Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
May 17, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Your Prayer Life
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday May 17, 2015
Your Prayer Life!
“...Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples... ( Lk. 11:1 ) “...after this manner, therefore pray ye...” (Matt. 6:9 ).
Humankind, throughout history, has recognized the 
existence of a power greater than itself. It sought to 
identify that power by attributing names and/or attributes 
to it. In the process of time, a systematic sets of beliefs 
and practices emerged giving birth to a system known 
as Religion. While this system, Religion, gradually surfaced 
in many groups/nations of the world, it was accompanied by 
various names for the power, different titles for the worship 
centers, and an array of beliefs and behaviors associated 
with the Religions. One common component of the 
religions is that of Prayer. 
Within the United States of America, there have been 
three historic religions, often referred to as The Abrahamic 
Religions; they are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Their 
worship centers are, respectively, Temple, Church, and 
Mosque. While each of these religions - along with the 
numerous excluded others - is important, the focus for 
today’s sermon is The Christian Religion. Its documentation 
is rooted in the Bible, from which the subject for this 
message is derived; it is - Your Prayer Life. The sermon will 
include the followings concerns, points, or considerations, 
namely: an overview of prayer in the Bible, The prayer 
model given by Jesus, and some elements or components 
of our prayer life. 

As background for the sermon, attention is called to 
the word prayer. It has several different definitions but with 
a common focus which is an interaction between the 
individual and the Supreme Being. Prayer is defined in the 
Smith’s Bible Dictionary as an act “To ask God for a 
Blessing”, additional Smith’s definitions include: “ seeking 
the Lord”, “...the approach of the soul to God...”and “prayer 
is the free utterance of the soul’s want to God the Father...”. 
In homology, prayer is described as “... is the soul’s 
sincere desire, Unuttered or expressed. The motion of a 
hidden fire, That trembles in the breast.” 
Against these few definitions of prayer, attention will 
now be focused on the earlier specified concerns, the first 
of which is - a synopsis of prayer as presented in the Bible. 
“ Prayer is distinctly mentioned in Abraham’s time”. In the 
All-In-One are found an extensive listing of praying persons 
during biblical times. Just a few of them will be cited in 
this sermon. The list includes Moses praying for assistance 
during the wilderness struggle, Elijah who prayed during the 
confrontation with worshipers of Baal, David for purging of 
himself owing to earlier transgressions, Solomon at the 
Temple dedication, Hannah for the gift of a son, Jonah from 
the belly of a great fish, Hezekiah for an extension of his 
longevity, and there were many others who prayed during 
the Old Testament Era. The practice of praying continued 
in the New Testament Era; however, just a few citations 
are herein cited. Jesus stands alone among those 
praying individuals; other include Lazarus, the person 
included in one of Jesus’ many parables; Paul and Silas 
prayed while in prison, Bartimaeus had his sight restored 
by Jesus, and the Syro Phoenician mother’s daughter was 
cured by Jesus. Moving from this brief account of praying 
persons during the New Testament, the focus will now 
be directed to the next concern of the sermon which is - 
The Prayer Model Given by Jesus. Even the most vocal 
critics of Jesus must nonetheless concede that He was 
an unique person; also, they acknowledge that prayer 
was one of the recurring theme in the teaching of Jesus. 
While not believing in the effect of prayer, the critics 
were puzzled about outcomes attributed to prayer. 
Unfortunately, there exist segments of humanity during 
this contemporary era who reject, denounce, condemn, 
and vehemently disclaim the effectiveness of prayer. 
The Christian believers, in the meantime, must avoid 
allowing hostile feelings toward those non believers 
to tarnish nor diminish our attitudes toward such persons. 
Instead our attention must be on learning more about 
prayer and its effectiveness as a stimulus in our life. 
To attain this goal, let us now examine the textual anchor 
to gleam insights on the Prayer Model that Jesus taught. 
The scenario starts during the early ministry of Jesus. It 
seems that Jesus’ disciples puzzled by both his teaching on 
prayer and demonstrations on its outcomes. Hence, they 
approached Jesus with the request, “ Lord, teach us to 
pray as John taught his disciples...” ( Lk. 11:1 ). This topic 
is, also, recorded in Matthew 6 where Jesus taught on the 
methodology of praying and then told the disciples, “ After 
this manner therefore pray ye:...” ( Mt. 6:9 ). This prayer 
model, often called The Lord’s Prayer, can be viewed in 
terms of three foci; namely; human recognition of and 
reverently approaching the Almighty God. ( Mt. 6:9-10 ), 
personal beseeching substance, cleansing, and guidance. 
(Mt. 6:11-13 ) and a reaffirmation of belief in the Divine 
Kingdom with its everlasting power and glory. ( Mt.6:...13). 
In sum, the Lord’s prayer is about the kingdom, humanity, 
and eternity. 
As noted in Matthew’s account of the prayer request 
Jesus gave instruction on prerequisites necessary for 
effective prayer that included: avoid be ostentatious - just 
wanting to be seen and heard, create secret environment - 
often referred to as a closet, and avoid vain repetition in 
words. These instructions that Jesus gave for entering the 
prayer mode lead to the third, and final, aspect of the 
sermon - Structuring and Evaluation your prayer life. 
Although praying is a non difficult activity when 
entered into seriously and envisioning the divine power 
on the other end. In this regard, our sermon was planned 
with the third objective being that of providing guidance 
for you our hearers and readers with some guidelines for 
structuring and evaluating your prayer life. Accordingly, 
the following modality is herein submitted. To initiate the 
process, one must first believe in the existence of God as 
taught in Hebrews 11:6 “...for he that comes to God must 
believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that 
diligently seek him.”. The next step is that of recognizing 
the contextual setting for the prayer - i.e. individual, family, 
cooperate, or massive disaster. Having determined the 
correct focus, the petitioner - as noted in an hymn - 
commences to “spread your wants before His face and 
share your joys abroad”. In addition to these generic 
components for gauging your prayer life, there are 
some components that Jesus specified for inclusion 
in our prayer life; a few of them include: 
1. watch and pray - Mt. 26:41 
2. pray for them that despitefully use you - Mt. 5:44 
3. pray lest you enter into temptation - Lk. 22:46 

4. “ and pray for ye know not when the time 
comes” - Mk. 13:33 
5. “...whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, 
he will it ( to) you” - Jo.16:23. 
Beloved, while these selective scriptures references 
offer guidelines for prayer, a word of caution must be 
submitted. While they are biblically documents, it must 
be recognized that prayer can be answered in one of three 
ways: yes, no, and wait. Even Jesus, himself, experienced 
frustration, agony, and even physical pain as he prayed. 
Yet he remained committed to the act of praying. Probably, 
his most memorable demonstration of prayer was at the 
grave of Lazarus whom he called back from death. In 
contrast, his most painful experience while, yet praying, 
was on the cross at Calvary where he cried, “My God, why 
has thou forsaken me”. Yet, beloved, he remained 
committed to the power of prayer as reflected in his 
last earthly statement from the cross - Father into thy 
hands, I commit my spirit. 

In closing, beloved - this sermon was planned to 
help us in a essential process which is that of evaluating 
our prayer life. It gave an overview of praying during 
both the Old and New Testaments, it, also, included 
an analysis of the Lord’s Prayer, and lastly, it enumerated 
some criteria for assessing our prayer life. Remember, 
prayer may not yield every desired request, especially 
as judged by the petitioner, but - oh! members of the 
household of faith - I can unequivocally certify that 
prayer will lighten your burdens, clarify your visions, 
anchor your hope, and bring you peace of mind. Amen!
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