Sunday Sermon: ‘A Life Filled With Prayer’


Are you a praying person? I’m sure that most of us pray – some. But probably many of us don’t pray the way we should, or the way we wished that we would.

The Bible says that on one occasion, after Jesus had finished praying, one of His disciples came to Him and said – “Lord, teach us how to pray.” (Luke 11:1) Some believe that they were asking the Lord to teach them HOW to pray. “Lord, show us the steps to rich and fulfilling life of prayer.” Others believe that they were asking the Lord to teach them TO pray. “Lord, show us how to overcome our reluctance to spend time in prayer.”

It takes great self-discipline to deny ourselves of more entertaining activities and to spend quiet time alone with God. Yet it is the prayer closet that God has promised to pour out some of His richest blessings. Jesus said:

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

It was the great Bible teacher RA Torrey who once said – “Make me a man who knows how to pray and who spends much time in prayer.” [1]  If that is your desire today, I invite you to take your Bibles and study with me the matter of prayer.

I.  The Invitation to Pray

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The primary reason you and I should pray is because God invites us to pray. Jesus, our High Priest in heaven, is waiting to hear our prayers and to give us His help. The Bible says that He desires to bestow upon us His mercy and grace during our time of need.

Consider also God’s invitation to the prophet Jeremiah-

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

“Cry out to Me” the LORD said to Jeremiah, “and I will hear your prayers and I will do mighty things.”

It would do very little good for us to pray if God was not willing to listen. But He is. The Bible teaches us that because Jesus became a man, He understands the weaknesses of humanity. It is from the phrase – “touched with the feeling” that we get the English word – sympathize. Jesus sympathizes with the needs of humanity. We should note also that this verb is in the Present Tense which means that Jesus sympathizes with us at this very moment. He doesn’t simply say – “I remember what it was like.” Christ says – “I feel your pain at this very moment and I want to help.” To put it in the words of one commentary: “The Exalted One suffers together with the weakness of the one tempted.” [2]

It is because of this that scripture says:

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

First consider the phrase – ‘let us therefore come.’ Literally that phrase means – {let us come very close to our Savior.}

One of the greatest blessings a parent can ever receive is when their child tenderly ask for their help. What loving parent can deny such a request from their son or daughter? Neither can our heavenly Father. The Bible tells us that the Christian has the privilege of addressing God as – “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) Actually the Bible says that it is the Holy Spirit within us that compels us to cry out – “Abba, Father.” What does the name “Abba, Father” mean? ‘Abba’ is a term of affection and endearment. It is the word Jesus used as He was praying in the garden – “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mk 14:36) Today we might say – ‘daddy.’ God invites us to pray to Him like a child who comes and crawls up in their father’s lap.

Note what else the writer of the book of Hebrews teaches us about prayer.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace…

The term ‘boldly’ means without any hesitation. It does not mean to come with arrogance, but rather with openness and honesty. Let us come unashamedly and with full confidence in God’s love.

Today we sang the hymn – “I Must Tell Jesus.”

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

Why do we have such confidence to approach God openly and honestly with all of our needs? It is because it is a throne of grace, versus a throne of judgment.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace

One day, all those who have rejected Christ, will have to stand before a throne of judgment. (see Rev 11:15-20) But the Bible says for the believer – “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1) Jesus bore our judgment when He died on the cross for our sins, and because of our faith in Him, we have been completely and totally forgiven of all of our sins. Therefore, without any reservation or hesitation, we have been invited to come to His throne of grace and to ask our heavenly Father for His help. That is God’s open invitation to His children.

II.  The Importance of Prayer

I once read a story about a man who died and went to heaven. As he was investigating all the glories of heaven, he came upon a room filled with little white boxes. This puzzled the man and so he asked what was in these many white boxes. “Oh, you don’t want to know” the angel told him. But the man continued to persist until the angel finally gave in and revealed to him the content of the boxes. “These are all the answers to prayers that God wanted to give you, but you never asked.”

I’m sure there’s no such room in heaven, but one has to wonder how many times God might have shown Himself strong in answer to our prayers, if only we had taken the time to pray. James tells us that we have not because we ask not. (see James 4:2) Jesus revealed to us that God not only wants us to ask, He wants us to keep on asking; to keep on knocking; and to keep seeking until He gives us His answer. (see Matthew 7:7-8) God wants us to be tenacious when it comes to matter of seeking His will.

As I have studied my Bible and read many books, I have concluded that there are at least five good reasons why we should be persistent in our prayers.

A.  To Experience God’s Presence

What is prayer? Charles Stanley called it ‘communication with God.’ It’s talking to our heavenly Father.

The Bible says that on at least one occasion, Jesus spent the entire night in prayer. Have you ever wondered what Jesus prayed about all night long? I’m sure that He shared with His Father the weariness of His journey. Perhaps He talked with God about the problems of the people. I’m sure that He must have sought strength to face what was ahead of Him as He knew that He would eventually have to die on the cross. But perhaps a part of His prayer also included the enjoyment of just being in His Father’s presence.

Fanny Crosby wrote in her hymn – “I Am Thine, O Lord” –

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

B. To Gain a Heavenly Perspective

Secondly, prayer is important to help us gain a heavenly perspective on life. I have prayed with a lot of hurting people during my time in the ministry. More than once I have witnessed a troubled person find peace as they began to pray. Consider the power of prayer in the life of our Savior.

Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

As Jesus spend time in the presence of His Father, He was able to gain a heavenly perspective on His problems and therefore find the strength to faithful to the very end.

C. To Maintain Unbroken Fellowship

A third reason for prayer is for unbroken fellowship.

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What does it mean to walk in the light? I believe that it means to live our lives in the light of the truth as revealed to us in the Bible. As we prayerfully read our Bibles, God reveals to us what is right and what is wrong. It should be our goal to always be right, yet sometimes we find ourselves in the wrong. Sometimes there is sin in our lives. How do we get rid of our sins? The Bible says that we must ‘confess’ them. To whom do we confess our sins and how? We confess our sins to God as we pray to Him.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray daily for the forgiveness of sin. (Mt 6:12; Lk 11:4) I once read that Charles Spurgeon felt the need to ask for forgiveness every time he prayed. I wholeheartedly agree. Who can come into God’s presence and not feel unworthy? Though my sins may be forgiven, I still feel the need to humble myself before a holy God and to ask for His forgiveness so that I might be in full fellowship with Him.

D. To Receive His Strength 

Jesus said: “…men ought always to pray, and not to faint…” (Lk 18:1) The flip side of that is – if we don’t pray – we will faint; or as the word literally means – {become weary and exhausted.}

Note the encouragement of the Apostle Paul-

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

One translation says – “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.” (NCV)

Paul also tells us to pray ‘without ceasing.’ (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17) The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that we should draw near to God’s throne of grace in order to obtain His mercy and to find His grace during our time of need.

Often, when we are going through a difficult time, we don’t feel like praying. Yet it is perhaps at this moment that we need to pray the most. Our prayer may be no more than Peter’s as he was sinking in the waves – “Lord, save me!” (see Matthew 14:30)

E. To Experience His Power

The Apostle Paul was a man of prayer. Throughout his New Testament letters he expressed the importance of prayer. He also shared with his readers how much he himself prayed. I believe that we could say that Paul was in constant communication with God.

Part of the reason for Paul’s dynamic prayer life was because he was aware of his need for God’s grace. The Bible teaches us that God intentionally gave Paul a ‘thorn in the flesh’ in order to humble him and to cause him to seek God for strength. Concerning this we read-

2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

At first Paul wanted the Lord to remove his thorn so that he could continue to go about as he pleased. But the Lord denied his request. Jesus knew that Paul needed strength and power that was greater than his own. He needed the strength and power of God’s grace.

Once Paul accepted this, he no longer prayed for deliverance, but instead for more strength and power. Paul prayed without ceasing because he never wanted to be without the power of God upon his life.

It was RA Torrey who wrote that “prayer and power are inseparable.” In other words: little prayer means little power and much prayer means much power.

Consider the power poured out upon the early church as a result of their prayers.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

God not only shook the building because of their prayers, He shook the world.

During the early 1900’s, there was a great spiritual awakening on the island of Wales. It is reported that during the course of one year, over 100,000 people made a profession of faith in Christ. So powerful was this movement that even five years later, 75,000 of those converts were still attending church faithfully following the Lord. What caused such a mighty outpouring of God’s power? It was prayer.

One of the outstanding leaders of this great revival was a young man named Evan Roberts. Evan Roberts was only twenty-six years old and from all accounts, not a dynamic public speaker. Yet Evan Roberts possessed something that every Christian needs to possess. Evan Roberts possessed the power of God.

I have read that at one point in his ministry, Roberts began to experience the Lord awakening him each night at 1:00 am and calling him to prayer. For over four months, he got out of bed at 1:00 am and prayed until 5:00 am. The result of his faithfulness to pray was the pouring out of God’s power.

It was the great Christian John Bunyan who once said – “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

Prayer should not be the last things we do when all else fails. Prayer should be the first thing we do so that we will not fail.

III. The Instruction on Prayer

I’m not an Evan Roberts when it comes to prayer. I desire to be and I need to be for the sake of God’s kingdom. I believe that God’s work is suffering here on earth because we as God’s people are not praying the way we have been commanded to pray.

Our prayer this morning should be like the prayer of RA Torrey – “Make us men and women who know how to pray and who spends much time in prayer.”

Here are three basic principles for prayer:

A. We Should Pray With Reverence

When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, our Lord began with these words:

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

1. Pray With the Desire  to Glorify God

The desire of our prayers should be to bring God glory. Notice how Daniel began his prayer –

Daniel 9:4 … “O Lord, the great and awesome God…” (ESV)

It would be wrong for us to pray for anything or in any way that doesn’t bring God glory.

2. Pray With the Desire to be Pleasing in His Sight

The Bible says:

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

God delights in answering the prayers of those who are seeking to please Him. On the other hand, the Bible also tells us that God resists answering the prayers of those whose purpose is only to please themselves.

James 4:3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure. CSB

3. Pray With the Desire to Do God’s Will

Adrian Rogers used to say that – “The prayer that gets to heaven is the prayer that starts in heaven.” In order for God to answer our prayers, they must be in accordance with His will. We read from the book of 1 John.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

But how can we always know the will of God? There are two resources at our disposal.

a. The Word of God

It is said that George Mueller was a great man of prayer. During his time of serving God, it is said that he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support his orphanages; all without ever having to publicly ask for a dime. Mueller prayed in the necessary funds.

I once read a biography on Mueller which said that he often read the Bible on his knees. In other words, Mueller first sought what was the revealed will of God, and then he prayed accordingly. He had the confidence that God would answer prayers that were in accordance with the Word.

b. The Spirit of God

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…

The believer has the Spirit of God living within them in order to guide them into all truth. The Spirit compels us to pray and then He guides us as we pray. In addition, the Spirit prays for us, even when we don’t know how to pray.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

B. The Need to Pray With Honesty and Openness

Again I call our attention to what we read from the book of Hebrews –

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

In this same passage we see that our lives are an open book before God. God knows things about us that we don’t even know ourselves. Therefore we need to be open and honest with Him. It is through our openness and honesty that God will guide us to desire what is His good and perfect will.

There have been seasons in my life when I began praying in a certain way, and as time went on and I continued to pray about the matter, God began to steer me in another direction. Consider once again the prayer of our Savior –

“Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mt 26:39)

There have also been times when I knew that what I was desiring or how I felt wasn’t in accordance with God’s perfect will. There have been times when I have expressed to the Lord how I felt, knowing that it was wrong. Yet I didn’t pray asking Him to do my will, but to help me come to the point of where I wanted to do His will. Every time I have prayed that prayer – God has always answered it.

C. The Need to Pray With Faith

Faith is an absolute necessity in our prayers. We read from the book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is , and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It takes faith to please God. It takes faith to pray in such a way that will cause God to move. On two separate occasions our Lord told His disciples that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, they could move mountains. (Mt 17:20; 21:21) From our verse from Hebrews we see that we must believe that God will reward those who earnestly and wholeheartedly seek Him.

To pray with faith also means to pray with perseverance. Jesus told a parable about a man who came to his friends house at midnight, begging for three loaves of bread. Because it was late at night and the man was already in bed, he was reluctant to get up. Yet, because the friend was relentless to ask, the man finally got out of bed and gave him all that he needed.

That parable is not about God’s reluctance to answer our prayers, but rather His desire. Jesus said: “…how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? “  (Lk 11:13)

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask , and it shall be given you; seek , and ye shall find ; knock , and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

The tense of the verbs mean to ask and to keep on asking. This is not to say that we should try to twist God’s arm and cause Him to do something that is not His will, but that we should be persistent in our prayers. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons many of us don’t see more answers to our prayers is because we don’t pray relentlessly and with faith. We simply resign to our problems. Yet scripture clearly teaches us that it is the relentless prayer of faith that causes the hand of God to move.

D. The Need to Pray With Gratitude

Gratitude should be a regular part of our prayers. Sometimes I spend my prayer time thanking God for all that He is done. Being thankful can be a great blessing not only to God, but also to ourselves. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 that thanksgiving is an important element in defeating worry. Being thankful reminds us of all that God has done and reassures us of all that He will do.

Thanksgiving also opens the door for greater blessings. On one occasion Jesus healed ten lepers. Of the ten, only one man returned to thank Him. In response to the man’s gratitude our Lord said: “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Lk 17:19)

The word for ‘whole’ is normally translated as – ‘save.’ Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary –

“By coming to Jesus, the man received something greater than physical healing: he was also saved from his sins. Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you” (literal translation), the same words He spoke to the repentant woman who anointed His feet (Luke 7:50). The Samaritan’s nine friends were declared clean by the priest, but he was declared saved by the Son of God! “


There is so much more that we could say and should say about prayer, yet I believe that enough has been said to teach us the importance of prayer.

Once again I refer to the RA Torrey’s word on prayer:

“Make me a man who knows how to pray and who spends much time in prayer.”

That is my prayer request today for myself and for this church.





[1] RA Torrey, How to Pray, Moody Press, 13.

[2] Precept Austin,

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