Summary: Many of you are praying for a better life and if God were to grant you your request, you would quickly become overconfident. And you would quickly move to spiritual indifference. Some of you are praying against THE VERY circumstances that God has arranged so you would better experience Him.
I want to introduce you to a way you can pray for your believing friends to experience revival.
Many of you enjoy speaking to your parents as often as you like. I was part of a funeral this week for a good man, a husband, and a father. He had been a member of this church for over twenty years and raised three great children besides his wonderful wife. I watched those three children go to his body laid in a casket and weep over him.
Later in the week, I watched three more children weep over their mother’s casket as well. She was equally a good lady and mother as the father earlier. An elderly son lost his emotions while standing over the body of his mother. I watched these adult children carefully as I have seen hundreds of children weep over the grave of their parents through the years. They were obviously hurting as they huddled together over the open casket.
Part of the reason we hurt so much in the loss of a parent is because we cannot talk to them anymore. Life is hard – really hard. And God knew this and he gave us the gift of prayer. Prayer is the gift where we can talk to our Heavenly Father about the things that worry us in life.
I’ve got good news for you today. Your Heavenly Father will never die! You’ll never find yourself hovering over God’s coffin weeping that you cannot speak to him anymore. No casket and no coffin can kill prayer!
God has been knocking on your door recently telling you that you need to pray. Have you heard Him?
Keep your Bibles open to Ephesians 1.
Now, if I wanted to learn to cook I might watch The Pioneer Woman to make a great meal. If I wanted to learn how to invest, I might ask for an hour of billionaire Warren Buffet’s time, the Oracle of Omaha. If I wanted to learn how to live healthily, I’d ask my doctor or a nurse for help. But if I wanted to really strengthen my prayer life then I would want to listen in on the prayer of the Apostle Paul.
It’s obvious to see in verse 17, you can see we are reading a prayer at the very end. It’s a prayer that God would open our eyes.
1) Echoing Prayers in the Bible
Have you ever read someone else diary? Have you ever wanted to read someone else’s prayer journal? You are reading Paul’s prayer journal if you will: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…” (Ephesians 1:16).
Pay close attention to the prayers that are included in the Bible.
Can I ask you, “What do you pray for when you bow your head? What kind of things are you praying for?” Here’s a prayer that God thought so highly of that He put it in the pages of the Bible. Now, what if you were tapped on the shoulder to counsel the President. What if you were asked to speak into the ear of the President as you were invited to sit down in the Situation Room. All the screens are lit up with real-time information flowing across the large screens on one end of the room. Men and women from the NSC and all the brass from the military are seated around the room. Everyone is involved in an intense discussion over the South China Sea. You can see China is poised to strike American forces in the area at any moment. Young Navy soldiers’ lives are at risk aboard a host of ships and submarines. The question is to escalate the conflict or turn back for fear of starting another world war. Then the Vice President turns to you and asks, “How would you advise us to proceed?” With the President listening to you along with everyone else, the room quiets down. What do you say at this moment of crisis? Would you like to have something really good to say? Something beyond your wisdom, experience, and education? Of course, you would.
And if you are going to speak to the King of Kings, wouldn’t you like to have something to pray that is intelligent? Would you like to have something to pray that you are confident in? Sure – we would all like to pray with tremendous confidence.
You cannot do better than praying the prayers approved of by God Himself. Don’t be a fool with God. Don’t walk into Heaven’s oval office spouting off the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, pray the prayers you find in the pages of Scripture
Again, pay close attention to the prayers of the Bible. If you pray the prayers inside the Bible you will have unfair advantage over everyone else. Echoing the Bible’s prayers is like getting a head start in the race called life.