“The Hope of the Resurrection”

“The Hope of the Resurrection”

Wednesday, April 24.

“He which raised him up shall also raise you up in Christ’s Jesus…” 2 Corinthians 4:14.

The resurrection makes a difference. The resurrection enables Christians and all who believed to have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This means that we will all have immortality. The day will come when this mortal body will no more be mortal. We will have a new body.

Hopelessness and despair is everywhere. We need hope. The resurrection gives us hope. The body uses oxygen. We need oxygen to survive. This is how we need hope for the future. Peter pointed out that our hope comes through the resurrection.

There is hope that we can have joy, peace, security and assurance. There is hope that will come day a new heaven and a new earth. All the old things will pass away. God will make all things new, Let us put our trust in the resurrection of Jesus.

Memory verse: Revelation 21:3

“He is Risen” (Matthew 29:7

“The Grave”

he next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

It is a very difficult thing to believe that Jesus would remove the heavy stone placed at the entrance of the tomb. But the reality is that the stone was removed. Jesus Christ is no longer in the tomb. This is an important thing for our Christian faith.

It is the power of his resurrection that gives meaning to Christianity. It is the power of his resurrection that makes us receiver of eternal life. It is the power of his resurrection that makes us the children of God. It is important for us to stand on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As we commemorate the death of Jesus, let us continue in the act of worship.

Memory verse: James 1:21

“At the heart of the Christian faith is Jesus’ death and resurrection.” John Ortberg

“The Washing”

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garment and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand why I have done to you?” You call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for I am so. If I then, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

This passage begins by showing the divine nature of love. The washing of the disciples feet shows that Jesus himself is love. It teaches all of us to demonstrate love in the same way.

When we look at Christ’s actions in this passage, we see the beauty of freedom in serving others. Putting others first in our lives is a beautiful thing to do. It is so because Christ’s demonstration of love here exceed any service a person can render to others.

Philippians 2:6-7 informs us that Christ made himself into a servant and assumed the very nature of God. Jesus was able to serve others because he knew God loves us beyond measure. Let us love one another in the same fashion.

Memory verse: Philippians 2:6

“The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your own room here on earth.” Mohammed Ali

“The Plot against Jesus”

“When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered to be crucified.”

During the end of Jesus’ life, he remained calm. Jesus knew that he would died. When the high priest and all these people plotted to arrest and murdered him, Jesus Christ was aware. Jesus even knew one of his trusted apostles would betrayed him. One would agree Judas must have felt uneasy knowing that Jesus knew all about his wicked plans. Through our schemes and plans, God knows everything.

Nothing was most central to God than the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. It is important for us to know that Jesus’ death signifies the new Passover. The Passover marks a time in Israel’s history when they were deliver from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. Jesus’ death marks the new Passover for us Christian.

Those who trust in him will enjoy the ultimate Passover, the delivery and redemption from sin. This will result in them living in freedom of his love forever.

Memory verse: John 15:12

“God is the source of life, wealth, and honor. Live life for his glory.” Labah Gifty Akua

“The Cleansing”

“And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple…..”

The Passover feast is very important in the Jewish culture. Every year Jews comes from all walks of life to pay their respect and celebrate this all important time. They traveled long distances. They are often tire, and so they come and purchased their animals for sacrifice. As a means for convenience, the people would sell animals in the Courts of the Gentiles, a place where non-Jewish worshipers would gathered to worship.

Jesus was not happy. Many would wonder why? Weren’t these merchants just trying to make the celebration easier? Jesus felt that they were doing it at the expense of non Jewish worshipers. It was a hindrance to their worshiping and seeking God.

The Scripture tells us of Jesus’ authority. Jesus reminded everyone that if the temple which was his body was destroyed in three days, he would built it again. When Jesus died, the entire temple system, that is the priesthood, the sacrifice, the glory died with him. He was the Passover Lamb, the priesthood and the Shekinah glory. When Jesus died, the veil of the temple split (Mark 15:38) so that we all can have direct access to God. Jesus became the prayer house of all nations. Worship now is not about a place, but it is where we meet Jesus.

Memory verse: Luke 19:37

“The glory of God is humankind fully alive.” Ignatius of Loyola

https://firstchurchnewton.org/daily-devotions/1999/

“A Call to Follow”

“A Call to Follow”

Wednesday, April 10.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

At least one other religion refer to Jesus as a prophet. Jesus is not consider the Son of God. This is because many people are not resolute in their faith. They questioned Jesus being the Son of God because they do not know him that well. Peter, Jesus’ disciple knew him well and called him Christ. Peter had been around Jesus many times. Peter knew the wonders our Lord worked. After Peter confessed Jesus, Jesus tried to explain the kind of mission he was involved in.

Jesus was clear about the mission he was involved with because Jesus told them that anyone who followed him must denied himself. He must take up the cross and follow him. We lived in a culture where we love comfort to pursue comfort, satisfaction of our desires above all else. To deny oneself and follow Christ feels like death and rejection. Is that what we want to do? This is what Christ calls us to do. Are we ready today?

Memory verse: Luke 9:18.

“If God is all you have, then God is all you need” (John 4:8).

“Meditate on His Word”

“Meditate on his Word”

Tuesday, April 9.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4

The passage in Matthew 4 explains how Satan had cone to Jesus to steal what rightfully belong to us. He had come to tempt Jesus so as to prove that Jesus could disobey God. If Jesus had done what Satan asked him, there would be no redemption for us. The third time the devil tempted Jesus was for Jesus to worship him. The devil wanted Jesus to bypass the cross and find an easy way out. But Jesus refused.

Each time the devil came to Jesus, Jesus quoted Scripture. Jesus used the Word of God, Paul called it the “Sword of the Spirit.”It is important for us to used the word of God as our defense against the attacks of Satan. Let us meditate day in and day out on the word of God.

Memory verse: Ephesians 6:17

“The word of God is limitless and infinite.” H. G. Bishop Youannes

“The Sacrificial Lamb”

“The Sacrificial Lamb”

Monday, April 8.

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

Genesis 22 provides a picture of how Jesus give his life for our redemption from sin. In the Genesis narrative, Abraham took his only son Isaac to Mount Moriah after God told him to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac asked his father about the lamb to be sacrificed. Abraham told his son that God would provide the lamb.

God provided Jesus Christ to be crucified for our sins and our redemption. Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son. God provided Jesus Christ for this purpose. God sees each of us as his child. God loves us and wants us to live a life freed of sins. Let us allow Jesus Christ to take control of our lives.

Memory verse: John 3:16

“As the Father has love me, so have i loved you.” Jesus Christ

Intercessory Prayer: A Prayer Life of a Christian”

SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS MCCARTHY

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

MARCH 24, 2019

Title: “Intercessory Prayer: A Prayer of Life of a Christian.”

Text: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:2-5).

Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1-13.

The story is told of Hudson Taylor sailing to China to begin his missionary work. His ship was in great danger. The wind had died, and the current was carrying them toward sunken reefs which were close to islands inhabited by cannibals—so close they could see them building fires on the shore. Everything they tried was to no avail. In his journal Taylor recorded what happened next: The Captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is that?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”

Taylor prayed briefly and then, certain that the answer was coming, went up on the deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails. “What would be the good of that?” he answered roughly. I told him we had been asking a wind from God; that it was coming immediately. Within minutes the wind did began to blow, and it carried them safely past the reefs. Taylor wrote: “Thus God encouraged me ere landing on China’s shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.”

Knowing from this story that our prayers touch the heart of our loving Father in Heaven and that He can meet any need, we should be confident that He will hear and answer when we cry out to Him.

Jesus gave many instructions concerning the fact that his disciples would give themselves to the habit of prayer.  He gave them instructions concerning errors to avoid and procedures to follow in the practice of prayer. He warned them against praying like the hypocrites who looked upon prayer as a speech to be made to impress God and others.  He also warned them against praying like the pagans who repeated many empty phrases in an effort to impress their helpless and reluctant deities to hear their pious phrases. Jesus declared that such repetition is unnecessary because of the nature and character of the God they were worshipping.

Paul in our text this morning gave a great instruction about prayer.  Paul urges the church at Colossae and Christians everywhere to devote themselves to prayer.  But Paul also emphasize that prayers should be made for him and other believers. Praying for others is what we called intercessory praying.  It is important for us to let these words on prayers dwell on our hearts and encourage us as we give ourselves in the practice of prayers. Let us consider the reason why we should make intercessions.

It is important to give ourselves to prayer because, Jesus as the Son of God gave himself to prayer.  Jesus hungered for fellowship and for the strength that came through dialogue with the heavenly Father.  He assumed that, as the children of God, we would hunger and thirst for fellowship and would dialogue with the heavenly Father.

Jesus taught his disciples to think of God not as the eternal almighty exalted, but as “Our Father who art in heaven.”  Jesus did not teach his disciples to approach the throne of God as beggars for a castoff; he encouraged them to come into the presence of the eternal God as needy children approaching a wise and generous father.  

Jesus gave the command for each of us to pray because each of us has a violent and evil enemy in the devil.  Jesus had a personal experience with Satan at the beginning of his ministry (Matt. 41-11). Satan was his foe. Jesus describes the devil as his enemy and our enemy (Matt. 13:25, 28, 39).

Peter warned his readers about our enemy the devil (1 Peter 5:8).  James gave advice on how we can overcome the devil (James 4:7-8). John assured his readers that victory could be found through him who dwells within us (1 John 4:4).

Jesus knew that life would bring many troubles and hardships so he wanted us to be in the attitude of prayerful intercession.  Many of us never make any allowance for the possibility of the tragic and catastrophic happening in life. Suffering is in the pathway of each of us sooner or later.  Peter encourages us to bring our anxieties and burdens to the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Paul declared to the Philippians that by faith he had learned to be the master of the diverse circumstances that befell him (Phil. 4:11-13).

The future is a mystery for all of us.  Because we do not know what tomorrow holds, many of us feel the need to go into the closet of prayer to receive the strength we need and the assurance of the guidance of him who is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is why we need to pray for each other.

It is important to pray because intercessory prayer brings the strength and the help of the Lord to those who wait on him in faith and faithfulness (Isaiah 40:31).  Our Lord gave himself continuously to the practice of praying for everyone. It restored the vital energies of God to his life as he faced life’s burdens and responsibilities.  It brought the freshness of God’s grace into his life continually. It is the testimony of saints of the past and present that, when we neglect the private place of prayer, we do so to our own impoverishment.

Intercessory prayer is basically praying for others, it is praying for God’s will to be done in the lives of other people. Intercessory prayers characterized the prayer life of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:12 the Bible says, He Himself bore the sins of many and, interceded for the transgressors.”

Luke 22:23 Jesus tells Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;” Luke 23:34 on the cross, Jesus was praying for others when He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 14:15 Jesus interceded for us, asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit

John 17:19 He prayed for us, the church, in His High Priestly prayer. Listen to the intercessory nature of this prayer, “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou has given Me . . . “

Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.And Hebrews 7:25 says, “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Jesus prayed intercessory prayers, He was ever praying for others.

Understanding the power of Prayer, Paul wanted to be sure the Colossian Christians understood what it was they were to pray for. He wanted them to pray with a specific purpose. He wanted them to pray for him, asking God to open a door so that they could speak the gospel. It was the gospel that Paul lived for, it was the preaching of the gospel that had landed Paul in prison, it was the preaching of the gospel that was ever on the forefront of Paul’s mind. You see, Paul wanted God’s kingdom to expand. Like Jesus, he was concerned about others, about their souls, their salvation and their sanctification.

It is instructive to note that Paul is not asking them to pray for his legal situation or that he would be released from prison. He is asking them to pray that he will have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ.

Paul wanted their prayers to be in accordance with God’s will not simply after the greedy desires of someone living for this world.

Paul was always concerned with doing the will of God. How many of our prayers are directed at the expansion of His eternal kingdom rather than the expansion of our petty kingdoms? If you were able to chronicle your prayers, knowing how much time you spent praying for different things, how much of your time would be spent praying for your family, for their health, for the health and well being of your loved ones, compared to how much time you were praying for the lost who are headed to hell?

Intercessory prayer changes things.

You see, when you pray for others, when you pray for God’s work to be done, for His will to be accomplished, He will begin to use you and grow you in ways that will astonish those around you. Sometimes I think we do not become what God wants us to become, because we are too focused on ourselves and not on others. It is when we pray for others that we will become more like Jesus, and as we become more like Jesus God will grow us more, show us more, and use us more.

We must pray for others. What does your prayer life look like this morning? Are you persistent in prayer? Are your prayers passionate or are they perfunctory? Are they filled with intensity and fervor or are they weak, timid and lacking faith? What about gratitude? How much time have you spent thanking God for all He has done for you? And who are you praying for? Is there anyone in your life that you are praying will get saved? Is there a burden on your heart to see God’s kingdom expand, to see His will done? Pray today and god will answer.  God bless you.

SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS MCCARTHY

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

MARCH 24, 2019

Title: “Intercessory Prayer: A Prayer of Life of a Christian.”

Text: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:2-5).

Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1-13.

The story is told of Hudson Taylor sailing to China to begin his missionary work. His ship was in great danger. The wind had died, and the current was carrying them toward sunken reefs which were close to islands inhabited by cannibals—so close they could see them building fires on the shore. Everything they tried was to no avail. In his journal Taylor recorded what happened next: The Captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is that?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”

Taylor prayed briefly and then, certain that the answer was coming, went up on the deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails. “What would be the good of that?” he answered roughly. I told him we had been asking a wind from God; that it was coming immediately. Within minutes the wind did began to blow, and it carried them safely past the reefs. Taylor wrote: “Thus God encouraged me ere landing on China’s shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.”

Knowing from this story that our prayers touch the heart of our loving Father in Heaven and that He can meet any need, we should be confident that He will hear and answer when we cry out to Him.

Jesus gave many instructions concerning the fact that his disciples would give themselves to the habit of prayer.  He gave them instructions concerning errors to avoid and procedures to follow in the practice of prayer. He warned them against praying like the hypocrites who looked upon prayer as a speech to be made to impress God and others.  He also warned them against praying like the pagans who repeated many empty phrases in an effort to impress their helpless and reluctant deities to hear their pious phrases. Jesus declared that such repetition is unnecessary because of the nature and character of the God they were worshipping.

Paul in our text this morning gave a great instruction about prayer.  Paul urges the church at Colossae and Christians everywhere to devote themselves to prayer.  But Paul also emphasize that prayers should be made for him and other believers. Praying for others is what we called intercessory praying.  It is important for us to let these words on prayers dwell on our hearts and encourage us as we give ourselves in the practice of prayers. Let us consider the reason why we should make intercessions.

It is important to give ourselves to prayer because, Jesus as the Son of God gave himself to prayer.  Jesus hungered for fellowship and for the strength that came through dialogue with the heavenly Father.  He assumed that, as the children of God, we would hunger and thirst for fellowship and would dialogue with the heavenly Father.

Jesus taught his disciples to think of God not as the eternal almighty exalted, but as “Our Father who art in heaven.”  Jesus did not teach his disciples to approach the throne of God as beggars for a castoff; he encouraged them to come into the presence of the eternal God as needy children approaching a wise and generous father.  

Jesus gave the command for each of us to pray because each of us has a violent and evil enemy in the devil.  Jesus had a personal experience with Satan at the beginning of his ministry (Matt. 41-11). Satan was his foe. Jesus describes the devil as his enemy and our enemy (Matt. 13:25, 28, 39).

Peter warned his readers about our enemy the devil (1 Peter 5:8).  James gave advice on how we can overcome the devil (James 4:7-8). John assured his readers that victory could be found through him who dwells within us (1 John 4:4).

Jesus knew that life would bring many troubles and hardships so he wanted us to be in the attitude of prayerful intercession.  Many of us never make any allowance for the possibility of the tragic and catastrophic happening in life. Suffering is in the pathway of each of us sooner or later.  Peter encourages us to bring our anxieties and burdens to the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Paul declared to the Philippians that by faith he had learned to be the master of the diverse circumstances that befell him (Phil. 4:11-13).

The future is a mystery for all of us.  Because we do not know what tomorrow holds, many of us feel the need to go into the closet of prayer to receive the strength we need and the assurance of the guidance of him who is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is why we need to pray for each other.

It is important to pray because intercessory prayer brings the strength and the help of the Lord to those who wait on him in faith and faithfulness (Isaiah 40:31).  Our Lord gave himself continuously to the practice of praying for everyone. It restored the vital energies of God to his life as he faced life’s burdens and responsibilities.  It brought the freshness of God’s grace into his life continually. It is the testimony of saints of the past and present that, when we neglect the private place of prayer, we do so to our own impoverishment.

Intercessory prayer is basically praying for others, it is praying for God’s will to be done in the lives of other people. Intercessory prayers characterized the prayer life of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:12 the Bible says, He Himself bore the sins of many and, interceded for the transgressors.”

Luke 22:23 Jesus tells Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;” Luke 23:34 on the cross, Jesus was praying for others when He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 14:15 Jesus interceded for us, asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit

John 17:19 He prayed for us, the church, in His High Priestly prayer. Listen to the intercessory nature of this prayer, “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou has given Me . . . “

Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.And Hebrews 7:25 says, “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Jesus prayed intercessory prayers, He was ever praying for others.

Understanding the power of Prayer, Paul wanted to be sure the Colossian Christians understood what it was they were to pray for. He wanted them to pray with a specific purpose. He wanted them to pray for him, asking God to open a door so that they could speak the gospel. It was the gospel that Paul lived for, it was the preaching of the gospel that had landed Paul in prison, it was the preaching of the gospel that was ever on the forefront of Paul’s mind. You see, Paul wanted God’s kingdom to expand. Like Jesus, he was concerned about others, about their souls, their salvation and their sanctification.

It is instructive to note that Paul is not asking them to pray for his legal situation or that he would be released from prison. He is asking them to pray that he will have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ.

Paul wanted their prayers to be in accordance with God’s will not simply after the greedy desires of someone living for this world.

Paul was always concerned with doing the will of God. How many of our prayers are directed at the expansion of His eternal kingdom rather than the expansion of our petty kingdoms? If you were able to chronicle your prayers, knowing how much time you spent praying for different things, how much of your time would be spent praying for your family, for their health, for the health and well being of your loved ones, compared to how much time you were praying for the lost who are headed to hell?

Intercessory prayer changes things.

You see, when you pray for others, when you pray for God’s work to be done, for His will to be accomplished, He will begin to use you and grow you in ways that will astonish those around you. Sometimes I think we do not become what God wants us to become, because we are too focused on ourselves and not on others. It is when we pray for others that we will become more like Jesus, and as we become more like Jesus God will grow us more, show us more, and use us more.

We must pray for others. What does your prayer life look like this morning? Are you persistent in prayer? Are your prayers passionate or are they perfunctory? Are they filled with intensity and fervor or are they weak, timid and lacking faith? What about gratitude? How much time have you spent thanking God for all He has done for you? And who are you praying for? Is there anyone in your life that you are praying will get saved? Is there a burden on your heart to see God’s kingdom expand, to see His will done? Pray today and god will answer.  God bless you.

“The Prayer Life of a Christian”

SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS MCCARTHY

2nd SUNDAY IN LENT

MARCH 17, 2019

Title: “The Prayer Life of a Christian”

Text: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, o that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:2-6 NIV).

Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:2-6

D. L Moody used to tell the story on radio of a man who came to him and said, “When the Mexican war began I wanted to enlist. My mother, seeing I was resolved, said if I became a Christian I might go. She pleaded and prayed that I might become a Christian, but I wouldn’t. I said when the war was over I would become a Christian, but not till then.

“All her pleading was in vain, and at last, when I was going away, she took out a watch and said: My son, your father left this to me when he died. Take it, and I want you to remember that every day at 12 o’clock your mother will be praying for you. Then she gave me her Bible, and marked out passages, and put a few different references in the leaflets. I took the watch and the Bible just because my mother gave them. I never intended to read the Bible.

“I went off to Mexico, and one day while on a long, weary march, I took out my watch, and it was 12 o’clock. I had been gone four months, but I remembered that my mother at that hour was praying for me. Something prompted me to ask the officer to relieve me for a little while, and I stepped behind a tree away out on those plains of Mexico, and cried to the God of my mother to save me.”  God saved him, and after the Mexican war was ended, he said, “I have enlisted again to see if I can do any good for my Master’s cause.”

Prayer is, for the most part, a resources that is not tapped. It is an unexplored continent where untold treasure remains to be unearthed. It is talked about more than anything else , and practiced less than anything else. And yet, for the believer it remains one of the greatest gift our Lord has given us outside of salvation.

In 1952, Albert Einstein was delivering a lecture on the campus of Princeton University. A doctoral student asked the famous scientist “What is there left in the world for original dissertation research?” With considerate thought and profundity Einstein replied, “Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer.”

Paul was somebody who understood prayer and its power. Prayer was a part of Paul’s life, and he took it for granted that it would be a part of the life of every Christian. You cannot really be a good Christian and not pray, just like you cannot have a good marriage if you don’t talk to your wife. You can be a Christian and not pray, just like you can be married and not talk to your wife. But in both circumstances you will be miserable. Prayer is the pipeline of communication between God and His people, between God and those who love Him.

The first thing we ought do is to always pray with persistence

Paul begins by saying, “Devote yourselves to prayer,” (NASB) or “Continue earnestly in prayer,” (NKJV). In the original language it says, “continue steadfastly in prayer.” The word translated, “continue steadfastly,” is one word in the original language. It can be translated, “persist in, adhere firmly to, or remain devoted to or to give unremitting care to.” It carries with it the idea of dedication. Of the ten times it is used in the New Testament four of them have to do with being devoted to prayer. It is a very powerful word and in this verse is given as an imperative, or a command. In other words, persistence in prayer is not an option for the Christian it is an order from the Lord Himself.

Two of the most instructive parables Jesus ever told on prayer, one in Luke 18 and the other in Luke 11, both have to do with being persistent and not giving up in prayer.  Luke 18:1 says, “Now He was telling them a parable to show them that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” Luke 11:9 is where we find the promise that says, “ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” Each of those verbs are in the present tense, active voice and could be translated, “keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.” Jesus does not want us to give up in prayer, He instructs us to be persistent.

Now there is a difference between a persistent prayer and a long prayer. A person who is persistent in prayer does not necessarily have to pray for a long time. Persistence means not giving up.

Some people give up easy, they quit because they say they don’t feel like praying, the joy is gone, the feeling is gone. But we are not to live by our feelings but to live by the commandments of our Lord who tells us to pray without ceasing.

George Muller, known as one of the greatest prayer warriors of all times had this to say about persistence in prayer: Do not give Satan the chance to steal your joy in reading the Word and praying.  Because he is persistent, be persistent also.

Be persistent in prayer.

The second important mark of a Christian prayer life is to pray with passion.

If you are persistent in something, it stands to reason that you are to be passionate about it. In fact, Paul says we should be vigilant or be watchful; it is the opposite of slothfulness. This describes passionate prayer.

Jesus was passionate about His prayer life, it was something He was always doing.

S.D. Gordon in his book, Quiet Talks on Prayer, says,  “How much prayer meant to Jesus! It was not only his regular habit, but his resort in every emergency, however slight or serious. When perplexed he prayed. When hard pressed by work he prayed. When hungry for fellowship he found it in prayer. He chose his associates and received his messages upon his knees. If tempted, he prayed. If criticized, he prayed. If fatigued in body or wearied in spirit, he had recourse to his one unfailing habit of prayer. Prayer brought him unmeasured power at the beginning, and kept the flow unbroken and undiminished. There was no emergency, no difficulty, no necessity, no temptation that would not yield to prayer.”

And every time we see Jesus praying He was praying with passion. In Luke 3:1 at His Baptism – while He was praying the heaven was opened. Passionate prayer opens Heaven. In Luke 6:12 before He called His disciples – He spent the whole night in prayer. Passionate prayer gives direction. In Luke 9:29 at His transfiguration – And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. Passionate prayer enables us to experience the glory of the Father. In John 17 in His high priestly prayer – Passionate prayer impacts the lives of others. In Matthew 26:39 in the Garden of Gethsemane – It is only through passionate prayer that we can pour out our hearts to God. In Luke 23:24 as He hung on the cross – a life that is lived in passionate prayer will enable us to maintain that spirit, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Jesus always prayed with passion, because He knew Who it was He was talking to and He knew that prayer to the Father is a powerful thing and not something to take lightly and glibly.

Prayer from the heart, that’s what passionate prayer is, it is prayer from the heart not just from the head. That is how He taught us to pray, not only through His example, but specifically through His teaching Look in Matthew 6:7, in the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus instructs on prayer. It is here that we find the Lord’s prayer. But just before the Lord’s prayer what does He say? “When you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do.”

What has happened to the Lord’s Prayer? People repeat it as if it were some kind of magic mantra that will bless them or move God to hear them. They are doing with it is exactly what He was instructing us not to do with it. The gentiles, when they prayed tried, through their religious repetitions, with their chants and their mantras to call forth or impress their Gods. That is not what you do when you are in a relationship.

You don’t tell your wife. “I love you, oh I really love you and I just wanted to tell you today that I love you, I’m so glad that I just have this time to just say I love you. Please feed the children, please clean the house and may all go well with you.” Amen

James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

The third mark of the prayer life of a Christian is to pray with thankfulness

Paul never fails to mention it. Ephesians 5:20 tells us that thanksgiving is the natural result of being filled with and walking under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Philippians 4:6 tells us to be anxious for nothing but in everything we should pray, giving thanks as we make our petitions known to God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that giving thanks at all times is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.  Colossians 3:17 says that as believers everything we say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus as we give thanks to Him. 1 Timothy 4:4 – says that food and marriage are good things given to us by God and are to be received with thanksgiving and gratitude.

Be persistent, passionate and thankful in your prayer life.  God bless you.