Sermons & Sunday Schools

A Christian’s Acceptable Worship: Mutual Dependence, Part 2

Full Transcript:

Alright let’s take our Bibles this morning and turn to Hebrews 13 and look at the end of this book where there is a message that was actually written to be preached. Certain circumstances took place so that the one who wrote it sent by letter instead. He was hoping to come back to his brethren and have fellowship with them.

Today we’re going to be looking at Hebrews 13:20-21, and just follow me as I read. It says:

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank You again for this tremendous privilege to be in the Word of God and to be able to see it, hear it, and think about it with our eyes, ears, and minds. It contains the very things you want us to know on this earth so we can live for the purpose in which You saved us, and so we can do Your will and please You. Lord, enable us to do that and understand that more today from this passage. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.

I’ve been saying that acceptable Christian worship is that which pleases God. We already saw that the reason all believers are to offer up spiritual sacrifices, and the reasons that church leaders and congregations are to harmonize with each other, is because it pleases God. It is appropriate at the end of a correspondence like this to any church, that the most important things would not be considered for church leaders and congregations alike. These are the things that bring to light our dependence and our state as Christians. The two inseparable spiritual responsibilities that we have as a congregation are to attend earnestly to the Word of God because through it God speaks to us and teaches us. The second thing is to engage earnestly in prayer through which we speak to God. But it’s more than just speaking to God. The great need for church leaders is to be supported by the prayers of the people and their sheep.

That should always be and remain the highest important in the church. If these two things go south, then you just have a social club. These two things are the most important things in the church: prayer and preaching. What is the underlying reason though? It is so that our work for Christ can be effective and so that we can be fruit bearing. Apart from the Word of God and prayer, you cannot be fruit bearing. That is when we are mutually delighting in prayer together and mutually loving and being obedient to the Word of God. That’s when things happen. God’s Word goes out and is glorified. So we as a congregation ought to listen to God from His word, as it is preached, taught, and read. And we as a congregation ought to pray to our great God and Savior with lips of praise and thanksgiving and adoration, along with requests of all types, intercessions for others and petitions for ourselves. Why? Because Jesus Christ has a great regard for the prayers of His people. He loves when we pray and the devil laughs when we don’t. Even he knows the prayer there is in prayer when God’s people lift others up with sincere hearts to Him.

So the author of this message and those with him have humbly requested prayer because in Hebrews 13:18-19 it says:

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Obviously this writer was part of the congregation and was moved for some reason which is not given in this epistle. He wants to come back to them but knows he can if his people prays for them. We’re talking about acceptable worship here and that includes our approach to God. If anyone is going to approach God acceptably in prayer, they must have a good conscience. I covered what that was and how you are to receive it the last time. They must willingly live honestly in all things, and we also looked at that.

It should be clear in your mind what we have in Christ, which is a good conscience. And you should be clear in your mind what you are to do, which should give you a strong intention to conduct your life honorably before God. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have been summoned to a holiness of life, which is completely different from what you knew before. That should bring you to Hebrews 12:14:

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

In other words, holiness is to be prayed for. Here we saw that holiness is to be pursued. The reason that it was in that text is because holiness is required for our well-being. Remember that God’s goal when He disciplines us in the context of Hebrews 12:10 is so that we may share in His holiness. He does correct us, drives out the sin that is in us, but only in order that we may truly be children that God would have us to be. Be sure of this, that He would have us to be holy. God has called us to be holy, not to live in unclean our impure lives like the Thessalonians. He has called us not to impurity, but to sanctification.

Holiness is about being different because they have come to Christ. It describes those who have been set apart to God. The holiness that comes to us is an essential attribute of the character of God already. And as we are indwelled with the Spirit of God, that character begins to work out through us. For we are to be holy as God is holy. It’s what makes us so different.

So we are called to and must earnestly strive for personal and practical holiness and that means that believers are to be set apart from evil, but separated to God, consecrated, and entirely given over to His service. Ultimately that is what God is doing. Holiness is also necessary for effective service. From 2 Timothy 2:21, it says:

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

These are tied together: prayer, holiness, and the Word of God. The third thing why holiness is necessary in our lives is that it gives us assurance of salvation. It lets us say confidently that we are true children of God. The only safe evidence that we are in Christ is a holy life. If you know nothing about holiness, you shouldn’t flatter yourself that you’re a Christian. Bottom line is that it’s not those who profess to know Christ who will enter heaven, but those who live holy lives.

It doesn’t mean that those people don’t have a profession, they do, but it is coupled with a holy life. They are called to salvation and also to holiness, blamelessness. In fact, you can’t even see the Lord without holiness, according to Hebrews 12:14. You can’t make it into His presence if you haven’t been set apart by Him.

Set apart Christians are to reflect attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with our new relationship with God in Christ. The admonition is to keep pursing a life that is more and more set apart to the Lord. How do we do that? One way is definitely by prayer. It includes corporate and individual prayer of the saints.

Now I’ve been saying along the way through the book of Hebrews, that as our knowledge increases about God, automatically our faith increases in God. That leads to our prayer lives becoming more dependent on God. It leads us to a deeper and more abiding and consistent, Christ-exalting prayer life. And at that point, we become fully persuaded by two things.

Number one: all blessings that you and I stand in need of could be obtained from God and Him alone. Everything we need for life and godliness can be obtained from only God. The second thing is that prayer is the appointed means for obtaining these blessings. Sometimes we wonder why our faith is weak and passionless. We ask why we don’t see ourselves growing in the Lord. Well, it is because we don’t do a very good job in the area of prayer. We don’t set aside prayer as a serious thing, as something that ought to be a serious discipline in our lives. Or if we do it, we don’t do it well. It’s something we are always fighting against, but we should be challenged this year to change that.

If you’re reading through the Bible in a year, you should be coming to the last few days now. You may have missed a couple days at times, but you got back on track and continued on. I pray that for some of you, if you didn’t do well, would start again and push through. We must overcome the flesh and get the Word of God into us.

Alright now let’s look at our passage in Hebrews 13:20. First thing is we want to take a closer look at the object of our prayer. This is how we end this benediction about what he is telling the church. The object of prayer of course in verse 20, is about the God of Peace! He’s not our enemy anymore is not against us because of Christ! So we come to the God of Peace through Christ; there is no other way to God. That’s what the whole book of Hebrews is about. He is the One who can lead us in the way of peace. He did not have to make peace with anyone of us rebels, but He acquired for us a good conscience so that we can be at peace with God. This peace was already won for us through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

Paul told the Romans in in Romans 5:1:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Hebrew culture, this term of shalom or peace, meant everything which makes for man’s highest good. It means for us that God has His utmost good in mind, especially that of a tranquil state, a soul assured of the salvation that they received through Jesus Christ. We don’t have to fear anything when we come to God because He is the God of Peace. It’s just like in John 16:33 where it says:

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

The first thing is that we come to God who has a character and the first part of it is that He is a good God and you’re at peace with Him. The second thing in Hebrews 13:20 is that it says:

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord.

Now the term for brought up is not the common one for resurrection. He doesn’t use the word rise, but instead it is one that means to lead out and bring out. The term is used for the powerful intervention of God, who is leading out His people. Just like He brought Jesus out from the dead that will bring many sons to glory. If Christ had not risen, His death could not have completed our redemption and we would have been still in our sins. But He has completed it for the reason that He is a mighty God that leads His people out from the slave market of sin freed.

If God brought Jesus up from the dead, such an unbeatable God has no problem answering our prayers. None of our impossibilities, problems or difficulties can be greater than the problem of leading a person out from the dead. The greatest enemy we have is death; no one has ever conquered it, overcome it, or escaped it except for Jesus Christ. He not only overcome and escaped it, but also defeated it. He put it finally to death. It is done, along with Satan who used death to put fear in people.

Another thing we learn from Hebrews 13:20 is that God is a compassionate God. Keep in mind that a shepherd denotes one who presides over a collection of people or animals, and governs and guides and protects them for the purpose of doing everything necessary to promote their joy. He is the only Great Shepherd. In John 10 He is also the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. He submitted to death as a victim for us. No one is as caring and compassionate as the Great Shepherd who cares for His under-shepherds and the whole flock of God. By His risen power, He continues to provide double security for His sheep.

This double security is in John 10:27-29:

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Here he stresses that Jesus is the Great Leader of the sheep. He has us in His hand and the Father has His hand over Jesus’, giving us the picture that no one can snatch us from God. These sheep are protected by the Good Shepherd, the Good Leader of the sheep. Moses and David were viewed as caring shepherds in the Old Testament, but Jesus is the One who surpasses all leaders and leads His sheep where no one could lead them, right in to the presence of God. He is a compassionate God.

In Hebrews 13:20, Jesus is also a faithful God because the verse mentions the blood of the eternal covenant. Covenant has been a great subject in the book of Hebrews. The covenant is only good as the faithfulness of the one who made the promise. So it was through the new covenant that made possible the relationship between God and man. The new covenant Jesus secures spiritual and eternal blessing for the guilty and depraved children of men. Because Jesus demonstrates this love at the Cross where the covenant had to be ratified through his blood, Paul could write in Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

In His substitutionary death, He took away the terror of God forever and He does it by pacifying God’s wrath. The God of peace was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He didn’t impute to men their trespasses seeing as He made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin. So we come to God through Jesus alone and we find favor with God in that approach. There’s no other approach we can take to find favor with God. In fact, without Jesus it is dangerous to approach the God who is a consuming fire. So those who have their own self-styled way of approaching God, they think they don’t need Christ or the Cross. They will be in for a rude awakening because they won’t meet with the God of Peace, but the God of Wrath.

Jesus has forever taken away from us the terror of God. The sheep doesn’t have to be afraid of the shepherd. The shepherd treated the sheep in a way so that the sheep never thinks the shepherd is against them or is going to harm them. Even if he does discipline them, it’s always for their good so they don’t do something wrong or veer off the path or get too close to the cliff. To have in mind the very character of God in prayer is so important because we come sometime with great guilt on our consciences because of our sin. We feel like God has left us or is against us or will condemn us. But with Christ, none of that is there anymore. We come to the God of Peace with whatever we have and have done. We know that at the cross it was all taken care of so we never come to God being afraid of Him. We come to God boldly because of what Christ has done. But we also come humbly because sin is a serious matter for a believer because we have offended God. The blood of Christ has cleansed us from sin and all unrighteousness. That’s what we should be involved with because part of prayer is to pray for each other. We need Christ to clean us up and make us more like Him. That’s a huge project! We’re all under major construction!

As a believer coming to God, you shouldn’t feel afraid. You come with a sincere heart and coming with the sin you’re struggling with. You come telling Him what is making you anxious and worried. These are the things you pray for yourself. Sanctification and prayer go together. So now we come to the very content of the prayer.

In Hebrews 13:21, the author offers up prayers on behalf of His sheep. He wants to make them sure who they are coming to in prayer, and through whom they are coming to prayer in. He prays that his Christian brothers and sisters would be complete for the Master’s use and to finish the Christian race well. The content of the prayer is found in the verse, which says:

May the God of peace equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

He is praying to God that He would equip the sheep. In fact, the verb equip has a rare mood connected to it. It’s called the optative mood, which is only used about 70 times in the New Testament. In our passage, it is used to express an obtainable wish or prayer. And it is frequently used to appeal to someone’s will, in particular when used in prayer. It is usually for using a polite request without doubting what the response will be. We have a similar phrase, for example a mother asking her kids, “Do you think you might be able to help with the dishes tonight?” That’s using an optative mood with a typical response of yes. It’s different from a command, for example, “CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME WITH THE DISHES?”

Here we don’t have a command when the author asks God to equip the sheep. The optative is used in the language of prayer to refer to a prayer wish. Here it is addressed to God whom Scripture just described. Wouldn’t you want to pray to a God like this? The answer is yes. Prayer offered to false gods in ancient times could be expected to be haggled over or rebuffed. But the God of the Old Testament is bigger than that. The prayers offered to Him depends on His sovereignty and goodness. When prayer is offered to God who raised Jesus from the dead, its meaning is often moved into the realm of expectation.

An optative request is that of expecting a result because of the way you say it. In this case it’s also different because of the character of the One you are saying it to. If this is God’s will and I prayed this, then I expect Him to answer His will. It is simply that you and I would be equipped. If any uncertainty is part of the package of prayer it is not due to questions of God’s ability. It is because of the partitioner’s humility towards the great Shepherd of the sheep.

So the prayer request is offered to God without a hint of doubting what the response would be. Doesn’t that sound like faith? Coming to God knowing that He is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Someone who has been engaging God in prayer is someone who diligently seeks Him. This person asks and communicates with God. There are several prayer wishes in our passage.

The first one is that God will equip or outfit you in a proper condition. The request conveys the writer’s desire that the believers might be fully fitted for the task. It’s actually the same term used in Hebrews 11:3 when it says that the world was framed by the Word of God. The worlds were arranged and put into order from a chaotic state and then fitted to perform their purposes that we experience today.

So God is equipping you and I however He may to do what He created us to do. He has allowed us to use the gifts He has given us in the church to do His will. The end result is that you would do the will of God. A second prayer wish is the verb form and it is God who restores and repairs and mends someone. It is included in the word. It is to set what is out of order to be right. In other words, He equips us to do His will and many of us were out of order. We were not working out spiritually.

We were out of order when it came to our relationship with God. We had no purpose and were by nature unfit to obey the divine will of God. We were unfit to desire the will and also unfit for loving His will. Once we become believers, the Great Shepherd is not only able to supply what is necessary to do His will and make us fit for it, but is also able to repair what has been broken in our lives. Just like a battle ship is fitted with the necessary equipment and personnel to go into a battle and win. We as believers would be fitted by God by the necessary things to accomplish His will. And without God’s help, we can do nothing. The will of God is our sanctification in body, soul, and spirit. Sanctification is when we become holy. The Holy Spirit is the Author of our being set apart to God.

The author of the Scripture prays this prayer: Lord I pray that these people would be fitted to do Your will and that what was broken would be mended in their lives so they can actually understand your will, identify it, and do it.

Secondly the author says this in Hebrews 13:21:

Equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight.

Here is a prayer that God would work in us to bring us to the goal. Now you see the goal is that we would live pleasing in His sight. The goal of the Christian life is righteousness. The Holy Spirit is cleaning us up. He’s making changes in our lives and He is bringing us into conformity to the will of God. So God is working in us by His Spirit. Conformity happens from the inside out because He is working in us. I believe He is doing that because God wants us to see fruit.

Prayer is about fruit bearing so that we are sanctified and will do what is right and pleasing to God. We should ask God to make us more loving, kind, gentle, joyful, long-suffering with people, and patient in circumstances. God has to do that from the inside. Behavior is at the center of concern and sanctification. Behavior shows what is or what is not going on inside of you. As God works in you according to this passage of Scripture, He will also work out of you. No eternal transformation means that you can walk around with righteous behavior but without internal change. That’s hypocrisy.

In fact, hypocrites totally externalize righteousness. You can clean up the outside but be filthy inside. A believer is someone who has been already given a good conscience and has been washed in the blood of Christ. Therefore God is working in us first to give us a new heart and conscience so that we have new behavior to be changed. The Holy Spirit is inside of us to produce good fruit. Lord, make me more fruit bearing that I may please you. This next year we have another opportunity for us to come to the Lord in prayer. This is me asking God for you to make you more fruit bearing. That’s for you to pray about for me too. If we don’t pray for each other, then we aren’t using the very means God is giving us so that we are actually transformed on the inside so we can manifest behavior that is not hypocritical but actually genuine that comes from the depth of your heart because of your relationship with God to other people. That’s where God is bringing us.

What does the Holy Spirit use to change us? Well He convicts us about what is wrong and evil before God. He also convicts us about what is right and pleasing. That is conviction of what is right and good and pleasing in God’s sight. Don’t we want to know that? We just want to do things that are pleasing to the Lord. Even John said about the Spirit of God that He would come and convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He’s going to convict us of righteous living. How can we do what is right and pleasing to God if we have no idea of what that is? It’s not just a matter of prayer, but also the Word of God.

The Holy Spirit will change the whole mode of your thinking and feeling to conform to the will of God. He does not do this by miraculous implanting. Instead He addresses your mind, and to do that He informs your understanding with the truth. The Spirit is not only the Holy Spirit but He is also the Spirit of Truth. He has written the Word of God and meticulously used language to give us the mind of God for this time in which we live. He is working on our consciousness with truth. This is not foreign to other parts of the Word of God. In Romans 12:2 it says:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

In 1 Corinthians 14:20 it says:

Brethren, don’t be children in your thinking.

In fact he is saying there to stop acting like babies in your spiritual life. Don’t remind as a baby but start growing up. But be infants when it comes to evil. He says this next:

In your thinking, be mature.

The Spirit of God is not bypassing your mind, but is transforming it with the truth of the Word of God to make you mature in Christ. People in our day are despising the instructions of the mind by the Word of God. No one denies believing the Bible but people don’t have it preached and taught to them, nor do they read it. So it’s really not transforming our minds and setting us apart like God intended it to. So our thinking is not transformed and therefore our maturity is not there. We live in an age of anti-meek. 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 says:

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly.

This is a rebuke because they aren’t growing as they ought to. Then he mentions by the Word of God the very things that are holding them back from being mature. In 1 Corinthians 3:3 says:

For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

He can’t give them the next level of spiritual training because they are still stuck on level one. The Holy Spirit in you convicts you and points out sin by the Word of God so you deal with it. That’s our responsibility. When it comes to us, we are responsible to take care of how we are listening to the Word of God. Every Sunday when the Word of God, the Holy Spirit is doing different things in your life which maybe no one else knows about but you definitely do. If you notice the passage of Scripture in Hebrews 13:21, it says:

[He is] working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.

We’re living before God, and that is a transforming truth to get up every day to know that every thing I think and endeavor to do, I do it before God well. This is where the sincerity of heart comes in. I already know what the God in whom I serve has done on my behalf so I’m not going to try and pull the wool over His eyes. That’s why John says that those who say they don’t sin actually deceive themselves. The greatest deception is self-deception. I’m more convinced of that than ever in ministry.

So you get rid of the jealousy and strife in Corinthians and then you can move on. God does not bypass our intelligent and moral natures. In His Word He gives us a plain, well-accredited revelation of His mind. In other words, this is what He wants you to do and not do. God is pretty clear in Scripture, and actually much of it as prescriptive. God tells us what is on His mind and what pleases Him. By the necessary influence of the Holy Spirit upon us, He leads us to understand it and then to believe the revelation that we hear and grasp so that the revealed mind of God becomes your mind and your will. It’s not apart from prayer and the Word, so if you keep yourself apart from those things then it will never happen.

If you look in Hebrews 13:21 again, we know that His working in us is necessary to enable us to will and do. It’s not just the understanding but the doing of it too, and in His presence. Worship is learning how to please God. We don’t just worship when we sing songs on Sunday morning, but also on Mondays too. We worship while driving in our cars and when go to the supermarket. We worship everywhere we go because we are God’s representatives on earth to others. We are the vessel God wants to bring to others a character that they don’t see in other people because we know Christ and He is transforming us. You are not who you used to be! God’s Word transforms us so that we develop deep, Biblical convictions so that our consciences will not allow us to live against our convictions.

So we desire in the end to do what is right and to live in a pleasing manner before the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer is for sanctification, change, power, the battle against the devil, and more. In fact if you care to look at verse 21, you will see this at the end of the verse:

…through Jesus Christ…

It only can be done through Him. You can only approach God with favor through Jesus Christ. Not only that, the aim of prayer and transformation is to bring glory to God. The end of all life and prayer is doxology, giving glory to God. When prayer is set aside, God is outlawed. When prayer becomes an unfamiliar exercise among His people, then God Himself becomes a stranger to those people. But when prayer is a familiar exercise among God’s people then it ends in giving Him glory!

So we ought to set aside this year serious discipline and consistent time of prayer because it is for putting you in order and for mending you. It is for conforming you to the mind of God’s will and for fruit bearing, it’s all those things. If we don’t pray, then we are left to our fleshly decision on things and we don’t have transformation.

So we bring glory to God. Doxology really should be spoken more. We can praise God with our lips, but we should also do it with our lives. Doxology means honoring God with the conduct of our lives and doing what is pleasing in His sight and bringing glory to the One in whom it is due. Let Thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven, that is the prayer of the saints. That means that when we pray to be changed, then you have to actually look for God to change you because it is His will. I’m praying God’s will when I’m asking God to change me or to sanctify our people. Don’t let us get stuck in a rut, God! I pray that our lives would glorify and exalt Christ.

So using three points from one person that I have respect for and has written on prayer, he says this. “Make it a point every day to pray. Don’t leave it to chance. Pick a time, pick a place, and show up. Good intentions don’t work when it comes to prayer.” That seems simple to do, right? Well it sounds simple, but it may not be so.

But I tell you that if God calls you to be there, then you should make every effort to go. Prayer is not the same kind of duty that could be interpreted as legalism. Here is God’s people disciplining themselves for godliness. They set aside time not only for prayer but they greatly desire it so as to show up for it even though at the same time they are struggling with the flesh. When we come to prayer, we are struggling with our schedules and with what the world thinks, and what our families are doing. Sometimes you may go earnestly into your prayer time and then five minutes into it, you’re thinking of all the things you have to do that day. So you get sidetracked because the devil doesn’t want you to pray.

That’s why a second thing this guy suggests is this: combine your prayer time with reading your Bible. This is so that your mind doesn’t wander so quickly. If you’re reading Scripture, you’re getting something about God’s character and plans, something about sin and how people respond to situations, and you begin to have your mind moved to a place where you are thinking Biblically if you were not reading the Bible.

A third thing he suggests is that you ought to pray in this way. You start with yourself by examining your heart. You pray for your own sanctification and what you are struggling with. Pray for where you fall short spiritually, or just to keep reading and praying. Then, move on to your family and pray for their sanctification and other issues. Next, move to your church and prayers for your elders and deacons. This is what God is doing in all our lives! Then we move out globally to what God is doing in missions, and where we can do evangelism. We need to pray for those of other religions and nations because others are not praying to the same God, Jesus Christ. If they are not praying to Him they are praying to a false god who they are calling their creator. Lastly if you have time, pray for the rest of the world.

Prayer is so necessary, like breathing. You don’t have to breathe but you won’t be around for long without it. This is not a give or take thing. This is essential to your spiritual growth and life! To your family and our church and the evangelism of our community! I think what I’m going to do after we finish with Hebrews is Ephesians. But before I do that, I’m going to preach on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew. We all need it. We can no longer put up with mediocrity in our spiritual lives. Ministry and living the Christian life is too difficult without God’s power. That means we are going to have change some things.

Let’s look at how he ends this section:

To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank You, for the conviction of the Word of God. Lord, now we need Your help. We already know Your will to pray. We already know that it pleasing to You when we pray. But we also know that it is what changes us. It’s what transforms us to Your will and moves us to do it. So Lord, this next coming year in 2012, I pray that everyone of us today would walk away with a desire to want to implement the challenge before us. Not only would our minds be regularly challenged by Your Word, and that we would not just talk about prayer, but that we would actually do it and wanting to corporately pray with each other. I pray, Lord, that we would be faithful this year in our spiritual goals to spend every day with You in prayer. I pray that You would enable us to do it and overcome the battles and the difficulties. I pray that nothing in the world would keep us from it and we would discipline ourselves. We know You will give us help to do this. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You are the God of Peace, and that those serious matters are taken care of by You already. Now let us do what is pleasing to You. I thank You for this and what You will do in Christ’s Name, Amen.