By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
Unraveling the mystery of prayer is a formidable task. Even one who has been a believer for many years finds some elements of prayer shrouded in mystery. This is due in part to the fact that it involves the communion and communication of finite man with the infinite God.
Rev. Joseph Hammond, (1839-1912), recalls, “Mysterious was the one word written opposite this psalm in the pocket Bible of a late devout and popular writer. It represents the utter perplexity with which it is very generally regarded.”
Psalm 109 features the puzzling element of imprecatory prayer. Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 137, 139, and 143 are examples of imprecatory psalms. Bible scholars consider Psalm 109 the most relevant example and there are at least three elements of Psalm 109 to consider by way of introduction. Continue reading
WHEREAS, God desires for every person to be saved and has made salvation available for any person who hears the Gospel (John 3:16; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2); and
WHEREAS, A free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel is both possible and necessary in order for anyone to be born again (John 3:1-16; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13); and
WHEREAS, Prayer is God’s gracious means through which any person can communicate with Him and is everywhere in Scripture commanded and commended for every matter and every person (2 Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 7:7-11; Mark 11:17; Philippians 4:6); and
WHEREAS, Praying to God to express repentance for sins, to acknowledge Christ as Lord, and to ask for forgiveness and salvation is modeled in the Bible (Acts 2:37-38; Romans 10:9-10); and
WHEREAS, While there is no one uniform wording found in Scripture or in the churches for a “Sinner’s Prayer,” the prayer of repentance and faith, acknowledging salvation through Christ alone and expressing complete surrender to His Lordship, is the biblical means by which any person can turn from sin and self, place his faith in Christ, and find forgiveness and eternal life (Luke 18:9-14, 23:39-43); and
WHEREAS, It is biblically appropriate to help a sinner in calling on the Lord for salvation and to speak of Christ’s response to such a prayer as “entering a sinner’s heart and life” (John 14:23; Acts 2:37-40; 16:29-30; Romans 10:11-17; Ephesians 3:17); and
WHEREAS, A “Sinner’s Prayer” is not an incantation that results in salvation merely by its recitation and should never be manipulatively employed or utilized apart from a clear articulation of the Gospel (Matthew 6:7, 15:7-9; 28:18-20); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, LA, June 19-20, 2012, commend the use of a “Sinner’s Prayer” as a biblically sound and spiritually significant component of the evangelistic task of the church; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage all Christians to enthusiastically and intentionally proclaim the Gospel to sinners everywhere, being prepared to give them the reason for the hope we have in Christ (I Peter 3:15), and being prepared to lead them to confess faith in Christ (Romans 10:9), including praying to receive Him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12).
Dr. Bailey has been the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, since 1989. He formerly served as Professor of Old Testament at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 1978 to 1995. He has authored five books: Step by Step through the Old Testament; Biblical Hebrew Grammar; Joshua: Courage for the Future; As You Go: Biblical Foundation for Evangelism; and (with Kenneth Barker) Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, and Zephaniah in the New American Commentary. He is the current President of the Louisiana Baptist Convention
God wants to grow us in our faith. This is the process of sanctification. He sanctifies us, and we work with Him in the process. When you read and study the Bible, pray, and serve, you are working with God in His work of sanctification in our lives.
Praying Scripture is a wonderful part of our growth in Christ.
Here’s why you should do so.
Praying Scripture means that you are praying in the will of God. Because we are praying according to His Word, we can be assured that we are praying in His Will.
Praying Scripture means that we are pleasing God. He gives us His Word. Our praying Scripture shows that we want to please Him (Ephesians 5:10).
Praying Scripture means that we can adequately praise Him. I often feel inadequate to praise God. When I pray the great words of praise to Him, my inadequacy is removed. I particularly pray Psalm 8:1: “O Lord, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” I also often pray Psalm 103:1-2: “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul and forget not his benefits.”
Finally, praying Scripture means that you will access the power of God in your life. Instead of simply getting what you can do, praying Scripture means that you also receive what God can do to conform you to His image.
My Scripture prayer at this time is Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Praying that verse makes me conscious of what God wants me to be, and through prayer I receive the power of God to do what I cannot do.
Here’s a way to get started.
Simply select a passage of Scripture to pray. I suggest Philippians 2:5: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” who humbled himself and became obedient. You might pick Ephesians 4:32 as well.
Also, spend a few minutes with God to ask Him, “What do you want to change in my life?” Then, select a passage of Scripture to deal with the issue. You may have to read the verse to God first, but soon you will be able to recite it–another wonderful advantage of this new discipline.
What Scripture passage are you planning to pray through?
This blog article was originally posted on WaylonBailey.com and is being reposted by permission of the author.