But for Christmas this year Stephen bought me a really nice watch. This is a nice watch. One of the interesting things about this watch is it does not run on a battery, okay? This is a watch that the internal mechanics of the watch, you know, it runs by itself. However, you have to wear the watch for it to keep time. Because the only way the watch will keep time is if it stays in motion. I would suggest to you that prayer is to the armor of God, to the graces of the Spirit in our lives, as motion is to the watch.
Prayer works in that way. Let me give you another illustration. Have you ever had to have an EKG? Maybe you were having chest pains or something like that. You go to the doctor, you have an EKG, and you know what they do? They put you on a treadmill. But we also know that any cardiologist is going to tell you that one of the most important ways for you to keep a healthy heart is to exercise, right, is to run!
It reveals the health of your heart and it actually makes your heart more healthy. So we need to pray. We need to pray in order to put on the armor, we need to pray in order to cultivate these graces in our lives. The exhortation here is to rely not on ourselves, but on him.
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- The Weapon of Prayer by E.M. Bounds.
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But how do you do that? You do that through prayer. The way you can know that you really do believe the promises of God is that you pray them. The way you can know that you really do trust in Christ is that you seek him. Prayer is the humble appeal to God, in his omnipotence, in his almighty power, to stoop down and meet us in our weakness and in our need. The way in which we trust in God, the way in which we are strong in the strength that God provides, is through prayer. If we are without prayer, we will be without strength. So perhaps one of the first ways this passage should convict us and rebuke us this morning is to show us our pride, show us our independence, our self-sufficiency, and that we are trying to do it on our own rather than seeking the Lord in prayer.
We need prayer, and we need it more than we realize. But we need prayer in all of its dimensions. We need the weapon of all-prayer, and that leads us to the second point, the scope of prayer. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. This means continuous prayer, it means constant prayer, it means devotion to prayer. Now, this does not mean that we are always to be on our knees. The idea, rather, is that we are in such frequent conversation with the Lord that our hearts are characterized by devotion to prayer.
It means that we are regularly praying, it means that we are continuously praying.
It really has to do with a Godward heart. Praying at all times also means that we are praying in good times and in bad times. It means we are praying in both prosperity as well as in adversity. It means we are praying when we are healthy and when we are sick. It means that we are not neglecting prayer at any point in our lives, in any season of our lives. Someone has helpfully compared prayer to breathing. We are inhaling and we are exhaling. In the same way, we are to inhale and we are to exhale spiritually. It really should. There are lots of ways you could think about this.
Let me just suggest a couple. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Those are four different kinds of prayer that should be characteristic in our lives. John Piper has used another acronym. He says that prayer should be Free and Formed. Free and formed. Formed prayer would be using prayers maybe written in a book. We need both kinds, free and formed. A: Alone and Assembled. We need both private prayer prayer by ourselves, prayer when we are alone , but we also need corporate prayer. We need prayer with others, assembled with others.
Desperate prayer and Delighted prayer. Those are the different emotional states of prayer.
E. M. Bounds - The Weapon of Prayer
He looks away and he sees the waves and he begins to sink, and you remember what he says? The E is Explosive prayer and Extended prayer. Explosive, these short bursts of prayer to the Lord; but then also the long, quiet, extended seasons of prayer. Have you ever prayed for an hour without ceasing?
Have you ever spent most of a day in prayer, or a good portion of the night in prayer? We tend to think that such seasons of prayer are reserved only for the most advanced Christians, you know, the Spurgeons and the Wesleys and the Whitefields of the world. You might be surprised at how the Lord will meet with you if you just set aside time for prayer.
Then S: Spontaneous and Scheduled prayer. So again, praying spontaneously, spur-of-the-moment, as thoughts come to mind; but also scheduling some times for prayer. Holly and I enjoy talking together, we try to find time for one another every day.
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I think our relationship with the Lord is like that. With the Lord you should be regularly, throughout the day, sending up just a thought to him, just a prayer, just a request, just a moment of adoration, expressing your love for him, your need for him, your dependence on him. Notice what Paul says. It is constant prayer, persevering prayer.
Praying with importunity. Not giving up. You remember the parable of the widow and the unjust judge? She keeps coming to him, bringing her case. How much more will God, our heavenly Father, hear our prayers when we pray with perseverance! This is where intercession comes in. We can pray for the kingdom of God, not only in our own nation, but in other nations. We should be praying for missionaries, we should be praying for other countries, we should be praying for other churches.
We should be praying for other Christians, far beyond our four walls. You start with your smallest circle: start with yourself and your family, pray for those needs. Then go out a circle, pray for your small group, pray for your Christian friends. Go out a circle, pray for the church.
Pray for the various ministries of the church, the leaders of the church, the needs of the church, the needs of people in the church, the members of the church. Get a membership directory, a church directory, and pray through those names. Then go out a circle: pray for the community, pray for the needs of the community, pray for other churches in the community.
Go out another circle: pray for the nation. And go out another, and pray for the nations of the world. This is the scope of prayer. May God give us more of that! I think we need it. But I want to end by thinking about the way of prayer. As I said at the beginning, I think some degree of that is appropriate.
We probably should be convicted of our prayerlessness. But mostly what I hope this morning is that we will leave freshly amazed at the privilege that is given to us to pray, and that we will understand that there is a way of prayer. There is a way in which to pray, there is a kind of heart that is characterized by certain features, that will get us to praying. We know that there are wrong ways to pray; Jesus talked about that. Those who think they will be heard for their much speaking, their vain repetition, those who pray in order to be seen by others. So what is the Christian way of prayer?
What is the way of prayer that actually gets heard? I just want to give you three features, two right here in the text and then one in the broader context. That is, it is Spirit-given, Spirit-directed, Spirit-empowered prayer. What does Paul mean by that? Pray in the Holy Spirit. Listen, Christian: everything we do that pleases God must be done in the Spirit! This is the great gift of the new covenant, the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. He gives us a new heart, he puts his Spirit within us to enable us to know God, to walk with God, to love God, to believe him, to trust him, to become more and more like his Son.
Everything in the Christian life that is good and that is honoring to God is done in the power of the Spirit.
The Weapon of Prayer - Edward McKendree Bounds - Google книги
We live in the Spirit, we are to walk in the Spirit, we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit. We are to sing in the Spirit, right? From the persecution of believers in the Middle East and Africa to the religiously-motivated terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, our world today seems to be continually consumed with turmoil and pain.
It's because of this unsettling reality that Dr. David Ireland , senior pastor of Christ Church, a multisite church in northern New Jersey with a membership of 8, that represents over 60 nationalities, is urging believers to engage in today's spiritual battle offensively, using the weapon of prayer.
Ireland told the Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. I want to encourage people to get back to that place where they understand the power of being on bended knee. Ireland provides practical tools that teach Christians how to launch spiritual attacks against evil and reclaim God's promises for one's life -- all while offering the encouraging reminder that God uses times of unrest to further His Kingdom.
Below is the exclusive interview with Dr. David Ireland. The Bible is clear that prayer is not only an opportunity to talk to God about anything that may be in our hearts, but a basis for us to fight against the enemy of our soul. Paul makes that plain when he wrote his letter to the Ephesian Christians in Ephesians 6.
About the Book
GH: Many of us were brought up to view prayer as a passive act, but in your book, you encourage believers to fight and to use prayer as a weapon. How and why should we do this? DI: One of the best passages in Scripture that captures the whole idea of how prayer is a weapon is Luke Jesus said, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. When the wheat was shaken up, it has gone through a sieve, and the kernels would fall through the holes and would be collected.
However, the chaff and the excess would be thrown away. What Satan was doing was shaking up Peter's life so the essence of who Peter was --his leadership, his skill, his faith, his relationship with God -- all would be thrown to the wayside and he would become a shell of a man. Jesus' response was, "I have prayed for you, that your faith doesn't fail. The word "weapon" means anything you use to outwit, to out power, or to overcome an opponent, and that's what Jesus was doing when it came to Peter and his faith. How would you respond? DI: That writer doesn't understand the role of prayer.
What we should be asking is a bigger question. When we say prayer is ineffective, it's because we've assigned prayer as a fix-it tool for everything. It's not addressing certain things, for example, God created us with freedom. We can use our freedom for positive things or negative things. It's not an indictment against God when something bad happens, but it's a reflection that He created us with this freedom, and He loves us so much that he didn't make us robots; we have the ability to do either good or evil, and some choose to do evil. The way prayer works is that I have a responsibility to pray for my city, my community, my country, the world.
The Weapon of Prayer
When I pray, I'm not forcing, but asking God for His help and guidance to help change human beings. But again, God doesn't usurp someone's will or freedom or choice, or His love would then be minimized because he would be forcing us to do what we don't want to do. It's a very technical question, and the Bible is sympathetic about the question of evil, but prayer provides an answer. It's not the only answer, but we ought not to eliminate it from the arsenal of answers.
GH: What do you think is at the heart of the kind of violence seen in San Bernardino and Paris just a few weeks earlier? How can we use prayer to fight against such violence? DI: The heart of the violence is people are disgruntled and upset, and they don't know what to do, so they take it out on people. They're misinformed about eternal things; they think they're going to Heaven because of their brutality against human beings when it's just the exact opposite.
We have to use prayer as a weapon, in that we are praying for the peace of our communities. I pray they'll have an appetite for peace, they'll want to hold out the olive branch and say, "Let's find better ways of dialogue, a better way to communicate our negative feelings towards other human beings. GH: Why is it so challenging for many Christians to pray effectively? DI: We've brought Christianity down to this posture of feeling as if we're on a cruise ship, so to speak.
A cruise ship means it's all about us: When a person's on a cruise ship, the mentality, is that you're on vacation. It's all about me, I'm here to relax, I must be served by the crew, I can freely complain because I deserve to be served fast and frequent.
On a cruise ship, prayer is seen as a bother or pest, and Christianity is a vacation. However, Christianity is not a cruise ship - no, it's a battleship. We're at war, it's not about me, it's about God. I'm not here to relax; I'm here to fight. I'm not looking to be served by the crew, I am the crew. On a battleship, prayer is seen as a necessity, as a must. A battleship sails during wartime; a cruise ship is docked during wartime. On a battleship, God is seen as a fearless general. On a cruise ship, God is seen as a jovial entertainment director.
My prayer is that the Christian community would awaken to the reality of what the early Christian father Tertullian said: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, the more we're mowed down, the more we grow. Right now, when we're battling all of these wars and atrocities, this is a fertile ground for Christianity. When Christians were being thrown to lions and wild beasts in the midst of the Colosseum, the Church grew, because people recognized the significance of a relationship with God during times of evil. Though we may not have all of the answers to combat evil, we do know that during times of evil, there's a God that loves us and cares for us.
If we turn our affection towards Him, He will provide comfort to us in times of trouble. Can you tell me more about that? High Indifference Virus is when people are having this laissez-faire attitude towards prayer, they're not engaged in spiritual warfare, they're disconnected. We're called to be soldiers, we're told throughout Scripture that we're in the army of the Lord. Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, to fight the good fight of faith.