Preaching OT Prayers (part 2): Preaching Through Chronicles

That guy is still praying because 2 Chronicles 6:1-42 and 7:12-22 is a long section loaded with theology for our faith-families. Because of the length and depth of the section, I decided to divide it into two sermons.

In Chronicles kings like Solomon lead the way to a successful relationship with the Lord. In this section Solomon sets an example for us to follow. God intends for us to pray like this and expect God to answer.

Last week I summarized the prayer this way:

  1. God is accessible (v. 6:18)
  2. And attentive to our prayers (vv. 6:19a, 20, 21a; 7:15-16)
  3. For forgiveness and help (vv. 6:21b, 25, 27a, 29b, 30, 39; 7:14b). As you can see I usually make it a practice to lump together all the places in a preaching portion that deal with the same theme. Otherwise, moving verse by verse or phrase by phrase would result in numerous repetitions of the same theme.
  4. Because of our sin and its consequences (vv. 6:22, 24, 26, 28, 36)

Let’s add to that:

5. But we’ve got a problem (v. 6:23). The problem is that God repays “the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head.” It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to teach both the holiness and justice of God and His mercy in providing forgiveness.

6. And a responsibility (vv. 6:24b, 26b, 37-38; 7:14a). That responsibility is to humbly repent or “turn” back to God again.

7. To learn and live “the good way” (vv. 6:14b, 27b, 31). This section repeats or restates the concept of walking three times.

8. What makes it all possible (v. 6:14a, 42). I saved this thought for last because of my desire to always end with how, in this case, the Christ-event makes this theology true for us. God continues to keep “covenant and” show “steadfast love” to us who believe because of what Christ has accomplished.

If you take a look all eight points you can see how much disciple-making is covered in this prayer. Preach it so God receives glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).


Preaching OT Prayers: Preaching Through Chronicles

When you reach 2 Chronicles 6 and 7 you have an opportunity to preach a strategic OT prayer. It’s one of the benefits of preaching through the OT. The OT prayers such as Solomon’s in this text contain important aspects of a theology of prayer. These prayers function for the church by teaching us about God’s character, the kinds of things we need from Him, and His ability to answer our prayers.

I organized the teaching this way:

  1. God is accessible (v. 6:18). The opening question shows that God dwells with us. These are excellent opportunities to teach God’s omnipresence and immensity.
  2. He’s also attentive to our prayers (vv. 6:19a, 20, 21a, 7:15-16). In this section Solomon prays what he knows to be true of God: “…have regard to the prayer of your servant…listening to the cry…”
  3. We pray for forgiveness and help (vv. 6:29b, 21b, 25, 27a, 30, 39; 7:14b). The Chronicler records 14 times where God’s people are unfaithful. I can’t think of another prayer more important to our spiritual lives than asking God for forgiveness. You can see from the verses how much of this section is devoted to what we need from God. You might have some fun with 7:14 since so many of our congregants have heard this verse quoted in terms of our country’s spiritual condition. There are lots of reasons why this verse shouldn’t be read and applied that way.
  4. We pray this because of our sin and its consequences (vv. 6:22, 24, 26, 28, 36). Verse 36 provides an excellent opportunity to teach the universality of sin (things like original sin and actual sins): “for there is no one who does not sin.”

Due to the length and importance of this section, I chose to spend two teaching times on it. Solomon leads the way so we will pray and God will answer. Consider preaching these prayers in Chronicles and contribute to God’s glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).


Preaching David’s Prayer (or Paul’s for that matter): Preaching Through 1 Chronicles

It’s really that simple. God intends for His people to agree with David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 17:16-27. It’s the same with Paul’s prayers in the NT. Here are a few angles for preaching these Old and New Testament prayers.

First, theology about God, humankind, and redemption are to be believed. In 1 Chronicles 17:16-19 the sovereignty of God in choosing David results in David’s humility: “…Who am I, O Lord God…that you have brought me thus far?” (v. 16).

In v. 27 God is acknowledged as the Source of blessing.

Or, how about the theology in v. 20 “There is none like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you…”

Second, what David wants for God is what we want for God too. Often the Church can pray the same requests as David (and Paul if you happen to be preaching in an epistle). We want God’s name to “be established and magnified forever” (v. 24).

Third and maybe most important for the Church is asking and answering the question, “Does God answer David’s prayer (or Paul’s prayer) and if so why?” God answers David’s prayer as long as David and God’s people fulfill the conditions of the covenant.

Of course, we know the rest of the Story: David and Solomon can’t keep the spiritual momentum going and the kingdom dissolves. Thankfully, we also know the rest of the rest of the Story: one greater than Solomon (cf. Matt. 12:42) arrives, perfectly keeps faith and through death, resurrection, ascension, and dispatching the Spirit becomes our Eternal King who secures the blessing of God for all who believe.

The prayers of David and Paul too, for that matter, are answered as Believers enjoy their privileged position in Christ.

I hope you’ll consider preaching these prayers of David so God can continue to receive glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).


Preaching a Prayer (part 12 of preaching through Daniel)


Daniel 9:1-19 might be one of the easiest assignments if you’re planning to preach through Daniel. It records Daniel’s lengthy prayer.

All through this series of blog posts, I’ve been hoping that some of the strategies for preaching through Daniel will help you when you’re preaching through other books that contain similar genres. So, for instance, there are many other prayers recorded in the Old and New Testaments. Here are some things to think through when preaching a prayer.

  • What’s the situation that causes the person to pray? In Daniel 9 Daniel has learned “the number of years that…must pass before the end…namely seventy years” (v. 2). Things are going to remain messy or God’s people for quite a while.
  • What kind of God are we praying to? Cf. vv. 1-2, 4, 7a, 9a, 12, 14a, 15a for a description of our God. Daniel’s prayer is a great opportunity to teach our congregants a mini-course in Theology Proper.
  • What kind of people are we? Quite the opposite. Cf. 3, 5-6, 7b, 8, 9b-11, 13, 14b, 15b. Look closely at how I’ve listed the verse divisions and you’ll see that Daniel’s prayer contrasts God with God’s people. God’s character and our condition prepare us for our petition.
  • The only logical thing to ask: “O Lord, hear; O Lord forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake…” (v. 19).

You might ask your congregants how often they need to pray such a prayer. What do you think they’d say?

Another vital question when preaching on any prayer in the Bible is, “Did God answer that prayer?” or “How is it possible that God could answer that prayer?” This accomplishes two things. First, it forces us all to ask ourselves whether we will respond to the Word of God (think about Paul’s prayers and ask whether or not God answered them; it will depend on whether Paul’s readers responded favorably to his teaching). Second, that question inevitably teaches about Christ-crucified, God’s Gift that provides forgiveness. God’s people broke the covenant agreement, but Christ kept it for us as we are spirit-led (cf. Romans 8:1-4).

Anyway, enjoy preaching the easy part of Daniel 9. Next up, the infamous “seventy weeks.” Yikes! We don’t have a prayer!

Preach well for the sake of God’s glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).


Use your Pre-sermon Prayer to Aid Sermon Application


On ninety-nine out of a hundred Sunday’s I will say a prayer right before I read the preaching portion aloud with our faith-family and right before I preach. (The only time I wouldn’t pray right before preaching is when someone else prayed or we sang an appropriate pre-preaching prayer)

A few weeks ago it came to me that I should ask our Lord to help in the application that we’re about to cover in the teaching time. So, in anticipation of preaching Galatians 5:24-26 I prayed something like: “Father, help us crucify our flesh during this teaching time and afterwards…”

I’m not sure how you word your prayers for the congregation prior to preaching. Maybe you’ve experienced thinking about sermon application when you prayed after the sermon was over (“Father, please help us apply this Scripture to our lives, [because, either you ran out of time, or didn’t think through a specific application?]”). Try wording your pre-sermon prayer in such a way that you aid sermon application. The possible benefits?

  1. God may answer our prayer and prepare us all for a proper response to the particular revelation contained in the preaching portion.
  2. Our congregants hear early on how the preaching portion applies and may be more ready to respond when application proper is being communicated later in the sermon.

I’m curious as to whether or not you word your pre-sermon prayers in conjunction with the sermon application.

Preach well for the sake of His reputation in the Church and in the world.


Isaiah 63:15–65:16 Theology in Isaiah’s Prayer

As you near the end of Isaiah’s Gospel, you discover a lengthy prayer (cf. Isaiah 63:15-19 and Isaiah 64:1-12 and Isaiah 65:1-16). This section functions much like the earlier section of Isaiah that read like a Psalm. So, Isaiah intends that God’s people pray this prayer. I find it best to focus on the requests, the special relationship we have with God, the problem that gives rise to the requests, and the solution to the problem (cf Isaiah 64:4-5). The last section continues to carry Isaiah’s intention forward: creating a righteous people ready for Christ’s return. One unique feature of Isaiah 65:1-16 is that it contains God’s answer to a very specific question (cf. the question in Isaiah 64:12 and God’s answer in Isaiah 65:6). A saved remnant is hinted at in Isaiah 65:8. The repetition in Isaiah 65:13-14 is a strong call for every congregant to be sure they can be accurately identified by God as his “servants.” Of course, the only way any of us can be identified as the servants of God is because God’s Servant, our Lord Jesus Christ, took all our uncleanness upon Himself (cf. Isaiah 64:5-7) when He died on the cross for us sinners, when He literally “spread out” His hands for a rebellious people (cf. Isaiah 65:2).