In this second sermon in a three-part series, Pastor Neil gives explains how to pray, based on Ephesians 6:18 (“4 Alls for All Y’All). Here are some excerpts:

A Definition of Prayer

John Bunyan, the 17th-century English pastor who wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress, gave this definition of prayer: “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to the Word of God, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.”

Does this definition cover every aspect or dimension of prayer? Perhaps not. But until you and I can come up with a better working definition of prayer, we will do well to ponder this one: “Prayer is a sincere” (there is nothing phony about it), “sensible” (it engages our minds and hearts and all our senses), “affectionate” (characterized by love for God and gratitude forHis mercies) “pouring out of” our hearts or souls to God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, “in the strength and assistance” (and direction) “of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or” (in agreement with) “the Word of God, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God.” Amen?

How to Pray

Let your prayers reflect this description. As you pray Spirit-directed prayers, keep in mind these “4 Alls for All Y’All” [see Ephesians 6:18]:

  1. Pray “on all occasions.” Paul says much the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which simply says: “Pray without ceasing.” Or: “Pray continually.” There is never atime when it is not time to pray. There is never an occasion, a situation, a circumstance, or a happening in life in which a covering of prayer is not needed. There is never a time when it is not time to be in communion and conversation with God. When should we pray? At all times. On all occasions. This does not mean that we do nothing but pray. Of course, there is more to do than just praying. There is more to life than just praying. But there is power in praying. There is blessing in praying that we must not neglect.
  2. We are to pray “with all kinds of prayers and requests.” There are different kinds of prayers that are appropriate at different times in different situations.
  3. We are to keep alert and “always keep on praying” (NIV) or to pray “with all perseverance” (ESV). Which is to say, we are not to get discouraged and lose heart in our praying or in our life as followers of Jesus.
  4. We are to pray “for all the saints.” The word “saints” in the New Testament means “Christians.” So we are to pray for one another and for Christians everywhere.

I want to elaborate on these “4 Alls” next Sunday.

August 25, 2019

Ephesians 6:18-20

Dr. Neil Smith

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