This year our theme is prayer here at The Bible Church. We started the year off with a series on prayer (click here to listen), we have a hymn of the year that we will be singing periodically throughout the year (click here for music/lyrics), and we are working on memorizing passages of Scripture focused on prayer (Click here for memory schedule and verses).
Those are the things that were planned for the theme, but the Lord keeps adding to this theme through various texts of Scripture that we are coming to in our current expositional series. Last week we were challenged from Genesis 24:10-27 that faith asks for and receives providential guidance through prayer. This week in our Gospel of John series we will be considering John 14:12-14 where we are invited to pray for anything in the name of Jesus.
If you are regularly reading God’s Word, have you ever noticed that there are verses and passages that are really enticements to pray? There are statements in Scripture that are so centered upon what God does or has done that the only thing we can do is pray that He would do that for us. These kinds of invitations to pray are sprinkled throughout all of Scripture. Let me just give a few that I have come across recently in reading through Scripture:
You can read the context to get the whole story, but listen to what the LORD said to Abimelech:
Genesis 20:6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
Do you see the invitation to pray? The LORD kept Abimelech back from sinning against Him even when Abimelech did not have all the information. That is an invitation to pray that God would graciously deliver us from sinning against Him unknowingly. God is able. This is the same spirit of Matthew 6:13: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Or what about this invitation to pray?
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus.
Do you see the enticement? God puts earnestness in the hearts of His children. Do you need to be more earnest in the things of the LORD? Are you burdened for someone else to be more earnest in the things of the LORD? Pray for God to put that earnestness in your heart or another person’s heart. And you can pray this confidently know that God does such things.
Here is a great invitation to pray for the corporate people of God:
2 Chronicles 30:12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.
Obviously this is referring to Israel, but if God’s hand was on Judah to give them one heart to obey His Word could He not do the same for the church? For our church? This is another enticement to pray.
There are invitations to pray about the success of God’s Word. Listen to this historical description of the success of God’s Word:
Acts 12:24 But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.
Can the word of the Lord continue to grow and be multiplied in your life? In your family? In this church? In your community? Most assuredly. This historical statement is an enticement to pray for the success of God’s Word here and now.
Here are invitations to pray as parents for our children and ourselves as parents:
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Generally speaking if Christian parents train up their children in the ways of the LORD, such training will have lifelong ramifications for that child. That is an invitation to train children in the ways of the LORD coupled with desperate prayer that God would save and sanctify them for Himself.
If we are instructed to bring children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord then it must be true that God blesses biblical parenting. That is an enticement to pray.
Here is an invitation to pray for growth in love:
1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
Do you sense you need to grow in your love for one another? This verse teaches that if you are in Christ God teaches you to love other believers. That is an enticement to pray God would teach you grow in love.
The Bible is full of non-explicit invitations to pray. Are you seeing them? More important, are you actually praying God’s Word back to Him? Every part of God’s revelation to us in His Word is an invitation to pray. There is no greater work we can be part of daily than to be praying on the basis of God’s revealed will that He would do what He has said He has done or will do. I hope you recognize God’s enticements for you to pray this week.