Prayer – Be – See Part 2: A Study For Our Church Growth


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Romans 12:9-18 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

How often do you pray? A poll conducted by George Barna showed that many people, if they pray, pray less that seven minutes a week. If you only spoke to your significant other seven minutes a week then how long would you be a couple? Just the word “prayer” or “pray” is over 500 times used in God’s Word. Other words that are used to describe “prayer” are:

Call upon

The Bible begins with creation speaking with God, and ends with the Creator speaking to His children. That is what prayer is – communication with God.

When We Pray We Are To Do So Humbly

Pastor John Newton (August 4, 1725 to December 21, 1807) was at one time the Captain of slave ships. While in that horrid profession he met the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved by Grace. After resigning from the slave trade he went on to pastor an English Anglican Church. His most famous song is the wonderful Amazing Grace, ofttimes sung by Christians the world around. Newton wrote:

If two angels were to receive at the same moment a commission from God, one to go down and rule earth’s grandest empire, the other to go and sweep the streets of its meanest village, it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot, the post of ruler or the post of scavenger; for the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God’s will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham’s bosom, or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home.”

God cannot use the human who thinks he or she is “God”. When we pray, God looks at our hearts. God told the Prophet:

1 Samuel 16:7 … the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

God always looks at our hearts. When He looks at your heart what does He see when you pray? Does He see a heart that adores Him, or heart that just uses Him? The prideful prayer is the prayer that God will not hear. Our text tells us:

Let love be without dissimulation

Dissimulation” is the Greek ἀνυπόκριτος anypókritos, (pronounced an-oo-pok’-ree-tos) which means “Without disguise. Without hypocrisy.” The Pharisees were fond of using religious methods in order to puff up their ego. Jesus said of these hypocrites:

Matthew 6:5 … when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

God knows what is in your heart when you pray. All pride should be confessed before God before entering the prayer closet. You need to humble yourself, and let God sense that humility. Pride causes disharmony between the Child of God and his Father.

Leonard Bernstein, the late conductor of the New York Philharmonic orchestra was asked what was the most difficult instrument to play. Without hesitation he replied, “The second fiddle! I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm—that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.”

When we as God’s Children pray we are to despise the evil, but cling to the good. Many who pray begin their prayers with “Lord, I want”. Such people are like the out of control child in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart. “I want, I want, I want”. God does not honor such prayers, for they do neither us nor anyone else any good. Our text says:

vvs 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another;

The word “Preferring” is the Greek προηγέομαι proēgéomai, (pronounced pro-ay-geh’-om-ahee) which means “to go before and show the way. To lead others forward, as a point man leads a platoon or squad through dangerous territory”. We are not to put ourselves first in order to puff ourselves up. No Beloved, but we are to do as the point man does, risking life and limb in order to lead others on a safe journey. Our prayers should lead others to humble service to Christ. Our prayers should lead others to kindness, to love. We are told in another text:

Ephesians 4:2-3 (KJV) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; {3} Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We are to lift one another up in prayer and in service. These are the prayers that God hears and endorses as from His heart.

E.M. Bounds wrote:

Humility does not have its eyes on self, but rather on God and others. It is poor in spirit, meek in behavior, lowly in heart. “With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.”

When Jesus wanted to show a poor example of a praying person, who did He use? You would think Jesus would use the drunkard, the drug abuser, the thief, the adulterer. No, not at all. Who was a poor example of prayer?

The Pharisee!

Luke 18:10-14 (KJV) “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. {11} The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. {12} I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. {13} And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. {14} I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

I love the way that the King James relates this parable. The Pharisee prayed thus WITH HIMSELF. It is as if the man was praying but our Father was no where to be found. God will not hear the prideful, self exalting prayer of the self righteous. The Pharisee who assumed God was there was sadly mistaken. But the Publican, the Lord said, “would not even look up to Heaven”. His prayer was very simple: God be merciful to me, for I am a sinner. God hears the prayer spoken humbly. God said in Isaiah 57:15 “I am with him who is humble, lowly in spirit” (my paraphrase). Twice in the Scripture two writers say the same thing

James 4:6 (KJV) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

1 Peter 5:5 (KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace unto the humble.

E.M. Bounds writes:

That which brings the praying soul near to God is humility of heart. That which gives wings to prayer is lowliness of mind. That which gives ready access to the throne of grace is self-depreciation. Pride, self-esteem, and self-praise effectually shut the door of prayer. He who would come to God must approach Him with self hid from his eyes. He must not be puffed-up with self-conceit, nor be possessed with an over-estimate of his virtues and good works.”

Our Lord Jesus lowered Himself in this life, and because He did so the Father always heard His prayers. When Jesus stood at the tomb of His good friend Lazarus He prayed:

John 11:41-43 “… Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

When Jesus cried out “Lazarus, come forth!” it was not out of pride or arrogance that He prayed. The Father always heard the Son because the Son always humbled Himself in the Father’s Presence. Though Father and Son are co-equal and co-eternal – for has not the Father said (in Hebrews 1:8):

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever”

The Son is of reality and being eternal God. Yet in the scheme of the Trinity He is to follow the Father’s lead. This He did with no diminishing of His glory. God is God because God knows His Being, His Function, His Position. Our Lord humbled Himself even unto the death of the Cross (Philippians 2:8). The Father always heard the Son because the Son willingly and naturally humbled Himself.

It is the Old Sin Nature in our beings that makes us want to lift ourselves up, to buck against God, to make ourselves “gods”. The seed of this evil tree was planted in our hearts in the Garden of Eden by the serpent:

Genesis 3:5 … God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil …

As humans we have chased this illusion of “being gods” as a dog chases a car – hoping to catch it but not having a clue as to what to do IF we catch it. Jesus Who is ever eternal God in human form did not find it necessary to seek to be God (Philippians 2:6-7). He settled into His humanity as God intends man to settle. Jesus is the Second Adam Who takes us back to the Garden.

The Prayer Warrior Is The Surrendered Warrior

Romans 12:11-12 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

The word translated “Instant” is the Greek προσκαρτερέω proskarteréō, (pronounced pros-kar-ter-eh’-o) which means “to be devoted to, earnest in, diligent to do, to adhere closely to”. In our society the word “instant” is used for cheap imitations that assemble quickly. “Instant grits” or “Instant oatmeal” do not require cooking. Just add hot water, then gag it down. This is not what this word means. It means that our prayers should be deliberate, attended to, focused on.

If we want our business to succeed, we do it for God.
We serve the Lord.
If we want to endure trials, we patiently pray.
No matter what life brings we rejoice.
Why? Because God is there, and is not silent.
God is with me. How do I know? I pray!

Even when I fail I do not despair because of prayer. The Apostle said “I am the chiefest of sinners – but Christ died for me” (1 Timothy 1:15). As someone once wrote:

Let the world their virtue boast,
Their works of righteousness;
I, a wretch undone and lost,
Am freely saved by grace;
Other tide I disclaim,
This, only this, is all my plea,
I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.”

The “Me Too” Movement brought many famous and well funded men to their knees. Comedian Bill Cosby is now serving a life sentence for evils that he did while on the summit of popularity. Bill Hybels, the founder and leader of Willow Creek Church, left his pulpit in shame for abuse of power. It is amazing how many famous men are falling under the glare of judgment because of evils they did while hiding behind a wall of apparent righteousness. There are many who do this and get away with it. But Judgment is coming. Our Christ shall prevail. On Judgment Day Jesus warns us all:

Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. [Matthew 7:22-23]

What keeps us all from falling into the same pit of pride that these great men tripped into? Is it not prayer? Humble prayer? The Old Testament saint prayed in dust and ashes. Did not Job (42:6) say:

I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

When the Jews heard that they were going to be destroyed by the king how did they respond? In Esther 4:3 we read:

There was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes”

When Daniel – that Great Prophet – went to the Lord in prayer, how did he pray?

Daniel 9:3 … I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

It was this prayer (I hope you will read it. I have not time to cover it now, but it is excellent!) that brought Gabriel from Heaven to speak to him face to face. God honors humble prayer. The Lord honored Abraham praying:

Genesis 18:27 (KJV) … Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes …

God honored Solomon’s prayer. What did that grand old Saint pray for? He prayed that God would enable him to do what God wanted him to do. He prayed:

1 Kings 3:5, 7-9 (KJV) In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. .. {7} And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. {8} And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. {9} Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

E.M. Bounds writes:

The pride of doing sends its poison all through our praying. The same pride of being infects all our prayers, no matter how well-worded they may be. It was this lack of humility, this self-applauding, this self-exaltation, which kept the most religious man of Christ’s day from being accepted of God. And the same thing will keep us in this day from being accepted of Him.”

Let our prayers be filled with our decrease and His increase. As John the Baptist declared, “Christ must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:27-30).

O that now I might decrease!
O that all I am might cease!
Let me into nothing fall!
Let my Lord be all in all.”

Only in letting Christ be all and in all can we be blessed. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Scientist George Washington Carver was first and foremost a Christ follower. He developed hundreds of useful products from the lowly peanut. When he was a young man he went to God in prayer and asked the Almighty to “tell me the mystery of the universe”. God answered, “This knowledge is reserved for me alone”. So George prayed, “God, tell me the mystery of the peanut”. I was told that the Lord answered, “Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.” And God told him. Let us seek the face of God in prayer! May God touch your hearts with His Word!

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!
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