Teleios Research, along with other authors, has shown Christian belief actually can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the Christian life in more detail to see how to uncover some of the potential underlying causes of the improved wellbeing. In the last few weeks we have covered salvation, eternal security and accepting God’s Word as truth.
We are now discussing the practice of Christianity based on Acts 2:42 and 47. These fascinating verses describe the activities involved in the Christian walk within the early church. They are repeated throughout the Epistles. I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity’. These activities most easily can be summarized as: praise, prayer, fellowship, outreach and Bible study.
Last week we discussed praise. Today’s tool for consideration is prayer. We do indeed have a great God who to whom we are privileged to pray.
How do we pray? Here are the basic concepts:
Access – As a forgiven Christian God views us as sinless which allows us the privilege of direct, unimpeded access to Him so we can pray. We can come before God with courage (Hebrews10:20-23)! The only limitation is ourselves from lack of obedience, guilt or fear, that would limit or damage the content of our prayers (1 Peter 3:7).
Attitude in prayer
Glorify Christ – We are to pray in such a way that is consistent with the goals of Christ as established in the Bible (John 14:13-14).
Everywhere – Pray in all places (1 Timothy 2:8).
Attitude adjustment – Allow prayer itself to correct our attitudes and requests (1 Timothy 4:5).
Unhindered by sin – 1 Peter 3:7
Sober and watchful – 1 Peter 4:7
According to the Spirit – Our prayer should be consistent with God’s revealed Word (i.e., scripture) which the Holy Spirit uses to provide us power (Ephesians 6:17, Jude 1:20).
Content of Prayer
Thankfulness – We should express gratitude for what God has done in in our and other people’s lives (Philemon 1:4)
Praise – We should acknowledge God’s holy character and actions
Note: The first two aspects of the content of our prayer adds to the proper attitude of prayer mentioned above but are also important content.
Our requests – We may petition God with anything that worries us or concerns us. We should remember that we are praying to the great God of the universe in our attitude as mentioned above (Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter4:12).
· Specific requests – They should be consistent with God’s desires and example prayers (John 14:13-14, Ephesians 1:15-19, 3:15-18; Colossians 1:9-14).
· Pray for others – Examples of prayer for other people are frequent in Scripture (James 5:16)
· Request prayer from others – It is not a numbers game but allow others to share in God’s answers to your prayers by asking them to pray for you (Colossians 4:3).
What about confession of our sins? This is a controversial point. We are free to confess but it is not necessary for the following reasons:
The Epistles do not instruct us to confess our sins to God.
We are already forgiven.
The common injunction in the Epistles for our attitude with respect to sin is simply to obey. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us obey and defeat our sins. Therefore, our prayers can be more forward-looking, service-oriented and filled with praise and thankfulness.
Thank you for joining me today. Come back next week and we’ll discuss fellowship, the third of the 5 tools to maturity.
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