Prayer – Plugging In to God’s Power and Guidance!

BELIEVE    Prayer — Plugging In to God’s Power and Guidance! 

What do you believe about prayer?  Is prayer a waste of time?  Or does prayer really connect you to the power of God – Whose power created and keeps the universe alive and growing?

How important is it to have God’s power and guidance in your life?

CONNECTING  Our Lives to the Presence and Power of  GOD!

Is the love, power, and guidance of God – a nice bonus?  Or is God’s love, power, and guidance the essential foundation for being able to build a meaningful life?  The essential foundation for knowing that you will spend eternity in heaven?

King David was clear that the most important thing in his life – was to connect to God’s power.  David knew that every breath he breathed, every step he took – was only made possible by God’s grace.  David knew that God is the source of our lives and that God’s power is the only thing that keeps our lives going.

The Hebrew word for prayer is Tefilah – and it means much more than having a conversation with God.  Tefilah means to beg and implore God with every ounce of your strength – to connect to God’s presence and power to guide your life. 

Psalm 63:1-4 (NLT)    O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for You.  My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You…  I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory.  Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise You!  I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to You in prayer.

 The Greek term for prayer is προσεύχομαι Proseuchomai – to lean forward, to reach out and tell God what you need, trusting by faith that God will meet your needs.

The Apostle Paul helps us to see that prayer is far different than bringing God our wish list.  Prayer is leaning into God for strength and guidance – no matter what is going on in our lives.  When Paul wrote his lesson on prayer in Philippians 4 – he was in a Roman prison.  He didn’t ask God to wave a magic wand and make all of his problems to go away.  What Paul did – was to teach us the power of prayer to overcome our worries and give us the strength and courage to live by faith – no matter what is going on in our lives even being held in prison.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)    Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  God’s peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

David cried out to God in prayer with every ounce of his strength – for guidance and power.

Paul leaned in to God in prayer while he was in prison.  Prayer gave Paul the strength he needed to let go of his worries – and find peace even in the most difficult and painful times of his life. 

  • How has prayer given you peace?

Prayer has incredible power to connect ordinary people like you and me to God.  Prayer is so powerful – it is the only lesson the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them.

The  ONLY  LESSON  The Disciples Asked Jesus to Teach Them

The first disciples were with Jesus for three years.  They saw Jesus perform incredible miracles.  But they never asked Jesus to teach them how to turn water into wine or how to multiply five loaves and two small fish into enough food to feed over 10,000 people.  The disciples only asked Jesus to teach them one thing – How to pray. 

Luke 11:1-4 (NLT) 1  Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray…

2  Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

To help us grow in appreciating God’s gift of prayer and how it can transform our lives – I want to invite you to join me in digging in to the essential lessons Jesus teaches us about prayer.  The first item Jesus teaches us to focus on is God.

Most of the time when we pray – we focus on what we would like help with.  God, please heal Aunt Susie.  God please help me to get a good grade in Chemistry.  Jesus shows us that it’s not wrong to bring God our needs.  But it is better to start by celebrating our relationship with God.

Prayer changes – by reminding ourselves that we are praying to our Father in heaven – Who loves us more than anyone else.  We are praying to our Father – Who is holy – pure and perfect.  We believe that God can lead us to a better life – we celebrate God’s kingdom and we commit ourselves to living out God’s plan for us and our world.

Jesus shows us that if you want to have power in your prayers – you need to start with the right foundation.  God, You are Holy.  I want Your Kingdom to grow.  I commit myself to joining as Your partner in following Your instructions in my life. 

“Father, may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Start your prayers by celebrating the joy of coming into the presence of the Father, Who loves you and has a great plan for your life.  Then take the next step of asking God to help you with your needs.

Jesus uses food as an example of being practical with God and asking God for help with our basic needs in life.  Food is an important basic need – but as we all know – our needs are not limited to food.  Praying for Aunt Susie’s healing or your Chemistry test are other needs that it is good to talk with God about.

Jesus does dial us in to the power of prayer – by reminding us to not only pray for our own personal needs – but to ask God to help meet the needs of people all over the world.  Jesus shows us that it’s not enough to focus your prayers on self-interest.  Jesus teaches us to focus on world interest.  Pray that God would feed you and that God would also feed people in Africa, Asia, the entire world. 

Give us each day the food we need,  

Jesus shows us that the way to grow in our prayers – is to grow in Compassion.  Ask God to meet your needs and ask God to meet the needs of people all over the world. And when you ask God to forgive you – be willing to ask for God’s help to forgive the people who hurt you.

It’s easy to ask God to forgive me when I make a mistake – but it’s a lot harder for me to ask God to forgive Fred when he lied about me or Joan when she stole my parking space.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Jesus shows us how to turn to God for all of our basic needs.  Food when we are hungry.  Mercy when we make mistakes.  And the last item Jesus emphasizes is to ask God to help protect you from temptations.  We all face temptations – whether they might be over-eating, gossiping, pride, greed, hatred….  We also know that our life is always better if we don’t give in to those temptations.  Like Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit.  It looked so good on the outside – but now look what it has done to my life! 

And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

Life is always better if we ask God to help us to realize the danger of temptations – that we might not even have a clue as to how much harm they can do to our lives.  Cheating on a test or cheating on your diet – may not seem like such a big deal at the time.  But those temptations can nudge off of God’s track on to a path that will leave us in huge trouble ten years from now.

  • Does Jesus’ Prayer Make Life Better for Everyone? 

Jesus shows us how all of us can connect our lives to God’s power.  Pray that God’s name would be honored and that His holiness and love would grow in our world – just like it is in heaven.  Pray that God would meet your needs – and the needs of people all over the world.  Pray that God would offer you mercy when you make mistakes – and that God would give you the strength to be merciful to others.  Ask God to protect you from temptations – to keep you on the path of life.

Jesus shows us that incredible power is available to all of us through prayer – but we do have to use it.

Prayer Only Has  POWER  — If You  USE  IT!

One of the places in the world where Christianity has been growing faster than anywhere else – is South Korea.  The South Korean Christians will tell you that the secret to their growth is really not a secret – it is a commitment to using the gift of prayer that God makes available to all Christians.  Christians in Korea have built some of the strongest prayer ministries that the world has ever seen. 

James 5:16 (NLT)    Pray for each other…  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results!

This morning – God wants us to know the same power that has helped the Korean church to grow – is available to us right here in Canandaigua.  God is eager to help us grow in our prayers – so that we can also see wonderful results!

  • What Helps You to Plug In — To the Power of Prayer?

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