Conduct and Prayer

Sermon Notes - August 13

Introduction: 'In the Lord Jesus Christ we see most clearly the union of prayer and life, the harmony and continual interpenetration of the two spheres of life - communion with God and the work on earth'.
(Adolph Saphir) When we think about prayer what comes to your mind? Do you mull over times when you have asked God to do something for someone or perhaps even yourself. All of us have prayed for a close family member or friend to be cured of a disease. We may have asked on behalf of our own self that job or passing a test or even the hope that we do not have a particular disease. Just before
this episode Jesus has fed the crowd of five thousand. He now ‘makes’ the disciples get into a boat to send them over to the other side and then dismisses the crowd. After this he himself goes up the mountain to pray by himself. Finally he leaves the mountain to go to the disciples. They are now several stadia out into the sea, a stadia being just over 300 feet or the length of a football field. Instead of walking the shore and meeting them at their destination Jesus goes via water, not by boat but by simply walking upon the water.

I). William Temple states ‘that the relationship between prayer and conduct is not that conduct is supremely important and prayer may help it, but rather that prayer is supremely important and conduct may test it.’ After being with God the Father in prayer Jesus goes immediately to be with the disciples in the most direct route possible. Jesus in the Gospels only uses his power as God, in the form of a miracle, the setting aside of physical limits, to help those around him defeat disease or more precisely the devil.

II). As Jesus approaches the storm tossed boat with the disciples within it, the disciples see this apparition and think it must be a ghost. Jesus assures them it is just himself coming to them. Peter tests this theory out by saying if it is truly Jesus bid him to leave the boat and walk on the water to Jesus. Jesus does so, and Peter climbs out of the boat and begins to walk on the water to his master.

III). As Peter gets close to Jesus he becomes aware of the churning sea all around him and loses sight of Jesus and so begins to sink. He cries out for Jesus to save him and he does so by grabbing onto Peters hand and pulling him up out of the water and then brings them both over the side of the boat and into safety. Finally Jesus calls upon the winds to cease and they obey his voice. Upon witnessing these events the disciples fall down and worship Jesus. By overcoming the storm Jesus has defeated the power of the enemy and shown despite the ability of the devil to use creation against God’s creatures that God is still in control. How do we use prayer to emphasize God’s control in our lives?