Saturday, May 14, 2011

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PRAYING AND SALVATION - THE BIBLICAL VIEW

"The Prayer and Salvation"

Building on our understanding that prayer is effective for change in our lives, it's important to see how prayer relates to salvation. Consider the three main points:

  • Praying that Men be Saved
  • Praying for One's Salvation
  • Praying and Staying Saved
A religious man told the story that he learned only late in his life that when he was a boy, his mother had made a pact with three neighbor women to pray together every day for their children to be saved. These mothers gathered together ever day to pray for their children's salvation.

Praying FOR Souls to be Saved - Consider a number of verses.

"He who seeks to teach God's Word without prayer is trying to do God's work without God's help." - The Bible Teacher, H. Leo Boles
Pray for your enemies.

44 But I say to you, love your ________ and pray for those who ________ you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mt. 5:44,45)

A person who prays for lost, misled, and even evil men is more like God - God cares for all souls. My sermon on full dimensional prayers reminded us of this.

1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all _____,” (1 Tim 2:1).

They aren't Christian and they may not like us, but we must pray for them. The more we pray for the Lost, the more pronounced does our care for them become. Notice that Paul doesn’t say just to offer prayers, he says entreaties, petitions, and thanks too.

Christians are told to pray only for the good, “deserving”, righteous people.

Pray for all even the enemies of the cross. Jesus’ own prayer taught us this:  “34 But Jesus was saying, 'Father, ________them; for they do not know what they are doing.' And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.” - Lk. 23:34. 

Jesus cared about the souls of those who crucified Him.

Jesus cared that His disciples get involved in soul-winning. We pray for Christians to get involved.

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore ________the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” - Mt. 9:37,38

What is to be harvested? Souls. If we don’t pray for souls, we don’t care about souls. Simple as that.
Jesus gives us direction here to be praying about soul winning.

Prayer is powerful and does more than we can do ourselves. A mother allowed her children to go to a party where there might be things unchristian. She drew them to her before they left the home and said for them to go, but to know that she would be praying for them the entire they were gone. She prayed all night and they were so moved that they all repented and sought the Lord.

Do you care about your soul? Do you pray for the souls of others? Do you pray for the children to know the Lord?

Pray for doors of opportunity to open.

2 _______yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 3 ________at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; ” (Col. 4:2,3).

God opens doors to reach the lost if we pray.

Praying is Related to being Saved,

There is a false teaching that misleads many, which says you can't do anything to effect your salvation EXCEPT saying a prayer. From About.com:
“If you believe that the Bible offers truth about the way to salvation, but you have not made the decision yet to become a Christian, it's as simple as praying this prayer. You can pray by yourself, using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God, and He will save you. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation that you can pray: Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen”
What’s the point of limiting the response to prayer as this does? Such a prayer leaves out requirements from God. Confession of Christ, Repentance from sin, being Baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (more on this soon).

We reject the man-made doctrine that says to be saved you need only to utter a prayer. That’s as incomplete as a father telling his son that to drive a car all you have to do it get in it.

The “Sinner’s Prayer” doctrine is a tease, but wholly misrepresenting what God is looking for and requiring.

Men must seek God through His Word, read it, accept it, and DO IT to be saved

“Faith comes from _______, hearing by the _____of Christ.” - Rom 10:17

Paul said to Timothy, “and that from childhood you have known the _______ _______which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” - 2 Tim 3:15

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and _____on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.“ - Mt. 7:24

It’s obvious that a prayer alone isn’t sufficient at all. THAT SAID....

God wants to hear from the Lost.

Isa 55:6 says, “_______ the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” - Is. 55:6

This Scripture is appropriate for every man in the world. Every lost soul should hear the words of Isaiah, as the Ethiopian did in Acts 8.

Lk 18:13 “God be __________to me, a sinner.”

Sinful men cannot approach God without the humble admission to Him that they are sinful and need Him. Jesus' parable shows that attitude in prayer leads to one man standing before God Justified and one not.

Psalms 145:18 "The LORD is near to all who ______on him, to all who call on him in _______.

Ps 86:5 “For you, Lord, are good and ready to ________, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who ______upon You.”

The Psalmist wrote, "I shall give thanks to you, for you have __________me, and you have become my salvation" (Ps. 118:21).

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked but he ________the prayer of the righteous.

Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive....for ________who asks, receives.” - Mt. 7:7,8

Cornelius was heard for his prayers. “Your ________and ______have ascended as a memorial before God.” (Acts 10:4)

The prayer didn't save Cornelius, the sinner, but it got God’s attention and led to his being saved. Peter had to come and,  “... speak ______to you by which you will be _______,” (Acts 11:14)

Paul was fasting and praying for three days prior to his salvation, and Jesus said to Ananias to go to Him: “11 And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is _________, ” (Acts 9)

Baptism with Repenting and Confessing, is connected to a prayer for salvation

“________ now ______you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but AN APPEAL TO GOD FOR A CLEAN CONSCIENCE -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pt. 3:21).

In baptism, you are asking God for salvation. Yes or No.

And everyone that ________on the name of the Lord shall be saved”(Acts 2:21)

But a person must read 17 verses later, vs 37,38 to see HOW to “call on the Lord” for salvation

“Repent and let each of ye be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:21,38)

When Paul was blind, fasting, and praying, he wasn't yet saved. The words of Ananias shows that the prayerful person at Baptism is the one who receives the cleansing of his soul.
16 ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be ________, and ______away your sins, ________on His name.’” (Acts 22:16

If you tell someone to pray for salvation but don’t tell them to repent and be immersed in baptism, you have just misled someone and have made yourself a false teacher. True or False?

Prayer is integral to Staying Saved, Acts 8

A weak Christian takes God for granted. Too busy, unwilling, distracted, and poor communication. The path back to the world is away from God. When Christians stop praying, they hurt their relationship with God.
  • But God will hear if you come with sincerity.
  • Some don’t pray because they are lazy.
  • Some don’t pray because they really don’t believe.
  • Some don’t pray because they are disobedient. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after they sinned. Some aren’t praying because that would be hypocrisy.
  • Repent and pray. Trust and pray. Let go and pray.
  • Be devoted to prayer, Acts 2:42; Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2
  • Paul said to “pray without ceasing”, (1 Thess 5:17)
Christians should be devoted to prayer.

Acts 2:42 “41 So then, those who had received his word were _______; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ ______and to ________, to the breaking of ______and to ________.”

As a believer in God, are you devoted as you should be? Yes or No

To the Thessalonians Paul said, “as we night and day keep _________most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your ________?” (1 Thess 3:10)

It’s daily: Jesus taught to say, “_____ ____this day our daily bread” (see Mt. 6:11).

That implies daily prayer too.

Praying is normal to the Christian life of faith.

David: “I acknowledged my _____to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my __________to the Lord’; And you forgave the guilt of my _____. Therefore, let everyone who is godly _____to You in a time when You may be found, surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.” (Ps 32:5,6)

David’s hearkens back to the time when at a time when it was too late to pray to God, when the unrepentant masses were drowning in the flood.

Isaiah 55:6 "_______the LORD while he may be found; ______on him while he is near."

When Simon was called out for his sinful attitude regarding the gift that only the Apostles had, he was told by Peter,

“Therefore ________of this wickedness of yours, and _____the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.” (Acts 8:22)

When God was angry with His disobedient people, He said if, “14....My people who are called by My name humble themselves and _____and ______My face and _____from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14)

Can’t stay spiritually strong and protected from Satan without devotion to prayer. Prayer is warfare, Eph 6

10 Finally, be _______in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to _______ _____ against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our _______is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.....18 With all ________and _______at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,”  - Eph. 6:10-12,18

You can put all of the armor on but if you walk into battle without talking to God, it's a serious error.

Include God in all of your important decisions. The Scriptures say, "Consider the Lord in all of your ways". 
Don’t marry without prayer, don’t purchase, don’t confront, don’t teach, don’t move, don’t enter contracts, don’t start your day, don't end your day, don't take a job without prayer.

Pray while you can, before it’s too late.

The Scriptures show that Christians are to pray for the Lost to be saved. The Scriptures show that only when the Lost seek God in prayer from their hearts does He hear them. The Scriptures show that staying saved requires maintaining close communication with God through prayer.

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