Monday, April 02, 2007

Why Pray?

We had another amazing Sunday here at Mayfair. We had 110 in attendance for our worship service and had a family join the church with the husband coming forward to give his life to Christ.

Mayfair continues to move in the right direction under the guidance of Jesus Christ. We have some wise and Godly men and women in our church, in leadership positions, who seek God’s will in everything church related.

As we continue to grow it’s vital that our congregation collectively seeks God’s will for their lives and we as a church grow in our prayer lives. Because of that I am focusing on prayer this month with my sermons. I started the series this Sunday with a look at the reasons why we should pray.

Building a Community of Prayer
Ephesians 6:18
In a small Kentucky town there were 2 churches and 1 whiskey distillery which was owned by the town atheist.

Church members complained that the distillery gave the community a bad image so they unsuccessfully tried to shut it down.

One Saturday night they held a joint prayer meeting during which a terrible storm raged for hours. Lightning struck the distillery and it burned to the ground.

The next morning both pastors preached on the ‘POWER OF PRAYER’. The insurance company decided to not pay for the damages due to the ‘act of God’ clause in the policy so the distillery owner sued both churches for conspiring with God to destroy his building.

In court both churches denied any involvement in causing the fire.

A confused judge said, ‘I find one thing about this case very perplexing: The plaintiff (an atheist) is professing belief in the power of prayer and the defendants (church members) are denying that same power.

18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

Prayer is the true backbone of the church. The church only functions as it’s members pray. Growing churches have active praying members and dying churches don’t. Sure there are other differences between the two but the primary difference is the act of prayer amongst the congregation.

10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10

Prayer is what allows a church to not only stand firmly but to also function properly. We live in a society where the church is attacked from every direction and sometimes backs down when it shouldn’t.

Abortion is a great example of what I’m talking about. No matter where you stand on the issue the fact remains that abortion stops life. Abortion plain and simple is murder and the church collectively didn’t stand when it should have to try to make a difference in this issue when the opportunity presented itself.

Instead of attempting to be more involved in the legislation of the laws regarding abortion the church backed down to the protesters when they said that the institution was infringing on the rights of the individuals. These are many of the same protestors who speak out against putting a convicted killer to death but are completely content to watch and allow an unborn child to die.

The church needs to pray for strength to stand in the midst of opposition and be a voice for Holiness and righteousness. I feel strongly that we have lost that voice and will not get it back until we find our way back into an active prayer life.

Prayer is also the key to success in ministry. When was the last time that you prayed for an opportunity to minister to someone? Churches grow because they are active in ministry and sometimes the words of Jesus haunt churches in regards to their ability to minister. “You have not because you ask not.”

3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Colossians 4:3

Prayer is the key to accountability. On a personal level we often don’t view ourselves as being accountable to God because we aren’t connected to Him. A greater understanding of God leads to a greater since of accountability to Him.

When we view God as being righteous and holy then have a better understanding of what we should desire to be like as followers of Christ. Sin runs rampant in our lives because we aren’t actively seeking God’s direction.

12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12
The only way Christ can be glorified in you is if you are actively communicating with Him and allowing Him to shape you through your prayer life.

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