Fine Tuning Our Prayers
Past month visitors to The Sunday Message: Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, The Ukraine, South Africa, The Philippines, The United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Czechia, The Netherlands, India, Russia, Indonesia, Canada and Thailand.
We have had recently over 200 views a day on this blog, which are my notes for the message you hear. Some we know have borrowed them to share with their congregation. This blog is in its tenth year, where we have gone through the Bible once.
Last week within 24 hours we had over 100 views of our morning worship service and message on live stream. By midweek, 120 and this morning, 129. That translates into over 1,500 people this week being touched by the ministry of the Word of God from this little fellowship! We are now going to be live-streaming from our Facebook Page and on Bambuser. Use this in inviting people to church. Tell them they can check out our services on these venues. If they attach their device to their flat screen TV it can viewed in their living room or den.
This morning...Psalm 141.2 May my prayer be set before You like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Every once in a while our cars need a check up. We need to see fluid levels, how our brakes are, alignment...
So it is with our spiritual life. Some have designed revival meetings for this, other discipleship accountability groups. Here we have chosen the Bible's self examination: Taking the LORD's Supper each month.
I Corinthians 11.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
This morning we are looking at a verse of scripture which should reflect our prayers. David prayed about his praying. He wanted it to be according to God's Word, modeled after worship in the Temple, which was a copy of what is in heaven.
We are talking this morning about seeing how our prayers line up to God's Word and making adjustments if needs be.
Proverbs 1.5a let the wise listen and add to their learning...
The wise will add to their learning.
Wise people continue to grow in the grace of the LORD, in the knowledge of Him. So our prayers ought to be fine tuned from our time in the Word and our experiences of life as we walk with the LORD.
Jesus spoke about prayer to His disciples. He modeled prayer. He taught them how to pray. He is praying for us now. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us in our praying. He is here this morning to help us.
Look carefully at this these words God inspired David to write...
1. My Prayer
Prayer is talking to God about Him and us and others.
From my heart to God's
To some of Israel's religious leaders of His time, during Holy Week...
Mark 12.24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"
We need to know and put into practice what His Word says about prayer.
We need to see the power of God working as we pray... in our daily bread and in powerful contests of power. Elijah, Epaphras- always wrestling in prayer
We need to make our prayers personal. David's use of "my' and "You" show his close fellowship with the LORD.
Get that fellowship where it is supposed to be and other things fall into place, not the least of which is our prayer life. Align your life with God's Word and keep a tender heart and your prayers will be fined tuned.
2. Like Incense
incense, smoke, odor of (burning) sacrifice
sweet smoke of sacrifice
Incense in the tabernacle and later in the temple symbolized the sweet prayers of the saints rising up to God, and His response of love and joy over them.
God loving and enjoying the prayers of the saints.
Incense was carefully prepared, on fire and devoted to God. Just like our prayers ought to be.
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Under the Old Covenant..
*Incense was broken and pounded before it was used-
the sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart. Psalm 51.17
*Incense had a fire under it.
*Incense rose up as a sweet smell to heaven
Ephesians 5.2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Our prayers and our lives are inseparable. When observing Paul Rees, Richard Gehman observed, "Watching him, I realize this man's entire life is a prayer."
Praying without ceasing is what we are to seek after.
This means "Be still and know that I am God."
Keeping our eyes fixed upon Him.
Living with one foot in heaven.
David asks that his prayer might be like be...
3. Like The Evening Sacrifice
Lifting up Hands...
Psalm 63.4 I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
I Timothy 2.8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
David is equating prayers with the lifting up of his hands.
In Haiti a number of children and young adults call me Papa or Daddy. It seemed strange at first but now I understand. It is a term of warmth and respect. Learning Manners and Customs of a Foreign Land is invaluable.
What was meaning of the custom in the Old and New Testament of lifting up the hands?
It was a gesture of worship and adoration to Almighty God.
What was the evening sacrifice?
Shorter service than the morning sacrifice.
Took place between 2:30 to 4pm each day.
At the end the priest who burned the incense would come out and pronounce the blessing Aaron taught his sons, the priests in
Numbers 6.22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 “"The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”"
What an awesome way to conclude the day!
We have an actual account of this in Luke 1. 8-22 with Zechariah.
The evening sacrifice included worship and blessing and communion with God- all things that prayer ought to have in an increasing measure. Praying without ceasing.
Jesus said, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6.6)
In that quiet secluded place worship God, thank Him and commune with Him.
Like the evening sacrifice...
What time of the day did Jesus die? He went to the cross at 9am and gave up His Spirit at 3pm He went to the cross when the morning sacrifice was being offered and ( darkness came over the land at noon) died at time of the evening sacrifice, the time of prayer-3pm.(9am,12pm,3pm were the times of prayer for the Jews)
At the close of day, the close of the business... Wall Street closing bell
After the day has been spent may my prayer be quiet and still and reflective of the deep riches I experience from the LORD.
Fine tuning our prayers.
*Make it personal between you and the LORD. Grow in that fellowship.
*May it be like incense: sweet fellowship, rising up to heaven, pleasing to God, full of the worship of Him,
* Sacrificial, Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess His Name.
Begin the day with prayer, end it with prayer.
Psalm 5.1 Listen to my words, O LORD,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to You I pray.
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
Psalm 141.2 May my prayer be set before You like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name. Hebrews 13.15
Now Walk With God...