Are we PRAYING? (Part 1)

Good Morning!  I want to start today by picking up right where we left off last week.  Let’s tackle the question, “How do we ABIDE IN CHRIST?”  We know that the only way we will see results in our life that will last is if we Abide in Christ, because Apart from Him we can do NOTHING!  So the question that most often comes to the surface is HOW do we ABIDE?  I believe God has set up three main ways of staying connected to Him.  The first we will start to talk about today and that is PRAYER!!  This may seem basic but I wonder if we may need to be reminded of this powerful truth.  Remember, we are talking about Training ourselves Toward Godliness.  Prayer is a Very important part of our Training.

My husband and I like to talk A LOT about Everything, and we have since we were kids.  As we grew up, however, there became more and more distractions that try to get in the way of our communication.  These have taken the form of children, school, work, friends, activities, ect.  One thing I have come to dislike very much is not feeling connected to my husband.  In fact, I am famous in my house for using the word, “disconnected.”  I will often tell my husband, “I am feeling disconnected from you.”  The most common reason I feel that way is because we have had little time to talk!  We all know the truth about relationships.  If you do not communicate often you are not able to remain in relationship very well, and that is what “To ABIDE” means…to Remain!  It is the same when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.  Anytime I have someone ask me, “How do I stay in relationship with Jesus?”  I will reply, “You STAY IN RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.”  Since we know that communication is the key to staying in relationship with someone, it becomes very obvious the absolute importance of PRAYER.  In its most basic definition, prayer is Personal Communication with God!  Just like we stay connected to those we love through communication, we stay connected to our Vine, Jesus, through PRAYER!  I want to share just a few verses with you about prayer and I want you to catch the constant thread being woven throughout them.  Listen to the main point these verses are driving home.

“And pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions with ALL kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and Always Keep On praying for all the Lord's people.”  “Seek the LORD and the strength he gives! Seek his presence Continually!”  “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should Always pray and Not Give Up.”  “NEVER stop praying.”  “DEVOTE yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart!”  In ALL of these verses do you see the call to a CONSTANT prayer life?  The last verse tells us to DEVOTE ourselves to prayer.  That word means to “Be diligent, be steadfast, to Build up our Endurance In, Become Strong In!”  We NEED to be Exercising ourselves in Prayer Continually!  We need to be building up our prayer life!  I want to share with you my favorite Hebrew word for prayer in the Bible and that is the word, “PAWLAL.”  This word describes prayer by emphasizing two parts.  The first is that Prayer is REFLEXIVE!  This emphasizes the part the person Praying has in their prayer life.  It shows that WE have a part to play!  The second part of this word (which we will discuss next week) is RECIPRICOL!!  This emphasizes that Prayer is Two Way Communication!  Today I want us to focus on the first part of prayer.  Our PART!  We must put forth action and effort in coming to Christ in Prayer.  An interesting fact about Jesus’ ministry on Earth is that if someone wanted Jesus to teach them or heal them or meet with them, they CAME TO HIM!  They called out to Him, and even if they couldn’t get to Him, they sent someone else to ask for them!  They took that first step of action.    Remember, James says in Chapter 4 verse 2; “You Do NOT have because you Do NOT ASK!”  Our part comes first!  God wants us to make the choice to come to Him.  I will never forget a moment I learned this lesson well.  I was sitting in my living room studying one evening, and I heard my 2 year old daughter crying in the hall.  I got up and went to her and asked why she was crying.  She looked up at me and said, “Because you won’t read me a bedtime story!”  Now this caught me off guard and I said to her, “Honey did you ASK me to read you a bedtime story?”  After pausing a moment she replied, “NO, but you aren’t doing it!”  I immediately told her, “Anna, you have to ASK me if there is something you want me to do.  I would Gladly read you a story, but you have to use your words, come to me, and ASK!”  As I was replaying this later in my mind, I knew instantly that God could say the very same thing to us!  We often get so upset with Him when we don’t see Him actively engaged in our life in the way we want Him to be, and I wonder if we have EVER talked to Him about it?  Do we hurry so fast through life that we are not taking the time to COME to HIM and TALK!  He so desires for us to come and ask of Him, not because He doesn’t already know what we need, but because He desires Fellowship and Relationship with us!  He has designed us to stay in relationship with Him, first through PRAYER!  I truly believe that God wants to be involved in Everything we are doing and if we submit ourselves to Him, through prayer, we will soon find ourselves involved in Everything HE IS DOING!  What is even better is that through that connection we will have the STRENGTH to BE involved in what He is doing!  Just this last week I was at a large event and as I walked through the Arena, trying to find a place to sit, I realized I was praying and asking God where I should sit.  This may seem strange to you but it has become such a habit for me to “Pray about Everything without Ceasing” that here I was asking God where to sit.  I continued to pass up different sections until I came to one section that I felt drawn to find a seat in.  I walked all the way down the steps looking for an open seat, and as I was passing a row, someone reached out and grabbed my arm.  I turned around as they called my name and I realized, vaguely, that I knew this person.  They had one empty seat next to them and asked me to sit there.  As we began talking this person told me they had been asking God to place the right person next to them because they needed help!  This turned out to be a wonderful night of ministry!  As we talk to God about what we are doing, we will find that we become involved in what HE is Doing, and there is nothing better!!  We both came to God in prayer that night and, out of the tens of thousands of people there, God placed the two of us together so that His work could be accomplished!  I want to challenge us this week to Exercise ourselves in this First part of prayer!  That we would put forth the effort to COME to JESUS on a more CONSTANT Basis this week!  Let’s ABIDE with Him by having a steady stream of communication!  One easy way to remember how to come to Him in Prayer is through the acronym, A.C.T.S!  Adoration – Confession – Thanksgiving – and Supplication!  This is a great biblical way to come to Him in prayer!   Let’s begin strengthening our prayer life this week by COMING to Him!  How do we ABIDE?  WE PRAY!!

Scriptures to Meditate on:  Philippians 4:6-7, Eph. 6:18, 1 Chron. 16:11, Luke 18:1, 1 Thess. 5:17, Col. 4:2, Matt. 6:9-13

Ashley Possin