Productive Prayer | Part 2 | PERSONAL PRAYER

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Hey faith family! Welcome to The Message.
Are you ready? Today, we’re going to continue our series on Productive Prayer.
Let’s do it! Hey faith family! Syd here. So glad you
could join us as we continue our series entitled “Productive Prayer.” You know last
week we talked about the discipline of prayer and the four purposes of prayer.
Today, I want to talk about personal prayer. So if we’re ever going to be
really productive in our prayer life our prayers are going to need to be personal.
Now as soon as I say that word personal in our current culture we automatically
begin to think about praying for me and for myself and for my benefit and
unfortunately that’s kind of what’s going on in the modern believers life.
We’re really focused more on ourselves in our prayer time than we are on the
things that God would have us focus on. You know I mean we’re doing the whole
bless me, bless mine, care for me, care for uh care for mine, take care of what’s
going on in my world God, And so our prayer has really become nothing more
than what I said last week, just as laundry list of wants and desires that
we personally have. And clearly that’s not personal prayer, at least that’s not
the personal prayer that I’m talking about today. What that is for me is that
is selfish prayer and that kind of prayer brings with it some very serious
pitfalls. And I want us to understand that if we’re only going to ever pray
about me and mine and and what I want then we’re gonna miss out on a lot of
what God has got going on for us, in us and through us. So let’s take a look at a
scripture out of the book of James that will share some of the pitfalls that
come from selfish prayer. James chapter four verses two and three out of the NIV
say this “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot
have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask
God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that
you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” So take a look at
this massive pitfall, right. It says you do not receive, in other words you remain
in lack because God does not give you what you want because when you’re asking
for something, you’re asking for it with the wrong motive. You’re asking for it so
that you can please yourself, so that you can satisfy your own selfish pleasures.
Your focus is wrong, right. You’re looking at you versus the bigger picture, and so God holds back on that because he doesn’t want to bless you when you got
the wrong focus. And so what happens is you wind up not having your prayers
answered, which is an amazing thing to me. Listen, prayer is not a god store that
you go to to get what you want, right. It’s not a place that you get down
and say okay God here’s the list and you check the list and you go down through
there, this is what I need, this is what I want, this is what I want, this is what I
want. That’s not how this works, right. And that is why people are disillusioned
with prayer. They’ll say well you know I prayed and it doesn’t work. Well, you
prayed and it doesn’t work because you’re asking only for yourself. There’s
a scripture in the Bible that says this, seek first the kingdom of God and then
all of this will be added to you. Now listen, in our prayer life it’s exactly
the same thing. We should be seeking first the kingdom of God, not seeking
first our kingdom but seeking first his kingdom and then in doing that right, we
begin to see God provide for this. All these things then get added to you. So
our focus is just off in our prayer life. So if we’re gonna have a personal prayer
life that winds up being powerful and productive, we’re going to be people that
are not just praying for ourselves. I’m not saying that you can’t pray for
yourself, I’m just saying that if that’s all you ever pray for we’ve got a
problem, right. Let’s take a look at the Apostle Paul and and what his prayer
life looks a little bit like and what he’s praying for. The first scripture I
want to share with you is out of Romans chapter 10 verse 1
out of the NIV it says this, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the
Israelites is that they may be saved.” So take a look at me here real quick. The
first part of that verse Paul says brothers my heart’s desire, get that he’s
saying the thing that is in my heart, the thing that is moving me now to
prayer is for these Israelites to be safe. So Paul’s not praying for himself
he’s praying for the whole nation, that they would come to know Jesus. And it was the
desire of his heart, it was it was a heart that was moved and motivated by
God himself. So see we talked a little bit last week about when we when we
get in prayer we’re connected to God and Paul is sharing that very truth
right here, when he’s saying look in my prayer when I’m connected with God, it’s
my heart’s desire to focus on the nation of Israel this entire group of people
that could be saved. And so I want to I want to share with you the reality that
when we’re in connection with God that our heart is moved to do something for
someone else. We’ll talk about that in just a second. The second verse here that
I want to share with you is 2nd Corinthians chapter 13 verse 9 out of
the NIV he says this “We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.” So get this Paul says look,
I’m happy if we’re weak and you’re strong. It’s not about me, it is about you. And
I’m caring for you right now. And I’m praying that you would be perfected in
your faith right, that your perfection would would be manifest. That’s an
incredible thing, right! Paul is not again not praying for himself but praying for
now a specific group of people here, a smaller group of people over here that
they would be perfected in their faith. The next one we find is in Philippians
chapter 1 verse 9 out to be NIV and it says this “And this is my prayer that
your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of
insight”. So now Paul for again another small group of people, he’s spending his
life in prayer, that the love of God may abound in them and that their knowledge
may be deeper and they may have more insight. So again it’s not about him, it’s
about trying to help someone else. This is a massive shift from how we pray
today, right. It seems as if Paul is spending much of his time, most of his
prayer time on other things outside of himself. This is his personal prayer
right. It’s not me, mine, help me God, get me out of this jail, Oh God. That’s not
what he’s saying. In fact we rarely ever see him even
talking about himself in those terms. He is always communicating about
somebody else and his heart and his desire that again is always caused
because of his connection with God for other people. I want us to notice three
things specifically from Paul’s personal prayers. One they’re from the heart. They
are governed by God’s love. When Paul prays, he’s praying out of the heart of
God. Number two, Paul is praying for someone else, for their edification ,for
them to be built up and established in the faith. And then number three ,for the
greater good the establishment of God’s kingdom, not
Paul’s kingdom. Now again I’m not saying that you can never pray for the things
that you have need of but to only pray for yourself is missing on all that God
has for you and is trying to do in and through you in your world. And you don’t
want to miss that because the blessings of the Lord, the Bible is clear, it is
more blessed for us to give than it is to receive. And so we’ve got to focus
differently especially when it comes to prayer. If we ever want our prayer or
personal prayers to be productive, if that’s ever gonna happen for us then
we’re going to need to make sure that we’re not just
praying for ourselves, focusing on what our needs are but we begin to focus on
his kingdom. So let me give you three things that personal prayer produces in
your life. The first one is that you begin to communicate God’s desires. Get
this, you are going to literally be communicating in your prayer time his
will and his way for your world. That is massive! Who else is going to do that if
if you don’t do that? You have been put into this sphere of influence that God
has put you into, this group of believers or unbelievers, this world that is yours
of which you participate in day in and day out. And if you don’t communicate his
desire in the lives of these people around you, how is that ever going to
happen for those people? Which leads us to number two in what personal prayer
produces, you begin to cover someone else. In other words, you’re speaking life over
someone other than just yourself. The Bible says that that there’s life and
death in the tongue, the power of the tongue. And so we need to understand that
and we need to begin to in our personal prayer time, begin to speak life over
people who can’t do it for themselves. I can tell you a story about my personal
life and and what has happened for me. I was a person that did not know the Lord
in any way shape or form and and I began to date this woman. And this woman’s
mother who was a Christian, good Baptist woman, said I’m gonna pray for this kid.
This kid is a disaster. I’m gonna begin to spend my life covering him and
helping him to see God. And she began to pray and I got to tell you what it
wasn’t overnight. It took her a long time but she was diligent. She stayed in and
she stayed on. She kept after it and in her personal time she spent her life,
listen to me she spent her life. It cost her something, it cost her her time. She
didn’t sit around and pray about herself she spent time focusing on me. And it was it was it had a personal issue because I
was connected to her daughter. But the reality of it is the love of Christ and
her moved her to stick with it until I wound up giving my heart and life to the
Lord. Now you have to understand this is a reality that we’re not taking hold of
in the church. Many believers do not understand the power of prayer and don’t
believe in it because when they pray they’re asking a miss. They’re not
receiving and so they find prayer to be futile. We must begin to understand that
prayer is not just for us. It is for our world and when we connect to God and the
heart of God begins to move us and we start to communicate his desires,
his will and his way for our world and then we begin to to cover someone else
with the love of Christ right, so that we can see them come to know the Lord. We’re going to begin to see our prayer life our personal prayer life become
incredibly productive and that and that is the endeavor right. So that’s number
two covering someone else’s life and then number three, you begin calling
things that are not as though they are. This is difficult for some of us because
we sometimes feel like well I’m faking it till I make it. Listen in the Bible, it
says this that faith is the substance of things hoped for with the evidence of
things that are not seen. So faith is something that we’re hoping for but
we’re not seeing the manifestation of it yet. Well that is what calling things
that are not as though they are is. That’s standing in faith. So when we do
that we’re literally becoming people that will stand in faith for the sake of
expanding his kingdom not our kingdom but his kingdom. And that takes us back
to that scripture out of Matthew that says seek first the kingdom of God and
then all these things will be added to to you and that puts us in this right
place now, where our focus is not on our worldly pleasures or our selfish
pleasures but on the kingdom of God, and when we do that when we begin to call
things that are not as though they are according to God. Then we begin to see
our prayers actually make a difference in our world. Now listen now that we’ve
talked about some of the pitfalls, I want to talk specifically about the privilege
that comes as a result from personal prayer. Let’s take a look at this out of
Philippians chapter 4 verses 6 through 7 out of the NIV. It says this “Do not be
anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” So that’s an
incredible privilege that we received from personal prayer right. I mean when
we come to him and and bring our requests, not trying to do it ourselves
but saying God you can do this, we begin to trust in him and have faith in Him.
And we bring these these requests and these petitions to him it alleviates
anxiousness in our life. How many of you could use
that today? How many of you could use a little stress being relieved from your
life right? It says that also it provides peace. Hallelujah! I could have that. You
could have that! Everybody needs more peace in their life. And this peace then,
in turn guards get this both your heart from going down the wrong path and your
mind from thinking wrong things, so that you’re now in Christ Jesus and you’re
beginning to move in concert with him. This is the productivity of personal
prayer right. When we do it the right way, when we begin to live with God and
connect with God and his heart becomes our heart, and we begin to worry more
about the things, I say worry, focus more on the things in his kingdom than we do
our kingdom, our life changes, you know incredibly for the positive. So that
leads us to our truth statement for today. So let’s take a look at this.
Personal prayer allows us to connect to the heart of God enabling our prayer
life to become more productive than ever before. Can you say Amen?
I can! Amen! Alright, let’s move on to our time of
discussion. Okay. Why do you think God would limit
answering our prayers when our prayers have a selfish motive? Okay. Before our time together today ,as a
group, describe what personal prayer meant to you. Okay.
Have you ever contemplated the fact that your personal prayers are one of the
ways God chooses to affect your world? Okay, next question. Have you ever been
disillusioned in your personal prayer life? Okay. Now on a scale of one to ten, with
one being selfish and ten being selfless, rate your personal prayer life. All right. Now of the three things that
personal prayer produces; communicating God’s desires, covering someone else, or
calling things that are not as though they are, which one do you do most often? And finally have you ever experienced someone covering your life in prayer? If
so ,what was the result? Okay, well I hope that you guys had a
great time in your discussion and I hope that you learned not just a little bit
about personal prayer but you learned a little bit about how you’re doing in
personal prayer yourself. Listen coming up this week ,please make sure that you
like, share, and subscribe to all of the social media platforms at the message
and help us get the message out. Don’t forget you can also go to our website
the message onl and you can get the reading plan for 2020. Okay guys well, I
hope that you had a great time today. And I hope that this week in your prayer
time, you will be more focused on praying for others than you are for praying for
yourself. Listen why don’t we right now. Take a little bit of time to do that
right here before we finish up and we leave. Make sure that you pray for one
another, love each other deeply from the heart as I pray for us here now. Father,
we’re so thankful that you love us, that you care for us, that you’ve provided for
us. And God, that you love us in such a way that it allows us God, to now
participate in this divine love that you have to our world.
Father, I pray for every person listening today, that they would become people that
would be more focused on your kingdom than they are on their own Kingdom. And
that their prayer life Lord, would be so blessed because they have chosen to be a
blessing and a giver of life. We ask it today, Father, in the name of Jesus, who is
your son and our Savior. Amen. God bless you! We’ll see you next week right here
at The Message.

 

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