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Date: 13 September, 2018
Text: Luke 22 and Acts 2
Title: Why You Need to Pray
I don't have a grand illustration for us this morning as we consider the topic of prayer. I'm sure I could find one of Mueller, Hudson Taylor or some other great servant of the Lord.
I don't have a clever quote although I saw some 40 online from Spurgeon on prayer.
If you are not praying - Would a flowery quote or a powerful illustration really convince you today that you need to pray?
What ought to convince us more than anything - is the Word of God! Our only hope then this morning is that God by His Spirit through His Word will help us to be truly prayerful.
And so, my simple proposition for us to consider this morning, You need to pray. Are you praying?
I. Pray, because the devil wants to shake you out.
question: Do you believe that the enemy of God has any interest in destroying your life? Do you pray about it?
exp. 1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
ill. Scotland has very limited threat from the wild. (viper, poisonous spiders)
Florida wildlife can be somewhat dangerous.
Cape Canaveral alligator watching - dirt track around island with canals one either side and eyes sticking out of the water.
Bonita Springs - Coral Snake - died of depression.
exp. We don't mess around with animals that can kill us. Safety is in the awareness of the danger of our surroundings. (We live in Satan's domain and he wants to kill us.)
A. Peter was on Satan's hit list and he was on Satan's turf.
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
exp. "sift you like wheat" - like the disciples walking through the field - they rubbed the grains in their hand and blew away the chaff. You could also beat it with a stick like Ruth's gleanings or Gideon's threshing floor. You wanted to harvest what was good - Satan wants to sift all the good out of us.
exp. "hath desired to have thee" Satan was permitted by God to tempt Peter and Peter was not ready because He had not prayed.
ill. Job - was ready because Job had prayed.
Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
Job 2: 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
app. Satan is seeking to destroy you. He's getting His permission and He is on the prowel. Are your prayed up?
B. Jesus was praying about it but Peter was not.
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
exp. Peter was living in the physical realm. He could see Jesus and the other disciples. But, he was ignorant of the battle behind the scenes of life.
note: Paul was not ignorant of Satan and his wicked army.
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
ill. Russia is seeking to deceive the world into believing that they are not responsible for the Salisbury attack. How? By deceit and lies. You would be ignorant to believe them. Russia is the enemy of this democracy.
app. Don't beleive Satan's lie that he is not really that interested in destroying you. Pray - because the devil wants to shake you out!
II. Pray, because temptations are coming.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
exp. Temptation comes - but sin comes when we enter into temptation.
1.) temptation is not sin.
Heb 4:15 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.
2.) temptation is not from God.
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
3.) Temptation is when our lusts fall for the seduction of the devil.
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
exp. By whom is he drawn away - the snare of the devil. What leads him there is the perverse desire of his human heart which is unchecked by faith in God!
4.) Temptation leads to sin which leads to death.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
question: What is the way in which Jesus says to keep from entering INTO temptation? PRAY!
ill. The model prayer -
Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
ill. Paul's declaration of the armour of God - ends with prayer.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
The shield of faith would also be lifted in battle in prayer.
The sword of the Spirit would be wielded in prayer.
The helmet of salvation would be claimed in prayer.
The breastplate of righteousness is maintained through prayer!
The belt of truth - is given discernment through prayer!
app. If you are not a prayerful believer you are a defeated believer! Why? Because prayer is the one thing what Jesus said keeps us from entering into temptation.
III. Pray, because you need God's strength to do God's will.
note: Jesus did not pray to teach us how to pray - though in praying He did. Jesus prayed because He had to pray - he was fully man and man MUST depend upon GOD IN PRAYER to accomplish God's will.
note: Don't you love the passages in God's Word which record the prayer life of Jesus?
Luk 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Mar 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
exp. Here is another season of prayer in the life of Jesus on His way to the cross.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
exp. Health line - Hematidrosis - also called blood sweat, is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood. "But in rare instances, the flight-or-fight response can trigger the rupture of capillaries in the body. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels located throughout tissue. They carry essential nutrients to different parts of the body. Capillaries are also located around the sweat glands. In cases of severe fear or stress, these tiny blood vessels can burst and cause blood to exit the body through the sweat glands."
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
app. Do you know the joy of getting on your knees in human weakness and of getting off your knees in God's strength? Jesus didn't get up the same way He went down.
transition: Pray - you need God's strength to do God's will. If you don't need to depend upon Him to do what you "do for God" - you have not yet begun to do what God wants you to do.
IV. Pray, because there won't be time to pray.
48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. (Prayerless Peter)
51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?
53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
ill. Commercial - for car insurance - squirrels causing accidents on purpose - "Life comes at you quickly."
ill. September 11, 2001 - Shared the story with our children this weke - It was a very ordinary day when unexpectedly 2 jets crashed into the World Trade Center Towers. Pentagon was attacked and the 4th plane was heroically taken down by passengers.
exp. Enemies don't let you know when they will attack. It's called the "element of suprise."
app. When your day gets suddenly difficult, you want to be able to look back and know that you are right with God. There isn't going to be time to get right with God and establish a prayer life.
transition: Pray - because there won't be time to pray.
V. Pray, because your flesh is weak.
54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off.
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
63 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.
note: Peter had every intention of not denying Christ. He had boasted to Jesus after being told that he would fail 33 Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
question: Do you intend to follow Jesus? Good! But, you will fail if you do not pray. In the parallel passage Jesus warned his disciples....
Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
ill. Hudson Taylor's words to Jonathan Goforth - Nobody has suceeded in that province. If you would enter that province you must go forward on your knees.
app. Your will is weak. Do you want to do something for Jesus - great! You must pray!
VI. Pray, because prayer accesses God's power.
Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Acts 2: 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
exp. We have focused to this point mainly on Peter's failure because of lack of prayer. Now fastforward in our story around 50 days to the feast of Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The great failure of Peter is behind him. HIS FAITH HAS FAILED NOT but he has learned the lesson of prayer. He and the other disciples have been united in prayer. The result? 3,000 converted to Christ.
question: Do you know anything of spiritual power? How is your prayer life?
ill. The demon possessed boy was delivered in power by the Man of Prayer. Mar 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
app. Who are you powerless to help, because you are powerless in prayer? Pray - because prayer accesses God's power.
A very simple message this morning - You need to pray. Are you praying?
If you are not as you should, has God by His Spirit through His Word convinced you to change? The danger is very real if you continue to be prayerless!
1.)The Devil is going to shake you out.
2.) You are going to enter into temptation.
3.) You will not succeed in doing the Father's will.
4.) Your weak flesh will fail every time.
5.) You will wish you had prayed when you suddenly don't have time to pray.
6.) You will continue to be powerless.
May God help us to above all else be men, women and children of prayer!