The Crisis of Believers’ Prayerlessness <Jos 9:3-16, 22-23; 1 Th 5:17-18>
1. The consequences and harms of prayerlessness
· Biggest spiritual danger is not openly opposing God, but to secretly ignore God and not rely on Him.
· Prayerlessness comes before a fall!
· The first sign of Christians backsliding is prayerlessness.
· The primary reason why a person fall into temptation and sin, is because he did not pray
· Lack of prayer makes us easy prey for the enemy.
· Billy Graham: “A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.”
· How can a prayerless person “discern what is best”？
· Example of how Joshua and the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites
o Read <Jos 9:3-16，22-23>
o The problem is not that they do not know how to think or analyse, but they did not inquire of the Lord <Jos 9:14>
2. Why do people not pray?
· “Prayer” and “pride” are polar opposites.
· Merely forcing oneself to be more disciplined in prayer will not sustain a heart of prayer, he needs to discover that “he needs God”.
· Calvin: Prayer is the “chief exercise of faith”.
· Prayerlessness reflects “unbelief”
3）Many things that distract us
· “Busyness” should be reason to pray, not an obstacle to prayer.
· <1 Th 5:17-18> Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
· Is there an “end” to prayer? -> Pray as you go.
4）Did not realise that we are in a spiritual battle
· “Prayer” and “sin” are opposed to each other. Sin will prevent us from praying and prayer will prevent us from sinning.
· Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. <Mt 26:41>
· John Owen: “He who walketh humbly walketh safely.”
5）Not counting God’s blessings, and even forgetting about God
· Heidelberg Catechism：
· Q116: Why do Christians need to pray?
· A: Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking God for them.
3. How should we pray？
1）Heidelberg Catechism Q 117. What is the kind of prayer that pleases God and that he listens to?
· First, we must pray from the heart to no other than the one true God, revealed to us in his Word, asking for everything God has commanded us to ask for.
· Second, we must fully recognize our need and misery, so that we humble ourselves in God’s majestic presence.
we must rest on this unshakable foundation: even though we do not deserve it,
God will surely listen to our prayer because of Christ our Lord. That is what God promised us in his Word.
2）Heidelberg Catechism Q 118. What did God command us to pray for?
· Everything we need, spiritually and physically, as embraced in the prayer Christ our Lord himself taught us.