Prayer – Be – See Part 1: A Study For Our Church Prayer Growth


Photo by David Sarkisov on Unsplash

We live in a super-connected world. People connect to one another through electronic mobile devices. While home with our children on vacation we discovered that stores are now offering home delivery of goods. We are fast moving into a world where there is absolutely little to no human interaction. We were not created to be this way. God made us social creatures. We need to interact with one another.

We especially need to interact with our Creator. Interaction with the Creator cannot be done with mobile devices or social media. We interact with God personally, one on one, in prayer.

It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of daily, moment by moment, interactive prayer with God.
Prayer is how we enter the Christian way of life.

Though some may dispute this, I believe that without prayer there can be no Christian. I was amazed to visit a Baptist Church’s website the other day and see where its Pastor claimed prayer was unnecessary for salvation. This is a frequent error preached in this day of what John MacArthur callsEasy Believism”. Salvation is indeed a free gift from God – but it is a gift that must be asked for. There is no merit in asking … but the Scripture makes this very clear. You must approach God in prayer to be saved. Let’s focus on a very familiar passage in Romans:

Romans 10:8-14 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

The Spoken Gospel Must Be Received By Prayer

Our text states “The word is nigh thee”. That which is translated “WORD” is the Greek ῥῆμα rhēma, (pronounced hray’-mah) which means “an utterance. That which is spoken by the mouth”. The Apostles preached with their mouths the word of faith which we preach. The Gospel message was spoken to all who would hear. It was not hidden, but uttered with the mouth so that it was plainly understood.

The GOSPEL MUST BE SPOKEN, it cannot be assumed.
The spoken Gospel MUST BE RECEIVED or there is no effect.

What ῥῆμα rhēma or uttered word did the Apostles speak? The Gospel spoken was “nigh thee” or near to every person. It was not given to a select few, but to all who would hear. The Apostles suffered great persecution for sharing the Gospel. Easy believism says to “just live a good life and encourage others to imitate the same, and we will all go to Heaven”. This is blasphemy. This is not the ῥῆμα rhēma or uttered word – word of faith which we preach.

The word preach is the Greek κηρύσσω kērýssō, (pronounced kay-roos’-so) which means “to publicly or loudly proclaim as a herald or public crier”. In the days before modern mobile technology news was spread was via public herald or the town crier. This is what κηρύσσω kērýssō references.

The message of the Gospel was not hidden,
but clearly and vocally presented.

People knew what the Gospel was. What is the Gospel? The Apostle is now clear. If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus. The word translated confess is the Greek ὁμολογέω homologéō, (pronounced hom-ol-og-eh’-o) which means “to say the same thing about”. God the Father and God the Spirit has declared that Jesus is Lord. When the Gospel is shared God enables the listener to say the same thing about Jesus that God Himself says. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Lord!

In the ancient Roman world you were expected to say Caesar is Lord, out loud and for all to hear. It was required of the citizen just as Heil Hitler was expected of the Nazi. To fail to acknowledge Caesar as Lord would be to be marked as a traitor to the Roman state. The Christian was the person who – at risk to life and limb – would refuse to acknowledge Caesar as Lord and who instead would declare Jesus is Lord. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. The Gospel requires the outward confession – an agreement with both Father and Spirit – that Jesus is Lord.

The Gospel also requires an inward belief that goes with the outward confession. Believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead. The Christian INTERNALLY believes that Christ died for him and rose again, making atonement for our sins. The Christian OUTWARDLY professes Christ as Lord of all. Not just Lord of others, but Lord of our lives. He is Lord. The INternal and the EXternal are in agreement with the Christ follower.

No Human Designed “Sinner’s Prayer” Is Necessary

There is no set “sinners prayer” that any Christian need say, but an inward belief and an outward profession. There is, though, a prayer made to the Lord Jesus. We know this because the Apostle summarized what he said with Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”. Salvation comes when the sinner calls upon the name of the Lord. When the sinner repents and comes to Christ as Lord and Savior salvation is secured.

Romans 10:13-14 For Whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they CALL on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Salvation comes to the sinner when that sinner
“calls upon the name of the Lord”.

The word translated “call” is the Greek ἐπικαλέομαι epikaléomai, (pronounced ep-ee-kal-eh’-om-ahee), which means “to cry out to, to call to” and by extension to pray.

  • When Stephen was martyred for professing Christ the Scripture says that he epikaléomai – cried out to God, saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’ ” (Acts 7:59).

  • When the Apostle Paul was giving his testimony in Jerusalem before the Pharisees he testified that the day he was saved that the disciple Ananias came to him and shared the Gospel, saying “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, CALLING on the name of the Lord …(Acts 22:16). Again we see the use of epikaléomai.

  • The same Apostle Paul wrote the Church at Corinth: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place CALL upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:2). Again we see the use of epikaléomai.

A person does not become a Child of God by osmosis, but by crying out to Christ as Lord and Savior. God creates the Christian in response to that believer’s cry of faith. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. No one is saved apart from the spoken Gospel, or apart from the confession of Christ in prayer.

We Return To The Garden By Prayer

God designed us to walk and talk with Him. When you read the Genesis account of creation it was “In the cool of the evening Adam and Eve heard the Lord God walking around in the garden” (Genesis 3:8, my paraphrase). We are led to believe from the context that God normally walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve, talking to them – that is, until sin caused a breach in our fellowship. We were made to walk and talk with God, just as surely as we were made to breath oxygen.

We were made to be in a living, breathing, moment by moment relationship with our Creator!

Salvation is not just a ticket to Heaven, but an entrance into the Family of God. Salvation is more than “Friending” God on Facebook. Salvation is much more that “Tweeting” on Twitter. Salvation is a moment by moment relationship with the God Who is, and Who loves you. Our love relationship with God requires communication, and communication is PRAYER.

If there is no relationship with God as Father, there is no communication, no prayer. Jesus told the religious crowd:

John 8:42-47 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

There is no point of communication between Christ and those who do not recognize Him as Lord. Those who are of God hears God’s words – the words that Christ speaks. The unbeliever cannot do that. The believer however CAN. Jesus said:

John 10:26-29 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Those who are Christ’s by faith both HEAR and FOLLOW Christ. Jesus Himself HEARS those who are His. And those who are His have and hold eternal life – because Christ will not let us go.

Pastor E.M. Bounds – a great man of prayer who wrote 9 books on prayer – said that:

Prayer has to do with the entire man. Prayer takes in man in his whole being, mind, soul and body. It takes the whole man to pray, and prayer affects the entire man in its gracious results. As the whole nature of man enters into prayer, so also all that belongs to man is the beneficiary of prayer. All of man receives benefits in prayer. The whole man must be given to God in praying. The largest results in praying come to him who gives himself, all of himself, all that belongs to himself, to God. This is the secret of full consecration, and this is a condition of successful praying, and the sort of praying which brings the largest fruits.”

God saves us through prayer. Christ Himself wants us to grow in Him through prayer. The first question every convert to Christ has to ask of himself is,

Do I know that I am saved?
If yes, then HOW do I know this?

Assured Of Salvation, Assured God Hears

The Scripture says in John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name”. The Bible does not want you to have a hope so salvation, but a know so salvation. Is God in your life? Are you a child of the King? If you are not certain, then it has an impact on your prayers. The Bible says:

James 1:6-8 (KJV) … let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. {7} For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. {8} A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 4:8 (KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

What hinders prayers? A double mind. Where is your mind focused? If you are a child of the King then act as a child of the King. Know that He is yours, and you are His. If there is sin in your life then reject it. Throw it from your home as you would an unwelcome visitor or a pest. When I pray it is particularly important that my focus be on my Lord and Savior. Prayer – effective prayer – effects the whole person. We as Christians must not have a divided allegiance. In prayer we see the direction of our God, not our own satisfaction. As E.M. Bounds said in his book “The Essentials of Prayer”:

Holiness is wholeness, and so God wants holy men, men whole-hearted and true, for His service.”

What is Biblical holiness? Holiness is not being “holier than thou” – that’s self righteousness. Holiness, the Greek hagiasmos {pronounced hag-ee-as-mos’}, means to be “set apart for God’s use”. This word, often translated “sanctify” (hagiazo), refers to devoting or setting yourself apart to God.

To pray effectively prior to prayer each believer should examine themselves for unconfessed sin, and then confess that sin to God (1 John 1:8-10). God will not hear the prayers of a believer out of fellowship. What does the Scripture say?

Proverbs 15:29 (KJV) The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Hebrews 12:14 (KJV) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

The word “see” is the Greek optanomai {pronounced op-tan’-om-ahee}, which means to behold, to look at”. Our souls are to be right with God our Savior prior to prayer.

How You Pray Reveals The Posture Of Your Soul

How did the Old and New Testament Saints pray? How did they position themselves for prayer? Let’s look at the Word of God.

  • Abraham fell upon his face before God.

Genesis 17:3-5 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham;

  • Moses prayed with his hands outstretched to God.

Exodus 9:29 … As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s.

  • The Prophet Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a day in prayer. King Solomon also knelt in prayer, raising his hands toward Heaven.

Daniel 6:10 (KJV) … Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”

2 Chronicles 6:13 (KJV) … Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven

  • Our Lord Jesus often looked up into Heaven as He prayed, though in Gethsemane He fell on His face as Abraham did.

Matthew 26:39 (KJV) {Jesus} went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Mark 6:41 … And when {Jesus} had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

John 11:41 … And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

Regardless as to posture in prayer the body will take the form most suited to the soul. Prayer should always be made in a humble posture. When we pray we are speaking to our Lord and God. We are not speaking to an equal, but to the Divine. We are speaking to a Friend – for we have a Friend in God – but He is Lord.

E.M. Bounds writes:

As praying is asking for something definite of God, so, beforehand, the thought arises—“What shall I ask for at this hour?” All vain and evil and frivolous thoughts are eliminated, and the mind is given over entirely to God, thinking of Him, of what is needed, and what has been received in the past. By every token, prayer, in taking hold of the entire man, does not leave out the mind. The very first step in prayer is a mental one. The disciples took that first step when they said unto Jesus at one time, “Lord, teach us to pray.” We must be taught through the intellect, and just in so far as the intellect is given up to God in prayer, will we be able to learn well and readily the lesson of prayer.”

Prayer Is Best When Our Heart Is Committed To God

When Israel was to enter the Promised Land the Lord told His people:

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Jesus was asked the question one day “What is the first commandment of all the commandments” (Mark 12:28). Jesus quoted this same text. That which God wants of us more than all else is our hearts devoted to Him. This is true also of our prayers. Those who were most used of God while in this life knew that to love God was the most important thing we can do. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 119:2, 10 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart… 10 With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

The intent of all prayer is not to get more STUFF from God. The intent of prayer is to get MORE OF GOD. The Lord is our Portion and our Strength. If your love is divided then your prayers will be divided. E.M. Bounds wrote:

“… the entire man without reservation must love God. So it takes the same entire man to do the praying which God requires of men. All the powers of man must be engaged in it. God cannot tolerate a divided heart in the love He requires of men, neither can He bear with a divided man in praying.”

God knows our hearts. He knows what our intents are, regardless as to what we say. As someone once wrote:

“’Tis not enough to bend the knee,
And words of prayer to say;
The heart must with the lips agree,
Or else we do not pray.”

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Praying Like Jesus Series, Sermons Preached and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.