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The Discipline Of Prayer Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2021 1:00 am

The Discipline Of Prayer Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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May 25, 2021 1:00 am

“They that wait upon the Lord shall run, and not be weary…” We gain strength for life’s race by waiting on God through prayer, but only if we make prayer a priority. What does it look like to have a consistent, meaningful prayer life?

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Reason for us. Jesus phone number for you could wait upon the Lord shall run and not be weary. We gain strength from life's race by waiting on God through prayer, but only if we make prayer a priority today. What it means to have a consistent meaningful prayer life church in Chicago. This is with Dr. Sir clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line delete certain what keeps so many of us from having a regular prayer life. Dave, you know, if I were to put the answer in one word I would say sentences. What happens is we experience on answered prayer. And so we begin to think to ourselves. It just doesn't matter.

God is going to do what God is going to do. Life is going to unfold the way it's going to unfold.

What difference does it make and what we forget is God is not just interested in answering prayer he wants us to connect with him. Believe it or not, God enjoys our fellowship. That's why think this series of messages is so important, but also want to let you know that the reason that you can be blessed through these messages is because other people have invested in the ministry of running to win. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner that somebody was stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts and we are so thankful when people join what I like to call the running to win the family. For more information go to RTW that's RTW Click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and now let us listen carefully as we are reminded once again of the need for the disciplines of the soul.

Years ago there was a survey taken at a convention with 17,000 Christians. They were there for a conference and the conference emphasized the theme of prayer and revival and the survey revealed this that the average Christian and these probably are people who are above average. The average Christian spends less than five minutes a day in prayer.

Not this conference.

There were 2000 pastors and their wives and of course pastors would do a lot better with a man they did 40% better seven minutes. Why is it that we don't pray more. I know that the devil hassles us, but rather than talking about him. Let me give you some other reasons. Today first of all, because we don't feel like we don't necessarily feel this great urge to come to God and sometimes what happens is we don't get close enough to God for him to share any particular burden with us and so there is really no compulsion to pray and so we don't pray is a second reason and that is that I speak more plainly here maybe than I should.

But prayer is boring because we say the same thing about the same things we ask God to bless our families. We always use the word blessed.

Whatever that means.

And then we always add a new crisis that comes in all of us have our crisis season and we kind of ask God to take care of this to take care of that and in the prayers over and it's gone then we say the same thing tomorrow and 10 years from now. Some Christians are saying things thing about the same things. Third, all communication is one way were talking to God. We think that is listening because his word says that he is, but were getting no response. That's tough. I told you this before but because is a true story. I can tell it again.

True story, one that was sitting on a couch talking to a man in trying to help them understand the interaction between Satan and God in Job chapter 1 he had a different opinion. I was trying to help them to see the truth. The problem is after I went on with my exposition, I noticed that he was nodding off and then when he drifted into a light snore. You know what I did I stop talking if I'm talking to you. I at least wanted bronze and not necessarily in this context, though sometimes that wouldn't hurt either, but I need some kind of a response. And if I'm talking to God and I'm not sure that God is listening and I'm not sure that he's hearing and I don't really believe that anything will be changed. Either I will be changed or circumstances will be changed. It's tough to pray. Under those conditions, sometimes Christians just don't believe in prayer.

You also remember the other story about the liquor store in the pub that was built right next to the church and Christians told the owner who built that there that they were going to pray that God would intervene and take care of the problem and wipe them out. The next night a great thunderstorm cane and lightning struck it and the place burned down. He took the Christians to court saying that it was their prayers that cause the lightning. What did the Christians do, they hired an attorney and they said were not responsible for this pub burning down and the judge said I don't know which way it's going to go but one thing seems clear the bar owner believes in prayer and the Christians don't and so if you don't really believe in prayer. It's hard to pray, let me give you another reason we lost the meaning of prayer. This is essential. We think that prayer is getting a reluctant God to finally do something if we could just find the key. That's I think one of the reasons why the book the prayer of Jabez has sold so well.

There are many people reading it and they're interpreting it as a an opportunity to finally figure out how they can get God on their side and to do something that a woman at O'Hare Field. She was reading it, so I struck up a conversation with her. She said I'm a Mormon, then I'm reading it because I'm beginning a new business and I want God to prosper. So you know if there's some way that I can finally get the Almighty to do something good for me will read any book is not the purpose of prayer as we shall see in a moment. Four years ago I preached on this and that this message is somewhat similar to that but I say that not to make an apology because this is a message we have to hear every single year but to simply say that we need to renew our minds as to how to pray and I want you to know today and I making this promise to you that I'm going to outline a method of prayer and were even going to maybe take the opportunity of praying right here in such a way that number one. You'll never have to say the same old thing about the same old things again, always fresh, always knew.

Secondly, God will respond the way in which you interact with God you can say something and he can say something and then third your soul will be satisfied. Aren't you glad you came.

Now how do we do this well, the answer is we combine to discipline. We combine the discipline of meditation which we spoke about last time if you were here last time. I encourage you to get a copy of the message. Meditation involves as we know, we analyze we personalize we memorize and we gave examples and illustrations of how to do that so that your Bible reading is transformed and now what were going to do is were going to come find that meditation with prayer this message.

By the way is for average Christians of the super average Christians the real superstars. They don't need to hear this. This is for struggling Christians average Christians struggling in their prayer life.

Does it include you or you beyond it.

It's for all of us someone. By the way who did this in a remarkable way. Combining the two was George Mueller. Now George Mueller lived in the 1800s and he ran orphanages over in England and never asked for any money and that he just threw prayer, God supplied and he did this he said for three reasons.

First of all, there were some young people who did not believe that God would answer prayers are yet to prove to them that God was trust and then he said that there were businessmen who were cheating because they thought that if they were honest, God would not do or they would not be able to compete in the business world and therefore they were not trusting God and he wanted to illustrate to them that God takes care of them and then he said there were old people older people who didn't think that God would take care of them in their final days and those were in the days you know before before Social Security and he said he needed to prove the faithfulness of God. Now some people think that he represents the fact that nobody should ever ask for money. Well, that's not true.

Biblically, the apostle Paul. Even urged the people to give but that was the way in which God led George Mueller but let me tell you about his devotional life. He says before this time my practice had been for at least 10 years previously. As an habitual thing to get myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning.

Now I saw that the most important thing was to give myself to the reading of God's word and to meditate on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged more and reproved, instructed and that costs by means of the word of God while meditating on it.

My heart might be brought into communion with God.

I need to pause here and say that in this series of messages next week were going to speak about the discipline of worship incredibly incredibly important because what God wants to do in worship is to bring us into communion with the Lord and next message.

God willing will illustrate exact that can occur but he says the result I found to be most invariably this, that after a few minutes my soul has been led to confession to Thanksgiving to intercession to supplication so that I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet listen here, yet it turned almost immediately to prayer. When thus I have been for a while making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or giving thanks. I then go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself and for others. As the word may lead me to it but still continually being before me, that food for my own soul, which is the object of my meditation. The result of this is that there is always a good deal of confession, Thanksgiving, supplication, and intercession mingled with my meditation that my inner man almost invariably is sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by brick.

This, with rare exceptions, I'm in a peaceful if not happy state of mind, would you like to have breakfast with a guy be wonderful to buy breakfast, having your soul in a peaceful state of mind through meditation and through prayer.

What were going to do here is to illustrate how this is done and in the process of illustrating it hundreds of you. I believe you have not been doing it this way.

Some of you already have been are going to go home and you will find your prayer life transformed will actually be excited about that sweet hour of prayer, about which the choir sang just a few moments ago. Let's begin with one of the most familiar passages of Scripture and all the Bible is one that all of us can quote if you been saved more than two weeks. I'm sure you can quote Psalm 23. You'll notice that how do we take Psalm 23 and translated into a prayer, so that we learn to begin to both meditate and to pray the Scriptures. How is that done. Perhaps like this. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. And then we pause and we sail. Father, I want to thank you today that Jesus is my ship, thank you for the privilege of being one of your sheep.

I pray that you will make me an obedient sheep. Then as you begin to meditate in the Scripture you begin to realize, at least in my case, but I also am a shepherd and I pray all God make me a good Shepherd of the people that you've entrusted to my care and I begin to think of other shepherds at Moody church to pray for the pastoral staff and the elders. So after you begun that a time like that then you go on to the next verse he makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet waters.

Father I pray today that you might enable me to be led beside quiet waters. May my soul rest in you satisfy old Lord God, I pray satisfy my soul with you and then it says he restores my soul. We need to pause there and say father I know that so often I wonder from you.

There things that I do that oh prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love old father restored me, keep me in the path keep me walking righteously and so you go all the way through this song and you use this Psalm as a basis of meditation, yes, but you're combining the discipline of meditation and the discipline of prayer and after you have finished Psalm 23 the next day or the next segment of time you want to Psalm 24 and now of course doing that with the Psalms is easy because most of the Psalms are prayers, but were taking those prayers and we are personalizing them. We are making those prayers, our own, and if you're reading through the Psalms every month as I am doing and remember we do have a schedule that were giving out free if you want to do that simple fact is, it is our opportunity to pray back to God that the thing that had been written in God's word that are so many examples that obviously every song is an example, but let's suppose that you're going through a difficult time because someone at work is is persecuting you, or you're in a situation where someone has it in for you and you're going through this difficult time of wondering whether or not God is going to defend you because you have an enemy or two out there somewhere. What about a Psalm like Psalm 31 we don't have time to read it, but many of your gonna remember that now aren't you. Psalm 31 in you will Lord I've taken refuge. Let me never be put to shame.

Deliver me in your righteousness turn your ear to me. I must skip these beautiful verses, verse four, freeing me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge into your hands I commit my spirit.

Read being the old Lord, the God of truth and on and on it goes, and one of the loveliest passages quoted by Jesus even on the cross. Verse 13 for I hear the slander of many. There is terror on every side they conspire against me and plot to take my life, but I trust in you Lord I say you are my God, my times are in your deliver me from my enemies and from those who would pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant say me in your unfailing love.

What an expression for those who are going through times of difficulty.

What a way in which we can we can pray to God as we take his word and were praying his word back to him. Now I could give you many other illustrations you say will that's the Psalms. What about what about the epistles of Paul. They are very very easy to pray. By the way the epistles are not the wives of the apostles.

The word epistle means a letter writing you know in any Ephesians. For example, you have two wonderful prayers.

If you ever wonder how you should pray for us as members of the pastoral staff if you're ever thinking of how do I pray about a missionary I don't know what his needs are. That's not right you know exact needs are Ephesians chapter 1, you pray that the eyes of his heart will be enlightened that he might know the hope of his calling. A note is in Christ and experience the length and the depth and the love of Christ. That's the next prayer. Actually in Ephesians chapter 3 and you begin to pray this because when the apostle Paul prayed he was always praying for people's spiritual I don't want to play down the need to pray for people in their physical ailments and in their needs and so forth. But when you look at Paul's prayers and there's more than a dozen of them in his writings. Every one of them focused on people's relationship with God and nothing was said nothing was said about their physical needs about their conflicts because Paul was convinced that if people are rightly related to God and if the eyes of their mind are in like they are in Christ, they can endure what it is that they're going through my friend, this is Pastor Luther, you have just heard some thing that can transform your life. The idea praying Scripture occurred to me when I heard a message about 15 or so years ago and it was absolutely transforming because now I spend my time praying Scripture to God on behalf of myself and my family, my grandchildren, because I believe that these are the kinds of prayers that really honor God take up that challenge. And you know if you're blessed as a result of this ministry is because others have contributed to it. We want to thank the many of you who stand with us here at running to win. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner that somebody who does stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

You want more information. Here's what you do go to RTW

Let me give that to you again. RTW

Click on the endurance partner button. That's where you'll find what you need to know or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 time now for another chance for you to ask for extra votes or a question about the Bible or the Christian life. What do you do when your mates, personality changes, that's Martha's question here is what she writes I was married for about six years and my husband and I have a four-year-old daughter early on in our relationship. My husband became depressed and verbally abusive. He would be very inward looking in, virtually, say nothing unless it was to yell at me. We are now separated and I'm living with my parents because we know he could turn violent in the past year. My husband has gone from job to job. He wants to get back with my daughter and me, and I do love him but I can't trust him. He spends very little time with our daughter. But what confuses me is that there are times when he's a wonderful husband and father. He seems to be two different people we been to counseling, but now he doesn't want to continue because quote we've tried it and it doesn't work. Both of us are Christians, but I can't live with my parents forever. Martha, my heart goes out to you today and I need to just simply tell you very very plainly a couple of things. First of all, your husband as you describe them. He's not ready to come back into the home and live with you and your daughter the abuse that you have suffered will occur again. You need to understand that you also need to realize that this confusing situation where he sometimes can be very nice. As a father and as a husband. That's very common among abusers. Abusers can in fact be charming.

That's one of the characteristics of the kind of abusers is the charming kind of abuser so he's not ready to come back and you're not ready to receive him back.

Your husband needs help and he needs more help than he probably realizes he does and what you need to do is to have someone else intervene in his life, someone else has to be friend. And besides, you somebody test to tell him some hard things that he might not take from you, and unless he goes for help. I really don't see reconciliation happening anytime soon now you do say that you can't live with your parents forever. And that's true but you certainly have to live with your parents for now because after all, you do have that daughter she's a precious little girl who's going to be deeply wounded if her daddy comes back and begins to holler and swear at her. So you need to continue to live there. Maybe you can get a part-time job. Maybe your parents can do some babysitting while you can help out with the expenses and all that I can ask is once again find someone to intervene in your husband's life and even as I speak. I'm praying in my heart for you that God in his grace might to be able to grant the kind of grace that you need to put your marriage back together again. God bless you.

Thank you Dr. Luther for those compassionate thoughts. If you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. There is a startling disconnect between the kinds of things. The apostle Paul prayed for in the things most of us pray for. We focus on our physical needs. While God wants to work on our motivation. Here's the question. Are your prayers mostly all about you.

Next time I'm running to win when Sir talked further about self absorbed, praying and what to do about it will learn to pray for the things God wants by praying his word back to him. This is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the teacher

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