Prayer: Intimate Communication

angel-n-isaiah-the-prophet-unclean-lipsThe below are the sermon notes from Sunday, March 16th. The audio file can be found on the Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship website. Blessings.

Sermon

  • Why teach on prayer to a church full of praying people?
    • What more can I say that hasn’t been said?
  • Did you know that here are a lot of books out there about prayer?
  • It seems that prayer is a bestselling topic
    • Everyone seems to have written about prayer
  • Prayer is a HUGE topic to write or teach about
  • One could talk about healing prayer
    • How to pray for the sick?
    • What happens when folks don’t get healed?
    • What do you do when they DO get healed?
  • Corporate prayer
  • Intercession prayer
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Dinner time prayer
  • Bedtime prayers
  • Not to mention our two favorite types
    • prayers of petition
    • prayers of help
  • Over the next five weeks we are going to be focused on the spiritual discipline of prayer
    • About creating an ongoing prayer rhythm in our lives.

Intimacy

  • It is about intimate communication with our Lover, our King, our Best Friend and Master
    • Some of you may have a hard time thinking about God as your lover
    • Especially  men…
    • But we are the Bride of Jesus – just read Song of Solomon
    • It is full of language that should make you blush
    • God is seeking an intimate relationship with Him
  • Sadly, I think we – stereotypically – have learned to be content in having a so-so relationship with God
    • We like Him – we will give Him our tithes
    • We’ll go to church
    • We may even study the Scriptures
  •  But if we were honest with ourselves, we really don’t want a truly inmate relationship with Him
    • It is scary
    • It is a freighting
  • Not because of what may happen, but because I think deep down in our heart of hearts we don’t want Jesus to know who we really are
    • We can fool our neighbors
    • We can fool our family and friends
    • We can even fool ourselves to a certain degree
    • But we can’t fool God
  • And that makes us nervous
  • One of the verses that has shaped my life the most is Isaiah 6:5
    • Isaiah is mining his own business – perhaps prayer, perhaps not – we don’t know
    • All of a sudden he sees this vision of God
    • As he watches these seraphim start sing

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

  • As they sang the temple shook and Isaiah drops to his knees crying out:

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

  • There was a sense of fear and trembling as Isaiah stood before the Perfect One
    • A sense of awe
    • A sense of why am I here?
  • The scriptures recording something amazing here
    • For as Isaiah kneed there one of the seraphim took a coal from altar
  • Most likely from the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place
    • These coals in the Altar of Incense burned the incense, which was symbolic of the prayer of the people rising up to God
    • The coals themselves came from the Altar of Burt Offering where the sin sacrifice was made
    • After the atonement of sin, the prayers of the people would rise to heaven
  • Here was a seraphim coming towards Isaiah carrying a coal
    • And he touched the coal to Isaiah’s lips
    • It must have hurt
    • After all it was a “live coal” the Bible tells us
  • Here’s the thing, when we meet the living God, we do so not on our terms but on His terms
    • Yes it is painful to go to that dark place in your life
    • It is painful to re-train your habits and thoughts
    • It is painful to act with self-control, patience and compassion
    • It is painful to be humble or to ask for forgiveness
  • Yet, in doing so there is joy,
    • There is peace
    • There is love
    • There is grace
    • There is a freedom for all that has bound us!
  • It is like the seraphim said when he touched the coal to Isaiah’s lips

“See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” –Isaiah 6:7

  • Our guilt has been taken away!
    • Our sin has been atoned for!
  • Why do we hide in fear from the one who loves us so?

God Choose Us

  • God choose us
    • God came and died for us
    • He rescued us from sin and evil so that we could be in relationship with Him
  • Let’s turn to Ephesians 1:3-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

  • We have been cleansed by the Blood of Jesus!
  • Let us, as the author of Hebrew,  says

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrew 4:16

What does this have to do with Prayer?

  • Remember how we said that prayer is about an intimate relationship with God?
  • Before we can prayer – before we can really, really, really prayer – we have to know deep down inside ourselves that God is love
  • That God is not going to smite us because of the dirty thoughts in our minds
    • Or because of our anger towards so-and-so
    • Or because of our pride
    • Or what we did that one day..
  • We have to know that God loves us and has chosen
  • We have to trust God
  • This is why we talked about Psalms 19 last week
    • We need to be willing to cry out as David did
    • “Search me O’Lord – forgive me my hidden faults and keep me from my willful sins!”

The Goal of Prayer

  • There is also one other thing we must know before we can really prayer
  • We need to realize that the ultimate goal of prayer is simply to know God
  • To know God
    • That’s it
  • Nothing else matters
  • Jesus said in John 10:27 that His “sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
    • To know the voice of Jesus you have to spend time with Jesus
    • You have to talk to Him
    • You have to pay the price of intimacy
  • Remember when I mentioned different types of prayer?
    • Well I think we, in general, have gotten on off balance in how we pray
    • We spend time praying for things
    • Good things – things like a wisdom for a new pastor
    • Help building a facility
    • Salvation for people
    • Healing for people
    • Etc.
  •  All of this is good
    • But it can become magic
  • Magic is not, as most of us think, a trick or sleight of hand
    • Magic is real
    • People around the world, from all kinds of cultures and backgrounds use magic
  • Magic is simply this:
    • Seeking to control spiritual forces for your benefit
  • Folks around the world have certain actions and prayers that they do/give so that they can
    • Get a job
    • Find a wife
    • Get healed
    • Etc.
  • In the Christian world I would say that we try to control God – or at least manipulate Him – by making deals with Him
    • If I pray every day
    • If I read my Bible every day
    • If I go to church
    • If I pay my tithes
    • Then you will heal my body
    • Then you will bring salvation to my child who has rejected you
    • Then you will give me a job
    • Then you will…
  • WRONG!!!
  • The goal of prayer is simply to know God better!
    • It is not to get things!
  • It should be enough to simply know God!
  • I was talking to my neighbor about prayer yesterday and he said something profound:
    • Prayer is my will, my desires, my heart becoming like God’s will, God’s desire, and God’s heart
  • The more we pray, the more we spend time with God not get anything – but simply to be with
  • The more we do that, the more our hearts, minds, desires, and will become like His
    • “Your Kingdom God – Your will God – be done on earth as in heaven”

So my dear family, this is my appeal to you by the mercies of God: offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Worship like this brings your mind into line with God. What’s more, don’t let yourselves be squeezed into the shape dictated by the present age. Instead be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you can work out what God’s will is – what is good, acceptable, and complete. –Romans 12:1-2, TKNT

  • And here is the cool part
    • Our brains – our physical bodies – has been created to be intimate with God
    • We are wired to pray
  • Scientists have discovered that our brains are wired to pray
    • By praying our brains calm down
    • It is our brains way of coping with stressful situations
    • It is how our brains work
  • As we walk through this series, I will be bringing in some cool scientific studies on our brains and prayer
    • Why?
    • Because it is icing on the cake
  • For far too long the church has said that science and faith are at odds with each other
    • They are not at odds with each other
    • They are two different conversations
  • Science is looking at the world
    • It is humanity’s theories and guesses on how things work
    • It is always changing
  • Faith – Christianity – is about a relationship with the Creator of Heaven and Earth
    • It about intimacy with God!
    • God does not change – He is, was and always will be
  • God, Our Father, Our Lover, Our Lord, Our Savior – He gave us brains to look at His world and say, “Wow, what happens if I do this or that?”
    • Accordingly, let us dive into things knowing that God is in control
  • That He has designed us – “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) – to be mystical
    • God has designed us for prayer
    • To know His voice
    • To hear Him talk

Repentance

  • As we end today’s sermon, I feel that we need to end with repentance
  • Some of us has given up on hearing God’s voice
  • Yes, we still believe in prayer
    • We even pray
    • We know that there is power in prayer
  • Yet, despite all of this, we really, if we are honest with ourselves, don’t believe that we can hear Him
  • Hearing God’s voice – seeing visions – having dreams – all that stuff if for those people
    • It is not for me
  • God wants to break down that barrier
    • He wants to tear down that lie
    • For it is a lie from the pit of hell
  • Numbers 23:19 states that God does not lie!
  • And if God does not lie, then when Jesus says that those who follow Him will hear His voice
    • Then that is a fact you can take to the bank!
  • Furthermore, St. Peter quotes the prophet Joel in Acts 2:17-18 stating that

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

  • God’s Spirit has been poured out on us
    • Accordingly we can hear Him, see Him, and experience Him
    • Not so that we can think more of ourselves than others
    • But so that we can know God
  • And if God’s word is not enough, then understand this
    • A secular psychological anthropologist recently release the results of a study designed to see if people could learn to hear God’s audio voice and/to see visions and dreams
    • The results were that yes – you can!
  • The kicker is this:
    • You have to pay a price!
    • You have to WANT to know God!
  • You have to give up your wants, desires, dreams and life –
    • You have to come to God with open hands – saying “Here I am Lord, send me!”
    • “Here I am Lord, take me, mold me, form me, change me – do with me what you want – no price is too high – I just want to know you more!”
  • Jesus, through His blood, as broken the chains off us
    • He is standing with arms out stretched
    • He is standing beside us saying “Come, my beloved, follow me.”
  • Will we go?
  • As the band comes and plays, I would like for us to take a few moments and search our hearts
    • Ask Jesus to forgive us for giving up
    • Renew your vow of commitment to Jesus – that you will trust Him
    • That He has your permission to go deep into our hearts
  • Forgive me Lord of my secret sins and keep me from my willful ones!

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  1. Prayer: Intimate Communication | Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship - [...] Sermon notes can be found at Pastor Josh’s personal blog. [...]
  2. Prayer and Fasting « Requisite Danger - [...] Prayer: Intimate Communication [...]

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