Institutional First Bapist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr.
Delivered On
January 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Central Passage
Matthew 6:5
Subject
Refurbishing Our Prayer Life
Description

Refurbishing Our Prayer Life

 

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the

hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in

the synagogues and in the corner of the streets, that

they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They

have their reward." Matt. 6:5

There are many different religions in the world. Most of

them have a mode of communicating with the Supreme

Being of the religion. That common feature is known as

prayer; it is the vehicle by which the believer communes

with the Deity. Prayer, in many families, is an essential part

of the training process. It is taught to children at an early

age; also, they see their parents engaging in prayer.

Additionally, prayer is incorporated in the grace before

meals in numerous families.

Because of the repetitiousness in the act of prayer,

there is the possibility of it become routinely stagnant

or a mere formality. Such an undesirable state should

be avoided thereby keeping prayer vibrant. In this

connection, the sermon today was planned to help us

take a critical look at our view on and use of prayer. It

has, therefore, been entitled, Refurbishing Our Prayer Life.

It will encompass the following dimensions; namely: some

dimensions of prayer, some values of prayer, the prayer

model that Jesus gave, and steps in refurbishing our

prayer life.

Obviously, there are many different words that could be

used to describe the process of revitalizing prayer, but the

one chosen for this sermon is refurbishing. This concept

extends beyond a mere dusting and/ polishing the language

and thoughts in prayer; it reaches beyond the ongoing litany

of prayer requests; its excludes the delineation of self

righteousness; and relies, instead, on an admission of

personal transgressions and limitations. Recognizing these

impediments to a reverent and productive prayer life, every

person, in the opinion of this pastor, needs to pause and

review its modality of prayer. As used in the sermon today,

that evaluative process is labeled as Refurbishing our

Prayer Life. While this undertaking can be made started any

time, it is herein submitted that early in the New Year is an

appropriate time to start. Embracing this submission, the

focus is now directed to the concept, Refurbishing, a

word that denotes action to make clear, bright, or refresh

again; it can, also, describe the process of restoration of

defective parts or earlier actions with the ultimate desire

of improving performance. Whereas some refurbishing is

designed make an object look better, with prayer the

emphasis is on increasing the efficiency and outcome of the

prayer efforts. It is to this end our sermon today is directed.

 

This assertion leads to the first component of the sermon

which is - some dimensions of prayer. While there are many

parameters of prayer, the most significant one must be that

a definition of prayer. There are innumerable definitions of

prayer a few of which are: "Prayer is the soul sincere

desire unuttered or confessed a motion of the hidden fire

that trembles on the breast"; "Prayer is an invocation or act

that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of

worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate

communication"; "prayer, according to the Smith Bible

Dictionary, includes: "to ask God for a blessing, to pour

out the heart or soul before the Almighty", "an approach of

the soul unto God, with the desire and request for help",

" prayer is the acknowledgment of God's power and

goodness and humanity’s neediness and dependence. It is

therefore an act of the virtue of religion implying the

deepest human yearning"; prayer is the spiritual channel

through which the believer commune with the Almighty

God and thanks to the theology of the Reformation

Preacher, Martin Luther of Germany, the individual has

a direct access to God rather than to rely on a priestly

intercession for him or her. Hence, it is not a mysterious

practice reserved only for clergy and the religiously devout.

Prayer is simply communicating with God - acknowledging,

exalting, beseeching, and a spiritual fellowship with the

Almighty God. Lastly, by prayer humanity acknowledges

God’s power and goodness, its adoration and needs, and

willingness to wait on God’s responses to the petitions.

This positive approach to prayer leads to the next

aspect of the sermon which is - Some values of prayer.

Of the many values in prayer, probably the most

significant one is that it provides a sense of personal

identification with the Almighty God. Such an attitude

of prayer was penned in the 23rd Psalm where David

stated, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the

shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with

me." Prayer, secondly, is a source for succor - a word

that denotes a feeling of relief from the stress of worries,

troubles, and health challenges. To this end, Jesus said,

"Let not your heart be troubled...I will not leave your

comfortless...whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my

name, he will give it you" ( Jo. 14: 1, 18; 16:23 ).

These assuring statements lead to the next

dimension of the sermon which is - prayer as a source for

succor. This word is frequently used within the arena of

Christianity, especially in funeral settings. When used as

a noun, succor denotes "assistance and support in times of

hardship and distress". It can, also, be defined as "a person

or thing that gives help, relief, or aid". There are others

definitions of succor, but as used herein that word focuses

on the prayer life as a source of comfort, courage, patience,

expectation, and reliance on God for daily survival. It is

highly feasible and desirable that one’s prayer life be

monitored to determine its effectiveness. Whenever flaws

are detected, it is time for a refurbishing of the efforts.

Such an effort may well reveal that the prayer requests are

at variance with the will of God. Remember that section of

the Lord’s prayer - "...Thou will be done in earth as it is

heaven" ( Mt. 6:10 ). In this regard, the believers must

seek to pray and believe in accordance with God’s will.

Whenever discrepancies are found, it is time to refurbish

the prayer life using the words of Jesus, "not my will but

Thy will be done." This endeavor to enhance the

effectiveness of one’s prayer life leads the third phase of

sermon which is - a role model for the task. It is herein

submitted that the praying modality of Jesus it the best

 

approach to examine and refurbish one’s prayer life.

That model is clearly delineated in Matthew 6:5-10. The

components of this model are: avoid praying in public just

to be seen and heard; next enter into your secret closet;

this does not mean the cloth closet at home; rather it

denotes the act of shutting out the world and its follies;

thirdly, avoid vain repetition as do the heathens do for they

think that they shall be heard for their much speaking;

remember that Your father knoweth what things you have

need of before ye ask". Having given these guidelines, Jesus

proceeded to state the prayer model as given in Mt. 9-13 ).

In closing this sermon on Refurbishing Our Prayer Life

was planned to submit guidelines for us to evaluate our

prayer life: its effectiveness, problems, and to detect areas

in changes are needed. In making our evaluation, let us

remember that prayer is the act of spiritually communing

with God; it can be answered in one of three ways: granted,

wait, no! Through prayer, it is possible to endure the

disappointment in life, to enjoy the success of life, to cope

with the problems of life and to endure struggle at the

ending of life. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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