Sermon Illustrations

ON PRAYER--PART 2

Samuel Pepys was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament in the seventeenth century, who is now most famous for his diary. "Prayer is not a lazy substitute for work. It is not a shortcut to skill or knowledge. And sometimes God delays the answer to our prayer in final form until we have time to build up the strength, accumulate the knowledge, or fashion the character that would make it possible for him to say yes to what we ask." (1633--1703)

E. M. Bounds - Perhaps little praying is worse than no praying. Little praying is a kind of make-believe, a salve for the conscience, a farce and a delusion.

Edwin Keith - Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the spirit of God.

There was a Russian proverb which said, "What we sometimes ask for when we pray to God is that two and two may not make four."

Dwight L. Moody - Some people’s prayers need to be cut off at both ends and set on fire in the middle.

John Bunyan - The best prayers often have more groans than words.

There is a vast difference between saying prayers and praying. Eloquence isn’t necessarily flowery language so much as heartfelt expression. Consider this prayer of a country preacher in Red Rock, Mississippi:

"O Lord, give Thy servant this mornin’ the eyes of the eagle and the wisdom of the owl; connect his soul with the gospel telephone in the central skies; ’luminate his brow with the Sun of Heaven; possess his mind with love for the people; turpentine his imagination; grease his lips with ’possum oil; loosen his tongue with the sledge hammer of Thy power; ’lectrify his brain with the lightnin’ of the word; put ’petual motion on his arms, fill him plum full of the dynamite of Thy glory; ’noint him all over with the kerosene oil of Thy salvation and set him on the fire. Amen!"

Three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background.

One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong--the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face.

By this time the phone man couldn’t stay out of the conversation any longer. He interjected, "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, suspended forty feet above the ground."

E. M. Bounds said, "Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet."

To pray "in Jesus’ name" means to pray in his spirit, in his compassion, in his love, in his outrage, in his concern. In other words, it means to pray a prayer that Jesus himself might pray.

Ralph Waldo Emerson - Call on God, but row away from the rocks.

God endows us with common sense. All of us know full well the people that most readily influence us to think, say or do evil. We have no right to expose ourselves unnecessarily to evil situations or wrong companions. We are clearly told, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Henry Ward Beecher - It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk.

(From a sermon by Bobby Scobey, "Essentials #4-When You Pray-Part 2" 2/25/2009)

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