I. The Unchallenged Universal REALITY OF PRAYER
Matthew Henry’s quotation: Prayer is one of the great laws of natural religion.
Asking the question, “Why do we pray?” is like asking “Why do you talk to your father?”
Jesus taught his disciples, “When you pray, say: ‘Our Father...’” (Luke 1:2)
The life of the Lord Jesus was full of prayer: He prayed all night before choosing the twelve (Luke 6:12), he prayed for all believers before going to the cross (John 17:1-26)...
The apostle Paul taught in Eph 6:18 “praying at all times for all the people” and “pray unceasingly” (1 Thess 5:17)
1 Peter 2:9 tells us that we are the royal priesthood, we pray to God for the people.
Revelation 5:10 states that we are a kingdom of priests, we also minister to the people on behalf of God.
All of Paul’s letters contain prayers, except Galatians and Titus which did not start with prayer.
Therefore, let us not transgress the spiritual law of prayer like we can never transgress the physical law of gravity.
II. PRAYER is God’s EVERYDAY Channel of Grace
John Wesley’s definition of “means of grace” is the ordinary channels whereby God conveys/delivers grace to the people.
John Wesley talked about threefold grace: prevenient [“preparing”] grace, justifying grave and sanctifying grace. And he said there are 6 means of grace:
1) Public Worship
2) Word of God-read & expounded
3) The Lord’s Supper
5) Sharing the gospel
6) Fasting & abstinence
Prayer is not to be worshipped, it’s a means to an end. Prayer is a means of grace, a vehicle to communicate with God, a vehicle to receive blessings. Prayer will help us open our hearts to know the Father - His person, presence, the power and purpose. We are to fully utilise this means of grace. Prayer is about relationship with God, and we are to use the means of grace of prayer personally every day, besides attending prayer meetings. Just as you pick up your favourite cup at home or your favourite mug in the office every day, remember prayer is the everyday means of grace of connecting, knowing and receiving blessings from God.
III. Persevering Prayer/Prayer of Importunity
Importunity prayer means to “shamelessly ask and ask until you get it”, until there is a conclusion. Acts 2:42 The believers devoted themselves and continue in.... prayers. Importunate prayer is like “superglue”, persevere in prayer until there’s a conclusion/result. Prayer was among Jesus’ first teaching as recorded in Luke 11:9-13.
On the human side, we express thanks & our dependence on God: we acknowledge that makes the difference in our lives and that we need Him for living, changing and overcoming.
On the divine side, God is our Heavenly Father, the Provider.
The missionary breakthrough of Fiji is an example; it is a nation with Christians as the majority, the Methodist Church being the biggest denomination. In 1835 when the Methodist missionaries arrived on the Island, the Islanders were violent cannibals. But the missionaries never gave up in persevering prayer and in preaching the Gospel. Then in 1854, notable tribal chiefs began to believe in Jesus and the Fijian church started to grow, and eventually sent out missionaries to the nearby Islands, e.g. the Solomon Islands, Papua New Gurney and Northern Australia.
Let me conclude with two final points:-
1. We should live the extraordinary (revival life) in the ordinary.
A.W. Tozer said, “I believe in the kind of miracles that God gives to His people who live so closely to Him that answers to prayers are common and these miracles are not uncommon.” The extraordinary should not be uncommon”. Answers to prayer should be common, and that miracles are not unusual.
The Founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley’s ministry of over 6 decades was full of miracles. He had many extraordinary experiences in life, like instantaneous healing, divine protection and powerful ministries. While we pray for the supernatural, the divine visitation and the season of revival to break forth, let us live as revived people of God every day, the extraordinary in each ordinary day of living. This “daily living in revival” is God’s promise to those who sustain their unrivalled first love for the Lord, who live according to the New Testament teachings and empowered by the Holy Spirit so that the presence of Christ is expressed daily.
2. We are the means of God’s grace to Malaysia
As citizens of heaven, we desire and we pray for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We live out our “heavenly citizenship” in our “earthly citizenship” in Malaysia, as we uphold the Rukun Negara:
* Believe in God – we believe in God and want to make Him visible in our land and to our people
* Loyalty to king and country
* Supremacy of Constitution – we choose to obey and observe the law
* Rule of Law - we uphold the rule of law
* Good behaviour and Morality – to be morally upright and courteous
We must at all times live as both citizens of heaven and of earth.
Let us pray together and ask God for two things:-
1. That we seek and receive grace every day.
2. That we become a means of grace to the nation and to the people.
Bishop’s concluding prayer:
“Lord, we thank you for Your everyday grace, You are the Emmanuel God – Who is with us in the present. Lord, please help everyone of us to receive Your grace thankfully each day and to receive Your grace to pray. May the people called Methodists be a means of grace to Malaysia. This is our prayer as we come to Your table now, to be in Your presence and to receive another needed portion of Your grace once again.
In Lord Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
By Sarah Say
CAC Prayer Coordinator