Sermon Detail

Strength for the Journey Prayer Focused (Knowing the Immeasurable Greatness of God’s Power for His People)

November 05, 2023 | Buster Brown

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion."  Psalm 84:5-7

"For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places..."  Ephesians 1:15-20

Q 37: How does the Holy Spirit help us?
A: The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and HE ENABLES US TO PRAY AND UNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD. New City Catechism

Q 38: What is prayer?
A: Prayer is POURING OUT OUR HEARTS TO GOD in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving. New City Catechism

"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is FAINT (overwhelmed, wrapped in darkness). Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy."  Psalm 61:1-3

Prayer involves a sense of DESPERATION because of the worldly system, the devil, and myself.

“There remains in a person who is genuinely regenerate (genuinely converted) a smoldering cinder of evil, from which desires continually leap forth to allure and spur him to commit sin.”  John Calvin, The Institutes (3.10-11)

“WATCHFULNESS is the whetstone (stone used to sharpen other knives) of the spiritual disciplines. The one that practically keeps the other habits sharp.”  Brian Hedges, The Gospel Coalition

Watchfulness means to understand my sin but continually rejoice in and find gladness in the reality of who Jesus is for me.

“Do not take up your time so much with studying your own heart as with studying Christ’s heart. For one look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.”  Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843)  

Prayer focused (Ephesians 1:15-20)

1. The hope of our calling (1 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13)

“remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thessalonians 1:3

Hope is established by the resurrection and sustained by continually looking to the reality and hope of Jesus.

2. The riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:3-14).

3. The immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe.

The power shown in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is part of the believers' inheritance.

“Is prayer powerful? Yes, definitely, but specifically because the One being prayed to is all powerful. The one doing the praying is in fact by her praying demonstrating that she has no power in and of herself. That is functionally what prayer is—an expression of helplessness. If we were powerful, we wouldn’t need to pray…your time in the bible is the primary means by which the Holy Spirit empowers you to live your life. If you don’t want this power, by all means, don’t go to your bible. Go to Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube. Go to cable news or satellite sports, go to the movies or self-help seminars. Go anywhere else if it’s not power you’re interested in but if you want to dwell daily in the supernatural realm of God’s kingdom and hear the very words of God, your bible is where it’s at.”  Jared C. Wilson, Supernatural Power for Everyday People

Because of my union with Christ by faith, and in light of the resurrection power of Jesus poured into my life by the Holy Spirit, I ask almighty God that you do this in me…


1. Why is prayer preceded by a sense of desperation (“pouring out our hearts to the Lord”)?

2. How does the quote by John Calvin impact you?

3. Why does watchfulness have a dual focus? 1. Understanding our need and 2. Glorying in the beauty and greatness of Christ (quote by Robert Murray M’Cheyne).

4. Why is the following quote nonsensical, “He is so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good”?

5. How does this quote lead you to true worship: “the Lord disciplines all his children in order to produce a harvest of righteousness, but he will never punish you for your sin. For Christ also suffered ONCE FOR SINS, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18) Amen and amen!”? (Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies, November 1).