Tepid - That word describes the vast majority of our prayers.
· tepid: half-hearted, lukewarm, indifferent, apathetic
We have our reasons, I suppose, for our tepid prayer life. As illustrated in those vignettes…
· we think too small.
· we’re too self-reliant.
· we tend to give up too soon.
· we think it is too big to ask for.
All of these make sense but let’s consider the ramifications of tepid praying:
Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers. Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle
Tepid prayers dishonor God and God dishonors tepid prayers.
· When you and I persist with our tepid prayers we discredit and demean the God of the universe.
· And in return God discredits and disregards our prayers. “I guess if they don’t mean it then why should I care?”
Wow…so that is brutal…but it’s true. And I don’t think you want that…do you? You want God to pay attention to your prayers…and respond…don’t you?
· Today I want to show you what it will take to move your prayers from tepid to bold.
· And let me lay my cards on the table….you’ll see it has everything to do with right sizing God and His authority AND even right sizing ourselves and Our authority.
But before we dive into bold praying let’s do a reset.
For the past weeks we’ve been examining awakening…spiritual awakening…revival…that thing you so desperately need, along with this community, our nation, our world.
· If we are going to experience it then the supernatural has to become more natural or normal.
· the expressed and experienced power of God must become customary not peculiar.
Power from on high is the supreme need of today. Charles Finney
The world is not waiting for a new definition of the Gospel, but for a new demonstration of the power of the Gospel. Leonard Ravenhill
What we need to happen is akin to the greatest awakening of all time:
Jesus predicted it: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Acts 1:8
And it happened: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4
Beginning on September 11th at our 25th Anniversary celebration we are going to take a long hard look at that moment in history.
· We’ll study the supernatural things that transpired and see how they can and should be actually part of the customary, normal work of God in our midst today.
· And we’ll see that when those things happen…we will indeed experience awakening.
· Side note…it has begun!
So…in just a few weeks we’ll start exploring how the supernatural can become natural. But we realized that before we go there we need to get some of our theology squared away, in particular about the Holy Spirit (the catalyst for power, and awakening) And about prayer (the conduit of power and awakening)
So if you missed it: Part 1 of this series we explored our theology of the Holy Spirit.
1. We learned that He, a real person, is the personification of the power and presence of God.
2. And we addressed this question: What is the process whereby human beings receive the power and presence of the Holy Spirit? The answer rests in these three biblical exhortations or admonitions:
Be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Be filled with the Spirit.
Walk in the Spirit.
Last week we began part 2 of the series by looking at prayer. There is no revival without prayer.
4 Essential Prayers for Revival:
1. Prayers of consecration and repentance
2. Prayers of faith and boldness
3. Prayers of abiding
4. Prayers of persistence
Prayers of consecration and repentance are step 1. Do not start step 2 without completing step 1!
There is no revival without prayer - prayer that begins with consecration and repentance.
So…now you are caught up so now let’s explore why it is our prayers are tepid and how to transform our prayers from tepid to bold.
Matthew 8:5 ______________
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him." 8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour. Matthew 8:5-13
This man is the personification of boldness in prayer:
· he was a Gentile (maybe Roman, maybe worked for Herod)
· Equivalent to a captain in our army…clearly with responsibility for a number of other soldiers.
· his need was a servant in terrible suffering = tortuous pain.
The key to his boldness was his understanding of the size and authority of Jesus:
· he was so enamored with Jesus authority – you see this in at least several places in the story…
o Vs. 8 “I do not deserve to have you under my roof.”
o Vs. 8 “just say the word” word = logos = the divine word
o Vs. 9 I get authority – and you have it!
And Jesus is tickled with this:
· Vs. 10 - Jesus marveled = astonished = wow!
· Vs. 10 - I tell you the truth = listen to me people
· Vs. 10 – he calls it great faith (vast faith)
· Vs. 10 – none of you have this level of boldness and faith
· Vs. 11/12 – Jesus suggests that this gentile, because of his boldness, faith had found his way into the kingdom…whereas others of you not so much!
The point: this is how you should pray and this is the kind of faith I want you to possess!
How do we shift our prayers from tepid to bold?
1. We right-size God!
- This army captain had a right sized view of God
- He completely understood His authority!
The size of our prayers depends on the size of our God. Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle
You are talking to an immensely powerful, creative, generous and intimate Person when you talk to God, John Eldredge
A high view of God is the solution to 10,000 daily problems. A.W.Tozer
When we right size God…and rest in his authority… we tend to pray with a crazy level of boldness!
So let me repeat…
How do we shift our prayers from tepid to bold?
1. We right-size God!
One more way to move from tepid to bold…a 2nd story:
Exodus 14:15-16 ________________
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" 13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground”. Exodus 14:10-16
· What was God saying? …exercise YOUR authority!
o Stop asking me…I’ve given YOU authority, now be bold.
I wonder if this is what Jesus was implying when he said: I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Mark 11:23
· These are not tepid prayers…Red Sea Split! Mountain go fall into the sea!
· They are bold and they are based not just on the authority of God…not just in our right-sizing God but…on OUR authority conferred upon us by the fact of our being indwelt by the Spirit.
Do you have any idea how much authority YOU have?
Jesus said this twice…I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18-20
· YOU have authority! Use it! Declare it!
We need to “push our credibility chips to the middle of the table”. Mark Batterson
IL – the story of Don Lawton and his changed prayer style over healing.
· Don’s prayers are certainly not tepid! What would happen if WE followed suit?
How do we shift our praying from timid and tepid to bold?
1. We right-size God!
2. We right-size our own authority!
May I suggest…the bolder our prayers…the quicker the awakening!
So…let’s move from theory to practice…
The Details of our 40 Day prayer Strategy for Awakening and Revival
40 Day Prayer Strategy for Awakening
1. Daily: The 40 day prayer challenge – August 21- September 30
2. Tuesdays: Noon prayers together – All 3 campuses and downtown
3. Fasting on Tuesdays – 1,2, or 3 meals (or technology)
4. Prayer Gathering – Wednesday, September 7
5. Prayer Rally – Saturday, September 10 (9:00 a.m.) Bankers Life Fieldhouse