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Summary: Message about how the blind men approached Jesus on His way to Jerusalem.

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A Model for Effective Prayer

Matthew 20:29-34

May 4, 2008

NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."

Me: Can I just be completely honest with you about something? I don’t suppose you’d want me to lie about anything, right?

Sometimes I struggle with the whole issue of prayer.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe God isn’t listening to me – not because He’s ignoring me but because maybe I don’t “get it” in terms of “how to pray.”

At times I wonder if I am praying “correctly.” You know, using just the “right” words or having just the right attitude.

I’m very conscious of the fact that I have no right to make any demands of God. He doesn’t owe me anything, that’s for sure!

It’s not like I can just call in a favor because I helped God out of a tight spot once!

One thing I’ve never struggled with, however, is God’s willingness or power to answer prayer that will benefit me and glorify God.

Scripture is abundantly clear that God loves to bless His children and answer their prayers.

As I’ve said in the past, sometimes that answer is “no” because God knows that getting what we’re asking for would actually not be good for us. And since He is all-knowing, we can trust Him to know better than we do about stuff.

I mentioned in a previous message this view of prayer from a teenager:

“God answers prayer four ways: yes, no, wait awhile, or, you’ve got to be kidding!” (Sermoncentral.com, contributed by Brian McCutchen)

My struggle has generally been in the area of whether I am in right relationship with God so that I can be assured that He hears my prayers.

We: I’ll guarantee that I’m not the only one who has struggle with this stuff. And chances are that I’m not the only one in this room who has struggled at times.

I wonder, if I were to take a poll, how many here are sitting here going, “I know what you’re talking about, Brian.”

It might just be that a bunch of you are just looking for ways to make your own prayers more effective.

My hope is that no matter where you are in your life regarding your prayer life you’ll find something today that will help.

God: I had originally intended to entitle this message, “A Touch of Compassion from Jesus,” but the more I looked at the passage, I think it tells us something we can learn about how to approach God in prayer, so we have the title, “A Model for Effective Prayer.”

And before we get into the passage and what we can learn from it, I want to make very clear that this message isn’t about “how to manipulate God into doing what you want Him to do.”

First of all, I don’t believe God can be manipulated. And secondly, God isn’t here to do our bidding – we’re here to do His bidding.

Effective prayer is the result of a proper spirit, not the result of the right words or the right “formula” for saying a prayer.

Matthew 20:29-34 (p. 697) –

29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.

33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight."

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

This is a great story about how Jesus, once again busier than most people, stops to show mercy and compassion on someone who society had cast aside.

He had a habit of doing that. Demon-possessed people, Canaanite children, blind beggars, crippled and paralyzed folks, you name it.

When He comes across something, He does something about it. That’s just the kind of Savior Jesus was – and still is.

He cares and He acts, because He can.

Four ways the blind men model effective prayer:

* They approached Jesus humbly.

Look at verses 30-31.

It wasn’t, “Hey, snake-oil salesman! Step over here a minute!”

It was, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

They were using the titles of the Messiah who was sent from God Himself.

There seems to be an attitude among many people, both Christians and non-Christians. It’s an attitude that demands things of God.

They try to order God around like He’s their servant or something.

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Buzz Brown

commented on Sep 22, 2008

Brother Brian: Very helpful for me to talk about healing prayer to the staff at Northridge Hospital where I serve part-time as a Volunteer Chaplain.

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