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Sermon #2012

How to Pray

A Sermon on Acts 2:41-42


Acts 2:41-42 ESV KJV
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (ESV)

Sermon Description

In this sermon on Acts 2:41-42 titled “How to Pray,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones encourages the Christian to examine their prayer habits. This personal examination will reveal the true value a believer places on prayer. A lack of prayer is often traced to a lack of understanding what prayer is and how to go about it. Prayer means entering into the holiest of holies, the very presence of God, to have communion with him. In the Old Testament the reader finds detailed instructions for festivals, sacrifices, and the temple so that the Israelites would know how to approach God. Now, as believers in the time of the new covenant, instructions have been given in Scripture for how believers can approach God directly through prayer. They may approach God based on the work of the Lord Jesus and it is only with his help that prayer is made possible. This glorious truth leads to prayer focused on God as the Christian approaches boldly with thanksgiving and worship.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by emphasizing the importance and urgency of understanding the Christian gospel and message.
  2. The sermon then examines Acts 2:41-42, focusing on the characteristics of the early church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes that the order in which these characteristics are listed is important.
  3. Dr. Lloyd-Jones focuses first on the apostles' teaching. He says this must come before everything else and determines the nature of the fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.
  4. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then examines what prayer means. He says prayer is not just saying your prayers, reading prayers, or relaxing. True prayer is entering into God's presence, worshipping and adoring Him, giving thanks, and making requests known to Him with confidence and assurance.
  5. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks why the early Christians prayed. He says it was because they realized their need for mercy, forgiveness, help, and strength. They also prayed because they enjoyed talking to God, who had done so much for them.
  6. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then addresses how one can pray. He says it is difficult to approach the holy God, but Jesus Christ is the only mediator who provides access to God. His death and resurrection open the way to God. We can pray through Christ, in His name, and by His blood.
  7. Dr. Lloyd-Jones concludes by saying that once we understand the gospel, we will want to continue steadfastly in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.

The Book of Acts

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.