Seven Motivations To Prayer

Series: A Constant Sense


Pt.#8 – A Constant Sense

Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / September 13, 2015

Our Seven Sundays In Sunday School gets underway today.

The intentional design of this “promotional” is to increase our Sunday School attendance.

Not for the sake of a spike in numbers, but because group Bible study & discussion is a good thing.

Some of us need to “get with it” in this regard.

I want to urge us all to read today’s newsletter essay and do some self-examination.

Our thanks to Rob Espinosa for preaching last Sunday morning.

He spoke on the topic of “things that unite us” and I understand that it was choke full of Scriptural admonitions.

Stephen Flask commented last Wednesday PM that Rob had enough for four sermons.

I want to acknowledge my appreciation to John MacArthur for his very helpful book, Lord Teach Us To Pray.

I know that it is not necessary to reveal all of the resources that are referenced in sermon prep.

But from time to time, especially when leaning heavily on another, it’s honorable to declare such.

I know of one preacher who was fired not too long ago, because of an issue with plagiarism.

He was stealing from another and presenting everything as if it were his own.

Any preacher worth his salt will avail himself to the helpful research and writings of others.

  But when we borrow extensively from others, it is only right that we acknowledge such.


In this series we have addressed things that hinder our prayer life.

We have also, most recently, spoken concerning how to pray.

This morning I want to speak about motivations to prayer.

When we are properly motivated, prayer will become a joy rather than a task.

By “proper motivation” I am not referring to a rousing sermon that chastises us for our shortcomings.

Rather, I am calling attention to that which drives our prayer life?

Even when and if the preacher says little or nothing about prayer, we remain compelled and moved to pray?

I have four points this morning.

Now I am not a homiletics professor, but I have learned a few things about preaching over the last four decades.

If you were to reference MacArthur’s book (Lord, Teach Us To Pray), he has ten points on this subject.

Way back in my college years, I remember instructions about “leaving them with a desire to come back for more”.

One of the greatest challenges of preaching is SYNTHESIZING (boiling things down).

The old cliché in this regard is, “a sermon doesn’t have to be everlasting in order to be Biblical.”

So I want to share just four points today (I’m not meaning to imply that you couldn’t handle ten points).

Then, next Sunday I want to share two other important motivations to prayer:

the sanctification of the saved and the salvation of the lost.

The goal of these points is not to be all-encompassing.

They are designed simply to help us think about the process of prayer, and in particular, that which fuels our prayer life.

There is much more that can be said and uncovered, discovered and recovered about each point.

In truth, each of these points could be a sermon (series) in and of itself.


(1) GOD

The first motivation to prayer is totally unselfish.

First and last, prayer is not about US, it is about GOD.

In Ps.37:4, David writes, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Yet it must be the first half of this text, not the second half, that becomes the driver of our prayer life.

If it is primarily “this promise of the desires of our heart” that motivates us, our prayer life will not be full & balanced.

Daniel captures this central motivation is his prayer recorded in Dan.10:18-19

O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! 

Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name;

For we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own,

But on account of Thy great compassion.

In the model prayer (Mt.6:9f) taught by Jesus, it begins,

 “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Thine name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Our prayers will tend to be both shallow (superficial & self-centered) and hollow (empty or voided)

if they are not focused first and foremost on “the hallowing” of God’s name.

Our days vary (some and good and some are bad).  But God is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb.10:8).

¯ Song #808 / Abide With Me – vs.2 ¯

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;  earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;  O Thou who changest not, abide with me.


A grateful heart must become another a central motivating force in our daily prayer life.

“In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” / 1Thess.5:18

This “thanksgiving in prayer” is seen throughout the Scriptures as being a key motivation to pray to God.

It is not just a prayer of thanks for our daily bread, but it reflects on God’s presence in the history of man’s redemption.

It is a thanksgiving that reaches back to reflect on the thousands of blessings that have spanned the ages.

Ps.44:1 / we have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old.

1Thess.1:2-3 / I give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of your in our prayers,

remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which (we) kneel to say our nightly prayer”. / May Angelou

“(True) gratitude…takes nothing for granted (and) is never unresponsive…” / Thomas Merton

In his book, Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, had a line that reads:

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”

¯ Song #781 / Thank You, Lord! ¯

For all that You’ve done, I will thank You,  For all that You’re going to do. 

For all that You’ve promised, and all that You art is all that has carried me through, Jesus, I thank You!

And I thank You, thank You, Lord.  And I thank You, thank You Lord.

Thank You for loving and setting me free,  Thank You for giving life just for me.

How I thank You, Jesus, I thank You, gratefully thank You.  Thank You.


We are moved to pray because prayer is a sweet communion with God.

Randy Harris, in his book, Soul Work, has a chapter titled, “Four Ways Of Praying.”

He is actually presenting the thoughts of a writer named, Mark Thibodeaux.

Talking at God (rote praying) … Talking to God (conversational prayer) … Listening to God … and Being With God.

Ps.42:1-4 / As the deer paints for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God, my soul pants for the living God.

When shall I came and appear before God?

The answer?  Whenever you so desire … And as often as you like.  There are no limitations and no boundaries.

Ps.27:1 / One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I may seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Whereas David longed to be in God’s presence to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple (Ps.27:4b),

we now abide in a temple not made with hands and a able to draw near His throne of grace at will -- anywhere & anytime.

We need not wait to “go to church” to have fellowship with God, we are the church and we have unlimited access.

¯ Song #100 / Holy Ground – vs.2 ¯

You are holy, God, a perfect and holy God.  We will come before You with hearts made clean by Jesus’ blood.

You are holy, God, a perfect and holy God.  We will come before You with hearts made clean by Jesus’ blood.


We have been blessed by God to live in a country in which only a few of us really have the need to pray for daily bread.

Most of us are well-fed and our pantries and refrigerators & freezers are stocked with goods to last us for many days/weeks.

We should surely be thankful for our daily bread, but for most - - securing our daily bread is not a crying need.

  What we need more than that an actual loaf of bread is the Word of God.

When Jesus fasted in the wilderness, He was tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread.

His response brought serves to highlight another key motivation for prayer.

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” / Mt.4:4

Js.1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,

who give to all men liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

  We also need deliverance.

Ps.9:9 declares, “the Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

When Jonah was in the belly of the giant sea creature he uttered these words:  “I cried out to the Lord because

of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice.” / Jonah 2:1-2

  We need relief from fear, worry, anxiety & stress.

We are living in times of uncertainty & are witnessing changes that cause us to be concerned about what the future holds.

Yet through the vehicle of praying to God, we are able to still our souls and steel/stiffen our courage to face the future.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer & supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts & minds through Christ Jesus.” / Philp.4:6-7

¯ Song #837 / I Need Thee Every Hour – vs.1 ¯

I need Thee every hour, Most gracious Lord;  No tender voice like Thine can be peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need thee;  Every hour I need Thee!  O bless me now, my Savior: I come to Thee.

If I were to never say another word about prayer, we would yet have these powerful, built-in motivations to pray:

Let us pray because God is GOD.  Let us pray because we are overflowing with gratitude to God.

Let us pray because in prayer we find a deep, intimate and abiding fellowship with God.

Let us pray because we need God - - we need a wisdom; we need deliverance; and we relief (and redemption). 

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