Text: Colossians 4:2-4
Devote Yourselves to Prayer (Full Sermon Manuscript)
I will be direct! Prayerlessness invades churches nowadays. Too much confidence in ourselves, extreme pragmatism, and indifference. “Prayerlessness is spiritual suicide.”
Why do we ignore prayer, forgetting, or not prioritizing it? In fact, when Paul reminded the church about putting on the full armor in Ephesians 6:10-20, he emphasized at the last part the importance of prayer. Which is alongside the sword—God’s Word—enclothed with the Spirit of God through prayer. You cannot fight the battles in this world without prayer.
As said, prayer is a spiritual condition: “Tell me who your friends are; I will tell you who you are.” But for Christians, tell me about your prayer life and I will tell you what kind of Christian you are. Prayer life is like a mirror, it reflects one’s spiritual shape. Do you just pray because you are told to do so? “Prayer is oxygen for the Christians (John Onwuchekwa).” When you do not pray, you feel weak, exhausted, and feel like giving up. Why are you exhausted today? Why are you sleepy right now? Check again, maybe because you have not prayed that today will be all for Christ because today is Lord’s Day.
“Continue (ESV)” or “Devote (NASB)” – meaning, “to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of despite difficulty.”
What hinders our prayer? 1. Lack of faith (James 5:14-15; prayer flows from faith, only those who have the gift of faith can enjoy prayer.); 2. Cherishing Sin (Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”); and 3. Unforgiving Heart (Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that the Father in heaven may forgive your sins.”; Matthew 5:23-24).
Other than prayer as a spiritual condition; it is also our spiritual celebration. Hence, we are called to always have an attitude of thanksgiving. Having a grateful heart is a sign of contentment. A sign of humility. Signifies our recognition of God’s authority, power, and rule over our lives.
Every time we have a celebration, we are excited because we know there will be food, fellowship, fun time, and more. This should be our attitude too, despite the struggles of life, we still have someone willing to listen to us, talk with us, and walk with us.
Celebration is not merely just having some fun time, but more of observance. We pray because we would like to remember what Christ had done for us; what God has planned for us; and what the Holy Spirit is still doing for us.
Lastly, prayer points to an end, this is our spiritual motivation. The goal of prayer is more than just what we need, but we take part in God’s kingdom call. We pray for God’s Word to be shared with others.
But the problem most of the time is that we are motivated not because of God’s plan, but because of our personal agenda. We pray because beneath our hearts we want something in return. We pray and try to manipulate God with our own plan.
Then if God did not answer your prayer, you will blame him and tell God that you prayed so hard for this and that but how come He did not answer you. If this, is you, stop blackmailing God. Do not pray and twist God’s arm, that is not possible.
Many churches—or individual Christians—treat prayer as a prescription rather than a life support system. It is not something that you only do when you need something like a vending machine. No. Prayer is an essential part of Christian life for breathing, living, and walking.
Why pray? Because Jesus prayed. When they asked God, the disciples did not ask God to teach them how to preach; they did not ask God to teach them how to cook, play instruments, or heal; but they ask God to teach them how to PRAY.
Why did they ask Christ to teach them to pray? Because they know Christ as the one who models prayer in His life. We do not ask a person who does not know a thing about what you want to learn. Youth goes to Sebi because he is good at chemistry. We go to Miguel because he is good at music. We go to Jon C, Kuya JR, and more because we know they can advise us about the matters of the church.
The apostles ask Christ because He is an expert on prayer. Christ is the ultimate model of prayer. Christ is indeed the foundation of prayer.
- Choosing the Twelve Apostles
- Raising Lazarus – John 11:41-42
- Feeding the 5, 000
- At the cross (Luke 23:34
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 18, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.