I had the opportunity to preach yesterday but didn’t remember to take my mp3 recorder with me, so no audio to share this time. As I practice, and teach about, a lifestyle of prayer, there are a number of things that I find happen through such a way of life. I’ve prepared several sermons that highlight some of what a lifestyle of prayer is, and yesterday’s message was one of them.
Many times when we try to describe something we skip the most obvious part of it because it is so obvious we think everyone must know that much about whatever we are describing. In an attempt not to do that, the message I shared was “A Lifestyle of Prayer is a Life of PRAYER”. But not only is it a life filled with prayer, it is a life filled with the results of prayer and that is what the sermon focused on — some of those results. With no audio to share, here is the outline and some of the main points from the message.
A Lifestyle of Prayer is a Life of . . .
- Peace: The Bible teaches that it is through a continual process of presenting our requests to God through prayers and petitions that we can replace anxiousness with peace. Prayer may not bring an immediate change to the circumstance that has caused you to be anxious, but it should serve as a reminder of who is really in control of the situation. Our prayers should fill us with peace as we grow in our trust of God to carry us through, and beyond, the anxious moments of life.
- Respect: As we live with prayer as a lifestyle, we find that our approach to God grows in regard to the respect we give Him. It seems our respect often fluctuates based on how real we view God to be. When we are consistently engaged in conversation with Him through prayer, we find that He not only demands respect but that He deserves respect. It is this life of respect that continually reminds us that while prayer is a conversation, it is no ordinary conversation — it is communication with the living God.
- Answers: This is the part of prayer that we often desire most and can be the most likely to wreck our prayer life when it doesn’t happen according to our expectations. Yet a lifestyle of prayer is a life of answers — some “yes”, some “no”, some “not right now”, and some so far removed from the answer we wanted that we fail to see it. When our prayer life is sporadic, we often fail to “connect the dots” of God at work and thus miss the answers He is providing. But the more that prayer is woven into every aspect of our life, the more we begin to notice that God has been answering all along in ways that are for our good.
- Yielding: In nearly every relationship we have, the more time we spend with someone the better we get to know them. An active prayer life is time spent with God both talking and listening so that we begin to become familiar with the things of God that He has revealed by the power of His Spirit through His Word. In a life of prayer, the yielding is often interwoven with the answers as we learn to accept that His answers are better than ours. When we can pray, “not my will but Yours be done”, and really mean it, we find that we will be more likely to yield to the answers that God provides as we learn to trust Him.
- Encouragement: A life of prayer can bring great encouragement — not just to those who pray, but to the people that see and hear of the mighty work of God that takes place in the lives of those who pray. It is this encouragement that not only emboldens the life of the one who prays, it often causes others to consider what a life of prayer would do for them. While we ought to pray just for the privilege of talking with the creator of everything, many times it is the benefit that prayer brings into our life that keeps us going back to God. Let’s face it, if every conversation we have with a person makes us feel poorly about our self for some reason, we will likely not seek to continue that relationship. However, when our time with God brings daily encouragement to both us and those around us, our desire to pray ought to grow each day that we live.
- Renewal: Isaiah wrote that “even youths get tired and weary, but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” A lifestyle of prayer can result in a life of renewal as we continually seek the “new mercies” that God promises each morning. The Bible teaches that we are to be transformed by a renewing of our mind, and prayer is a major part of that change of mind that can bring about a godly transformation. When we allow a growing lifestyle of prayer to bring peace, respect, answers, yielding, and encouragement into our life, we will find that we are indeed being renewed daily by the power of God’s Spirit and through the truth of His Word.
When we live a lifestyle of prayer, we ought to find that these qualities are growing in our life. And as they grow, we find that we are more drawn to prayer as a way of life each day that we live. It is my prayer that each one of us would grow in our desire to live a lifestyle of prayer that results in a life of PRAYER!