Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church A Passion For Prayer/ Soul On Fire Series #3
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Everyone does it although many won’t admit it. Self talk begins in early childhood and follows us through life. Self talk is that inner voice that is always speaking inside and that you sometimes speak out verbally in the car or in the shower— when you’re alone. Sometimes it is positive and encouraging: “come on Barry you can do this!” Other times it’s negative: “What are you thinking? You’ll never be able to do this you moron!” Psychologists agree that the kind of words that went into us in our formative years come out in self talk throughout our life and affect our feelings and actions. I would agree, the messages we give to ourselves every day have enormous power, but in reality it is still “self talk”. The talk coming from self can only take us as far as we can naturally go. Talk with God (prayer) takes us into the supernatural! In other words positive self talk can help you to become more self confident, but prayer (conversation with God) helps you to become all that God made you to be.
God Talk John 17:3, 1 John 5:11-12, Micah 6:8, Matthew 6:33, 7:7-8
We were made to talk to God. In fact according to the Bible having a relationship with God is mankind’s very reason for being. “Eternal life” is to know God (1 John 5:11) and God requires his creation to walk with him (Micah 6:8). How can we walk with him without talking? Can you imagine the disciples of Jesus walking with him and never speaking? The gospels are filled with dialog. Questions, answers, interaction: these are all parts of communication and without communication there is no relationship. How is your relationship with God?
The reason that prayer is the most neglected discipline of believers is because the Devil works hardest to thwart that which God desires most—for his children to talk to him.
Prayer should not be a last resort. It should not be what we do after we read the self-help books, after we go to the specialists, or after we surf the Internet. Prayer is talking to God. This is why Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you” (Matthew 6:33). It’s why he said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is why he said ask, seek and knock! God invites us to talk with him. Do you have a passion to talk with God?
He wants us to Ask. God already knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:8) but he wants us to ask so that we will know him as the source of what we receive.
He wants us to Seek. God knows when and where we will find our answers to prayer but he wants us seek out his word and his will so that we will come to know him better in the process.
He wants us to Knock or to persist in prayer because he wants us to return to him again and again in petition. It is only through this process that we learn the value and worth of what we labor in prayer for. To ask, seek and knock is to go to God in relationship again and again and to communicate your heart to him.
Hard To Pray? Isaiah 59:2, 1 John 1:9, James 1:6-9
If we say we believe in God and that we love God then why are we so reluctant to talk with God? Ironically, most Christians who claim to be in such need of a Savior do more self talk than God talk (Prayer). How is it that we would continue in self dialog when we claim to have a friend in Jesus? There are only two reasons for this:
- The guilt of sinning and the love of sin will keep us from talking with God. In the truest definition of the word God will not “convict” or “condemn” the believer for sin. Jesus was already convicted for our sins, once and for all, when He became those sins on the cross and endured God’s wrath in our place (Isaiah 53:10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18). He willfully became the “convict” who took our shameful death sentence so that we would never have to be “convicted” of anything (Hebrews 12:2). He will, however, correct us and discipline us like any good father when we come into his presence. This is evidence of His love, which ought to be the most reassuring thing in the world (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 12:6). Isaiah 59:2 says that willful sin will separate us from God, but 1 John 1:9 reminds us that if we confess that sin then he will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Don’t let the guilt or love of sin separate you from your loving father. Talk to him and get things right! Pray for a passion to hate sin as he does and turn from it to pray!
- A lack of faith will keep us from talking to God. When we don’t believe that God will hear our prayer, answer our prayer, or be concerned with our prayer then we don’t believe in what God has said all throughout his word. When one says “I feel uncomfortable praying” or “I don’t have the time to pray” then one truly doesn’t believe in the power of prayer. Think about it. If someone were handing out one hundred dollar bills to anyone who took the time and effort to ask would these excuses keep you from getting that money? Of course not! All of these excuses simply put is a lack of faith in God.
Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17) and practicing that word in our living (James 1:22-25). God’s word tells his us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). The first basic step in growing in faith is to stop self talking and start talking to God! Believe what God says and stop talking yourself out of talking to him! Step out on faith and stop being double minded! (James 1:6-9)
What is your Passion? Psalm 84:11, Philippians 4:5-7
If we want something from God more than we want God himself, then we should be terrified that he might give us what we want and withhold himself.
It tells us in Psalm 84:11 that God withholds no good thing from those whose walk is blameless. So this verse actually implies that God will withhold good things from us if we hold onto sin and a lack faith. He will withhold good things when we do not pray, but he will do this in love to bring us to himself. This fact is illustrated all throughout the Bible.
God desires his children to talk to him…to be anxious for nothing and to know the peace of living in a loving relationship with him. The devil would like nothing more than for us to keep self talking so loudly that we don’t even hear the call of God to draw near to him. As Martin Luther said so eloquently, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Breathe children breathe and be a soul on fire!