MORE THAN CONQUERORS:
Staying Strong in a Sinking World!
“Pray About It”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. 7 If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
Today is the final message in our Staying Strong series.
So far we’ve learned that to stay spiritually strong we must:
-Feed our inner man daily with God’s word
-Totally surrender ourselves to the Lord in every way
-Deal quickly with offenses thru forgiveness
And today I want to talk about the importance of PRAYER.
• Prayer is talking to God about your thoughts, cares, needs, and desires.
No book on earth recommends prayer like the Bible!
From Genesis to Revelation we find men and women praying.
The Bible says that during the days of Seth (Adam and Eve’s third son)—“…men began to call on the name of the Lord” (Gen 4:26).
This is the Bible’s first record of men praying!
Following this beginning, the Bible records 650 prayers to God, with 450 answers to prayer!
That averages out to around 10 recorded prayers for every one of our 66 Bible books.
Our Lord Jesus was a praying Savior—we have 25 of His prayers recorded in Scripture.
Paul the Apostle mentions
prayer requests, or
exhortations to pray 41 times in his epistles.
And as I speak, millions of people around the world are calling out to God in prayer, and God is answering tens of thousands of those prayers right now!
Prayer is the language of the redeemed!
When a baby is born the first thing it does is cry.
Likewise, when a person is born again, the first thing they do as a new spiritual baby is begin crying out to God in prayer.
For the genuine believer, prayer is as natural as breathing.
People prayed in the Bible for many different reasons:
They prayed for:
Victory in warfare
to come into agreement with God’s will.
There are very long prayers recorded in the Bible, and very short ones.
The longest prayer recorded is in Nehemiah 9:5-38 with 33 verses and around 1,200 words.
But the flip side is that some of the most powerful prayers recorded were the shortest.
When Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and soon began to sink, he cried out the shortest prayer in the entire Bible: “Lord, save me!”
And Jesus answered his three-word prayer.
So whether your prayer is long or short, God hears and answers the cry of faith!
And prayer is absolutely essential to staying strong in your inner man!
We live in a day of many stresses, trials, temptations, and an increasingly godless, Christ-rejecting culture.
Often without our even being aware, all these various stresses and trials become like a backpack full of bricks that we carry around.
The number of bricks in the backpack accumulates over time making the backpack heavier and heavier.
It weighs us down and drains the strength of our inner man.
As the Prophet Isaiah so perfectly describes it:
Isaiah 40:30 “Even the youths shall faint, and the young men will all give up.”
But next comes a wonderful promise:
40:29 “He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. 31 They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Now, Jesus taught that if we don’t deal with our cares and troubles, they will deal with us.
For instance, in His parable of the sower, the Lord talks about 4 different men who hear the gospel of the kingdom.
He compares the 4 men to 4 different kinds of soil that receive the gospel seed——hard soil, rocky soil, thorn infested soil, and “good soil.”
Three of them wind up going bad for 3 different reasons.
Jesus describes the third one representing the thorn infested soil this way:
Matt 13:22 “The ground covered with thorns represents a man who hears the message, but the cares of this life and his longing for money choke out God’s Word, and he does less and less for God.”
Notice what sabotages this third man’s walk—“the cares of this life.”
The word “cares” is from a Greek word meaning “to be pulled in different directions by continuous distractions.”
It’s the exact same word Paul uses in Phil 4:6–“Don’t worry about anything…”——Don’t be constantly pulled aside and distracted by the cares and worries of this life.
Why? Because it “chokes” the word in us and we become unfruitful.
Like weeds crowd in against a healthy plant to finally kill it—cares, worries, and fretting over the things of this world CHOKE OUT our inner spiritual vitality and our inner man wilts.
So to maintain a strong and healthy inner man we must FIRST remember that:
I. Response is everything
It’s not IF, it’s WHEN the cares and troubles of life, like heavy bricks, start to multiply.
Jesus said the rains will fall, the winds will blow, and the floods of trial and stresses will beat upon your life.
And how we RESPOND will decide our quality of life and spiritual growth.
Some people choose to:
WORRY about things.
Others to RUN from their troubles.
Some DENY them.
Others ESCAPE thru drugs or alcohol
And some BREAK DOWN from them, or just,
LIVE with endless stresses
But none of these are the Bible’s answer!
The counsel of God says PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING.
We’re to pray about every brick in the backpack—our finances, marriages, temptations, conflicts at work, our children, decisions we must make—ALL of them!
Peter wrote, “Casting (once for all) all your cares onto the Lord, for he cares for you.”—1 Pet. 5:7
Ps 55:22 says essentially the same thing:
“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.”—The Message
Hand to God the bricks in your backpack and leave them there!
When we pray about it:
II. We make a trade
“If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”—vs 7
Notice the “IF.”
“IF you do this”—means the promise of peace is conditional on our praying.
The flip side is also true—If we DON’T pray we won’t experience God’s peace regarding what troubles us!
But when we pray we make an incredible trade with God:
Our weakness for his strength
Our perplexities for his solutions
Our worry for his peace!
—So, how heavy is your backpack today?
—Have you prayed about what’s weighing you down?
—Are the cares and worries of life choking God’s word in you?