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Series: Prayer; Other Speakers
Sun am 7th June 2015 – Riaan Sinden
Matt. 6:1-13 (Message Bible); John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15; Jer. 29:11-14; Matt. 7:7;
Dan. 10:10-14; (Luke 18:10-14); (Phil. 4:6); John 10:1-5; (Ps. 22:3);
(John 4:23); (James 5:16); (Job 1:8); (Ps. 100:4)
I want to focus on our relationship with God, how to pray effectively and how to hear accurately. For any relationship to succeed, communication is important. You cannot go through life having a relationship with a person and never talking to one another. It is important to communicate, even more so in our relationship with God. It is important to know what to say and when to say it. We need to understand that it is not just us talking to God, but God is continuously talking to us. There is a time for us to listen to what God is saying to us. Prayer is a powerful weapon for any believer and we need to know how to use it. How do we pray accurately and how do we pray effectively?
Even when we go through a time of wilderness, He is there (Ps. 23). In the winter time trees grow the strongest. God desires an intimate relationship with us. He invites us to walk with Him in the cool of the day. He says, “I will inhabit the praises of my people” (Ps. 22:3). He is not interested in a visitation. How much time do we set side to be with God? He wants to inhabit, live in and be present in our praises. Do not just slot Him into your busy schedule; He is always there, continuously talking to us. He is not interested in terminology. God’s language is spirit; those who worship Him, worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23). When you come before Him, be transparent, He knows everything. Do not try to impress Him, do not come with gimmicks, He is above that. Be honest, open and be yourself. Spend time in His presence. Make time! We make time for everything else. It is like being in love, 24 hours a day you are thinking of that person. You want to spend time with God; you want to feel His closeness. God is always there are He knows what we are going to say even before we say it.
When some of us pray all we do is give God instructions. God knows what we need, He made us. Jesus had some advice for His disciples. Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. Pray with Simplicity. And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply (Matt. 6:1-13-Msg). You cannot trick Him into getting your own way.
Do not underestimate the power of prayer; if we align our prayer to God’s word then we can pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” You need to abide in Him; His Word must abide in you, then your prayers will be aligned (John 15:7). We need to walk in fellowship with God and we need to give His word entrance into our lives. There are many unanswered prayers and we wonder why. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him (1 John 5:14-15). Pray according to His will. Ask God what His plan is before you start making plans. You cannot ask someone else what God’s plan is for your life, as the Creator who made you. ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord (Jer. 29:11-14). Do not give up, keep on praying, keep on pressing through; if you do not get the answer immediately, keep on praying. Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matt. 7:7). If you have asked and you seek, knock, break down the doors. There is an ascending intensity in this verse. Do not give up. God knows exactly what you need. Daniel is one who had to wait. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Dan. 10:10-14). There was a blockage for 21 days. There is a battle going on, God has not abandoned you, keep on praying. Pray in the spirit. He is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives. Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:10-14). Notice the attitude of heart when one comes to God. God does not listen to the words when we speak, He searches the heart. God speaks spirit because He is spirit. Do not let your words become a clanging cymbal. Come to Him face to face with nothing to hide. We can move God’s heart. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Our lifestyle can dictate the outcome of our prayers. We need to be righteous like Job. God was bragging about Job (Job 1:8), he was blameless, upright and God-fearing. That moved God.
We sometimes forget to be grateful in our prayers. We may not have what we want, but we have what we need. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6).
Worship God, live a lifestyle of worship. The life we lead can be a fragrance to God. Come into His presence with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise (Ps. 100:4). Do not ever lose a soft heart before God. Start your day worshipping Him. Even when the storms rage around you, you will be at peace.
The most beautiful thing we can do is listen to His voice. There is a prayer of being quiet before God where we just sit and listen. It is one of the greatest experiences of every believer to be able to hear God’s voice. His sheep know His voice (John 10:1-5). It is easy to speak to Him, but not as easy to hear His voice. It is like a radio which received signals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the radio is off you will not hear anything. Once you turn it on you need to tune in to the channel you want to listen to. We are bombarded by voices but we need to tune in to God’s voice. If you tune into God’s voice the other voices become silent. We need to spend time with God so that we will know his voice. Train your spiritual ears to hear His voice. Many times God is speaking to us but we do not recognize Him. The more time spent in His Word and prayer, listening to His voice, the more accurately we will live our lives; accurately in line with God’s word. Make a conscious decision to work on your relationship with your heavenly Father. God wants to be found. Make time for Him. Speak plainly, God knows your heart.