Summary: Today, we begin a brand new series entitled “Room with a View: Perspectives on Prayer” in which we will focus on how to experience God’s presence in everyday life.
“A Room with a View: Perspectives on Prayer”
Distracted by Success
Today, we begin a brand new series entitled “Room with a View: Perspectives on Prayer.” Throughout the past nine months, we have looked at various ideas and concepts that build upon one simple truth…Not I, But Christ! Today, we focus on how to experience His presence in everyday life.
This room will serve to assist me in illustrating the various topics during this series – Our need to pray to God, the various challenges and distractions that we often face when we pray, and it will help me teach you the basics on just how to pray.
We chose a “Room” based on a statement Jesus made in the middle of one of his teaching times with His Disciples (and others). In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount , Jesus instructed them about prayer:
Matt. 6:5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Why did Jesus instruct them to get alone and pray? Take note of these two reasons:
1. The temptation to use “vain repetitions” goes away because there is no one around to impress.
And, as a result,
2. When you are alone, you can practice real, intimate, soul searching prayer.
Few Christians have anything but a vague idea of the power of prayer; fewer still have any experience of that power. The church seems almost wholly unaware of the power God puts into her hand; this spiritual carte blanche on the infinite resources of God’s wisdom and power is rarely, if ever, used-never used to the full measure of honoring God. It is astounding how poor the use, how little the benefits. Prayer is our most formidable weapon, but the one in which we are the least skilled, the most averse to its use. - E.M. Bounds
We want TRBC to be a church fully engaged in prayer, fully aware of its power, fully committed to its use and fully convinced of our need for prayer. Notice, in this room, there are no windows. It is closed off. BUT, this closed-off room STILL has a view! HOW? Because it is a view of your heart…what you do in here, will provide a portrait (a view)of your heart. You see, this is indeed “A Room with a View”…but, You decide what you look at! You decide what you focus on! You decide what consumes your time in this room.…YOU set the view.
God provides the environment. God provides the opportunity. God provides the access…But it is up to YOU to take full advantage of the opportunity. And it is this “VIEW” that I want to focus our attention on today. For what we FOCUS on in life will either point us TO God or point us AWAY from God.
Sometimes, things that point us away from God are things that “enter our life,” like challenges, struggles, sickness, losses in life. Even though, these things are from the ‘outside’, we should still keep our focus on the Lord.
BUT, today, I want to focus on the things that point us away from God are things that “self-imposed” – that WE put in front of our own eyes… that cause our attention to be drawn AWAY from God.
NOTICE in this room – are a bunch of things:
1. A table over there with a writer’s pad…and we’ll explain the significance of this in the coming Sundays.
2. A mirror
3. A Table full of presents
4. But, you’ll notice that right by the door, is a trophy case!!!
And the reason why the trophy case is right by the door…is because it is this, self-imposed item that often keeps us from entering any further into this room of prayer!!! It is what is on these shelves that so often draw our attention away from entering into prayer.
Let me explain: These trophies represent our own successes…and often when we become recipients of many, many successes in life, there is a very big temptation to depend on self…and NOT on God! Let me share a very familiar verse with you regarding focusing on successes rather than God has done for you and His Holiness: