SUNDAY RECAP: Him and I
Resource: Elder Greg Schroder
Topic: Talking to God - Prayer
Submission, humility, and trust are vital to a healthy relationship with Christ.
Have you ever had a close friend but then drifted apart? Maybe they moved away or you went to different schools, or one of you got a different job? I had that experience with my friend Mike. I thought we would grow up being neighbors and be best buddies but he moved away and I stayed behind in North Dakoda for college. We tried to make efforts but it wasn't the same.
Distance isn't good for a relationship.
Similarly, how close do you feel to Jesus? Is there distance between you and Him? How do you spend time with the Lord?
When I first came to Christ, I was actively involved in my youth group. I'd go to church every day if I could. I loved worshiping and hearing a message and especially loved hanging out with my Christian friends.
But it wasn't enough.
I drifted away. At one point, I remember feeling so far away from Christ.
Why? I didn't understand what my part was in my relationship with Christ. I had no idea what it meant to "abide in Christ."
In John 15:4-5, Jesus is speaking to His disciples and says; "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
We are starting a two-part series to simply lay the foundation of what a healthy relationship with Christ looks like, to abide in Him. It's just between "Him and I."
So, it's just between you and Him, right? We don't have to over complicate. It's time spent with our Heavenly Father. But as I’ve mentioned before, the Devil has a need for keeping us busy so he doesn’t have to worry about making us bad if he can just keep us distracted. The distractions keep us away from Christ by isolating us. When we are busy, we start to isolate ourselves from more than Christ, it’s time with our family, our church family. These subtle changes keep us distant, so my hope and prayer is to keep it simple, paint a picture as to what this relationship between Him and I looks like, and talk about how important prayer is in bringing us closer to our Heavenly Father.
I grew up in my misunderstanding of what prayer was and just overall spending time and building a relationship with Christ. I don't know if you guys can relate but I kind of joke that once I received my welcome package as a Christian, I still had a misunderstanding of what the relationship looked like and kind of just slowed away from Christ.
Sound familiar? The Bible shows us really great examples of how people prayed to Christ. What I want to do is take a journey through the word of God and just look at how people would pray.
Jesus as our example
To start with, let's take a look at how Jesus talked to his Father, God.
John 17 offers a fascinating view into the relationship between Christ and God.
Right before the Passover Festival
The devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus
Jesus washes his disciples feet
Jesus is talking clearly about the time is at hand for Him to leave his disciples and encourages them.
John 17:11 (Jesus praying for his disciples)
"I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect (téreó - to watch over, to guard) them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one."
v. 20-23 (Jesus praying for all believers)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus also demonstrated asking for God's will to be done…total surrender to God.
Matthew 26:39, 42
"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
(v. 42) "He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When talking about prayer growing up, I had always heard this acronym of “ACTS”. As I got older, I realized it’s not ACTS, it’s FACTS of prayer. You may think of the song The Facts of Life if you’re in our 40’s+ Lifegroup. For the FACTS of Prayer though, let's take a look at scripture and look at some examples of how people prayed and see what we can learn from them.
Faith – From these examples, we know faith is our submission to Christ and that he hears us and our prayers and knows what is best for us. It’s when we submit to His will done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Blind beggar - Luke 18:42
(v 35-41: When Jesus healed the blind beggar in Jericho: "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. I want to see.")
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
Sick woman - Luke 8:48
(Jesus on his way to see Jarius' dying 12 year old daughter). A woman, subject to bleeding for 12 years, touched His cloak.
Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Centurion - Matthew 8:13
(v 5-12: A Centurion had a servant who was paralyzed and suffering terribly. v8 "Just say the word, and my servant will be healed."
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Pray with confidence, knowing God hears your prayers.
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12
Adoration – We can just hear adoration and praise through the example Hannah shows us below. This is our time to tell Jesus we love Him, praising that he is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, beginning and the end. This creates a level of intimacy in our relationship with Christ when we tell Him who He is to us. Our Father.
Hannah - 1 Samuel 2:1-2
Hannah was barren, which was considered shameful. She prayed for a son and promised to dedicate him to the Lord (Samuel).
Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
Do you intentionally praise God? Begin your prayers with Adoration!
Confession – One thing is that is important during the confession part of our prayers is to be specific. Confessing our sings and naming them is hard. You are admitting your faults but when doing this, you are also owning them. We are all guilty of sin, but we can see through Daniel and in 1 John 1:9 that God is faithful to forgive us our trespasses.
Daniel - Daniel 9:4-6, 9-10
"I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, (5) we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. (6) We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land."
v. 9-10 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; (10) we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
Do you call out your sins in detail? Be specific in your confession!
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Thanksgiving – We should always have a thankful heart. We have so much to be thankful for: the people around us, family, friends, salvation. The time of thanksgiving shouldn’t be spend only thanking Jesus for tangible things. We can see from David it’s bigger than that.
David - Psalms 30:1-3
"I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit."
Constantly thank God for all He has done for you!
Supplication – We all naturally rush to this part or pray in supplication more than the others. We are always in a rush to ask God for help. But we need to remember this is just a part of prayer. God hears all the things we need, not that they aren’t important, we are told to submit our request to Christ and have faith that He hears us out, but we need to remain focused on the relational part and we can see evidence of that below.
David - 2 Samuel 7:
Humility (v. 18-19) "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant—and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!"
Praise (v. 23) "And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?"
Request (v. 25-26) “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight."
Submit your requests with humility, and with praise.
Start your day in prayer
Psalms 5:3 - "In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly."
End your day in prayer
Psalms 16:7-8 - "I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Pray without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
“As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.” Psalms 55:16-18
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” - Psalms 55:22
We pray that you can feel encouraged in your relationship with Christ through prayer. Prayer is what sets our relationship with Christ apart from all other relationships. Through faith, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication, you can experience a joyful confidence knowing your words are heard and received. We pray you practice this and it not only draws you closer to God but that it becomes a natural growing appetite to talk to Him more.
To further your reading, we would love for you to join us in our Bible Reading Plan. It’s a chapter a day and is a 3-year plan. We are in year 2 but it is never too late to join. Spending time in the Word is crucial and this is a great way to start.
If you have more questions, whether about this message or Jesus, OR if you feel you are ready to take the leap and receive salvation through faith, then reach out to us via the contact form or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We believe that every person will experience tremendous life change once they feel and experience the amazing love of Christ.