The Word and Prayer: Two Habits to Cultivate in 2016

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As we approach 2016, many people will be setting New Year resolutions. However, many of those resolutions will go unmet. But there are two habits that every follower of Christ must develop: absorbing Scripture and praying relentlessly. By God’s grace, let us endeavor to cultivate at least these two daily habits in our lives.

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Sermon Summary

1. Develop the Habit of Relentless Prayer

The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines prayer as “an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.”

What an amazing privilege it is to fellowship and cry out to our Creator in prayer.

And yet,many Christians are suffering from prayerlessness.

The Puritans say thought that prayerlessness was a major problem in their day. They believed that “the  prayerless person is ungrateful because he doesn’t thank God; self righteous because he doesn’t confess his sins to God; self-centered because he doesn’t ask God to bless other people; presumptuous because he doesn’t pray even for his daily needs; he’s irreverent because he doesn’t praise God or pray for His kingdom to come; and he’s unfriendly to God because his prayerlessness evidences that he does not enjoy being with God.

We often complain about unanswered prayer, but really “unoffered” prayer is our biggest problem in the church.

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If we take the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our prayer life, and we relentlessly prayed each day, imagine what the Lord might do in our lives.

Jesus tells us to pray in this way:

  • Praise His name.
  • Promote His plans.
  • Present your requests.
  • Plead for forgiveness.
  • Pass over offenses of others (just as you have been forgiven).
  • Pray for Power to avoid temptation.

2. Develop a Habit of Absorbing Scripture Each Day

 

In our Baptist Faith & Message (a confession of faith adopted by Southern Baptists), Scripture is given this description:

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Do we really understand what we have in our hands? The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us. Again, what an amazing opportunity to open His Word each day and find life and hope and healing and guidance and wisdom and communion with our God!

Charles Hodge once said, “The best evidence that the Bible is the Word of God is found between its covers.”

How tragic that we rarely open our Bibles and mine the Scriptures for life and truth!

3. A Plan for the New Year

Have you ever started a one year reading plan only to fail after a few days? Then you get behind and scramble to read to catch back up?

How about a simple exercise. Let’s just read one small book of the Bible every day for five days. Can you commit to that? We have chosen to read all five chapters of James every day from January 1-5. JOIN US! Comment or email us if you want accountability and a brief devotional each day on the book of James.

About Nathan Creitz

Nathan Creitz is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He is a graduate of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. His vision is to see new gospel-centered churches making disciples in every neighborhood in Queens. Read More >>

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