March 1, 2023

March 1, 2023

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
March 01, 2023

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurities, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Galatians 5:19-23

If I ask the simple question, “Why pray,” you could probably answer that question in a hundred different ways, there's no simple answer. But let me just give a few answers to that question. Probably on the top of that list should be to glorify God, “Hallowed be your name.”

Second, we are commanded to pray, invited, but we are also commanded to pray. Luke 18, that parable that our Lord gave of that persevering widow, when he told them a parable to the effect that they ought, (that's a word of obligation) they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

We could also argue why we should pray, because of our love or concern for lost sinners. Remember what Paul says in Romans 10, “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they might be saved.” So Paul was praying for sinners that they would be saved.

So why, pray? Here's another reason we should pray, because of our love for one another. You have that James passage, “Pray for one another that you would be healed.” And then in Romans 12:11 and 12, you have Paul saying, “Love one another with brotherly affection.” Then, after he says that he gives another command, “Be constant in prayers.” He's putting the two side by side, loving one another and you show your love by praying for one another.

And then another big reason why we should pray is growth, the growth of the kingdom, “Thy kingdom come,” the growth of the Church. Every Christian should be praying for growth in their own personal likeness to Jesus Christ. Many of the prayers by the apostle Paul, if you examine them you could even call them growth prayers. He's praying for growth in faith and love and joy and patience.

Another reason to pray is to be humbled. When we have to confess our sin that should be a humbling exercise. Jesus puts that right at the heart of that prayer in Matthew 6. David's great penitential prayer in Psalm 51 is a full-length prayer on seeking forgiveness.

Another reason we could be going to the throne of grace, and why we should be praying is a greater witness for Christ, greater boldness and opportunities to share the gospel at work, with our neighbors, friends, and even our children. The apostle Paul asked the church in Ephesus, remember what he said in Ephesians chapter 6, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” And then he says to them, “Pray also for me that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.” So he's praying, asking them to pray for him so that he would be bold in preaching the gospel.

But here's another reason why we should pray, to experience greater joy and happiness. Jesus wants us to be joy-filled Christians and he links those two things together, prayer and joy in John 16. Listen to what he says, “Ask, and you shall receive, and your joy will be complete.” What is he saying? When you ask and receive it should give us joy. Obviously the thing that you prayed for, maybe you were praying for a child and God answers that prayer and gives you a child, you rejoice in that. Maybe you were praying for the conversion of a friend, a relative, and God answers that prayer. That should give you joy.

But also, couldn't we say this Brethren, answered prayer also should give us joy in the sense that it puts God's character on display. Answered prayer reminds us of God's faithfulness. That should make us rejoice when God's faithfulness is proclaimed and given greater evidence.

God's love for his children. When God answers our prayers, his love for us is manifestation of his great love. It's also a manifestation of his generosity. I don't know if we've ever experienced this, I have many times over the years, but you come to a prayer meeting, depressed, discouraged, and you leave differently. Does that ever happen? You come under a heavy cloud of sadness, maybe a load of care, and you leave with a deep sense of joy. That's been my experience from time to time. Why? Well, praying gets a focus upon God, it gets a focus upon others. Maybe we enter into the rejoicing with others in light of Romans 12. But we're reminded again of God’s goodness, God's love, God's faithfulness. And let me just remind you that this joy is not an ordinary kind of a joy. It's not the joy that goes with a particular gene pool. It's a supernatural joy, that's what our brother read when he read that Galatians 5 passage, it’s one of the fruit of the spirit. Jesus reminds us that this joy is a supernatural joy because we can rejoice in the midst of suffering. Matthew 5, when he talks about persecution, rejoice and be glad. We can rejoice even in the midst of very difficult circumstances.

So I trust Brethren when we go to our prayer meetings and we even go to our prayer closets, we come out of those prayer closets oftentimes with a greater sense of joy.

We can pray for many reasons, and here's one of them, that your joy may be complete.