Created for Connection Series
The Prayer Connection
September 3, 2017
1 Tim 2:1-8
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle — I am telling the truth, I am not lying — and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. NIV
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s people praying. For example:
- “Abraham’s servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master’s son and heir (Gen 24:10-20).
- “Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship (Gen 32:24-30; 33:1-4).
- “Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judg 15:18-20).
- “David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Sam 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23).
- “Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it (Dan 2:16-23).
- “Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem (Neh 1:11; 2:1-6).
- “Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Est 4:15-17; 6:7,8).
- “The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death (Acts 12:1-12).(from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
You and I were designed, created for connection. The narrative of Genesis reveals, and life its self illustrates it. That is the reason that they are over 250 scriptures that speak of the importance of communication through prayer! This morning I want us to see the 3 results of the pray connection in our lives.
First, our texts reveals that the prayer connection ….
- Connects us with God (v.5)
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
- Jesus taught us to connect with God by praying, “Our Father…” (the model of prayer he gave the disciples and us.)
To connect with people is not always an easy thing. Even if you have their personal number you might not get through. If they are busy, in a meeting might not get through.
I must confess to you though there are several people – Elke, Erna, David, Ryan & Lauren that when they call if I’m not in the middle of a phone call I’m going to answer their call! Why? Because of relationship! Jesus says you and I can make a connection with God BECAUSE we are his children….
The great preacher, teacher, and well-known speaker, Rev. Haddon W. Robinson, in his book entitled “What Jesus Said About Successful Living: Principles from the Sermon on the Mount for Today,” writes, “In the Old Testament, the Israelites did not individually address God as Father. As far as we know, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or Daniel never fell to their knees in the solitude of their chambers and dared to address God that way. Yet in the New Testament, God is called Father at least 275 times, and that is how we are instructed to speak to Him. All that a good father wants to be to his children, Jesus told us, God will be to Christians who approach Him in prayer. We can pray as children.”
- The Prayer Connection is one of the ways we get to know and walk with God.
- Not enough to read and study the Bible (Good start) but not enough- think about the scribes and Pharisees – dead religion (Jesus said, whiten sepulchers) because no life-giving connection – relationship!
- Prayer is a two-way connection – asking as well as listening.
- The Prayer connection with God is an exercise of faith
- To pray must believe God exists
- To pray must believe he hears
- To pray must believe he will answer (Hebrews 11:6)
Allow me to be so bold as to suggest if your walk with God has grown cold, stale and stagnate – look into your prayer connection. Are you seeking to hear God speak into your life and show you great things?
He who cannot lie has stated emphatically in Jeremiah 33:3-4 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ NIV
Next our text shows us that prayer …
- Connects us to Others (v.1)
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—
Unfortunately, many times it seems we make prayer the last thing we do….
Play video from RightNow Media – Prayer – Pray Hands
- I start praying for your requests, interceding for you and your hearts desires I can’t help but make a connection with you!
- If I pray intercede for you – what breaks your heart will break my heart!
- If I pray for your burdens – they will be my burdens (become the concerns) of my heart
- Praying for you connects me with you – it moves me from being an acquaintance to family and families are connected to each other and stand with each other.
- Churches and Christians that pray for one another break down barriers, smash walls and build powerful connections.
- If and when I pray for you it WILL change ME!
- Notice this prayer connection is all inclusive (v.1)
- It’s somewhat curious that Paul instructs Timothy to pray for everyone and then adds “Kings and those in authority.” (v.2)
- I suspect that this is because the Caesars (Kings/powerful) were thought of as enemies of the church – believers.
- God’s Word instruct us to connect even with our enemies by praying for them. Matt 5:44-45 But I tell you: Love your enemies i and pray for those who persecute you, NIV
- Praying for my enemies will change and protect my heart.
- Those of you who know me well know I rarely go to see doctors, and hardly ever go to see a dentist! Just when a couple weeks ago – hadn’t see em in 4 yrs. – and it was 13 years prior to that! Reason I when to see them – was reminded that good dental health is a protect for your heart. Poor dental health apparently can poison your system and give you heart trouble !
- What good dental health is to your physical heart so is praying for your enemies to your spiritual heart.
- It protects your heart from bitterness as you embrace forgiveness
- It protects your heart from hatred and the false hope of unsatisfying revenge.
Prayer is a powerful connection that first connects us with God. But it doesn’t stop there as we practical biblical pray and follow the Bibles instructs in connects us with others, and changes our hearts.
Finally, this morning as we look at the text we see that prayer…
- Connects us to God’s Heart (v.4)
who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
In the book “Jim and Casper Goes to Church” by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper, while visiting a well-known Church, an atheist noted the announcement, “God answered your prayers. Our pastor got an interview with the singing star Bono.” The Church cheered wildly at the announcement.
The atheist looked at a Christian beside him and asked, “Is that what you guys pray for? You claim to appeal to the God who created all the universe, the most powerful being behind every power and you ask for an interview with Bono? Children are starving in Ghana, India, Africa and China and you pray for an interview with Bono? Bombs are falling in the middle-East and you pray for an moment with a rock star?”
A. Text in 1 Timothy 2:4 reveals that God’s heart for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. That is his heart and it is our mission!
- Do our prayer requests reflect his heart – or are they more heavy weight towards to physical, temporal needs of the here and now instead of the eternal hereafter?
- God’s heart is reflected in—
Luke 15:1-7 ”Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’ So he told them this parable: ‘What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.'”
I read of a young Christian artist who painted a depiction of hell. In the flames he painted the faces of several of his lost loved ones. He painted his lost father crying out in agony. There was also his lost brother, and a lost neighbor burning in the flames of hell. When he showed it to his pastor, the pastor was appalled and disgusted. The pastor said, “What a revolting painting! How could you paint such a horrid picture of your loved ones?” The young artist answered with tears in his eyes, “Yes, it is horrifying… but I painted it as a reminder to me—This is the destiny of my loved ones if they are not won to Christ. When I look at this painting, I am reminded how I need to pray and make every effort possible to win them to Christ.”
Maybe we all need to have such a picture painted on the walls of our heart—A picture of your unsaved loved ones burning in the lake of fire.
If you’re here today and separated from God I have good news who have a special place in God’s heart .. there will be more joy in heaven over your who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.'” I Want to give you an opportunity to cause heaven to explode with joy today.
Second, I want this message to serve as a renewed call and commitment to prayer for us Abundant life!
Opportunities for prayer – prayer text, Thursday prayer meeting and in a few weeks connect groups where prayer for each other will be a huge part. Explain connect groups —