Praying Through the Bible #62
TEXT: Psalm 80:1-7
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 61 messages in this series.
This is message #62, titled “If Christianity is Dying, How Then Should We Pray?”
This week, Pastor Mark Driscoll hosted his Resurgence Conference, centered around the question: Christianity is dying. Will we have a funeral or a future? Statistics indeed show that Christianity in America is on the decline. As many as 3,000 churches close their doors each year. And, many of those that remain open, are filled with Christians who are spiritually dead and who are not impacting their communities. They are just taking up space. Frankly, we are in a desperate state of affairs. Something drastic must take place in order for the church to become vibrant and vital again.
I believe that part of the problem is the lack of prayer in our churches. And, I believe that much of the solution to our problems will be found and implemented through prayer. So, from the Word of God today, I want us to ask and answer the question, “if Christianity is dying, how then should we pray?”
Psalm 80 is a prayer of desperation by the people of Israel. This passage comes from the heart of those who have seen and experienced God’s presence and power in the past, but who are no longer having those same experiences. Realizing the terrible change in their circumstances, they long to get back into fellowship with God. They long to experience the power and presence of God as they had before.
Today, I want us to look at this prayer as a model for the church. I believe we need to adopt these words as a prayer of our own if the church is to have a future, and not a funeral. So, how then should we pray?
1. We must pray for revival. This psalm starts out by saying, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
2. We must pray in repentance. Listen to how the Psalmist prays: “O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
3. We must pray in righteousness. The Psalmist goes on to say, “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”