Be restored in '24: prayer power
Happy New Year! We are only five days into 2024 and we hope you are feeling the hope and joy of God’s presence. We continue our sermon series Be Restored in ’24 with the sermon Prayer Power. We often talk about the power of prayer and how God is gracious and good to respond to our prayers. This is certainly a wonderful and powerful aspect of prayer, but this title points us to the exercise of prayer. Prayer is like a muscle. If we do not use our muscles they atrophy or lose strength. When we exercise the discipline of prayer, it can build wonderful things in our lives, because it deepens our relationship with God. Our scripture this week is Philippians 4:4-14. Philippians is one of the warmest and most joyful letters of the Apostle Paul. He is in prison and the Philippian church reaches out to him with love and support. He does not want them to worry about him, or about the circumstances that they are confronting. He does not scold them about their worry. Instead, he tells them to rejoice and pray! This would seem ridiculous until we begin to put it into practice. Then the power of the Holy Spirit is able to share with the strength that this Apostle had found! More than this, we capture a vision of God’s power and peace in our lives. Our ardent and earnest prayer for you is to recapture this vision this year, and for your life, as you prepare your heart for the first Lord’s Day of 2024 by reading Philippians 4:4-14.
Philippians 4:4-14 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or raiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. (NIV)