Prayer (Philippians #21)

Text: Philippians 4:6-7

Father’s house a house of prayer.

Remember that this is the church or group of churches in Philippi that dealt with fightings without and fears within.  They were in jeopardy often and faced trouble on every side.

Prayer is an exchange for your care

  • Cares don’t always put people before God
    • In this case worry, anxiety, fretting indicates a lack of prayer.
    • Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
    • Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
    • Prayer the opposite of care.  If you’re like me you think you don’t have time to pray because these things aren’t getting done.  The cares of this world will keep you from praying.
  • Part of prayer is to be careful for nothing.
    • Notice the contrast BUT in every thing by prayer…
    • Careful is to be full of care, to worry, fret, be anxious and nervous.
    • The idea is that saying a “prayer” and fretting about the same thing means you just SAID A PRAYER but you haven’t actually PRAYED.  Saying prayers and praying are two different things.
    • Saying a prayer is not the same thing as praying
    • 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
    • Biblical prayer means an exchange is made at the throne of grace.  My requests, my desires, my fears, my anxiety, my cares are placed before the throne of God and God replaces that with peace.
    • Like a trucker driving to his destination and coming right back with the same load.  A fellow asks the driver did you go to such and such a place? Driver says oh yes. Fellow asks, why do you still have that load on your truck.  Driver says, oh well, I did drive to the location.
    • We could probably all say I don’t pray the way I should.  And I wonder how much anxiety, how many pills, how much alcohol, how much dope has been consumed by prayerless people.
    • Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care, and bids me at my Father’s throne make all my wants and wishes known.  In seasons of distress and grief my soul has often found relief and oft escaped the tempter’s snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
    • The world has given you the burdens.  Prayer is an exchange for those burdens.
  • Devil convinces you that it is just not worth the effort
    • Requests are your responsibility
    • That needs to be said because you believe God already knows what you need and that thought will be your excuse for not praying.  So while you claim not to believe in Calvinism, you practice Calvinism in your lack of prayer.
    • Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint

Prayer is an opportunity

  • …let your requests be made known unto God.
  • Because of who God is – Luke 11:2 Our father…
    • Luke 11:8 …importunity
    • Illustration of a friend bugging another friend
    • Importunity will get the unwilling to be willing.  But God is willing.
  • Prayer is the invitation to God to move
    • Acts 10:4 – Cornelius, illustration of God hearing prayers and answering prayers.
    • James 1:5-8
    • One thing I notice about answered prayer in the Bible is the implication is that the particular event would not have happened had someone not prayed.
    • Joshua stops the sun in battle in Joshua 10:13
    • Elijah makes the rain stop for 3 ½ years and then begin again.
    • Hezekiah prays for deliverance from the Assyrians and in the morning 185,000 Assyrian warriors lay dead around Jerusalem.
    • Daniel’s prayers and answers
    • Answered prayer means you got a hold of the Creator of all things and He agreed with you and moved in a direction you wanted Him to.
    • James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are
      • Why add that caveat?  Because it tells us that Elijah was just a man, not a god or a comic book hero.
      • We serve a God who wants us to come to Him for help.  Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
  • Prayer is an open door
    • Prayer is valuable to God because of the price paid for it.  Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
    • Now, imagine the God of all creation making an open door, but finding little interest from people to enter it.
    • Entered humbly – 2 Chronicles 33:12 Manasseh humbled himself
    • Entered gratefully – Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    • Entered clean – 1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
    • The difference is how you ask
      • You can make requests different ways.  You can make requests in the form of demands and threats.  “You better fix this!”
      • Or passive/aggressive threats. “If you don’t do something I’m not going to be able to serve you Lord.”
      • Or your requests can be in the form of complaining.
      • By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…
      • Supplication like supply.  My God shall supply all your need…

Prayers answered (vs 7)

  • And the peace of God…
  • What was the problem in verse 6?  Careful, anxious, worried, fretting, no peace.
  • Passes understanding because a person relying on the Lord, when they know the Lord is working doesn’t need to have understanding of all things to have peace.  Peace is the presence of God.
  • Your demand to understand how something is going to work out before you obey God is your unbelief at work.
  • Praying people are confident people
  • Daniel 3:16 …we are not careful to answer thee…