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1 Relational Prayer

19 FebruaryRelational Prayer with Chas Sandhu

What is relational prayer? AB Simpson said that prayer is the link that connects us with God.

Prayer is about relationship without relationship with the one we are speaking to, our words are empty and repetitive; without relationship, prayer is like connecting to a machine rather than a person.
Prayer with a Father who knows us and listens to us - he inclines his ear toward us (
Psalm 10.17 & Psalm 17.6)
Thomas Watson is quoted as saying 'Prayer delights God's ear; it melts His heart; and opens His hand. God cannot deny a praying soul.' There are four key elements:

* Communication
* Biblical examples
* The cost of this relationship
* Our responsibility

Communication is the absolute key, the vital component in our relationship with God. It's two way - we speak and we listen, a sharing of heart and mind and helps us see who the person we relate to really is. We need to keep communication channels open to share heart and mind, to keep and strengthen our lives; God created us for a relationship with him.

There is a difference between saying prayers and praying - it is something much deeper.

Biblical examples include Genesis we read of Adam & Eve and their intimate relationship with God; they walked and talked with God in the cool of the evening. God's mission was to restore that relationship after it was broken in the Garden of Eden. We read of examples of this relationship in the Old and New Testaments. 

Genesis 5.24 notes how Enoch walked with God.
Genesis also describes how Abraham was a friend of God (also James 2.23).
God spoke face to face with Moses (Exodus 33)

The cost of relationship
Relational prayer comes through a genuine and true relationship with God through Jesus Christ. John 3.16 shows us a guaranteed promise where God sends his only Son to restore relationship with us and then sending his Holy Spirit to equip us to live out this relationship.  Not just rules but a relationship.
Revelation 3.20 shows us how eating together is a true sign of friendship and relationship.  The scriptures show us how, when talking about a lukewarm church, God yearns to have a deeper, stronger relationship with us. 
All we need to do is ask the Holy Spirit to give you a revelation of who Jesus is and the love that he has for you; James 4.3 says that we do not have because you do not ask.
Simon Thomas: 'praise releases the presence of God and prayer releases the power of God in our lives'.

Our responsibilities: how to help you in your relationship to listen as well as talk

* Begin with praise 
* Worship him 
* Read the Bible - the only book you'll ever read where the author is with you as you read; meditate, not oriental meditation
* Confess your sins 
* Talk to God as if taking to a family member 
* Worship him - sing along with devotional Christian songs

Remember to shut the door (Matthew 6.6) when you pray to your Father in heaven - there is intimacy with the Father.

Matthew 6.9-15 offers a framework for our prayer (also Luke 11):
* Praise and worship 
* His kingdom 
* Provision 
* Forgiveness
* Protection
* Forgiving others 
* Glory back to him

We need to pray what is on our Father's heart, to seek him for his church, this community and this town.

Jesus was a man of prayer, always in communion with his Father - we only need to follow Jesus example, a visual pattern for our lives:
Mark 1.35Mark 6.46Luke 11.1Luke 3.21 & John 17.20 - where Jesus prays for his disciples at the time and then also for us in the future.

Jesus life clearly shows his relationship with Father God and we are called to follow him.  As believers, we are to be like a lighthouse or a beacon that emits light constantly.  The energy and life needed by us as Christians comes through our relationship with Father God in heaven.  It is in the presence of God that scripture comes alive to us. The Holy Spirit guides us and gives us power because of our relationship with Father God, with Jesus his Son ad with the Holy Spirit.

See also: Voice in the City prayer school (Link tbc)  Key parts to prayer:

* Find a quiet place to talk to God the Father 
* Move away from busyness to solitude
* Commune by using scripture - don't rush, take time with God
* Record, write down key words and phrases, pictures, thoughts, dreams and memories
* Discipline your mind and body to co-operate with your heart of the Holy Spirit

We are sons [and daughters] of God by the spirit of adoption (Galatians 4.6-7) and so we can be honest and sincere with Father God; see also Romans 8.14 - heirs.

Our prayer life is the powerhouse of our faith:
How much time you spend with God is your individual powerhouse.  Remember how Satan trembles when he sees people at prayer for he knows that his day with them or in that church community is at an end.  The Father's heart is for the community that they know Jesus.

The song 'Power of your love/Lord I come to you' was sung; YouTube example

Frances Ballantyne closed the evening with prayer and a passage from Jeremiah

Thanks to all at Spalding Baptist for recording this year's talks; listen again