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3-minute Sermon
 
Official Service Sermon > Official Service
Official Service
Title
   Prayer of Spirit - Prayer Devotee Devotional Service    
Speaker
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
Bible
   1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
Date
   2008-06-08



Passage

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has let us have this 2008 Prayer Devotee's Devotional service. I also give thanks to the devotees who have earnestly prepared for this service with all your hearts and minds.

Dear devotees, do you remember last year's message for this devotional service?

With the passage about the 300 warriors of Gideon, I delivered a message under the title, 'Warriors'.

Many people said they were devoting themselves to God, but not all of them were chosen as God's warriors. God selected only those who were qualified in His sight.
Likewise, I told you that you also had to purify yourselves and become prayer warriors that God could use.

And several months after that, what happened towards the end of the year?

In the process of re-organizing the church in preparation to go into the Canaan Sanctuary, you prayer devotees also had many changes. Some of you have gone through painful and heartbreaking processes too.

Yes, you had been endeavoring in your duties, but this was a time for you to realize what kind of person you really were in the sight of God, and how you had to fulfill your duty from that time on.

But God doesn't want any of you to be disheartened.

He deems each of you prayer devotees precious, for you have been praying day and night on bended knees.

He wants to guide each of you into New Jerusalem, for you have been devoting yourself so much.

He earnestly wants to pay back all your prayers with glorious rewards.

That is why God is giving you a signpost once again with the message titled 'Prayer of Spirit' in this devotional service.

Your prayer has to be spiritual prayer that can really strengthen the kingdom of God.

It has to have a pleasing aroma to God, and it must be able to destroy the camp of the enemy devil.

I hope you will keep this message in your heart and also reach the level of prayer with which God is pleased.

I pray in the name of the Lord that when you later meet the Lord, you will be praised by Him saying, "Well done!"

Body

Dear devotees, The true prayer of spirit is first of all, a prayer of joy. Here the term 'joy' is not the kind of joy that you have when there is something joyful and you lose it when there is something bad. Also, it is not just to smile on the outside without having true joy inside.

As today's passage says it is to be always joyful, and this joy never changes in any kind of situation; it just wells up from the depth of your heart.
Unbelievers rejoice when they have something good to rejoice about, but they lose the joy so easily.

When things do not go as they want, or when they encounter difficulties, they soon lose strength and complain.

But believers with true faith are different. It's because they have the grace of the Lord who saved them, and the love of God who has given them the kingdom of heaven.

Also, because they have the grace of God in having given them a precious church and shepherd, their joy does not disappear in any kind of situation.

Even when they are faced with difficulties and have a concern for the moment their joy wells up again from the depth of the heart if they just think of the love of the Father.

For your prayer to be answered quickly and to strengthen the church and shepherd truly, you have to offer prayers of faith.

One of the evidences that you have faith is joy. If you truly believe in the Lord and God, this joy should never disappear.

Of course, sometimes you have spiritual mourning.
You mourn for the dying souls, and you also mourn in repentance to cast off sins and untruths.

But the important thing is whether that mourning is really appropriate in the sight of God.

If you mourn spiritually, grace comes upon through that mourning, and you have greater joy than before. You receive new strength to cast off sins and fulfill your duties.

But if you mourn in a fleshly way, you lose heart and become tired. You lose strength even more with your fleshly thoughts.

For example, you may think, "I am a prayer devotee, and I cannot receive an answer to this kind of simple problem. I have been praying for a long time as a prayer devotee, and I have not cultivated goodness in me, and I haven't reached spirit yet. I don't even receive blessings."

You might become discouraged thinking, "That person is good, so she is recognized and loved, but I am not even close to spirit. I also tried, but I am not even recognized and I cannot really become joy to the Father. My shepherd won't even remember me." All these thoughts are fleshly thoughts.

In a sense, it sounds like you are repenting. But in fact, it is confession without faith, and you are just lamenting about your situation.
In a corner of your heart you have disappointment towards God or other people.

If you have this kind of thought and mindset, you will lose joy, and you will become tired more and more. Even though you pray, the luster on your face will disappear, and you may even want to quit.

Romans 8:6 says, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." We should always have thought of spirit and thought of hope.

You should have hopeful thinking like, "I am not perfect yet, but if I change a little more and accumulate prayer of my heart more, these problems will also be solved."

I hope all you prayer devotees will always come before God the Father with joy.

That way, I hope God will also take delight in hearing your prayers.

Dear devotees,
Secondly, a prayer of spirit is a prayer of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is also similar to joy.

Unbelievers are thankful when they have something that has been a benefit to them, and they are not thankful in the opposite case. But if you are sure of the grace of salvation, then you will be full of thanks just for that.

You will think, "How did God save a person like me, and furthermore how did He make me a worker in this precious church? How did God give me the precious duty as a prayer devotee and let me pray in place of my shepherd?"

"How thankful it is that I know God and I can kneel down before Him! How thankful it is that I can open my mouth to honor God with my voice and pray!" Your thanks will not cease.

Romans 5:4 says, "...and perseverance [produces] proven character; and proven character, hope..." As said, even in any kind of difficulty, those who rely on God will give thanks in hope.

On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with the grace of God but look at the world, you cannot be thankful. When you see those who live with great wealth, you will envy them and get disappointed.

Sometimes, you lose your thanks because you are not loved as much as others in the Lord, or because you are sad that you have not yet accomplished spirit.

Of course, your heart aches when you discover your evil and shortcomings, but you should not remain in that situation without strength. You have to ask for God's strength even more earnestly.

You have to pray in a manner like this saying, "Thank You, God, for letting me realize myself.
Thank you that You believe in me and look at me with faith that I will change, even though I am like this now. I cannot do it with my own strength, but I will surely change with the power of God the Father and the help of the Holy Spirit, so Father, please give me strength."

Please remember when you first received the Holy Spirit, and when you were running the race of faith and you were so full of the joy of the first love. If now that joy and thanks have cooled down, you should find the reason within yourself.

In your daily lives, you go through many things and meet with many people.
In these occasions, even if you say you are longing for spirit, if you cannot keep your heart, what will happen?

You get irritated when things become difficult. If something is making you angry, you speak words that hurt others' feelings. If you face something that you don't like, you may misunderstand and judge others.

If you accumulate flesh little by little then your fullness of Spirit will cool down little by little, and joy and thanks will leave you too.

Even if you want to think of the grace of salvation and love of God, you become insensitive.

However, if you try your best in each moment of your life to cultivate sanctification and goodness, joy and thanks will never leave you. This is the kind of person who really longs for spirit. I hope you will always have overflowing thanks and joy in you.

That way, I hope that your prayer will become the prayer of faith and prayer with a beautiful aroma that can please God.

Dear devotees,
Thirdly, the true prayer of spirit is continuous prayer.

How many of you prayer devotees can boldly say that you never cease to pray?

Even if you attend the prayer meetings everyday, God should acknowledge that He has received the aroma of your prayers.

For this, as explained already, you have to pray with joy and thanks. You should not pray having so many worries of this world.

You should also lay down the disappointments about not having accomplished spirit and not being recognized, and sadness about not being able to receive blessings. Obviously you should not hold any anger, hatred, grudges, or any kind of evil feelings when you pray.

Even if you pray with tears for four or five hours, if you have these things on your mind, you cannot have happiness.

Also, it is not the kind of aroma that God can accept, so it cannot be a reward for you either.

It means you did not faithfully work as a prayer devotee, but you just passed time during your time spent there.

Dear devotees, If you pray with joy and thanks, and that aroma of prayer is accepted by God, you will be inspired by the Holy Spirit in prayer.

So, even when you have problems, you will see the way to solve them, realize deep things in the inspiration of the Spirit, and also pray for the things that you couldn't think of before.

But if you have many worries or concerns of this world, or pray while having disappointment and sadness on your mind, then you cannot receive strength to pray fervently. Furthermore, if you have evilness in heart while praying, how can you pray in spirit?

For example, suppose you listened to the advice from somebody.

You know very well that if you do receive any advice, you should take it as a chance to realize yourself and give thanks and rejoice.

But when you actually hear some advice, your heart is agitated. "She is no better than me, but she acts like she is leading me in spirit. She has a log in her eye and she is telling me to take the speck out of my eye." Thinking this way, your heart is really discomforted.

When you pray having this kind of heart, how can that aroma of prayer be offered to God?

God has continuously advised the prayer devotees to pray with the aroma of goodness.

But some people think, "I have evil in me, so how can I pray only with goodness? I can do that only when my heart is good."

In this case, do you think that you have to wait until you completely cast off all evil to have goodness? No!

Even though you have not cast off all evil yet, you at least know the truth.

You should try to change your thoughts into good thoughts each and every moment to the extent that you know goodness as knowledge. Then you should try to pray in goodness.

When God sees your effort, He will give you more strength in prayer.

So, let me give you an example of prayer for better understanding. A deaconess had a quarrel with her husband and came to church for the prayer time.

In this situation, each one's prayer will be different. One may feel very sorry before God, and the person cannot even repent and just loses strength. Even if she prays, she just speaks in meaningless repetitions.
She blames herself so much thinking, "I am a prayer devotee, and I am this evil. What should I do?" She cannot concentrate on the prayer.

Another person may lament about her situations which is not really repentance. Or she just talks about what she hates about her husband.

She may say, "God, will You look at all the hard times my husband gave to me? I just could not serve my husband because of this and because of that. Other husbands attend church together with their wives and also help their wives fulfill their duties at church.
But, he is only giving me a hard time. Even today he gave me this hard time, and what should I do about my husband?"

This person is praying with tears, but can this aroma of prayer be accepted by God? If you pray with this kind of heart, can we say you are fulfilling the duty of a prayer devotee and that you are praying for God's kingdom?

When you pray for the kingdom of God, you should not have any personal idle thoughts or burdens. You have to be filled with the fullness of Spirit and pray in heart.

To solve your personal problems, first of all, you should recognize the fact that all the causes lie with yourself.

If you long for goodness, you should at least pray something like this: "God, I had a quarrel with my husband because I didn't understand from his viewpoint, and I didn't really serve him.

I always hear, 'love your enemies', and my shepherd has shown the example. But I had another quarrel, and I am so sorry about it.
"Father God, please forgive me and give me the strength to act in goodness. Give me good wisdom and give me power so that I can know how I should act in the same kind of situation next time."

You should pray looking back on yourself this way. Then, you will also pray for your husband in goodness.

"Father God, my husband doesn't have faith and doesn't know the truth, so it is natural he acted that way. I say I have faith and I can overcome this by praying before You, Father. But how painful it must be for my husband!

"Let him also have faith and reach good heavenly dwelling place. Have mercy on him." In this way you should pray for your husband with tears.

When you pray this way, you will be able to begin the prayer to find your evil by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Also, you can pray fervently with strength from above to cast off the untruth that you have discovered.

Then, you can pray in thanks like the following: "Thank You Father for Your love, holding my hands all the time and not forsaking me.

I give thanks for the love of the Lord who took the cross for a person like me. Father, You love a person like me and my shepherd is guiding me, and I am thankful from the depths of my heart."

You can give thanks like this with tears. If you offer this kind of inspirational prayer, your heart will be filled with the deep love of the Father.

To the extent that love comes into your heart you will receive strength. Then, you will be able to make up your mind to cast off evil and actually cast off evil.
I already told you that before I met God, when I was sick, I had a lot of hatred against those who hurt my feelings.

It was so painful to be sick, and there were some people who said very harsh things to me that broke my heart for many years. It was so spiteful that I couldn't forgive them for a long time.

But when I realized the love of the Lord, I was able to forgive them completely. I could even understand their point of view. I was able to pray for them so that they could also experience the love of the Lord that I had received.

If you pray with thanks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you will remember the messages you heard in heart, and you will pray to change yourself.

You will fervently pray something like this: "Father God, how would the Lord have acted? How would the shepherd have acted? My shepherd acted in this way, and I want to do the same next time.

I want to humble myself for others with patience, endurance, and peace."

If your heart is refreshed through this kind of prayer, now you can fulfill your duty as a prayer devotee. You will be able to pray for the kingdom of God with happy and thankful heart.

"Thank You Father for giving us such precious word, and for giving me an example of my shepherd who has accomplished that word."

"Let the kingdom of God be enlarged through this shepherd, and let all Your providence be fulfilled completely." Likewise, you will pray fervently for the kingdom of God.

When you pray with this kind of heart, your prayer for God's kingdom will be stored as the beautiful aroma of prayer.

At the same time, your heart will also change into good heart day by day.

This way, I hope you will continuously accumulate the aroma of prayer of goodness that is acceptable to God.

Conclusion

Dear devotees, and members, it is the will of God for us to rejoice always, give thanks in everything, and pray without ceasing.

We have heard it so many times, but still, the value of this Word is so great.

If we just keep this one part of the Word, it means we are doing the will of God, and we will receive great blessings. Furthermore, if you prayer devotees, who pray more than other people, obey this will of God, how much greater will the power be that you receive?

There won't be any problems that cannot be solved in your life.

Also, you will have authority and power over your words and clear inspiration even to match those of pastors, and you will become spiritual warriors.

There should be many spiritual warriors like this among the prayer devotees.

I urge you to keep this message in your mind and truly dwell in the will of God, so that you will always offer the aroma of prayer that is appropriate in God's sight.

I hope your prayer will strengthen the church and the shepherd and become the driving force to accomplish God's kingdom.

I pray in the name of the Lord that when you reach heavenly kingdom, each of your prayers will become beautiful rewards and you will enjoy praise and honor and glory.

Amen

 
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