God's truth for today's world

Prayer is one of the most important activities that a believer can do. Prayer can be defined simply as talking and listening to God. There are many aspects to prayer. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches us about five aspects of prayer. The first aspect is praising God for who He is. Next is committing yourself to God’s purpose in this world. Third is requesting something from God. Fourth is asking for forgiveness for sin committed. And finally, prayer asks for protection from sin and evil.

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Let me start out by asking you the question “Does God answer your prayers?” What would you say? Does He answer all the time, usually, some of the time or never? We all would like God to answer our prayers all the time, but that doesn’t happen for many us. Why not?

Unanswered prayer is a big topic and there are many reasons for unanswered prayer. One of the reasons for unanswered prayer is that the content of the prayer is not right. What you are praying for is not in line with God’s will.

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Currently, we’re in a message series called “Powerful Prayer.” God wants our prayers to be powerful and effective. Yet sometimes, we are not sure why we should pray at all. Why should we pray? There are a lot of good answers to that question. As a believer, you should pray because God commands it. You should pray because you love God and want to talk to Him. Believers should pray because they need God’s wisdom. We could go on and on about good reasons to pray.

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I believe that God has great things in store for us here as we follow His leading in the Ballwin area. Our vision at Life Church is to reach out to people across the St Louis metro area and tell them about God’s great plan and purpose for their lives. Somebody reached out to each of us at one time, that’s why we’re here. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Now we must obey Jesus’ command and reach out to others and bring them into the family of God here at Life Church.

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The New Year is a great time to look back on 2009 and look forward to 2010. If you look at the news headlines, they tend to look back on the economic difficulties of 2009 and say that the outlook for 2010 will be brighter. Maybe, maybe not. Although finances are important, they are not the most important thing in life.

The most important thing in life is your relationship with God. If your relationship is on track and growing, then everything else in life will fall into place, including your finances. However, if your relationship with God is stagnating or deteriorating, then you’ll have problems with the rest of life as well.

Psalm 90:12 (NIV) Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

To number your days aright is to analyze your days in light of your relationship with God. To look back at 2009 and ahead to 2010 in light of God is to have a heart of wisdom.

Today, we begin a new message series called “Five Foundations for Life.” To start off the New Year, we’re going to look at the five foundation stones of that God’s Word lays out for our lives. As we study these foundational principles, remember to look back at how you applied them in 2009. You see, it’s not enough just to say, I’ve heard that before.

The principles of God’s Word must be applied to your life in order for you to be blessed. How did you do in 2009? No matter how well you did, there’s always room to improve and grow in 2010. In January, we’re going to discuss a different foundational principle every week.

Today, we’re going to look at “Powerful Prayer.” Prayer is a foundational principle of the Christian life. You cannot grow in the Christian life without prayer. You can’t accomplish what God wants you to accomplish without prayer. However, although prayer is good, not all prayer is equally effective.

James 5:16b (NIV) The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Some prayer is weak and ineffective. Ineffective prayer doesn’t receive answers from God. Powerful and effective prayer receives answers from God. Powerful prayer comes through righteous people, people who are living 100% for God. The reason is that prayer is two-way communication with God. Prayer is really simply talking with God, getting to know God better, building your relationship with God.

Listen to my January 3, 2010 message “Powerful Prayer” (message-notes).