TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | How to Increase Your Prayer Time Effectively

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey, 3trees. Welcome to Wednesday night online Bible study. We try to meet here every Wednesday night 6:30pm, Central; 7:30pm, Eastern; Facebook; YouTube; or 3trees.online.church. And so tonight we're going to be looking at 2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse number 14, if you want to grab the Bible, follow along. I'll be reading from the New King James Version. Even if you're using a smartphone or a device of some sort, if you want to pick that version, it would help you to follow along probably a little more clearly. I also want to mention that towards the end of tonight's Bible study, we're going to be participating in communion together. So, if you have the elements for communion, they're great. If you need to improvise, I believe the Lord would understand that if you want to grab maybe a cup of juice and a cracker. We're going to have a time where we honor his body and we honor his blood. So again, that'll be towards the end of tonight's Bible study. And if you need to pause, that's fine. Go gather those elements, and you could be ready at the end, for us to participate in honoring the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, our church at the beginning of every year, we want to put some emphasis on just what should be priorities in our life all the time. Things like prayer, Bible study, honoring the Lord through fasting, seeking more of His presence in our lives. And so as we come into the first year, we really felt like that, if we will be intentional about things like prayer and fasting, we can create a rhythm in our life, a discipline in our life, to where that we carry those things throughout the rest of the year, all 12 months, every day that we possibly can really honoring God with prayer. And so I think that in Scripture, there is a lot of evidence that points to the need for extended prayer times in our lives as individual disciples. I mean, especially when there's trouble on the horizon. And there's a lot of trouble in our nation, there's a lot of trouble in our culture, man, there's a lot of trouble all over the world. There may even be trouble in your personal life that speaks to you more individually things that you're going through. And man, what a great time to create those places. Like Matthew chapter six is to go into a private place, to shut the door in private, and to pray in secret, believing that the Lord is going to reward you openly. And Jesus, when he was getting ready to face the trouble of the cross, he calls his disciples, three of them specifically, and says, hey, go pray with me for a while. He finds him asleep. And he looks at them, and he says, could you not tarry at least one hour? You go into the book of Acts and the early church, they were persecuted, they were going through trials, they were going through tribulations, and it talks about the hour of prayer. Now that can mean a lot of different things. But there's some that believe it actually means they had an hour set aside every day to pray. You know, an hour, may be something that seems incredibly intimidating to you. Well, at least start with five minutes, start with 15 minutes, start at a place where you can at least build in that rhythm of disciplined prayer on a daily basis. And when you think about the concept of an hour of prayer, you know, I do believe it helps to have a path or some type of a track that you can kind of run on as you're praying. So let me explain that. If you're thinking about a runner, and they run track. They go out and they make laps around the track, and that's how they can build their endurance and run the race. Well, I believe that there are different tracks that God has provided us with in the Bible that can increase our prayer times and make them even more effective. For instance, I believe that the Lord's Prayer is designed by Jesus to be an outline that's like a track, a path, that we can run on as we're going into extended prayer. I think the tabernacle of Moses in the Old Testament is something that you bring into the New Testament, you pass it through the life and ministry of Jesus, it can become a track. Well, tonight, I want to show you another track. And this is one that was sewed into my life by a mentor pastor Larry Stockstill, he shared this with a number of pastors at a gathering. And man it just really spoke to me, and I believe it's going to be a blessing to you tonight. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, 2 Corinthians chapter number 13. Look with me at verse number 14. It says this, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all, amen.” Now, it seems like that Paul is actually including a written prayer in this letter to the Corinthian church. The Lord the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all, amen. He wants them to have the grace of the Lord, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit with them, and he's praying, let it be. So, I want to talk about how when you go into a private prayer time, you can actually have these moments with the Lord, where that you are praying specifically for those three things; the love of God, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, let's talk first about the love of God. And the way I want you to visualize this in your mind tonight, is the Bible says that there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Heavenly Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Notice in this prayer by Paul, that all three are mentioned that there's the love of God, I do believe his referencing in the manifestation of the Heavenly Father there; and then the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that's the son; and then communion with the Holy Spirit. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Think about how that if you went into a time of prayer, that you actually could welcome the love of the Heavenly Father into your life. You know, the Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. I mean, that's a love that we can't even start to wrap our minds around. I just was with my son a moment ago, and even as I walked away from him, and I was just thinking about how much I love that boy. My daughter, she was there as well, walking away thinking how much I love my daughter. Man, we love our kids. And if you have kids, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're a student, or maybe you don't have kids yet, you're going to come to a moment, one day, where you come to realize this is what the love of a parent truly is. And to think that God loves you in that way, but many, many times over. You know, the love of the Heavenly Father is actually referenced in the Old Testament as well. And when the love of the Father, the love of God, was referenced in the Old Testament, it typically came from the word chesed. So almost like you would say blessed, it’s chesed; blessed, chesed. And it means love in the Hebrew tongue. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, here's some things that sticks out about it. That the most important phrase in the Old Testament prayer and worship was, His love endures forever. That word love is chesed, his chesed endures forever. So when you think about chesed, the Hebrew word for the love of God, it's a covenant love. And it's a love that a superior gives to an inferior. So, the love of a superior for an inferior. That we know man, in comparison to God, we are inferior, but he has a chesed, a covenant love for us, and it's scattered. That word in Hebrew tone is scattered all throughout the book of Psalms. And many times, it's coupled with another Hebrew word, which is emeth, and that means faithfulness. And so many times when you're reading through the Psalms, you'll see repetitively that in the Hebrew, if you could read Hebrew, chesed and emeth, that it's his love, and His love is full of faithfulness. That, that love just continues to pursue after us. One of the places that you see those two also show up as an Exodus chapter 34, verse number six, it says that “The Lord passed before Moses and proclaimed, the LORD, the LORD, a god, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast, chesed, and faithfulness emeth. So the steadfast love and the faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for 1000s, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty visiting the iniquity of the Father on the children and the children's children, and to the third and fourth generation, and Moses, in this moment, quickly bowed his head towards the earth and worship God because of this revelation that he had of the Father's love and the father's faithfulness.” And so what I would challenge you to do is when you go into a prayer time, maybe one of the paths that you can take is to focus initially on the love of the Heavenly Father and think about really what that love is meant to be. Maybe it's even a time of reading some of the songs from that incredible book of hymns that was composed by men like Moses, who had some of the songs and then many of them come from David, and just giving them over to the Lord. God, I receive the love of the Heavenly Father in my life. In the next portion of that prayer, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So, in the same way, that when you're in a prayer time, and you're going to say, okay, I'm going to focus in this prayer time on welcoming the love of the Heavenly Father, and walking that through different ways that God may speak to you through scripture that you could welcome the love of the Heavenly Father. Then think about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. So when you think about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father chose to send his love to the earth through Jesus. And so that's how that we have grace. More than grace is a thing, it is a person, because it came to us in the form of Jesus. John chapter one, verse 14 says that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God chose to bring his love to the earth by giving us Jesus. And so think about ways that you can welcome the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ into your life in a prayer. I found it's really helpful actually to just walk through the life of Jesus and welcome that same kind of grace into your life. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

For instance, Jesus had to humble himself to come to the earth. He left everything Heaven had to offer, and came to the earth through the womb of a virgin girl in the backside of a barn in Bethlehem, and ultimately hanging out in a place like Nazareth where they say, can anything good even come out of that place when they heard that that was Jesus hometown. So really, you could pray God, give me the grace to be humble, as you were humble in coming to the earth, and then living alive for 30 years, basically in absolute obscurity, and being submitted to his father and his mother. Like God, give me the grace to be humble where I need to be humble. Give me the grace to be obscure, when that's something that I need to embrace in my life for seasons. Give me the grace to submit to those that are in authority over me, even if you're a teenager, you're a student, you could pray like God give me the grace to submit to my parents in the same way that Jesus submitted to his parents. You know, we find that Jesus, when it's time for him to begin his ministry, that he chose to go and be publicly baptized. And there he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit, that you can have the grace to go public with your faith through baptism, that you can have the grace to experience the Holy Spirit coming up on your life as well. Then the Scripture tells us that Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. There he was tempted by the devil, basically, in every category of sin, and he overcame each one of those. You could pray, God give me the grace to overcome the temptation of the enemy, just like the Lord Jesus Christ exemplified for me. And then when he came out of that time of temptation, the Bible says he was literally full of the Holy Spirit that you could pray, God, give me the grace to be full of the Holy Spirit. I mean you can just keep walking through the life of Jesus. He healed all kinds of sicknesses. He delivered people from a demonic oppression. That you could pray, God give me the grace to be a part of facilitating healing and other people's lives. Maybe you're a medical professional, and that's something you could pray like God, give me the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to be a part of bringing healing to people's lives as a minister to them on a daily basis. Jesus had the grace to bow and wash the feet of his disciples and serve others, even though he had every right to be personally served. And even the man who was betraying him was in that room when he was washing feet that day. Maybe that's something needs to pray like God give me the grace to be able to serve other people, even those that would do me wrong, that I would be able to bless those that despitefully use me. You can just keep praying the grace of Jesus over your life in specific ways as you just walk through the life and the ministry of Jesus. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Think about Gethsemane, where he went out there to pray and to have time with the Heavenly Father, and there he's welcoming the love of the Heavenly Father in his life, but he's also submitting his life to the will of the Heavenly Father. And he ultimately takes up the cross. The Bible says this, if any person is going to follow Jesus, he has to take up his cross on a daily basis, and only then can he follow Jesus. So think about that like welcoming the grace of Jesus into your life that you would be submitted unto the Lord even unto death. What a prayer, what a concept. What's something that we could welcome, every one of us could welcome into our life that most of us couldn't overcome somebody making fun of us, somebody mocking us, somebody ridiculing us, much less somebody put a cross in front of us and say, are you still gonna follow Jesus? So welcome the grace of the Lord into your life. I think about Jesus being in front of the Sanhedrin, which was the 70 elders of Israel. They pulled him out of Gethsemani in the middle of the night. We're led to believe they blindfolded him probably. He's in here and they're just putting him through this mock trial. And they're making it sound like he's a blasphemer, and they're coming up with all these reasons why he should be killed. And Jesus stood there and did not open his mouth to defend himself because he knew that was not the will of the Heavenly Father for his life. I want you to think about that for a minute. Like, do you have the grace to not defend yourself? Do you have the grace to not say anything when you know that the Holy Spirit just wants you to be quiet for a season and just let the Lord take care of it on his own. All these different ways that we can pray the grace of Jesus in our lives. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So again, maybe you've just joined us or you've caught up a little bit late, 2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse number 14 is our anchor text for tonight. And what it is, it's a prayer that Paul prayed for the Corinthian church. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all, amen. He's praying a three-fold blessing on their life. And what we're learning from that is that when we want to have extended times of prayer, we can take a verse like 2 Corinthians 13:14, and then we can pray categorically over our life. And we can have extended sessions with the Lord in each one of those categories. That thinking about the love of the Heavenly Father, which we've already talked about. We're talking about right now, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is an awesome place where that you then can welcome the sacraments for communion, that you could do that on a daily basis. You don't have to have a preacher lead you through the Lord's Supper. All you have to do is to be a believer in Jesus Christ, and to set aside a time where he would be reverent before the Lord, and that you could hold the bread in one hand, you could hold the cup and the other, and you're thanking God for what His Grace has done in your life through the broken body of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that by his stripes, we were healed. It's on the body of Jesus, that the stripes were taken. So when you partake of the bread, it's a great time to believe God to help you overcome sickness in your life, or to use you to help other people overcome sickness in their lives. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The grace of Jesus to be made whole, that broken bread. If you have that bread with you right now, I would challenge you, as we ask the Lord for His grace to be in our life, just prepare to take of that bread. I'm going to ask you to eat of it now. Jesus lifted up the cup, he told his disciples, he said, when you do this, do it in remembrance of me. It represents my blood. If you were taken of communion just by yourself personally. You could have a moment where you're just so grateful for the blood of Jesus and the fact that you're set free from your sins, and you don't have shame. And man you could just spend some time just even out loud, just thanking the Lord, that you've been rescued from Hell, and you've been given Heaven as an eternal home. And that addiction can't hold, offense can't hold you, bitterness has to go. All those things that sin would bring into your life, the shame of the past, it's got to go because the Lord has literally washed it away into a sea of forgetfulness. It's a place where you can thank God for the grace to come into your life for the sin that's in your life. And you could spend some time God, I just welcome your grace, coming into my life in the place where I've struggled with anger, the place where I've struggled with offense, the place where I've struggled with lust and pray the grace of God over your life, as you partake of the cup.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Prayer is not complicated. Communion is not complicated. That there's so many places in Scripture that you can flip through, and you can find a prayer from John, or Luke, or Paul, or any other the New Testament writers. And go the Old Testament, you can find prayers of Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, and Elijah, Moses and Abraham, and you can use them to help you pray over your life. And you can sometimes take one line out of a Scripture, such as the love of God, the love of the Heavenly Father, be with you. And you can spend an extended period of times praying that over your own life. Or that next line, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Or even this third line that's in 2 Corinthians 13:14, that you would also have the communion of the Holy Spirit. Communion, it means common union, it means fellowship. I had a guy tell me one time fellowships, just two fellows in the same ship. Let me tell you something, you want to be in the ship with the Holy Spirit. You want the Holy Spirit in your life. I love to even think about, you know, the love of the Father; the grace of the Son, Jesus; the fellowship, or the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. That the Heavenly Father is God for us; Jesus, the son is God with us; the Holy Spirit is the Lord's way of showing us that he is in us. And when you start thinking about fellowship with the Holy Spirit, man there's a lot of Scripture that you can think about. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

One of the places that you can go is over to the book of Galatians, chapter number five, and as you move through the book of Galatians, chapter five, you see the fruit of the Spirit. And it's things like love, and peace, and meekness, and gentleness, and so forth. You can pray, there's nine of them. You can pray those fruits of the Spirit over your life and you would just pray, Lord, as I'm in communion with the Holy Spirit, as I'm in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. As this Holy Spirit works on the inside of me, I just pray Father, that would be a more loving person. That God, I would have a greater level of peace. That Lord, I would be more gentle as I interact with people, and that there would be a long suffering that's associated with my interactions with other people. You could pray that over your life. I challenge you to do that. I believe you will discover that you'll be a person who better exemplifies the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says you have not because you ask not. The Bible tells us that we seek and we find, we knock and it's open to us. Like pursue the fruit of the Spirit, but also pursue the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, when we read scripture about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the book of Corinthians tells us that there's the word of wisdom, there's the word of knowledge, there's the discerning of spirits, there's the gift of faith, the gift of healing, the gift of miracles. The Bible tells us there's the gift of prophecy, the gift of interpretation, the gift of tongues, the list goes on. But those are nine of the big gifts that the Holy Spirit mentions. I think it's intriguing that there's nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians, and then there's nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in the book of 1 Corinthians. And when you think about the fact that they're probably meant to counterbalance one another, that God doesn't just intend for you to have the fruit of the Spirit, but he also intends for you to have the gifts of the Spirit, and He doesn't just intend for you to have the gifts of the Spirit, but he also intends for you to have the fruit of the Spirit. Seems like people have a tendency to get focused on one or the other, and they miss the full gospel. They miss this complete work of the Holy Spirit in their life. And so I think the Bible tells us that we can covet the best gifts even. There's absolutely nothing wrong with praying for the fruit of the Spirit, and there's nothing wrong with praying for the gifts of the Spirit. And as you go into your life and into your extended prayer times that might be something you think through, it might be something you pray through of welcoming the fruit and welcoming the gifts. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so just again, to recap our time together tonight, that when we look at 2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 14, Paul's praying a prayer. He's praying a prayer over a church, Lord, I just ask you, that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the love of the Heavenly Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit would be with this church, amen. I pray that same thing over you. And I challenge you to pray it over yourself. I further challenge you to let it be something that outlines your prayer time, and it becomes something categorical that you pray in extended ways about as you learn more about the love of the Heavenly Father and the grace of Jesus Christ, and fellowship and communion, empowerment of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, I thank you for every person that's had a chance to be with us this evening. And I just pray that Lord, whether they're watching this in real time, or they're watching this after the fact that God you're going to visit them with the love of the Heavenly Father. That they will know what it is to experience your love through salvation, through deliverance. But God, that they would also know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they would find that grace being with them in places where they need to be humble, in places where they need to be silent, in places where maybe they need to take up their cross and follow you more effectively. I pray that over my own life as well, Father. But we also welcome the Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Holy Spirit, communion with the Holy Spirit, infilling and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. And that Lord, he would just teach us how to even better welcome the fruit of the spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, through our times of prayer. And God, maybe somebody that's been struggling with extended periods of prayer time, that God they would see the benefit of finding a secret place and praying in secret, that God you could reward them in public, as you promised you would do in the book of Matthew chapter six. And that God, maybe it means they get up a little earlier, maybe it means they go to bed a little later, maybe it means they take a lunch break by themselves sometimes, and it's just them and you. I pray, Father, that they would also have find the courage to begin to pray out loud, and that God there would be a conversational tone that would come to their prayer. And it's not that they're not going to be silent, that Lord, they won't be times when you just want them to just be totally quiet and just receive from you, but that Lord they would have the courage to dialogue with Heaven. And that above all else in our prayer times we would welcome your kingdom to come, your will to be done in earth as it is in Heaven, in Jesus’ name, amen. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to invite you to join us every Wednesday night 6:30pm, Central; 7:30pm, Eastern time. Having these Bible study times together, I greatly enjoy getting to talk to you about the Word of God and right now putting some focus on our prayer time with the Lord. And so also I invite you to join us on Sunday mornings. You can go to 3trees.com for a full listing of service times locations, even the times that we gather for church online. Listen, God bless you. I promise you if you will go with God, he will go with you, greater things are yet to come.

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