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His Presence in Prayer

Summary of the Message
Despite having ample evidence and knowledge of the power of prayer available to us as believers, why do so many of us fall short of the prayer life that God wants to have with us? David's declaration in Psalm 27:4 can be instructive here when he reveals that there is one thing that he desires above everything else: to dwell in the house of the Lord forever, gazing upon his beauty, and inquiring within his temple. Might our prayer lives flourish, too, if the one thing we desired above all else was to be in the presence of God?
Key Sermon Points
1. Prayer is a gift from God that is replete with benefits
But maybe the biggest blessing of all in prayer isn't what we get to receive from it, but who we get to be with in it. David seems to express this sentiment in Psalm 27:4.
2. David's ultimate desire is profound
David's ultimate desire to seek and experience the presence of the Lord above all is profound. Even more striking is the narrative we see running through the bible, Genesis to Revelation, of God's ongoing intention to make his home with us!
3. How do we cultivate this kind of desire?
First, as Augustine says, "You must account yourself 'desolate' in this world, however greate the prosperity of your lot may be." Jesus calls this being poor in spirit in the Beatitudes. You know and affirm that you have not lived the life to which God has called you, and that without him, you cannot do so now. Spurgeon describes it this way: "Not what I have, but what I have not, is the first point of contact between myself and God."
Second, we must come to understand God as Father. Only when we learn to see him as Father can we start to yearn for him like a child. As Tim Keller says, "The only person who dares wake up a king at 3 a.m. for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access."
Discussion Questions
  1. Why do so many today miss out on the prayer life that God wants to have with them?
  2. How would desiring God's presence above anything else affect your prayer life?
  3. Why does Augustine see being poor in spirit as a prerequisite for prayer?
  4. Jews did not typically address God as their "Father." What were the profound implications of Jesus teaching the first disciples to pray, "Our Father..."?
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