Bria Connolly speaking on the discipline of prayer and how we should be devoting ourselves to prayer with one another and with God – all to build up our relationship with him and those around us.
We have spent the last few weeks talking about what it looks like to build up and to build out.
“1 Cor. 14:12 so with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the spirit, devote yourselves to excel in the building up of the church.”
Dave talked about practical ways to build up last week. I got to walk that out with some of you as you pursued the building of family at the Fall Day All Day and on Sack Lunch Sunday.
Today we are going to look at another way to build up – prayer. Why should we “devote” ourselves to prayer, how does saying “yes” to prayer build the church?
There are three different areas I want to look at tonight in regards to this “why”. We will look at the “me”, “us, and “God”.
Me – Psalm 71
Prayer is personal. It is our conversations with God that we have when no one else is around. It is what changes us from the inside where only God can see to the outside for the world to see.
Think about our relationships we have. Think about our friends. If I only talked to Aly when other people were around, I could claim her as acquaintance, or maybe even a friend. But could I call her my best friend? No way! Aly is my best friend because of the hours I spent with her, just her and I, talking about nothing, talking about everything. If I always kept silent when it was just me and Aly she would probably find me super weird, and probably pretty rude.
In our relationship with Jesus we cannot claim depth with Him if we do not talk to him.
This Psalm is what is called “an individual lament.” This is one person giving their heart cry to God, one that we get to see and learn from.
It is not rehearsed, this is not muted, this is a raw cry for deliverance to God.
This isn’t pretty, it’s not put together, it’s not easy. But it’s prayer. It’s not refined, it’s not formatted it’s real pain coming from a real person because life gets really real, but at the same time we serve a real God who does real things.
Sometimes we forget what our reality is. That we serve a God who hears those cries. He wants the you that is stoked on life and jumping for joy, he wants the you to come and scream that joy back to him. He wants you.
Prayer matters for me, because it is there, when it is just He and I that He shows me things about myself, things about how he created me to be, that I never would have seen. “It re-orders our loves.”
It is in this place we experience deep change. The changing of our hearts to look more like the heart of God.
Us: Acts 2:42 + 4:23 – 31
When we go back again to Acts 2:42, THEY devoted themselves to prayer.
A little later in Acts we read this story in 4:23 – 31. Peter and John have just been released from before council. They were in trouble for performing miracles in the name of Jesus and preaching the gospel. They go and they tell this to their friends, and how do the friends respond?
They don’t run, they don’t tell Peter and John “dang I’m so sorry that happened to you!” They pray. They pray together.
Do we want to see manifestations of the Spirit by building up the church, like we have been reading in 1 Corinthians 14? Pray together.
Pray together ALL THE TIME. That this would be something that is as natural when you hang out as it is to ask how their day is going.
That we would get to see him re-order our loves, as an entire body. That we would have “All things in common” as Acts 2 says. With Jesus as our first love, and a mission together to see His name proclaimed, to see the Spirit manifest, to see the Church built. How sweet that we do not go alone.
God: 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
And this King, He is THE reason for prayer. Prayer comes from a desire to know God.
We serve a God who wants to be KNOWN by us.
1 Corinthians 2:9-11
PRAY, because God is revealing the deep things about Himself through His spirit to those who want to know.
Why do we need to devote ourselves to prayer? Because we get the chance to KNOW GOD, to give him that place as our most loved, to get a glimpse of the Creator.
If any of you were in Bible 316 this last Sunday we talked about the tabernacle. Now, Dave knows the tabernacle waaaaayyyyy better than I do, but one thing really stood out to me as we were talking through it was – the veil.
The veil is the part of the tabernacle that separated the holy place (where God’s spirit dwelled) from the rest of the tabernacle. No one could go past the veil, except once a year when the high priest would, but even then it was behind a veil of smoke. You couldn’t know God. He was a mystery to the people, and His Spirit hidden.
Now, God is still a mystery, and we could never search His depths…but The Spirit is revealing some of the deep things of God to us.
The veil that separated us from the presence of God, that kept us from getting glimpses of his glory, it is gone – there is no greater victory.
Rejoice we get to know God, we get to be known by God, and that hope can never ever be stolen.
Through prayer we get constant access. We get a constant claim to that victory Jesus won. We get a relationship that sin cannot steal from us any longer. We get to know Jesus.
Devote yourselves to prayer. By yourself, and together. Devote yourself to knowing what God is asking of you, to knowing who he is, and asking him to do what seems impossible.