Camp Thematic Messages: Praying Always and Watching Thereunto 3

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In this final pastoral of the series, I will summarise the last 2 sermons of our camp thematic message based on our theme verse from Eph 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”.

The Determination in Prayer.  God instructs us to pray “with all perseverance”. This means that we must continue in persistence without discouragement or disheartenment. We need to persevere in watching and persist in both praying and supplication. We have an example of such importunate prayer in Lk 18:1-8. The widow tires the judge out. She displayed urgency and was undoubtedly passionate about her request. Cold prayers have no place in our prayer life. Persistence in prayer does not mean we repeat our prayers mechanically. We must immerse our whole soul and mind, imploring God to hear and answer. One who is persistent will keep going to the judge because he believes the judge has the power to solve the problem. The beggar cries to Christ because He has the power to heal him. Knowing that God has the power to do what we plead for must cause us to persevere. Concerning the Christian armour, the power is not in mere fighting. It is God who has the power. When you know God’s power, you will be persistent. We will persist if we have faith in God’s power. But at the same time, it is not a panicky prayer. Christ spent time teaching His disciples about the attitude before teaching them the Lord’s prayer. There must be proper preparation in our hearts. We must be focused and intentional. There must be real intimacy when we speak to God. Let us be conscious of the reality of God’s presence and Who we are seeking before we even utter a word of prayer. Why must we persist? 1) God is the One who put us in a particular situation, not chance. So, we must seek Him. 2) Prevents us from being presumptuous. We must pray even for minor things. 3) God doesn’t answer because there are still sins in our hearts that we have and will not deal with. If we do not deal with things that we have the power to do, we should not shrug and simply say “I can only pray”. Instead, we need to first repent of known sins! 4) Appreciate God’s answer more. If God gives us what we want quickly, we will often return quickly to the sin because we do not appreciate the deliverance just like what Israel did. Only when He exiled them did they forsake idolatry. The need to persist means that there is an element of discouragement in prayer. God will deliver through prayer, but it will take time. What is the difference between persistent prayer and trying to arm-twist God? When it is God’s clear preceptive will, we should persist and wait on His time. We must pray persistently for anything that is clearly God’s will and for His purpose. For example, since a pastor in the church is God’s model, we must pray persistently for it. Addictions are sinful, so we must also pray persistently that we will be delivered from them. We fast when there is a strong need, when we want to focus to pray about something urgent without the distractions of eating. There is not about torturing the body. Are we serious enough about something to fast and deal with the sins in our lives? Besides fasting from food, we should also have a media fast too. There is no point fasting from food if we spend our time on social media instead of praying. However, don’t let people know that you are fasting. We must have determination in prayer.

The Concerns of Prayer. Why should we pray? When Paul requests for prayer in Eph 6:19, it is to “make known the mystery of the gospel”. In the Lord’s prayer in Mt 6, it begins with “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done” and ends with “thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” (italics added for emphasis). This teaches us that all that is sandwiched in between the opening and closing of our prayers must be about God’s kingdom, God’s power, and God’s glory. Power is God’s omnipotence, His supreme authority. Even Daniel, who was a politician in Babylon, fasted and prayed because he was worried about the children of God and God’s kingdom. Is your concern about God’s kingdom’s work or your own comfort? We must move on to the next level of mature prayer whereby if my prayers are not about God’s kingdom, power, and glory (KPG), it must make me feel very uncomfortable. Kindergarten prayers are all about me. God is patient with us, but we must graduate and tie all our prayers to KPG. How concerned are you about the church? The work of the kingdom of God is progressed through His church. Was Moses concerned merely about people getting injured or Israel as a nation or God’s salvation plan? It was about KPG. God brought 2 humans to support Moses in prayer. Do we support the pastor in prayer for God’s work? The desire for our relatives must be for them to submit to the authority of God over everything in their lives. When we pray, we must ask ourselves – does this promote the KPG of God? The Lord’s prayer ends with “forever. Amen”. We must have the right perspective of life in the scheme and view of an eternity of forever. The kingdom of God is forever. My life and time on earth are smaller than a dot in this eternal timeline. In everything that we do, for example, when we say we want to bring up godly seed, we must truly mean that they will be part of the generation of people that will stay on the old paths. All the extra-curricular activities that we put them through are nothing in the light of “forever”. The gates of hell will not prevail against God’s church, not your family. Give your child to God’s church, not to the world! For the singles who may be concerned about loneliness, focus your energy on things that will last forever. KPG must preoccupy your life in all aspects. You can be a hero in this world but if you are not KPG focussed, you are a zero. The problem is very often our hearts. Our heart is not overwhelmed with God’s kingdom. Why would someone serve God? Only if he is driven simply to do things for God’s Kingdom. No church goes to the advanced stage of departing from God overnight. It first goes through the intermediate stages of wanting lightheartedness, fun, mindlessness, eating, and games. We mustn’t let our church go that way simply because we want to win people to stay. The spirit of the church must be “I Love Thy Kingdom Lord”, not to have my own kingdom on earth. Living orthodoxy is not just about a pulpit that is sound. It is about the kind of church it is.

We want a church where the people in it will be a positive influence on those around them. When the people’s life declined, God “saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Is 59:16). God was not shocked that Israel was going downhill, but He was amazed that no one cared enough to pray for Israel. It was not just about the families and individuals falling into sin, but about His kingdom and Name. In Ezek 22:30, God “sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none”. The individuals and families were living for themselves. God had to chastise. Instead of praying, they were promoting the opposite lifestyle. Is God shocked that we share so little concern about His kingdom, power, and glory? Our measurements of our church must be what God thinks of it. We want sheep that want the kingdom, power, and glory of God. Love the church, and truly mean it when we sing,

For her my tears shall fall,

for her my prayers ascend;

to her my cares and toils be giv’n,

’til toils and cares shall end.

I hope that this wrap-up gives you a clearer picture of what prayer ought to be about. We must pray passionately for God’s Name to be hallowed, His kingdom to come, and His will to be done. We must love the church and pray for it to always be on the path that will only promote His kingdom, His power, and His glory. As we conclude this series, let us desire to accomplish much for God through prayer, in full consecration, habitually in 360° prayer, in submission, with devotion and passion, to constantly guard our lives of prayer, with determination . . . all spurred on by a great concern for God’s work.

Yours in our Lord’s service,