Category Archives: Sermons-Lessons

Practical Daily Prayer


Sermon Delivered: Harville Baptist September 27, 2015

John 16:32-33
“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

When Do We Need Prayer?

A sick child, a lost pet, a broken-down car or tractor, a lost crop or job, a broken friendship (or at a distance like Mr Quentin & his wife moving to Atlanta), a challenging task, a struggle with sin, a departed loved one … or on the other side celebration of a baby born, a good crop or a new job, victory over a sin, the promise of heaven, or that batch of pear tarts turning out just right. Pretty much – all day every day in all things.

Seven Purposes for Prayer in Our Daily Lives

Key Principle: All of these must be done with and through the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, and with our hearts set on our Father in Heaven.

I’ll get to the 3-points (you know, that sermon outline thing) a little later …

1. Seek Wisdom

2. Request Spiritual Protection & Power

3. Ask for Encouragement & Strength

4. Request Healing (emotional, intellectual, physical, & spiritual)

5. Clarity as we read the Word.

6. Clarity as we prepare for praise, prayer, and worship.

7. Thanks & Celebration.


Jesus Prayed for the Father to Glorify Him (or to return His Heavenly glory)

Jesus Prayed for the Disciples

Jesus Prayed for Believers Everywhere

This entire chapter was Jesus’ prayer.

Understanding The Lord’s Prayer


Can I say OUR if my daily practice of my “religion” has no priority for people who desperately need the saving truth of Christ, as I once needed it?

Can I say FATHER if I do not demonstrate this in my daily living relationship with Him as my Abba Father?

Can I say WHO ARE IN HEAVEN if my priorities are in earthly things?

Can I say HOLY BE YOUR NAME if I, who am called by His name, do not seek to become more holy in my daily life – thereby honoring my eternal Father’s name?

Can I say YOUR KINGDOM COME if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God in my life?

Can I say YOUR WILL BE DONE if I am unwilling or resentful of having it be so, convenient of not, in my daily life?

Can I say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now and if I am unwilling to worship Him constantly now, as I will then?

Can I say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellow men. Nor may I say it if I do not daily seek to learn about Him, the bread of life, through His Word?

Can I say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone?

Can I say LEAD US NOT INTO TESTING If I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am certain to be tempted, or if I refuse to “put on the armor” daily to equip me to resist temptation?

Can I say DELIVER US FROM EVIL (or from the Evil One) if I do not prepare to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapons of prayer, righteous living, and clarity as to my standing as a “saint” and a Child of God.

Can I say YOURS IS THE KINGDOM if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject?

Can I say YOURS IS THE POWER if I fear what my neighbors and friends may say or do?

Can I say YOURS IS THE GLORY if I am seeking my glory, or if I give places of honor to others who place their own glory first?

Can I say FOREVER if I am too anxious about today?

Can I say AMEN unless I honestly say, “Cost what it may, this is my prayer.”?

Source: anonymous (edited dmc2015)

Seven Purposes for Prayer in Our Daily Lives

1. Seek Wisdom

Wisdom is information/knowledge plus understanding. God’s wisdom is perfect.

(The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Knowledge, on the other hand, is “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance.” Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not the other way around. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge is knowing how to use a gun; wisdom is knowing when to use it and when to keep it holstered.)

As a hospice chaplain I almost always pray for wisdom with patients and families – for them and for the professionals. They frequently thank me for that. When life gets crazy it’s hard to think clearly – and even professionals need God’s guidance.

Job 12:13 “With God are wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”

Correcting a child, doing our jobs, dealing with government, all require wisdom.

Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding.”

We should be praying that our leaders will seek God’s wisdom.

Ephesians 1:15-23 “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”

2. Request Spiritual Protection & Power

The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-12 that we are in a spiritual battle.

I don’t know about you but I have experienced a number of moments in my 25 years of faith where the spiritual warfare became unpleasantly palpable.

(Illustration: I was once at a dinner party. We were just seated and the woman next to me suddenly jumped up and ran to the kitchen. The hostess went to see why and returned looking a little shaken. The woman was an acquaintance from work whom she did not know well. I asked “Is she was ill, is my deodorant not working, did I say something wrong?” She replied “No. She said that she was a practicing witch and she could not be in the same room with a practicing Christian. I had not said anything about my faith – but the demon in her was apparently terrified by the Holy Spirit in me.)

(Illustration: When our children had night terrors we taught them to tell the Enemy to go away. They did and no more terrors.)

As we allow people to immigrate from regions of the world where spiritual warfare has been in the open for generations – we will experience more of that here.

Rev. 12:17 “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

John says that the war is still being waged, but the outcome has already been determined.

Satan and his followers have been defeated and will be destroyed.

As is illustrated in C.S.Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”, Satan is battling daily to bring more into his ranks and to keep his own from defecting to God’s side.

Those who belong to Christ have gone into battle on God’s side, and he has guaranteed us victory. “Carpe diem” – seize the day!

3. Ask for Encouragement & Strength

I have lots to confess at the end of each day – if I pile each day upon the next it would eventually crush me.

Satan is the accuser – don’t listen to him – he’s a liar.

I always liked the bumper sticker “The Next Time Satan Reminds You Of Your Past – Remind Him Of Your Future.”

We are “made new” every morning – that is the blessing of Grace.

Confess – Repent – Request & Receive Forgiveness, then Be Reconciled & Restored.

Jesus will encourage you and He will be your strength “When you can’t carry on.”

Yesterday you started smoking again and a voice in your head said “Give up trying, you know you can’t do it.” God doesn’t talk that way – that’s the devil. Tell that demon to shut up and go away – you are a Child of God.

4. Request Healing (emotional, intellectual, physical, & spiritual)

I have seen God lift severe emotional distress, I have seen Him clear the muddled-thinking of a confused person, I have seen God heal cancer, and I have seen God do battle and defeat the Enemy in the lives of demon-harassed people.

James 4:3 “We have not because we ask not.”

Dr. Neil Anderson, author and founder of Freedom in Christ ministries, insists that people must address the whole person rather than only part – if complete healing is to be found.

(Illustration: In a Divorce Recovery group a woman returned for the 3rd time. She was not a Believer, was obsessive about completing tasks, and she often challenged parts of the lessons. This time asked “Can a person recover from divorce and not be a Christian?” My answer was “Yes … but, only if one is willing to accept partial recovery.”)

God allows this fallen rebellious world to go on as it will and only occasionally intervenes. We cannot often know why He intervenes and why He does not – and that is not our place – we trust His perfect knowledge and love.

5. Clarity as we read the Word.

A person without the Holy Spirit cannot ever fully understand the Word – I remember those days — I was 35 before surrendering to the Lord.

Even for Holy Spirit-filled Believers – when we’re confused, stressed, and tired – merely opening the Bible isn’t enough – we need to ask for clarity.

I watched many a fellow student stumble through the Word, attempting to extract meaning – using only their own intellect – and coming up empty (or worse, confused).

Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures”

John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.”

I have been writing a daily Bible study, and now a devotional, through the old and new testaments – for the past 7 years. Every time I read a section of text the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to a clearer understanding.

6. Clarity as we prepare for praise, prayer, and worship

Have you ever come to church, participated in the service, and left feeling as confused, empty, and powerless as when you arrived?

You could blame the music or the message – but you would be wrong …

Just as 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 instructs us how to prepare ourselves to receive communion so also are we to prepare ourselves for special times of praise, prayer, and worship.

Just showing up, setting aside a little time (even before a meal), and closing our eyes is a good start, but … imagine that you are Isaiah in the presence of the Lord in Chapter 6 “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips …”

Develop a sense of the holiness of God and approach Him with both reverence and trust.

Arrive early enough to ask the Lord to speak to you – maybe through the music and the message – or maybe in spite of it … He will honor your request.

The same is true of preparation for prayer.

7. Thanks & Celebration.

Keep a journal of your prayers – and God’s answers. During tough times it will encourage you and at all times it will lift you to a state of thankful celebration.

(Illustrations: 22 years ago a Missionary visiting Gordon-Conwell Seminary shared his Prayer & Answer Journal. 20 years and every prayer was answered – not always in the time or way he expected. During hard times the journal was encouraging. In the movie “War Room” the Prayer-Answer Journal pages on the wall became the contact-point to move the young wife to listen.)

And now … a quick 3 point sermon …



Be honest. God already knows anyhow, so give it up.

Have a conversation – just remember to Whom you are speaking.

Be specific “We have not because we ask not.”


Don’t just broadcast then walk away – or at least don’t stay away.

Meditate on what you have said and what you know about the One to whom you have said it – the Holy Spirit will clarify – and often prompt prayer for things you forgot.

Be teachable – whatever He decides has to be OK or else you are “playing God”.

(Illustration: As parents of an initially unresponsive newborn child we had to pray that whatever God did – it had to be OK with us. If all we had was 9 months in the womb, then heaven, His choice was perfect. But we asked for life.)


Allow yourself to be transformed – that’s what God does – let Him.

Choose to be a willing and available instrument and vessel.

(Illustration: Older divorced singles – See that spot in your broken vessel? It matches up to the same in another person. God can pour His blessing through you into them.)

Choose to be both balanced and sacrificial.

(Illustration: If you have two shovels, sacrificial is to allow a co-worker to borrow your favorite, balanced is to not give away both so that you cannot work.)

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”