Lynn Martin: Prayer

Increase Our Faith A Sermon on Prayer, by Lynn Martin Let’s begin with a reading from Psalm 138 in the Septuagint (that’s Psalm 139 O Lord, You test me and know me; You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts from afar; You search out my path and my portion, And You foresee all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether, The last things and the first things; You fashioned me, and placed Your hands on me. Your knowledge has become too wondrous for me; It has become too overwhelming; I am unable to grasp it. Where could I go from Your Spirit, Or flee from Your face? If I should ascend into heaven, You would be there; If I should descend into Hades, You would be there; If I should take up my wings at dawn And pitch camp at the furthest part of the sea, Even there Your hand would lead me, And Your right hand would hold me. And I said, “Perhaps darkness shall cover me,” But the night shall be light to my delight; For darkness shall not be dark because of You, And the night shall be bright as day; As its darkness, so also shall be its light. For You possess my heart, O Lord; You took hold of me from my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, For I am fearfully and wondrously made; Marvelous are Your works, And my soul knows this very well. My bone you made in secret was not hidden from You. And my substance was in the lowest parts of the earth; Your eyes saw me when I was unformed, And all men shall be written in Your book; They shall be formed day by day, When as yet there were none among them. Your friends, O God, became very honorable to me; Their principalities became very strong; I shall count them, And they shall be multiplied more than the sand; I awakened, and I am still with You. If You should slay sinners, O God, You would turn aside from me, O men of blood. For You will say regarding their reasoning, “They shall receive your cities in vain.” Have I not hated those who hate You, O Lord? And was I not wasting away because of Your enemies? I hated them with perfect hatred; They became my enemies. Test me, O God, and know my heart; Examine me, and know my paths, And see if there is a lawless way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me” (Gen 13:8,9). “We always thank God . . . when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” (Col 1:3) To the Philippians, he says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil 1:3). “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge” (1 Cor 1:4). “Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live” (Gen 20:7). In Numbers 21:7, we read that the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. (1 Sam 12:23) that [God] may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you (Eph 1:17,18) The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And His ears are open to their supplications. The Lord’s face is against those who do evil, So as to destroy their remembrance from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them; And He delivered them from all their afflictions. The Lord is near those who are brokenhearted, And He will save the humble in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But He will deliver them from them all. The Lord shall guard all their bones; Not one of them shall be broken. The death of sinners is evil, And those who hate the righteous shall go wrong. The Lord will redeem the souls of His servants, And all who hope in Him shall not go wrong. (Ps 33:16-23)