6 The Purpose of The Church- Prayer

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1. ESV 2. As we finish the purpose of the Church series, I hope that it has inspired some thinking from each one of us about what our purpose is and what we can do to…
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  • 1. ESV
  • 2. As we finish the purpose of the Church series, I hope that it has inspired some thinking from each one of us about what our purpose is and what we can do to better fulfill our purpose at Lindley Christian Church.
  • 3. I want to finish this series with a purpose that does not seem to exciting. It is an activity that every person, no matter what their physical limitations are, can do. This activity is a channel of blessings for all who will use it. This purpose is prayer. Everything that we do as individual Christians and as a church should be bathed in prayer.
  • 4. If prayer does not drive sin out of your life, sin will drive prayer out. We feel that we just do not have time to pray. We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results. (R. A. Torrey)
  • 5. Other times we use prayer only in an emergency. A young soldier who was fighting in Italy during World War II jumped into a foxhole just ahead of some bullets. He immediately tried to deepen the hole for more protection and was frantically scraping away the dirt with his hands.
  • 6. He unearthed something metal and brought up a silver crucifix, left by a former resident of the foxhole. A moment later another leaping figure landed beside him as the shells screamed overhead. When the soldier got a chance to look, he saw that his new companion was an army chaplain. Holding out the crucifix, the soldier gasped, "Am I glad to see you! How do you work this thing?"
  • 7. Prayer is important! Corrie Ten Boom ask us the question, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” Too many times prayer is used as a spare tire instead of the steering wheel of our lives and the churches. What can we do to change this? Why should prayer be an important part of our lives?
  • 8. 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation."
  • 9. Whenever Jesus did something or before He did something He prayed to God. Raising of Lazarus.
  • 10. How much prayer meant to Jesus! It was not only His regular habit, but His resort in every emergency, however slight or serious. When perplexed He prayed. When hard pressed by work He prayed. When hungry for fellowship He found it in prayer. He chose His associates and received His messages upon His knees. If tempted, He prayed.
  • 11. If criticized, He prayed. If fatigued in body or wearied in spirit, He had recourse to His one unfailing habit of prayer. Prayer brought Him unmeasured power at the beginning, and kept the flow unbroken and undiminished. There was no emergency, no difficulty, no necessity, no temptation that would not yield to prayer. (S. D. Gordon, Quiet Talks on Prayer. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 5)
  • 12. The early church was devoted to prayer. ESV ESV
  • 13. The Leadership of the church was also devoted to prayer! ESV (The twelve- )
  • 14. ESV
  • 15. Prayer is a way to show devotion to someone. Prayer should be a priority because God hears us.
  • 16. ESV ESV
  • 17. ESV ESV
  • 18. ESV
  • 19. ESV Cornelius’ prayers were a memorial to God. WHY? Faith! Prayer is the channel from which blessings flow.
  • 20. Mark 11:24 ESV ESV ESV
  • 21. Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at the disposal of prayer. (R. A. Torrey) Prayer is the phone line to God. Prayer is a way to express thanksgiving to God.
  • 22. It is probable that in most of us the spiritual life is impoverished and stunted because we give so little place to gratitude. It is more important to thank God for blessings received than to pray for them beforehand. For that forward-looking prayer, though right as an expression of dependence upon God, is still self-centered in part, at least, of its interest; there is something we hope to gain by our prayer.
  • 23. But the backward-looking act of thanksgiving is quite free from this. In itself it is quite selfless. Thus it is akin to love. All our love to God is in response to His love for us; it never starts on our side. ESV (William Temple, from 3000 Quotations on Christian Themes. Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 17.)
  • 24. Spiritual and physical. Government and church leaders need our prayers. When Edward Everett Hale was chaplain of the U.S. Senate, someone asked him, "Do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?" He replied, "No, I look at the senators and pray for the country."
  • 25. ESV ESV
  • 26. Other churches need our prayers. ESV
  • 27. The lost need our prayers. ESV He is referring to Israel in this context.
  • 28. ESV If we pray for those who are lost, we will make an even greater effort to reach them.
  • 29. Prayer is an important function of the church. A person who does not think they can do much could have a prayer ministry. We’ve seen from the Scriptures, God’s Word, how important being a praying person is.
  • 30. Our failure to think of prayer as a privilege may be partly due to the fact that we can pray any time. The door to prayer is open so continuously that we fail to avail ourselves of an opportunity which is always there. (Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Meaning of Prayer) When asked to do something that seems hard or spectacular, we are more apt to do it than to do something as simple as prayer.
  • 31. Like art, like music, like so many other disciplines, prayer can only be appreciated when you actually spend time in it. Spending time with the Master will elevate your thinking. The more you pray, the more will be revealed. You will understand. You will smile and nod your head as you identify with others who fight long battles and find great joy on their knees. (Joni Eareckson Tada) When we don’t pray, it’s primarily because we don’t sense our need for God.
  • 32. No man should be alone when he opposes Satan. The church and the ministry of the Word were instituted for this purpose, that hands may be joined together and one may help another. If the prayer of one doesn’t help, the prayer of another will. (Martin Luther, "Martin Luther--The Early Years," Christian History, no. 34.) Do you use prayer as a spare tire instead of the steering wheel?
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