Intro: Sermon series from Acts 2, answers question: "What are the necessary
actions, minimum requirements, of the Church being the Church?" Discussed devotion
to Lord's Supper, to Apostle's teaching, and to fellowship! Today, discussing "devoted
Re: Devoted! Regularity, willingness! "Persisted steadily! Desire, not duty!
Not have to! Early Christians wanted to meet together. Joyful expectation,
Prayer(s)! Early church met to pray together. Plural: prayers! Jews had set
times to pray at the temple, but beyond that: Not just "saying prayers" or "reading
prayers." A collective attitude, an environment of prayer. But what is prayer? Speaking
with God, spending time with Him. The early Christians desired to be in God's presence.
Many directions I could take with this sermon, thought it best to keep it simple
and honest: Most of us, pastor included, have trouble praying, with wanting to pray.
Far cry from being "devoted to prayer!" Early Church wanted to pray! Even more importantly,
God wants us to pray; He desires for us to speak with Him, to spend time with Him,
to enjoy His company! For that reason, let's talk about some common obstacles
to prayer, and the only solution!
Obstacle to Prayer #1: We Forget Who God Is! (Two opposite extremes!)
Overly Familiar: Imagine God as "my best friend," or worse, "the man upstairs!"
Someone who talks about God like that is someone who doesn't pray!
Overly Unfamiliar: Holy God, Majestic, Creator, Judge, Terrifying! Such a thing
as holy reverence. But true faith sees God's grace and dares to approach Him!
Same solution for both extremes: Look to Jesus! (Read Hebrews 10:19-22.) Both "Most Holy Place" and "draw near
Obstacle to Prayer #2: We Forget Who We Are! (Again, two opposite extremes!)
Think Too Highly of Ourselves: Busy, Proud, Lazy! (I don't really need God's help!)
Think Too Lowly of Ourselves: Sinful, Anxious, Needy! (God wouldn't bother with
Same solution for both extremes: Look to Jesus! (Read Hebrews 4:14-16.) He is "without sin," (we aren't!) and
He "sympathizes with our weaknesses!"
The Greatest Encouragement to Prayer! Looked at two obstacles to prayer,
and the solution. Now, let me share the greatest encouragement to prayer: God wants
us to pray; He desires for us to speak with Him, to spend time with Him, to enjoy
His company! How can we be sure of this? Three reasons!
1) Because God is our Father. (Read Romans 8:15-17.) The Father wants us to pray!
2) Because Jesus opened up the way for us to pray. (Read Romans 8:1.) Christ wants us to pray!
3) Because the Spirit plants the desire within us to pray; He even helps us in our
prayer! (Read Romans 8:26-27.) The Holy Spirit wants us to pray!
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit wants us to pray! The God who created us,
the God who spilled His blood for us, the God who is living inside of us wants us
to pray; He desires for us to speak with Him, to spend time with Him, to enjoy His
One of the best tests of your health as a Christian is your attitude toward prayer.
One of the best tests of our health as a Church is our times of corporate prayer.
(Greatest weakness of American Church today! Prayer poverty! We have education,
money, programs, facilities, but no power! Why? No prayer!)
How to cultivate a healthy prayer life both individually and as a church: Schedule
a regular time, no distractions, start with Scripture, (maybe a Psalm or a chapter
from the NT,) spend time praising God for who He is, thanking Him for His past answers
to prayer, and honestly bringing Your needs to Him, (physical, emotional, spiritual.)