Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning March 24th, 2019.
Ephesians 4:11-16 NIV
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Paul is talking about a fit, mature Body. We are called to be people who grow, are equipped and ready for works of service. But...I think that the Body is out of shape (spiritually).
Speaking of "out of shape"… More than three-quarters of U.S. adults say being in shape and looking good are "very important" to them, yet less than a third exercise regularly and nearly half admit they are not active at all.
So, what about Spiritually Fit?
Do you feel satisfied with your relationship with God, do you understand His purpose for your life?
Do you feel like He is good with your relationship with Him? To you feel Spiritually Fit? Ready to minister, ready to share?
Here’s the facts, compiled through my research from Christianty Today and Barna Research:
>Most don’t feel like they know the Bible very well.
>Most don’t pray unless they really need something.
>Most don’t persevere through tough problems well.
>Most don’t make disciples or even know how.
>Most don’t understand that they are stewards of God’s blessing.
Throughout the Bible - The human culture varied by time and region, but the relational culture with God was one of prayer. Take a look:
1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;seek his face always.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Ephesians 1:18 NIV
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
Ephesians 6:18 NIV
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Jeremiah 29:12 NIV
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Job 22:27 NIV
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,and you will fulfill your vows.
John 17:15 NIV
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
James 5:13 NIV
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
Matthew 5:44 NIV
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 6:7 NIV
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Matthew 26:41 NIV
41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Proverbs 15:8 NIV
8 The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
Psalm 17:6 NIV
6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 141:2 NIV
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense;may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Romans 12:2 NIV
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:12 NIV
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Psalm 4:1 NIV
1 Answer me when I call to you,my righteous God.Give me relief from my distress;have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 145:18 NIV
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,to all who call on him in truth.
Proverbs 15:29 NIV
29 The Lord is far from the wicked,but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Matthew 6:9-13 NIV
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’
Luke 6:12 NIV
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Philippians 4:6 NIV
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV
17 pray continually,
1 Timothy 2:8 NIV
8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
James 5:16 NIV
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Acts 2:42 NIV
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Well, do you see the point? Cultures change, but God relationship is grounded and connected through prayer.
What about our lives? Has our culture affected our lives so much that even our prayer life has changed?
Think about this:
If God answered all your prayers with ‘yes’ how would the kingdom be furthered? The question strikes a chord because it forces us to stop and think. What effect do my prayers have on the kingdom of God? How much time do I spend praying about Spiritual things? What true good would come from God giving me all the things I am praying for? When you look at the things you pray for ask yourself: if God answered all of these prayers with a yes, how would the kingdom be changed? We need to learn how to pray kingdom minded prayers.
Before we can have kingdom minded prayers however, we need to better understand prayer.
Prayer is communication - the deeper the communication, the more intimate the prayer. One of the things I’ve noticed is the parallel between the levels of communication and our intimacy with God.
Here is the progression of communication:
1. Small talk
2. Sharing info
3. Sharing your personal opinion
4. Sharing feelings
5. Sharing who you are - being transparent
Prayer is a conversation with God that stems from a personal relationship in which communication naturally occurs.
>Prayer is an important part of our Christian lives.
>We are to devote ourselves to prayer.
>Prayer should be a key pillar in our lives, a regular part of our everyday life.