Notes from a sermon by Dr. Greg Sloop, Lead Pastor of the Kannapolis Church of God, at the Western North Carolina Church of God Prayer Gathering on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the 9:30 am service.
Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Prayer is a unnerving practice to begin with: How do I approach an omnipotent God in order to worship and petition Him?
Does He have time for me? Is He truly moved by my humble worship?
However, as prayer becomes a practice, the presence of God molds and changes the psyche, the soul, the person of who you are, and you become less anxious and more awed by His presence.
One should never dally with the presence of God. I personally eschew the prayers where God is called, “The Man Upstairs” or “My Teddy Bear.” God will always be God: God Almighty, Self-Existent One, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Eternal, Immutable, Above and Beyond Anything I can think or know.
However, in a potent, powerful, persistent prayer life, individuals become enamored with His presence and long to be with Him, rather than reluctant to be with Him. The joy of entering His presence without anxiety comes from practice and intimacy forged by time in the Creator’s company.
His peace calms our anxieties. His confidence dispels our fears. His love erases our sense of aloneness. His power increases our faith.
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Ephesians 3:12 (NLT)
12 Because of Christ and our faith in him,* we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NKJV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
2 Samuel 7:25–29 (NKJV)
25 “Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. 26 So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You. 27 For You, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You.28 “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. 29 Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”
2 Samuel 7:27 (NCV)
27 “Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, you have said to me, ‘I will make your family great.’ So I, your servant, am brave enough to pray to you.
The Power of Prayer for Your Family
Prayer Led by the Priest of the Home
Men are called upon to lead their families in spiritual matters. Many men have abdicated the role of priest in their own homes because they either feel that their wives, the mothers of their children, are more equipped to fulfill the role, or else “his ministry” is so important and fulfilling that he does not have the time to lead his home in prayer, devotion, and study. “Your ministry” to the church and the Kingdom will only be as effective as your ministry to your family. Get your priorities straight. Ministry to God first, ministry to family next, and ministry to the world somewhere after that. I have had the midnight calls to a home or hospital. I have experienced the stress of an unruly board or a disgruntled choir member. I have cried with those who lost a loved one to death. But God help me if Brother Smith or Sister Jones gets better ministry than little Susie or Tommy because I long for the praise of church members more so than the spiritual health of my wife, son, or daughters! The priesthood begins at home! Restore and rebuild the family altar and lead by example and precept.
Praying Together (Couples & Families)
The old adage says, “The family that prays together stays together.” That may be just a popular saying, but there is truth to it. It is hard to be angry with someone with whom you pray. It is difficult to be unfaithful to a spouse with whom you pray. It is difficult to lie to someone with whom you pray.
Praying for the Protection of Your Family
Beginning your day with prayer sets a tone for the day. You communicate your love and care for your spouse when you pray with them before you or they leave home. You communicate expectations and encouragement to your children when you pray with them before they go to school. You communicate your desires to God when you pray over your family and ask for His physical, emotional, and spiritual protection over them for the day.
Praying for Lost Loved Ones __T. W. Hunt
T. W. Hunt – There is a dynamic interplay between the will of God and the will of man that becomes like a divinely directed drama. The initiative is always with God; the response is with man. God will not violate our freedom of will, Since God does not need anything we can give—talent, money—obviously the one thing He desires is our will; we are free to give that.
He will introduce factors that affect our decision, It may be a dramatic factor, as in the Damascus road experience of Saul of Tarsus. It may be a stated condition, as in the case of the rich young ruler. These factors may be introduced by our prayers. My wife and I once prayed three years for a lost man. We were encouraged because we noticed obvious indications that the Holy Spirit was bringing him under an uncomfortable conviction. After three years, he finally accepted Christ, but today, in retrospect, the backward look at those years of prayer is a fascinating study in the interplay of the will of the Holy Spirit and his positive and negative reaction to it. He was free; God was free. Persistent prayer finally found the point at which he surrendered his life.
The Warfare That Must Be Won
Persist in Prayer for Your Family…
When it is easy and when it is difficult
When it seems to be working and when it does not
When it costs you and when it brings dividends to you
When it is blood and tears and when it is joy unspeakable
God calls you to be the priest of your home. Answer the call daily!
God calls you to protect your home in prayer. Protect your marriage and your children daily!
God is looking for you to persist in prayer for your lost loved ones. Never give up!