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All Prayer (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 7, 2021 4:00 am

All Prayer (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 7, 2021 4:00 am

Many of us have begun an exercise program with good intentions but failed to follow through. Sometimes we treat prayer the same way: we say it’s essential, but we don’t pray as we should. Hear more when you join us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The exercise is to put doesn't mean we work out regularly in the same way.

Prayer is essential for every believer. And yet people were honest many of us would admit we don't pray as we should do when we begin today on Truth for Life. Alister bag outlines a framework for how and when to pray invite you to turn with me to Ephesians center chapter 3 continue to heed the expectation of Paul in chapter 6 in relationship to the importance of prayer. I will read one of his examples software as he prays here from verse 14, Ephesians 3 and verse 14 for this reason I bow my knees before the father from whom every family in heaven and on earth. His name that according to the riches of his glory. He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 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. Gracious God. As we turn now to the Bible, pray for the help. The enabling of the Holy Spirit to teach and to listen to understand, to believe, to obey, to live in the light of its truth accomplish your purposes and is Lord, we pray for Jesus sake. Amen. Was we come to the end of Ephesians and we have spent some significant time in this final section. It's important for us and helpful for us to keep in mind that this is not a section that exists on its own. It is the closing part of one letter and it is also the concluding part of what we refer to as we began chapter 4 as the more practical part of the letter we said that Paul in the way in which he wrote his letters would lay down what was indicative of what was true doctrinally and then on the strength of the night he would come to the imperative send to the soul Watson to the Air Force and to the application and return by just one page in your Bible you be reminded of the fact that this practical section began by his exhortation is urging his readers to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called and he then is going on to point out that to walk in this way is to walk. First of all, in a culture that is alien it is to walk alongside others who are part of the family of God in a church that is made up, not of people just like us but of people, often very different from us different by background and by agent stage of life, and in other ways to it is to walk worthy in the framework of our everyday life's in the workplace and it is to discover what it means to walk in this way within family life and within marriage ended the raising of children. In other words, in short order. He is pointing out now as he reaches this final section that all of this walking is taking place. If you like in a war zone and that is why he has come to the end of it and he is pointed out the importance of putting on the armor and of picking up the weapons and he has begun to make clear to his readers and I hope to us that in the spiritual battleground prayer is absolutely essential and one of the ways in which we can gather that from Paul's letter here is simply in the amount of space he gives to this matter of prayer. You will notice and you could some of your put together that we may even count the number of words that we have an English but it is clearly disproportionate and it is also important for us in recognizing that to remind ourselves that he is not addressing this. First of all to us as individuals and fight is not writing to an individual.

He's writing to a community of believers. He is writing to those whom he addresses at the very top of his letter as the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus, that when he uses that word seems so important for us to understand that it what he's describing there is not some unique group of individuals separated from all the rest, but it is simply a New Testament word for all who have become the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and they are since they are set apart as holy in Jesus, so it is to these individuals that the issues this comprehensive call, a call that is is important for us today in 21st-century Cleveland as it was for the first readers in first century Ephesus. We consider last time.

The fact that prayer is something of a mystery.

We reinforce the fact that it is an absolute necessity. And then we began to consider the activity itself.

And so it is it is from there that we we proceed 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. Those all and there are four of them give to as the framework of the study. First of all, then our praying is to be at all times. At all times.

Whenever we are on the receiving end of an expectation from someone it's almost inevitable that we say will I wonder if he or she is actually doing that herself and we need be no doubt in relationship to this concerning Paul because we can go back through the letter and find him, saying, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. In other words, he is absolutely true to what he is now urging upon his readers. He is praying all the time all the time. This whole matter of constancy or consistency is something with which I think all of us. If we are prepared to be honest, wrestle. Therefore, it is a quite remarkable thing is that when we come across somebody who is able to say to us. I will pray for you and then does pray for you. I've told you before my deep affection for the late Alec materia how I had occasion years ago 1986. I think it was to be in the conference with him in the north of Ireland, and on that occasion. We walked each afternoon.

I think I've told you this before but I've started so I finish and and we walked in the afternoon. At the end of the time. He said my dear boy, I will. I will pray for you. I will pray for you and I said thank you. Well some time elapsed, maybe a year maybe two, and it was on good Friday in the afternoon that I had reason to go to one of his books of commentary on Isaiah and as I was held by the commentary thought you and are never spoken to Alex since that time. I think I'll just call them up and say hello. And so I went on the phone, out of the blue hello. Alec said hello and and he said, before you say anything he said you be interested to know that barrel that was his wife, Darrell and I have just had a cup of tea and this would probably be 9 o'clock in the evening and he said, in the end, and that before we had Artie I will remember you in prayer and we prayed for Susan for Cameron for Michelle and for Emily. There's no way in the world he could pull my kids names out of the blue.

The only reason he knew them was because he prayed for TS Mooney my little friend from Ireland was the exact same when they found TS Mooney dead at the age of 83 in his bedroom.

He was fully dressed in his little tweed suit had his tie on and he was kneeling on the floor and he was he was over his bed when they removed his body and they found that underneath him had been his Bible and his prayer lists and he is the one who when he would write to me would say I remember you daily at the best place know some of you are prayer partners to people to realize what an amazing privilege that is that you are able to go to the living God, the Creator of the ends of the air and seek him on behalf of a brother or sister or place all the time all the time, continually not spasmodically but you know such a call makes perfect sense, doesn't it, because the battle goes on continually. Therefore, the need for prayer is in the syndrome. I remember reading some years ago now of our resident in New York City who used to go routinely to a delicatessen, but I think it was a Korean man who was the proprietor and on one occasion as he got in some strange art of the end of the early morning, maybe two or three in the morning. He said to the proprietor he said you know I've never come in here but you are here he said why are you here 24 seven and the man said because I pay rent 24 seven. There's a lesson for there will be economists among us, why would you pray continually because we face the battle continually was important as well.

When we think about this that we don't imagine the Paul is suggesting that every every so often, like every every time there. The they encounter something along the way they stop and think they have a sort of formal prayer meeting, you know, so that all these members of Ephesus or or bring everything to a crashing halt in their workplace or whatever it might be because they have to engage in prayer. In this way. Now, I don't believe that he has that in mind at all. I think probably what he is recognizing as the fight that the prayers of the faithful may be loud, they may be audible, but he often will be in audible, then writer gets it well when he provides us with this terminology. Prayer is the soul's sincere desire expressed in thought or word the burning of a hidden fire, a longing for the Lord. This is prayer so it is expressed both in thought and in word so continually engaged is aware with the living God. Prayer is the secret battleground where victories are one by prayer.

The will of God is found and work for him begun.

So in short order. This called to all prayer is an expression of our dependence upon God is not optional. It is essential because actually it is impossible for us to enjoy an an intimate relationship with God without no less than the five that you can involve enjoy an intimate relationship with your spouse. Apart from the engaged statement of communication not necessarily talking all the time. He can drive in the car for 15 or 20 miles and never talk but there is communion. That's the first all, then the second. All you will see is right there in the text as well.

Praying at all times and then with all prayer does that mean well.

The NIV translates it with all kinds of prayers and requests that is helpful and I think that is exactly what Paul is saying he's talking about the way in which we come to God in prayer.

Some of us have learned through our years as Sunday school students and then in Bible classes. The important of acts, helping us to remind ourselves that part of prayer is a for adoration that we come to God as it were, in the words of the popular song I just called to say I love you.

Nothing more nothing less will you ever worried by your children doing that your sale that's in the relevancy, not for a moment, they called you from college. I'm busy right now but I just wanted to say come to God like that adoration sometimes you might write up or him and say see for confession. Recognizing that, as Luther says, repentance is not something that triggers off our Christian life. But the repentance is a daily experience saying to God in the course of a day catching ourselves.

I confess to you father that I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips tea for Thanksgiving. Thanking God in our prayers. I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart I will enter his courts with praise. I will say this is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice, for he has made me glad.

What I find most helpful about that it is is is entirely volitional none of it is emotional. So the real test of our thankful hearts is when the doesn't really appear to be very much for which to be thankful when it was like you know when it was raining like Glasgow here immediate reaction lease.

Mine is not to go this is the day the Lord is made is to go man, I hate this day. This is what it used to be like I see it is an expression of who God is and what really is supplication asked for supplication or petition or expression of needs coming to God and acknowledging that it is entirely legitimate to ask to knock to see indeed he bids us do this. He bids us, and tell him exactly what's going on and where our concern lies in what we're really interested in, and sometimes they are big things and other times are small things Daniel in chapter 9 comes to God, he says oh my God. Incline your ear, and hear my prayer. Delay not for your own sake because your city and your people are called by your name. See the significance of that is not concerned about himself is concerned about God and his glory. How vastly different from most of my prayers. How vastly different from the average time of prayer when a small group get-togethers is knowledge. Pray learning to pray, enabled by the Holy Spirit and guided by the Scriptures will inevitably focus our eyes on the gospel and the glory of God and the purpose of the church.

It is a real tragedy is that when in conversation with those whom we love. It is become entirely perfunctory saying the same things over and over again. In fact, instead of it being marred by variety. It is marked by monotony.

So I said to myself this week I need to learn to pray instead with the disciples. I'm sure you've done in the week that is present.

Lord, teach us how to pray. Teach me to pray when I walk along the road when I lie down when I get. Teach me to pray, formerly in structured prayers as I have to teach me to pray standing or kneeling audibly or inaudibly publicly or privately teach me to pray groaning. Teach me to pray crying teach me to pray long time since we study now Meyer for the first time exactly 1983 and when we began to look at that book together, we realized that the immediate response of now Meyer to the condition of this of the people of God in Jerusalem was for him to sit down and to weep and then to pray and his opening prayers is fairly extensive, but as we began to work our way through the book, we realized that he didn't always pray at such length.

In fact, some of his prayers. We would regard as what we refer to as arrow prayers just fired it straight out immediately and for example he on one occasion confronted by the animosity of the folks who were against said so. We pray to our God and we posted a guard or when going to the king to make his request, he said, so I prayed to the God of heaven and I said to the king, there probably would be very much in that just a silent prayer will God help me easy. Often prayer is in is it is actually in the groaning and in the cry United is true that that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Remember in Isaiah and in the midst of his circumstances, he says all, although you would rend the heavens and come down there's a there's a ton just in the old all God listens to our rose You are grown's.

In fact, we know that the Holy Spirit actually makes sense of our groans so that we pray constantly that we pray variously and thirdly, we pray, persevering the all perseverance. To that end keep alert with all perseverance. In other words, we dare not become overcome by dreamy carelessness. The way in which the disciples were overcome by a can of dreamy carelessness. Jesus had said to them.

Remember in the prospect of his death watch and pray so that you do not enter into temptation.

And they did neither and they find themselves in real difficulty in many ways what you have here is an echo of the words of Jesus and also it is in keeping with what what Paul said to the Ephesian elders which is recorded for as in acts chapter 20 before he took his leave of them. He said to them after my departure, there will arise fierce rules who seek to draw way people after then and draw them away from all that I have taught you about Jesus and about the gospel and so he says keep alert keep alert stay awake, be watchful and it is the watchfulness which then is the key to the perseverance center Ferguson helpful as ever, says Christ is building his church on territory that is been occupied by an enemy, alertness is always essential when living in a war zone or challenge from Scripture is to be people who stay alert people who pray listing to Alister bag on Truth for Life. Alister will continue this message tomorrow. If you're enjoying our study called strength for the battle. Maybe you'd like to hear Alister's complete series of teaching through the book of Ephesians.

It's called grace and peace. It includes 85 messages that all of Alister's teaching through all six chapters of Ephesians grace and peace comes on a USB drive. You can only drive for just five dollars search grace and peace in our online We also mention our featured book this month that often we recommend a book about the devil but we been learning that we are in the middle of a battle, it's critical that we know our enemy. That's why we've chosen a book titled our ancient foe Satan's history activity and ultimate demise.

The Bible tells us that we have an adversary who prowls around like a roaring lion, the devil is seeking someone to devour.

This is an eye-opening book that reveals the plans, the power, and even the presence of the evil one.

There are nine chapters in the book written by seven different pastors and scholars, including Alister's good friend Sinclair Ferguson. They shine the light of Scripture on our ancient foe identifying who he is, explaining how he operates exposing his deceit and ultimately celebrating his final demise. Don't be caught off guard requester copy of the book our ancient foe. When you donate a gift of any amount online giving is quick and easy. Simply visit our website Truth for or call us at 888-588-7884. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book our ancient go right to Truth for Life. Our address is PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 Bob Lapine thanks for listing can join us tomorrow as Alister continues to teach us about prayer. We know we ought to be people who pray at all times in all ways. What we do when we don't get the answer you're looking at the Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by truth for line with the Learning is for Living

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