Monday, July 14, 2008

Pursuing the God Who Pursues (Matthew 6:5-21)

A few folks approached me after Sunday's services and asked me where they could find more about prayer in the Bible. I figured that's a pretty darn good request, so rather than give you more of my own ramblings, I've posted some of God's own words on prayer throughout Scripture. I'd love to know what jumps out at you; what impacts you; what makes you think differently about God and about prayer! This is definitely not ALL the Bible has to say on prayer - by far! - but it's several of the major teachings. Enjoy!

Also, in preparation for next week, I humbly ask you to set aside some time this week and fast from something. I'm going to ask our staff and church leadership to do the same thing, but I think that since we're approaching such an "unknown" topic, it might be good for us if we, as a body, gave it a whirl. What do you fast from? Anything! A meal, a day's worth of meals, sweets, your favorite Starbucks beverage or TV show... whatever you feel God leading you to give up. What do you do? Spend that time focusing on God: journal, read Scripture, pray, dwell, or just "be." The point of fasting is to realize what controls you, and to let God become your provision and sufficiency. There are a couple of links to resources at the bottom of this post.

Thanks all; see you Sunday!

Psalm 4:3
"But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
The LORD hears when I call to him."

Psalm 37:7
"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
Over the man who carries out evil devices!"

Psalm 65:2
"You who hear prayer,
To you shall all flesh come."

Psalm 66:18-19
"If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
The Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer."

Proverbs 28:9
"If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination."

Isaiah 65:24
"Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear."

Matthew 6:5-13
"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
"‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil'"

Matthew 7:7-11
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

Mark 11:24
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

John 14:13-14
"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it."

Romans 8:26-28
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

2 Corinthians 12:8-9
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 6:18
"...praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints..."

Philippians 4:6
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Philippians 4:19
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.'

1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Pray without ceasing..."

Hebrews 4:16
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

James 1:5-8
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

1 John 5:14-15
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you spoke on Sunday, I thought about a post I recently wrote on my blog about prayer. It's definitely a topic I've been thinking a lot more about lately. Thanks for the verses!