I Say A Little Prayer For You

May 17, 2015

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon 4 in Sermon Series

“Five Marks of a Christian”

Adapted from: “Five Marks of a Methodist”

By Steve Harper

Matthew 6:5-13 NIV

Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV

I Say A Little Prayer For You!

 

Prayer for God’s word to be heard through me or in spite of me…

 

The moment I wake up

Before I put on my makeup

I say a little prayer for you

While combing my hair, now

And wonder what dress to wear, now

I say a little prayer for you

 

When I was growing up, my mom taught me many things…some good and some not so good. But the one thing she instilled in me was that I could and should pray to God when things were going bad in my life. I was taught that I could find comfort in those times and that God was always there to listen to what was troubling me and He would help me in those times of adversity. When all else fails…pray When all else fails…pray…

But the problem with that is that I never really built a relationship with God. I would come to Him in prayer expecting Him to fix all my problems. It was almost like He was the “Candy Man’ and He would give me or help me in my times of trouble. It wasn’t until much later that I built a relationship with God and prayed in good times and in bad. Now people call me to pray for them because they know that I pray on and in all situations with prayers that can move mountains. It is because of my relationship with God…my trust in God…my belief that He hears my prayers…that I am able to pray without ceasing…until there is an answer from heaven.

 

With this type of theory in life, my mom grew to believe that God was too busy to help or that her problem wasn’t important enough for God to help her. Unfortunately she never really had that real relationship with God that we are called to have with Him. There are many people out there that still have that assumption in life and miss out on the richness of His grace.

We have begun our journey of looking at the five things…five ways…that we can see that we are “being changed by the story” of Easter. I have adapted this Sermon Series from a book written by Steve Harper that is titled “Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith.” But this book is not just for “Methodist”, it is for all who follow Christ. It gives five distinct ways to tell…to visually see…that you are being “changed by the story”, not just reading it.

The five ways are as follows:

A “Christian” not just Methodist:

  1. Loves God
  2. Rejoices in God
  3. Gives Thanks
  4. Prays Constantly
  5. Loves Others

We have talked about the fact that “we love God” and that it is not just a fleeting love but a love that encompasses all that we have, all that we are, and all that we will be. It is what drives us in our relationship with Him. The more we are in love with Him the more we want to know Him. And the more we know Him the more we want of Him in our lives.

We have discovered that not only do we love God but we rejoice in Him. Not just simply rejoice in Him but rejoice in Him from the bottom of our feet to the tops of our heads. How can we not…look at all that He has given us in our lives…look at all that He has done in our lives and the lives of others. Now that’s reason to truly rejoice.

 

Giving thanks to God is another way to tell we are living the Easter life. Giving thanks is so important because as we do, we don’t forget that it is God who gives us all that we have. It is God who grows us. It is God who has given us our talents so that we can use them to further His kingdom here on earth.

The next sign is that we pray continually. In the good and bad times we pray to God and build a relationship of love and trust with Him. As we pray without ceasing, we see that God does answer pray and that He does care. I have seen so many answered prayers here at our church. There are many who are “prayer warriors” and all it takes is a call from someone who needs prayer and they go right into action. They don’t just say I’ll pray for you…they actually do it…

 

How do we know how to pray? Is there some kind of formula that guides us in prayer? Is there a right or wrong way to pray? We can glean the answer for these questions from the Matthew scripture I read this morning. Jesus’ disciples wanted their teacher to teach them to pray. They saw Him on many occasions going away alone to pray. They wanted to know what He knew. So He gave them an example of how not to pray.

The people of the temple would go out and pray these long prayers that had no real meaning behind them. They just prayed lots of words that were kind of hollow so to speak. Then He gave them not only the perfect prayer to pray but told them the right state of heart to pray in. they didn’t need all kinds of fancy words to pray to God. They could just go to God and pray from their hearts. We too don’t need all kinds of fancy words or to pray for hours at a time. All we need to do is to pray from our hearts to God…that’s it…that’s the formula for prayer…

I run for the bus, dear

While riding I think of us, dear

I say a little prayer for you

At work, I just take time

And all through my coffee break-time

I say a little prayer for you

 

One of my favorite pieces of scripture tells us how important prayer is. It is one of the tools in our arsenal for our work in God’s vineyard. It is found in Ephesians 6, verses 10-20. Listen to what it says about prayer and its importance in our lives as Christ followers…

Read the Ephesians Scripture…

 

We are to pray without ceasing for one another. We are to pray continually for those who are in need.          As we suit up with God’s armor, we are not to forget that it is within our relationship with God…our continual conversation with God…that we are strongest. It is within our prayer life that we are able to fight off whatever the enemy has to offer us. WE actually help others grow in their trust and love of God as we pray for them and they see the answered prayer in their own life.

We are connected to Jesus as the branches of the vine in which He is the One who gives nourishment and without the vine we are nothing. We are no longer servants but friends of the One who gave His life for us. We have gone from servants to sons and daughters of the Most High God… Even our earthly friendships require communication and communion…being with one another…so it is also with our heavenly relationship. You see…as we love God we will rejoice in Him. As we rejoice in Him we will give thanks to Him for all He has done. Because of our thankfulness we want to communion and communicate with God through prayer. There seems to be a pattern forming here… As we pray we become more aware of God in our daily lives and we are able to “hear” His voice.

         

Beloved child of God…if you thought of prayer as a response to God for all He has done…is doing …or will ever do in your life, how would that change your prayer life? Would you find it easier to pray? Would you pray without ceasing? God is waiting to hear from His children, in good times and in bad. How will you respond? He is so approachable…as a matter of fact…that He even came and walked amongst humanity. Think about that for a moment…God’s door is open 24/7. He wants to hear about your day…He wants to hear about your joys and sorrows. He wants to be the first and last thing during your day. Through our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, He has paved the way for something more than just being acquaintances but to be the Love of your life.

Forever, forever, you’ll stay in my heart

And I will love you

Forever, and ever, we never will part

Oh, how I’ll love you

Together, together, that’s how it must be

To live without you

Would only mean heartbreak for me

Amen!

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