Productive Prayer | Part 3 | PASSIONATE PRAYER

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Hey guys! Are you ready for productive
prayer part three. I am! Let’s do it! Okay guys. So glad you could join us
today. We are in part three of a series entitled “Productive Prayer.” Today we’re
going to be talking about what it means to have passionate prayer but before we
do that let’s go back and take a review of weeks 1 & 2. The first week we looked
at purposeful prayer, where we talked about the for purposes of prayer,
connection, direction, correction and protection. And then last week we talked
about personal prayer and how productive prayer is not only purposeful but it’s
personal. And this is the prayer that is born from the heart. Again which leads us
to what we’re going to be talking about today, which is passionate prayer. Now
we’ve been talking about different parts of prayer and what it means to have
productive prayer. You know prayer is one of those things that’s so incredible
that we get to experience literally the very presence of God in our time with
him and that’s what makes it so wonderful. That’s what makes it
passionate. It gives us the ability to be with Him and to really sense God’s
heart on specific issues and so it’s really kind of the greatest thing that
God gives us so that we can know Him on a very intimate, very passionate level
right. Today I want to give you a scripture from the brother of Jesus
James, out of chapter 4. It says something that’s very simple but very profound.
Let’s take a look at this together, it says “Draw near to God and He will draw
near to you.” Now in and of itself that is an incredible statement. The fact that we
sinning people, sinning sinners who are still sinning, can actually draw near to
God, we can we can focus our attention, our heart, our time to come to God and
draw near Him, and the Bible says that when we do that He, will in turn draw
near to us. That is awesome right! That God would do that for us, what a great
blessing that is for every person on the planet! But a lot of people are not
recognizing this and so they’re not spending their time drawing near to God.
It’s so very important that we get how wonderful an opportunity
this is for each and every one of us. Now when we do this, when we when we draw
near to God, we literally are put in close proximity to Him and when we are
there, we begin to experience the same and sense the same passions that He has,
which really begins to adjust and change the way that we look at the world, the
way that we think, the way that we operate. Just like the relational reading
that we talked about, where we’re spending time in God’s Word and we get
to know about Him, this this productive prayer where we’re drawing near to Him,
affects our daily life in such a way that the passions that we have in this
life are changed right. And that is the greatest part of this passionate prayer,
this coming to be with God. It really does affect us on levels that sometimes
I think we miss or sometimes we never experience because we’re never really
drawing close. We’re just coming with the laundry list. We’re not really being
intimate with God, the experiential side of connecting with God. So I think that
many Christians wonder why they’re not maybe sensing the presence of God or the
power of God in their life and I think it’s just simply because they’re not
connecting with God. Now don’t forget when we connect, God directs and God
corrects and that’s what the second part of James chapter 4 says there in verse
eight. Let’s look at this again. This is going to be out of the New King James
Version, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you
sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” So look at that again,
dirty hands, sinful hearts, double mindedness all a result because we have
too much us and not enough Him. And so the the encouragement for us is to draw
near to Him, to be able to have our hands cleansed, right so that that the
sinning that is natural to our heart can be removed and we can be guided in a
different direction so that the double-mindedness of thinking one way in the flesh and and thinking one way in the spirit, can be
reduced and we can just be single-minded and focused on God. There’s a real
cleansing benefit to prayer that I think many of us are missing. It is the thing
that that keeps us. So many times we’re trying to keep ourselves by doing right
things and we’re really missing the opportunity in the understanding that
God desires to keep us because we’re so closely connected to Him, we’re with Him, we’re intimate in relationship with Him. And that is what prayer is all about. It’s
about coming to Him and being connected in to Him. Now last week, we looked at the
personal prayers of the life of the Apostle Paul. Today, I want to look at
Paul again a little bit and how he was moved from who he was, right, before he
knew Christ, to who he was after he met Christ, but not just after he met him, but
after he continued to stay in close proximity through this drawing near to
God in prayer. Let’s take a look at this. It’s found in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5
verse 14 and 15 out of the NIV. It says this, Paul talking, “For Christ’s love
compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but
for him who died for them and was raised again.” Now, again you have to get this
idea of who Paul was and who Paul is here in this passage of scripture. He’s
saying, look Christ’s love compels us. Paul was not about love at all, Paul was
about law. This man was a man that was about the jot and the tittle, every single
thing had to be checked off. It was , law, law. And now we have a guy talking to
the church saying look I’m not compelled to try to do anything good, I’m compelled
by the love that God has for me and I’m convinced and we’re all convinced that
one died for all, and therefore, we should no longer live for ourselves.
Completely different, completely transformed, completely changed from a
worldly perspective or a religious perspective to a relational perspective,
a spiritual and relational perspective. So very very important that we grab a
hold of that. And again, it was not just the one-time shot that Paul experiences
this, where he’s on his way to Damascus and the light shines, it’s not
just there, this is a day-in day-out moment by moment life that is lived by
the Apostle. And so we need to really get that this was this is God’s love
compelling him. It was not the laws right because God’s love doesn’t
compel you to try and fulfill a law, it tries to it compels you to fulfill the
love that he’s got for people and so your life changes right.
And so this close connection of Paul, literally brings him to this place. Now
you can say well Paul’s a super apostle, I mean for crying out loud of course
Paul’s gonna get this. Well the reality of it is, if we continue to look in some
of Paul’s writings we’ll find out that his disciples, the people that he trained,
they have the exact same passionate prayer life that Paul had, the prayer
life that moves them into action in their spiritual life. Let’s look at
this, it’s found in Colossians chapter 4 verse 12 out of the NIV. It says this, “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings.
He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will
of God, mature and fully assured.” Now that’s genuine discipleship right. I mean God’s
passion becomes Paul’s passion and Paul’s passion compels him to be moved
and to live a life of love, and that life of love causes Epaphras to become a
person who knows God has experienced the love of God and now the love of God is
moving Epaphras to a life of compassion. This is what it looks like to be a
disciple of Christ. This is what it looks like to be a person that is connected in passionate prayer, someone that has a life that is so closely
connected to God that now I’m beginning to change the world around me because of
this love that is compelling me to move forward. So again we’re gonna I want to
kind of ask the question how does this happen?
Paul’s life was lived out as a passionate expression of God’s love. And
you can really kind of see that clearly in Ephesians chapter 3 verses 14 through
21. Let’s take a look at this “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from
whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out
of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in
your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I
pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power,
together with all the saints, to grasp how wide how long and high and deep is
the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able
to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is
at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
So get this, Paul who had knowledge right, I mean he was a Pharisee of Pharisees
and he had knowledge, he says to the church, it’s his prayer for the church
that they would get above this knowledge, something that far exceeds this
knowledge that is head knowledge, something that has to do with the heart.
And he calls them into this love of Christ this love of God knowing that
that it will cause them to experience the heart and the passion
of God and that will transform their life. Now that’s incredible, right. I mean
we got to get a hold of what Paul is saying. Again a lot of times we think well it’s
just reading or knowing. Look Christianity, to be connected to Christ
to be connected to the Father through Christ, is a heart issue. It is not
something that is a mental assent. It is not something that can just be done by
doing good works. It’s not something that can be accomplished by learning
something. It is something to be experienced. It is a love
relationship that God has called us into. So without prayer, how are we going to
have this? How are we ever going to have this close personal intimate
relationship with God if we’re never going to go to him and focus our
attention on him? So I’m gonna give you today, the four benefits of passionate
prayer for your life. If you’ll do these things, here are going to be the four
benefits of passionate prayer right. Number one, we will know and move in
concert with the purposes of God. In other words, we’re gonna participate in
the divine nature. Why? Because we know what God’s got going on. We know what
he’s thinking. We know what he’s sensing and feeling about our world and so we’re
able now to participate in that because we’re clear on what’s going on, The
purposes of God in our world. And this is really kind of that piece that Paul
talks about having the mind of Christ, you see. Once your heart, just like the
the mouth speaks because of the heart, the mind is shifted because of the heart
as well. And so we our mind is transformed because we’ve been renewed
by the love of God. So very important. So that’s number one, know and move in
concert with the purposes of God. Number two of the four benefits of passionate
prayer, is that it produces perpetual blessings in our life. So get this, what a
man sows so shall he reap. If you sow time spent with God, you will reap the
passion of God in your life. And hear me clearly, you cannot out-give God, so
every amount of time that you draw near to him, there is a reciprocity that happens, he draws near to you and now you’re
connected to him. And listen, you’re able to understand and and and move out in
blessings that you simply cannot have on your own. Don’t forget what we said last
week when we talked about out of Matthew chapter 6, where it says that that if you
seek first the kingdom of God ,that all these things get added to you. And so
many times we’re trying to get all the things added to us without really ever
going to the source. And so it’s very important that we understand that that
this connectedness, this passionate prayer produces perpetual blessings in
our life day after day after day. Okay, so that’s number two. Number three on the
four benefits of passionate prayer, is that it expands his kingdom. So when we
work in agreement with God, moved by the passion of God, the love of God, then we
really get to see the accomplishments of his will in our world. That’s incredible!
We’re not building our kingdom right. When you’re when you get with Christ and
you connect to God in prayer, you’re not going to be focused on building your
kingdom, you’re just not. That’s one of the shifts that happen in this. And so
you begin to be focused on this idea of expanding his kingdom. And again, remember it is more blessed to give than it is receive. We we so many times just miss
how God has set about an economy for his people. And a lot of times his people are missing how God’s economy actually
functions and we’re out there day after day after day grinding it out, 70 hours a
week, putting our money in pockets with holes in them and we’re wondering why
we’re not really seeing the blessings of God in our life. And I’m telling you here
is one of the reasons why you need to be working on expanding his kingdom not
yours. You’ll never do that if you’re not a
person of prayer. And you’ll never be passionate to see God’s will
accomplished in your world if you’re not connected to him in intimate relational
ways through prayer. And so that’s number three, expands his kingdom. Number four in the benefits of passionate prayer is that it stops the struggle of self
sufficiency. Now listen this is huge, trying to be good enough to please God,
trying to be good so that I can get God. This idea of religious living that I’ve
been talking about, that is gone when you connect to God in passionate prayer. That
that goes away because you recognize clearly God was never asking for you to
make a sacrifice. He sent his son to be the sacrifice and so now in his son, he
is well pleased with you and so that idea of trying to be good, that religious
motion of life, that’s really the religious motion of death because you
can never accomplish, it is gone. Hallelujah! Having to provide for
yourself, think about that, having to always work hard to provide for self,
that’s gone. Why? Because God has you. He’s got your back if you’ll seek first his
kingdom all this stuff gets added to you. So that’s gone, you don’t have to work
hard to provide for self. This idea of self sufficiency now completely gone out
the door because it’s not just about me, it’s about him! See a lot of times when
we come to God in prayer, we’re saying Oh God, here I am, the stuff I need. But see,
I’ll tell you here’s the reality, when you’re really connected to God, when
you’re in a relationship with God, when you bring your prayer requests to
him, you’re not coming saying oh God, here I am; you say oh God,
there you are. That’s a completely different picture, right. It shifts, our
focus shifts and so needing to become somebody, gone. Why? Because now I’m a
servant of God. I no longer need power and prestige in my kingdom to make me
feel like somebody. Why? Because I’m a servant of the Most High God. I get to
participate daily day in and day out in the divine nature of God. It’s huge guys!
Right. So that leads us to today’s statement of truth. Here it is. Productive
prayer produces a passionate focus which moves us away from being conformed into
the likeness of this world and transformed into the
likeness of Christ. Can you say Amen? I can. Amen. Alright let’s move our time of
discussion. Okay guys, don’t forget if you’re in a
gathering today to make sure that you sit in a circle so everyone can see each
other as they respond. All right very first question. As a group list several
reasons why people may not experience intimacy with God. Okay now, what are some of the most
common results from trying to obtain God’s blessings without living an
intimate relationship? Okay, in your opinion where does most of
the modern church reside head knowledge or heart knowledge. Okay now, share one way drawing near to
God has allowed you to experience the passions of God. Okay, next question. Before today ,were you
aware the transformation of your life was not to be a one-time shot but a
daily experience? All right, if you saw it as a daily
experience share what expressions lead you to your daily experience? Okay, next question. How has God’s love
compelled you to move from religion to relationship? And finally, of the four benefits of
passionate prayer, one no and move in concert with the purposes of God, two
produces perpetual blessings in your life, three expands his kingdom, or four stops the struggle of self-sufficiency, which
one would you like to experience more of? Okay guys, well I hope that you learned
something today. And I hope that you really learned quite a bit about
passionate prayer. 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. Make sure next
week you don’t miss our final installment on our series productive
prayer. Listen before you leave there today make sure that you love one
another deeply from the heart and that you passionately pray for one another
there as I do that right now here. Alright let’s pray. Father, in the name of
Jesus, we are so thankful that you love us, God. That you’ve given us the ability
to connect with you, to draw near to you God, and know that you will be near with
us. God, I pray for every soul today that’s listening that you would touch
them God, and that your passion would become their passion. Father, your heart
would become their heart. We ask it today Father, in the name of Jesus for your
glory. Amen. Amen. God bless you! We’ll see you next week right here at The Message.

 

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