Thinking of Others

January 27, 2007 John 17:

 

Introduction:

1.  This is the 3rd and final week of our series: Too Busy NOT to pray!

- for those of you who may be new to our ABF ministry, we’ve been tying the ABF study to the same subject we are studying in our worship services – which I think is a good idea (it reinforces BOTH)

- and certainly as we strive for “Reaching New Heights” in our faithfulness to pray – there are many things that we can learn

2.  We do need to remind ourselves of this important point:  Prayer is not THE most important thing in our relationship to God – it is a KEY part in the relationship, but there is something more important than us talking to God!

- i.e. God talking to us through His Word!

- but prayer is one of the major disciplines of the Christian life – just like memorization, meditation, study, evangelism, serving, etc.!

  • I need it // You need it // Our church needs it // our ABF needs it // our community, country, military, leadership, missionaries . . . .

3.  I want to remind you of this quote;

Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul.  Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.” – MacArthur’s, Alone With God, p. 7.

> but one of the most important things for us to learn is that we need to pray MORE OFTEN and in a more biblical manner

- Our plans to include PRAYER TIME at the end of our study (individual, small groups, random prayers, specific topics, specific ministries, etc.)

4.  Let’s remember the reasons why we’re doing this series: 

  1. To help us develop a more biblical understanding of God's purpose and goal in prayer
  2. To motivate individual believers to pray more and to pray in a more biblical manner
  3. To help us as a church family grow in our focus and practice of corporate prayer

5.  Up to now, we’ve studied:  Practical Prayer Skills in Prayers. . .

Note: Recommend the following books to read:

  • MacArthur’s book, Alone with God, and Too Busy NOT to Pray, Bill Hybels

* Short version of Practical Skills to develop:

A = Adoration – praising God for Who He is

C = Confession – admitting any sins (known or forgotten) – I john 1:9

T = Thanksgiving – thanking God for specifics –what He has done

S = Supplication – or requests made to God (specific and by faith – yet with the attitude of ‘not my will, but Your will be done’

. . . and we’ve studied:  Avoiding the Hindrances to Prayer:

Hindrance #1:  Unconfessed Sin

Hindrance #2:  Lack of Faith

Hindrance #3:  Disobedience

Hindrance #4:  Unwillingness to Forgive

Hindrance #5:  Wrong Motives

Hindrance #6:  Idols of Our Heart

6. Today, our study concludes with “Thinking of Others” when we pray

[Turn to John 17 – explain this “High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus, the night He was betrayed, just prior to His crucifixion – and yet He focused on others!]

- John Maxwell made this statement in his book, Partners in Prayer:

“Jesus came into this world to talk to people about God, but while He was here, He also talked to God about people.” – p. 66

- so many times our prayers are all about our needs, our trials, our situations

- but if you look in the Word, there are clear examples and instruction for us to pray for others!

I.  Examples of Praying for others

A.  Jesus

1. Praying for all of His disciples (including us!)

  • [READ]John 17:9 "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 "I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

- think about what Jesus knew was coming, yet He focused on praying for others as well as the needs in His own life and relationship to the Father!

- another example is Jesus praying for . . .

2.  Praying for Peter

- this happened when he said, “I will never deny you”

-  Jesus responded with these words:

  • Luke 22:32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

- probably one of the BEST examples is Jesus on the cross

3.  Praying for the people who rejected/crucified Him

  • Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying [this is a prayer, NOT a ‘blanket’ statement of unconditional forgiveness], "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."

B.  Samuel (praying for Israel)

  • 1 Samuel 12:23 "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you . . .”

- his love for his people, and love for God and recognizing his accountability to God, compelled him to pray for Israel

- we ought to have the same attitude toward others in our ABF, church, community, etc.

C.  Job (praying for his friends)

- remember the context here – Job’s friend had not given him godly advice regarding the situation he was facing

- in the end, God has a word with one of those friends, and said this:

  • Job 42:8 "Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."

Q: Would God say that to one of your friends?

> that __________ (your name) will pray for you!

D.  Paul (praying for the various churches)

- here’s 3 examples of him telling other people that he was praying for them:

  • Philippians 1:4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,
  • Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for youand to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end also we pray for youalways, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,

Point: There are many examples in the Scriptures of people praying for other people!

> So . . . we should be doing the same!

II.  How to Pray for Others [take this from Colossians – could also refer to Phi. 1:4, 9-11 – READ]

- there are 7 ways we can pray for others

A.  Pray that they KNOW God’s will for their lives

- look again at Col. 1:9 (read it again)

  • Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

Q: Where is a person going to find God’s will?

A: The Word of God – that IS the will of God for our lives – His truth guides us

- part of attending the Worship service, our ABFs, FBI classes, small groups, etc. is to study the Word so you will know God’s will for your life!

Application: What situation are you facing right now where knowing God wants you to do will make a huge difference?

- that’s how we can pray for each other – to KNOW God’s will for our lives

B.  Pray that they would DO God’s will in their lives

- look at the next verse in Colossians 1:

  • Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects . . .

- Jesus said something similar to the disciples in John 13 when He was washing their feet (prior to His prayer in John 17)

  • John 13:17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Point: If you know God’s will but don’t DO it, then you are living in a sinful situation!

  • James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

- so we need to pray for each other to KNOW God’s will . . . but also to DO God’s will!

C.  Pray for PRODUCTIVITY in their lives

  • Colossians 1:10 ‘. . . bearing fruit in every good work . . .’

- this fits into what Jesus said in John 15:1-8 [READ – focus on v. 8]

  • John 15:8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

- Jesus repeats this concept in v. 16

  • John 15:16 "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”

- we need to pray for each other to be productive in our lives

>  not only in what we DO (work, around the house, parenting) but in our spiritual efforts as we serve Christ and try to reach others (evangelistic efforts)

D.  Pray for growth in KNOWING God (a relationship to God)

  • Colossians 1:10 ‘ . . .and increasing in the knowledge of God”

- no matter who you are praying for, that person(s) need to grow in knowing God

- knowing Who God and what He has done in the past, what He’s doing now, and what He will do in the future!

Q: What is the benefit of this knowledge?

- listen to Daniel’s words:

  • Daniel 11:32 ". . . but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”

- It’s not knowledge alone (that can make a person proud), but knowledge combined with FAITH and OBEDIENCE that produces the results!

E.  Pray for POWER in their lives

  • Colossians 1:11a strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might. . .

God is not like a booster rocket giving believers an initial boost of power and then leaving them to fly on their own. Believers are continually strengthened with all power throughout their Christian lives. – MacArthur, Colossians, p. 33[1]

God’s power is manifested in us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord told the disciples they would receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8). Paul prayed for the Ephesians that they would be “strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16). To the Romans he wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13). That power is available to the believer who is filled with the knowledge of God’s Word. [2]

- the purpose for this power is stated in the next phrase . . .

F.  Pray that the power results in ENDURANCE and PATIENCE

  • Col. 1:11b  for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience . . .

- pray for others not to QUIT when they face various trying situations for FAILURES

- pray for power of God to bring patience into their lives as they response to various trials (which James says ‘works patience’ – James 1:3)

- these two qualities go hand-in-hand

Q: Why do many people quit ‘running the race’ or living for God?

> something has come into their lives and they get impatient – they want change NOW – instead of progressive sanctification (a PROCESS of growing/changing)

> patience is a fruit of the Spirit – and we need the power of God to help us stay in the race and be patient as God’s plan unfolds

Point: They quit too early – they didn’t allow the power of God to work in the situation or in their heart and life, so they RAN, they got impatient – God didn’t operate on their timetable!

- let’s pray for each other to allow the power of God (‘His glorious might’) to work in us so we live steadfast lives (we don’t quit) and we are patient as we grow and/or others grow!

- if the people we pray for experience the previous 6 things in their life, here’s the result:

G.  Pray for them to have the RIGHT ATTITUDE

  • Colossians 1:11c-12 . . . joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Our attitude impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. It influences our behavior, affects our ability to learn, determines our contentment, and colors our relationships, including our relationship with God. It affects each person’s life and Christian walk greater than you might think.” – Maxwell, Partners in Prayer, p. 73

PRAYER TIME – we can TALK about praying, or we can DO IT! 

[Review 1 Timothy 2:1-2]

  • 1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
  • Pray for our marriages
  • Pray for our parenting situations
  • Pray for our church leaders (pastors/deacons)
  • Pray for our church
  • Pray for Calvary Chapel
  • Pray for the Biblical Counseling Training Conference
  • Pray for our President/Governor
  • Pray for our Military