· Only the prayer of faith can bring the lost person closer to God. The fact that sin separates the unbeliever from God is no more apparent than in the topic of prayer. Jesus came to bring people close to God. Jesus came that a lost person may gain access to God. Jesus died on the cross to bridge the gap that sin made. Jesus lived a perfect life and died a perfect death so we might truly know God. If you do not know Jesus today, turn to him by faith. Leave your sin behind and follow Jesus alone. Give the free gospel offer.
1. Prayer brings us closer to God (12)
· Jesus spent extended time in prayer to the Father. Jesus drew close to the Father through prayer. If Jesus needed to do this, it is not strange that we need to do this also. The importance of prayer is underscored in this verse by the fact that prayer is mentioned twice and also by the following method Jesus used to pray:
i. Jesus went – Withdrew from normal hum, drum of life.
ii. Jesus went out to the mountain – This meant Jesus had to get away to a secluded place. Not only did he have to make an adjustment to his schedule, but He made an adjustment to His location.
Note: Jesus regular practice – Luke 5:16 “He often withdrew to the wilderness to pray.
iii. Jesus continued all night in prayer to God – Jesus not only left his normal routine and His location, but He was away in prayer for an extended period of time.
ILL: Relationships grow in the midst of ongoing communication. We grow close through conversation. Sara and I as we dated. Talking and listening: conversing.
App: Since prayer brings us closer to God, shouldn’t we pray. We should have regular times of prayer. But, we should also have special days and seasons of prayer in our lives. Perhaps you would commit yourself today to having a regular time of prayer each day. And then to take it one step further would you add a day or season of prayer to your life in the next month. You may wonder how you are to know when to do this. Let’s look to verse thirteen.
2. Prayer helps us make important decisions (13)
· Jesus drew close to God, the Father, in prayer because Jesus knew that He was at a crucial point in His life and ministry. The reason Jesus had this night of prayer on a mountain was because Jesus was about to select the twelve apostles.
· The actions of Jesus after the night of prayer reveal that decisions had been made in the midst of prayer. The agenda of that all important day was drawn out of time in prayer.
· Here’s the point. Some of you have decisions to make or will have decisions to make in the near future that need a night of prayer on the mountain. In one sense every decision we make should be committed to prayer. But, the decision Jesus was making was so crucial that it needed extra time in prayer.
· How many times have we made life-changing decisions without this extended season of prayer? How many of us are reaping the fruit of key decisions made without any real effort on our part to truly discern with confidence what God’s will is.
ILL: In the book Directions, James Hamilton tells the following story: "Before refrigerators, people used icehouses to preserve their food. Icehouses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the icehouses, and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer. One man lost a valuable watch while working in an icehouse. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn't find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the icehouse during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch. Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. `I closed the door,' the boy replied, `lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.'" Often the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are being still enough, and quiet enough, to hear. -- Philip Gunter; Los Alamos, NM
App: The problem is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are in a position to hear and ready to listen to Him. Is there a decision you are facing that needs this season of prayer? Maybe it isn’t all night. Maybe it is all day, all afternoon, all morning. Maybe it isn’t a mountain. Maybe it is a walk in the park. Maybe it is a prayer closet. Maybe it is a commute to work.
Don’t make that decision without God. God knows way more about what you need than you do. He may not give you the answer in concerning your decision in an audible voice, but He will reveal what you need to do has you draw close to Him in prayer.
Prayer helps us make important decisions because prayer leads us to choose God’s will instead of our own will.
3. Prayer leads us to choose god’s will instead of our own will (14-16)
· Just think of the variety of men that Jesus chose to be his twelve apostles.
· First, think of the task Jesus was calling these men to. The church would be formed and catapulted into existence through these men. Would you or I have picked fishermen, a tax collector, a political revolutionary, a skeptic, a future traitor? Probably not. But Jesus did. The twelve were not rich, uneducated, and not well known.
· The question to think about is WHY? Why did Jesus choose these men? It was God’s will. God’s will was discerned by Jesus as He prayed to the Heavenly Father. Jesus was in complete communion and conversation with God the Father. There was no dissention between them. Jesus, the Son, came to do the will of the Father. There will was one.
· Prayer provides the place in which our will can be united to God’s will. We will not submit fully to God’s will without prayer. If you pray about a decision, you will probably make a different decision than you would have made if you did not pray. Your will and God’s will are not one and the same. Your will and my will are tainted by our sinful nature, sinful desires, and selfish ambition. Prov. 3:5-6
· We need to know the will of God. God may ask us to do something that does not make sense to us. But it is far better to live by faith and obey God, then only do what we can understand by sight. God’s will for Christ led to the cross. God’s will is always for our lives to touch other lives so they might know Jesus for the glory of God.
Quote: "Prayer is not so much the means whereby God's will is bent to man's desires,as it is that whereby man's will is bent to God's desires. The real end of prayer is not so much to get this or that single desire granted, as to put human life into full and joyful conformity with the will of God." Charles Brent (1862-1929) Anglican Bishop and Missionary to the Philippines
App: We may not be able to understand every circumstance of our life, but we can pray and read the Bible and trust God as we walk this journey of faith in Jesus Christ. Without prayer, you will never know God’s will as you ought to. When you have the regular intake of God’s Word and you take the time for regular and special times of prayer, you can know God’s will for your life.
The marriage of prayer and the Word of God will spring forth a life full of purpose and meaning. No more wondering what I am supposed to do, but a confident walking by faith in the will of God. All of this can take place through prayer. Prayer is the conversation of faith. Walking by faith will take constant communication with God in various types and seasons of prayer to God.
But know this, through prayer the power of God will be released in your life.
Power of Prayer
A man dreamed, while traveling, that he came to a little church. On the roof was a devil fast asleep. He went along farther and came to a log cabin which was surrounded by devils all wide awake. He asked one of them what it meant. Said the devil, "I will tell you. The fact is that the whole church is asleep, and one devil can take care of all the people; but here are a man and a woman who commune with God in prayer, and they have more power than the whole church."
Oh that we would be a people of prayer and know the power of God in our lives, homes, and in our church!
Conclusion: Invitation: Salvation; Baptism; Church Membership; The call.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
Here is an illustration of how to find God’s will that has been useful to many: There was a certain harbor that was treacherous and dangerous. In order for the captain to guide his ship safely into this harbor, he had to be very attentive to the three lights that were used to guide him. When all three lights lined up as one, he knew it was safe to proceed. Then, and only then, would he be able to bring his ship safely to port.
As we seek guidance, we, too, have to be attentive to three lights that are used to guide us into the harbor of His will: the Word of God, outward circumstances, and inner conviction. When all three of these lights line up, we can proceed with assurance that we will be led safely into the harbor.