Intro: For the next few weeks, we're talking about evangelism: the importance
of sharing our faith with others, about different ways we can share our faith. Sermons
will focus on different events in Jesus' life, as recorded in Mark's Gospel. Two
weeks ago, we learned that to become a Christian requires a turn, a change in our
loyalty from sin, from the world, even from our families, to Jesus! Today,
we're going to learn about the crucial role of prayer in our evangelistic efforts.
Who Was Praying? (Read Mark 1:35.) Basic, yet important question. Jesus was praying!
Who is Jesus? (Read Mark 1:10-11.) God declared publicly that Jesus is His Son.
Jesus is fully God and fully human, the second person of the Trinity, taking on
a human body. Loved by His Father, pleasing to His Father. When you consider who
is praying, it makes us wonder why He's praying! There is
something happening here that we don't understand.
When Was Jesus Praying? (Read Mark 1:35.) Very early in the morning! What types of things
do late risers get up early for? What types of things do early risers stay up late
for? Important things! Jesus has just spent the whole day surrounded by people,
healing them and preaching. Had to be exhausted. But here He is, up early, praying!
Why? Important; but there's an urgency in Jesus' prayer that we don't understand.
Where Was Jesus Praying? (Read Mark 1:32-37.) He has gotten up early to find a "solitary
place, a wilderness place." Disciples are bewildered by Jesus' behavior. "Everyone
is looking for you!" Some disapproval in their comment; feel He's mis-prioritizing.
His ministry is off to a great start! Crowds are gathering! Why is Jesus withdrawing
from the crowds? The disciples don't understand why Jesus is prioritizing solitude
and prayer over the crowds! Church in America doesn't either! We market,
we advertise, but most church growth in America is transfer growth; miniscule amount
of conversion growth! There is an urgency in Jesus' prayer that we don't understand.
Application: There is an urgency in Jesus' prayer that we need to understand!
Why Was Jesus Praying? 1) To spend time with God; Jesus' top priority is
to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! (Read Mark 12:29-31.) Is that desire driving you to spend time
praying to God?
Why Was Jesus Praying? 2) To receive wisdom, strength, guidance from God.
(Read James 1:5.) Are you aware of your need for God's grace every
Why Was Jesus Praying? 3) To guard against human wisdom/approval! (Read Mark 1:36-37; 8:31-33.) Subtle danger of relying on human
wisdom, being swayed by human approval!
Why Was Jesus Praying? 4) To keep focused on His goal: Preaching/ evangelism!
(Read Mark 1:38.) We spend a lot of time praying for physical
healing. Evangelism is more important than healing; why? Healing is temporary! Evangelism
has eternal results! Do you spend time asking God to keep you focused on your mission:
Making disciples of Jesus Christ!
Why Was Jesus Praying? 5) Because Jesus knows that without God, salvation
is absolutely impossible! (Read Mark 10:24-27.) When we pray for the salvation of sinners,
we're asking God to do what only He can do. Even more incredibly, we're asking Him
to use us to reach our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers!
Homework! Write down the names of three people you know who don't know the
Lord. Pray for them, every day, that they might come to faith in Christ. Ask God
to help you look for opportunities to talk to them about Jesus. Pray for the courage
and wisdom to do so. Before you talk to other people about God, talk to God about