At the start of every new year, we focus on the vital role of prayer in our spiritual life and in advancing the Kingdom of God. Prayer is the means by which the gospel and the Kingdom of God advances in us and in the world. In other words, prayer is God’s appointed means by which His will is accomplished, gospel is advanced and his Kingdom grows and spreads.
As we come to the end of the year and begin to look forward to the next, we emphasize our need to grow in prayer in the new year. All of us have room to grow and need to grow in our relationship with the Lord through prayer. In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul shows us just how vital prayer is to our spiritual life.
God commands Israel to go to war with the 7 nations who are occupying the Promise Land. These people are seen as trespassers in the eyes of the Lord for He had promised to give this land to Israel. These enemies Israel would face were more numerous and powerful than Israel. But that was not to be a cause for concern or worry. God would honor his covenant promises and give his people strength for victory to take possession of the promise land.
We must pray if we would continue to live as Christians. Prayer is a vital means of maintaining a healthy and vibrant faith and it is essential to our joy. Some of us may look back at 2018 and feel like we made significant strides in our relationship with the Lord through prayer. Others of us may presently feel like our prayer life is pretty dry, barren and stale. No matter who you are, we all have room to improve in prayer. All of us can do better at being more diligent in our prayer life. So this morning our goal is to refresh our prayer lives through studying an example of a great prayer. One of the ways we learn to do something is by seeing it modeled for us. We watch, we listen and then attempt to do it ourselves. We can be apprenticed in prayer by Paul through reading and studying his prayers.
Fatherhood is a magnificent gift of God. And in honor of Father's Day, we are going to jump out of our series in 1st Corinthians and focus our attention on God’s Word as it relates to fathers. God is the Father of all. God is a good and perfect Father. God has created Fatherhood and hence, God has instructions on how to be a good and effective father. This morning we examine God's Word to the Ephesians and his instructions to fathers regarding their responsibility to lead, teach and equip their children to live in such a way that pleases God.
The 50th anniversary of King’s tragic death marks an opportunity for Christians to reflect on the state of racial unity in the culture and in the church. Indeed much progress has been made and yet, we have so far to go. Racial reconciliation and racial harmony are necessary fruit of the gospel. We are called as a church to be a visible congregation, indeed family and body of Christ living in racial harmony at the center of the city. As believers in Christ we are called to ethnic, racial unity and we are equipped by God for unity. Jesus Christ has torn down the wall of hostility between us and made us one new race, citizens of Heaven, the household of God.
We look to Paul's prayer for the church in Ephesus as an example to follow and also strive to be strengthened by Christ's indwelling presence through the Spirit. Awareness of God's great love for us in Christ is essential and transformative for healthy prayer lives.
For all who trust in Christ, God is both the source and sustainer of that faith. If we desire to see our faith grow then our knowledge and understanding of who God is and what he has done for all believers must increase. Like Paul, may none of us cease asking God to grant us greater revelation and knowledge of Him.
Prayer is not only a weapon to be wielded in the midst of spiritual battles, prayer is the means of advancing the Kingdom of God. God has chosen to accomplish his work, further his Kingdom and save sinners through prayer. Indeed, prayer moves the arm that moves the world.
All of the Christian life is a spiritual battle against spiritual darkness and a very real and powerful enemy. Sadly, often we are not equipped, prepared or alert to fight this spiritual battle. And as a result, we suffer; our joy and faith suffer. In chapter 6 of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul instructs us how to be equipped to fight this battle. We are to fight in the strength of the Lord and with his might. Our weapons are the Word of God and prayer. Prayer is the means by which we enable ourselves to stand against our enemy. Prayer is absolutely vital to our perseverance in the faith.