Summary: Keep praying always and don’t lose heart. Today we’re going to listen in as Jesus explains to His disciples why it is so important to persist in prayer … and then we’re going to look at what we miss out on when we don’t spend dedicated time with the Lord each day.
As a courtesy, a guest preacher was asked to give the offertory. Seeking to impress his captive audience, he went on and on … and on. Finally, one man leaned over to his neighbor in the pew and said: I don’t know about you but I’d double my offering right now if he’d just shut up!”
You might be feeling that way right now. “Enough about the mission trip and the church repairs already, Pastor. I’ll double my offering if you’ll just shut up!” Well … any takers?
Sometimes it seems that the church is always after your money. Well … guess what? I’ve decided to confess … to come clean … and admit what all the skeptics have suspected all along. If you’re one of those skeptics, guess what? You’re right! The church really is after your money. That’s right. It’s true. So you might want to make sure that you get a copy of this sermon and give it all of your skeptical friends and neighbors because … as far as I know … I’m the first preacher to let this centuries old secret out of the bag. This secret has been as closely guarded as the formula to Coca Cola. When this gets out, I fully expect to be black balled all over the conference and denomination. No more calls to preach at revivals and rallies. No more invitations to speak at workshops, conferences, or conventions. Of course, I wasn’t getting those calls and invitations to begin with, so I won’t be too great a loss for me.
If you’re tired of me preaching on stewardship, I recommend that you forward this chain letter I recently received. It goes: “If you’re tired of your preacher, send a copy of this letter to seven other churches who are probably tired of their preacher. Send your preacher to the church at the bottom of the list and then add the name of your church to the bottom of the list. In 30 days you will receive 2,178 preachers. Out of those 2,178 preachers, you should be able to find one that suits you. Warning: One church broke the chain and got their old preacher back.” Just kidding. I saw this joke on the internet.
Fortunately, this is the last Sunday of our fund raise for the mission trip and our capital campaign to raise funds for the building supplies. The last Sunday I’ll “preach” on it for this year … 2018, that is … but our need for money is constant and we’ll take any size donation any time.
The sermons and the series may be over but the praying … why, that’s just begun. I hope that you’ve been praying for the mission trip and the NOMADS already. If you haven’t, then I’m asking you to start praying for these projects today.
I guarantee you that we’re not going to do this on our own strength. We need to be praying for God to lead us … to speak to our hearts … and then we need to ask God to help us be obedient to what He has put on our hearts in terms of service and in terms of giving. And then we’re going to praise God and celebrate when we reach our goal.
I have a personal goal in his campaign that is much higher and much more important than our monetary goal. My goal is to inspire a congregational revival through sacrifice and prayer. I want to increase the number of people in this congregation who spend dedicated time with the Lord each day in meaningful prayer. If you already do that … as I know some of you do … then my goal is to increase your determination, perseverance, and confidence in your prayer ministry … and it is a ministry … a very important, powerful ministry. If you don’t spend dedicated time with the Lord each then I hope and pray that you will be inspired to do so … starting today. I believe in the time proven formula for power in the church: Little prayer, little power … much prayer, much power.
Persistent prayer is not something contemporary American Christians are know for. Let me tell you, in Korea they hold prayer services every morning at 6 a.m. and these “prayer services” are attended by hundreds. The members of the Korean Presbyterian church who met in my previous church also prayed every morning, except Sunday, at 6 a.m. Anyone here want to meet me every morning for 6 a.m. prayer? See me on your way out. I don’t like 6 a.m. but I can see holding a daily 8 a.m. prayer meeting. Let’s talk.
Many, many recent studies suggest that American Christians today … even ministry leaders … do not have regular times of daily prayer. Or, if they do, they involve two, three … maybe five … minutes … hardly enough time to say much to God or hear much from Him.