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                                "PRAYER"

                         The Purpose Of Prayer

INTRODUCTION

1. In August 2005, Newsweek and Beliefnet asked 1,004 Americans what
   they believe and how they practice their faith

2. One of the questions was this:  What do you think is the most
   important purpose of prayer?

3. Here are their responses...
   a. To seek God's guidance (27%)
   b. To thank God (23%)
   c. To be close to God or the divine (19%)
   d. To help others (13%)
   e. To improve a person's life (9%)
   f. Other (4%)
   g. Don't know (5%)

[What is the purpose of prayer?  As the answers above suggest, there are
many reasons to pray.  One way to remember "The Purpose Of Prayer" is
with the acronym ACTS, where "A" stands for...]

I. ADORATION

   A. EXPRESSING ADORATION...
      1. God is certainly worthy of our praise, our adoration
      2. While we can praise God in song, we can also praise God in
         prayer

   B. EXAMPLES OF ADORATION IN PRAYER...
      1. When Paul prayed for the Ephesians, he took time to praise God
         - Ep 3:14-21
      2. David provides an example of offering adoration and praise
         - 1Ch 29:10-13

[Expressing adoration was not one of the responses in the aforementioned
survey, but it is certainly an important purpose of prayer.  Continuing
with our acronym ACTS , "C" stands for...]

II. CONFESSION

   A. CONFESSING OUR SINS...
      1. There is mercy to be found in confessing one's sins - Pr 28:13
      2. The Christian enjoys cleansing of sin by the blood of Jesus
         - 1Jn 1:7-10

   B. EXAMPLES OF CONFESSING SINS...
      1. Jesus provided an example in the parable of the Pharisee and
         the publican - Lk 18:10-14
      2. Again, David provides an example with his confession of sin
         - Ps 51:1-13

[Obtaining forgiveness by confessing sins is a blessing now enjoyed only
through Christ (Jn 14:6).  Once we have put on Christ (cf. Ga 3:27),
prayer is crucial to remaining forgiven.  "T" stands for...]

III. THANKSGIVING

   A. OFFERING THANKSGIVING...
      1. Being thankful is emphasized repeatedly in exhortations to pray
         - Ep 5:20; Col 4:2; 1Th 5:17-18
      2. The antidote to anxiety is to pray for everything, with
         thanksgiving - Php 4:6

   B. EXAMPLES OF OFFERING THANKSGIVING...
      1. Christ set an example of thanksgiving - Mt 11:25; 26:27; Jn
         6:11; 11:41
      2. Daniel had the custom to thank God three times a day - Dan 6:10

[We cannot discount the importance of thanksgiving in our prayers.
Especially if we expect God to answer us as we make requests for future
blessings.  This leads to the final letter, where "S" is for...]

IV. SUPPLICATION

   A. MAKING SUPPLICATION...
      1. We are encouraged to let our requests be known to God - Php 4:6
      2. We are commanded to make supplications for all men - 1Ti 2:1-2

   B. EXAMPLES OF MAKING SUPPLICATION...
      1. "Real widows" are known for their supplications night and day
         - 1Ti 5:5
      2. Solomon made supplication at dedication of the temple - 1 Kin
         8:28-29
      3. Jesus made supplication as He was crucified; Stephen also, as
         he was being stoned - Lk 23:34; Ac 7:59-60

CONCLUSION

1. With the aid of a simple acronym (ACTS), we should never forget "The
   Purpose Of Prayer"...
   a. Adoration
   b. Confession
   c. Thanksgiving
   d. Supplication

2. It is good to understand prayer's purpose, but do we also...
   a. Appreciate the power of prayer?
   b. Even have the privilege of prayer?
   c. Understand the principles of prayer?
   d. Manifest the persistence of prayer?
   e. Engage in the practice of prayer?

Succeeding lessons in this series will endeavor to ensure that we do...!
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