Luke 10:1-7, 17-22
If these were the answers to a question on Jeopardy, what would the category be? Who is Batman and Robin? Who is Sonny and Cher? Who is Tom and Jerry? Who is Albert and Costello? The category is? “Famous Duos.”
Now I want you to add one more to that list.
Prayer and the Holy Spirit.
Remember, the Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus, or the presence of God. It is the third person of the Holy Trinity. Prayer is our opportunity to communicate with God.
If we want be in the presence of God then why would we not want to communicate with God?
Aren’t we communicating with God if we are in His presence? Not necessarily. God may be speaking to us, but we might not be listening or making any effort to speak to him.
Anyone who has every been in a relationship knows that just because someone is talking doesn’t mean that communication is taking place.
How many of you have tried talking to someone who was involved with a computer, a television, a book, had his head under the hood of a car, or was busy in the kitchen. Sometimes you can even be in the same car with a person but when you try to talk about certain things, you might as well be taking to a wall.
You be in the presence of God and not hear God and not communicate attempt to speak to God?
Through the first 9 chapters of Luke’s gospel, Luke has showed us a praying Jesus, but his disciples have yet to pray. At times, Jesus has been with his disciples praying. Even though they were all together, Jesus is the only one communicating with God.
One of the byproducts of prayer is that the Holy Spirit shows up.
When people leave a church and complain that they are not being fed, I have to wonder how much praying they’ve been doing. Your cup gets filled when you bow your head in prayer.
Luke tells us that as a result of Jesus’ prayers, his life was filled with the presence of God, and we call that the Holy Spirit.
If you want your life filled with the presence of God, then you should pray. If you want your church filled with the Holy Spirit, then you should pray.
” Five young college students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C.H. Spurgeon preach. While waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, “Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?”
They were not particularly interested, for it was a hot day in July. But they didn’t want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, “This is our heating plant.” Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking a blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was none other than Charles Spurgeon.
If you want a down pouring of the Holy Spirit in your life, it begins with prayer. If you want a down pouring of the Holy Spirit in our church, it begins with prayer.
Why is that?
Because the Holy Spirit has a tendency to go where He is invited.
When Jesus sent the seventy disciples into the towns and villages, He instructed them to stay where they were welcomed and to eat and drink what they were given. 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you.”
Likewise, God’s Spirit has a tendency to go where He is invited. The Lord doesn’t come barging in with His Spirit, sweeping over our lives or our church unless we open our lives up and ready ourselves to receive Him. How does that happen? It happens through prayer.
So in Luke 10, we have only a snippet of one of Jesus’ prayers. The setting of this prayer occurs after many of Jesus’ disciples return from this mission where he sent them to go throughout towns and places where He was about to go. There were seventy people that signed up for this mission.
They went with minimal provisions and their job was to heal the sick and to tell people that God’s kingdom was near. Jesus told them that if they were rejected that He was the one that the people were rejecting.
At the end of the mission, the seventy returned with joy and had a glowing report of their mission. It had been very successful. They had seen God’s power at work in their ministry.
Then Luke writes: “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (21)
In this verse we see this connection between Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit and the prayer he offers up to God.
He is praising the Heavenly Father for the successes of the ministry of the seventy-two that had just returned.
While Luke only records this prayer regarding their journey, this is likely indicative of the kind of prayers Jesus often prayed, thanking God any time there was success in his work.
How many of you want a successful children’s ministry in our church? How many of you want our church to be known as a church that is growing and teaming with young families? How many of you want to see the day come when our ministries were so successful that three or five years from now we had to start a third service?
If you said, “yes” to these questions, but you are not praying about them, then you are like a farmer that wants a harvest from his garden but does not plant any seeds.
How do you expect the Holy Spirit to work to accomplish these things if He isn’t invited into the church or into your life?
If you want a good marriage but you don’t talk to your spouse, date your spouse, spend time with your spouse, or communicate to your spouse what is important to you in the relationship, what are the chances of a good marriage happening?
If you want spiritual growth and evidences of God working in your life but you do not communicate with God what is in your heart, what troubles you, what you find tempting, what you hope to accomplish, and what you dream about, what are the chances of you being filled with God’s Spirit and knowing God’s will for your life?
James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
My friends, if you want to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit; if you want this preacher to preach sermons that inspire you; if you want a youth ministry where you see six or eight of these rows filled with teenagers; if you want a children’s program that’s the talk of the town; if you want to reach so many people in Jefferson that we run out of room to put them; then you best wear out some holes in the knees of your pants because the only way any of that will ever happen is through prayer, because it is through prayer that the Spirit of God is invited into the church, in your life, and in your home.
The way the Spirit of God gets into the church is He comes here in the hearts of the people. It’s the praying that you do during the week that changes the church. If you are not praying during the week, the best sermons I will ever preach will not change the church.
The church is changed through prayer, your prayers. The more people in the church that are praying, the more of us there are that are open to the moving of the Spirit. If we are open to the moving of the Spirit, we are willing we are to set aside our agendas and follow Jesus.
Jesus gave the seventy specific instructions and they were followed them. They didn’t find success in every place because the people in every place didn’t understand prayer or the power of prayer, but they came back with joy for the successes they had.
The invitation is yours to extend, not mine. Will you invite the Lord to join you on your journey by setting aside time each day for some form of prayer?
God makes the power of the resurrection available to us through prayer. Prayer is where we tap into the power of God. Prayer is where we find the presence of the Holy Spirit which is the deposit, the guarantee of our relationship with God.
If you don’t have that guarantee present in our life, if your are not tapped into that power, will you invite the Lord to join you on your journey this week and set aside some time each day for some form of prayer?
Invite God right now to help you make that step. Pray a prayer like this:
I have been afraid to make a commitment to you because I’m not good at keeping them. While I don’t promise that I’ll pray every single day of my life, I can tell you that I want to live a life that is connected to you through prayer. I realize you already know everything about me. I cannot hide anything from you. So I might as well yield to your wisdom and let go of my pride and my way of doing things and listen to you. I am surprised that you love me. I don’t pray sometimes because I feel ashamed. But since the Bible tells me that your grace covers my sins, I just need you to help me accept myself. I want the power of your Holy Spirit to show up in my life. Let it be evident that you are real and working within me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.