Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
May 6, 2018 at 10:45 AM
Subject
Your Prayer Life
Description

Your Prayer Life!
“…Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples…  ( Lk. 11:1 ) “…after this manner, therefore pray ye…”         (Matt. 6:9 ).
Humankind, throughout history, has recognized the
existence of a power greater than itself. It sought to
identify that power by attributing names and/or attributes
to it. In the process of time, a systematic sets of beliefs
and practices emerged giving birth to a system known
as Religion. While this system, Religion, gradually surfaced
in many groups/nations of the world, it was accompanied by
various names for the power, different titles for the worship
centers, and an array of beliefs and behaviors associated
with the Religions. One common component of the
religions is that of Prayer.
Within the United States of America, there have been

 

three historic religions, often referred to as The Abrahamic
Religions; they are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Their
worship centers are, respectively, Temple, Church, and
Mosque.  While each of these religions – along with the
numerous excluded others – is important, the focus for
today’s sermon is The Christian Religion. Its documentation
is rooted in the Bible, from which the subject for this
message is derived; it is – Your Prayer Life. The sermon will
include the followings concerns, points, or considerations,
namely: an overview of prayer in the Bible, The prayer
model given by Jesus, and some elements or components
of our prayer life.   As background for the sermon, attention is called to
the word prayer. It has several different definitions but with
a common focus which is an interaction between the

 

individual and the Supreme Being.  Prayer is defined in the
Smith’s Bible Dictionary as an act “To ask God for a
Blessing”, additional Smith’s definitions include: “ seeking
the Lord”, “…the approach of the soul to God…”and “prayer
is the free utterance of the soul’s want to God the Father…”.
In homology, prayer is described as “… is the soul’s
sincere desire, Unuttered or expressed. The motion of a
hidden fire, That trembles in the breast.”
Against these few definitions of prayer, attention will
now be focused on the earlier specified concerns, the first
of which is – a synopsis of prayer as presented in the Bible.
“ Prayer is distinctly mentioned in Abraham’s time”. In the
All-In-One are found an extensive listing of praying persons
during biblical times. Just a few of them will be cited in
this sermon. The list includes Moses praying for assistance

 

during the wilderness struggle, Elijah who prayed during the
confrontation with worshipers of Baal, David for purging of
himself owing to earlier transgressions, Solomon at the
Temple dedication, Hannah for the gift of a son, Jonah from
the belly of a great fish, Hezekiah for an extension of his
longevity, and there were many others who prayed during
the Old Testament Era. The practice of praying continued
in the New Testament Era; however, just a few citations
are herein cited. Jesus stands alone among those
praying individuals; other include Lazarus, the person
included in one of Jesus’ many parables; Paul and Silas
prayed while in prison, Bartimaeus had his sight restored
by Jesus, and the Syro Phoenician mother’s daughter was
cured by Jesus. Moving from this brief account of praying
persons during the New Testament, the focus will now

 

be directed to the next concern of the sermon which is –
The Prayer Model Given by Jesus. Even the most vocal
critics of Jesus must nonetheless concede that He was
an unique person; also, they acknowledge that prayer
was one of the recurring theme in the teaching of Jesus.
While not believing in the effect of prayer, the critics
were puzzled about outcomes attributed to prayer.
Unfortunately, there exist segments of humanity during
this contemporary era who reject, denounce, condemn,
and vehemently disclaim the effectiveness of prayer.
The Christian believers, in the meantime, must avoid
allowing hostile feelings toward those non believers
to tarnish nor diminish our attitudes toward such persons.
Instead our attention must be on learning more about
prayer and its effectiveness as a stimulus in our life.

 

To attain this goal, let us now examine the textual anchor
to gleam insights on the Prayer Model that Jesus taught.
The scenario starts during the early ministry of Jesus. It
seems that Jesus’ disciples puzzled by both his teaching on
prayer and demonstrations on its outcomes. Hence, they
approached Jesus with the request, “ Lord, teach us to
pray as John taught his disciples…” ( Lk. 11:1 ). This topic
is, also, recorded in Matthew 6 where Jesus taught on the
methodology of praying and then told the disciples, “ After
this manner therefore pray ye:…” ( Mt. 6:9 ). This prayer
model, often called The Lord’s Prayer, can be viewed in
terms of three foci; namely; human recognition of and
reverently approaching the Almighty God. ( Mt. 6:9-10 ),
personal beseeching substance, cleansing, and guidance.
(Mt. 6:11-13 ) and a reaffirmation of belief in the Divine

 

Kingdom with its everlasting power and glory. ( Mt.6:…13).
In sum, the Lord’s prayer is about the kingdom, humanity,
and eternity.
As noted in Matthew’s account of the prayer request
Jesus gave instruction on prerequisites necessary for
effective prayer that included: avoid be ostentatious – just
wanting to be seen and heard, create secret environment –
often referred to as a closet, and avoid vain repetition in
words. These instructions that Jesus gave for entering the
prayer mode lead to the third, and final, aspect of the
sermon – Structuring and Evaluation your prayer life.
Although praying is a non difficult activity when
entered into seriously and envisioning the divine power
on the other end. In this regard, our sermon was planned
with the third objective being that of providing guidance

 

for you our hearers and readers with some guidelines for
structuring and evaluating your prayer life. Accordingly,
the following modality is herein submitted. To initiate the
process, one must first believe in the existence of God as
taught in Hebrews 11:6 “…for he that comes to God must
believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that
diligently seek him.”. The next step is that of recognizing
the contextual setting for the prayer – i.e. individual, family,
cooperate, or massive disaster. Having determined the
correct focus, the petitioner – as noted in an hymn –
commences to “spread your wants before His face and
share your joys abroad”. In addition to these generic
components for gauging your prayer life, there are
some components that Jesus specified for inclusion
in our prayer life; a few of them include:

1. watch and pray – Mt. 26:41
2. pray for them that despitefully use you – Mt. 5:44
3. pray lest you enter into temptation – Lk. 22:46  4. “…watch and pray for ye know not when the time             comes” – Mk. 13:33
5. “…whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name,             he will it ( to) you”  – Jo.16:23.
Beloved, while these selective scriptures references
offer guidelines for prayer, a word of caution must be
submitted. While they are biblically documents, it must
be recognized that prayer can be answered in one of three
ways: yes, no, and wait. Even Jesus, himself, experienced
frustration, agony, and even physical pain as he prayed.
Yet he remained committed to the act of praying. Probably,
his most memorable demonstration of prayer was at the
grave of Lazarus whom he called back from death. In

 

contrast, his most painful experience while, yet praying,
was on the cross at Calvary where he cried, “My God, why
has thou forsaken me”. Yet, beloved, he remained
committed to the power of prayer as reflected in his
last earthly statement from the cross – Father into thy
hands, I commit my spirit.  In closing, beloved – this sermon was planned to
help us in a essential process which is that of evaluating
our prayer life. It gave an overview of praying during
both the Old and New Testaments, it, also, included
an analysis of the Lord’s Prayer, and lastly, it enumerated
some criteria for assessing our prayer life. Remember,
prayer may not yield every desired request, especially
as judged by the petitioner, but – oh! members of the
household of faith – I can unequivocally certify that

p.11
prayer will lighten your burdens, clarify your visions,
anchor your hope, and bring you peace of mind. Amen!

 

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