Summary: The fourth in a series of four sermons entitled, ‘Prayer as a Second Language’
Slide 1 We are concluding the fourth and final sermon in this series, ‘Prayer as a Second Language’ with a look at the vital prayer of supplication. Now, I ask you what does the word, ‘supplication’ mean? It means to request or plea for something and sometimes that is done on behalf of another person. Intercession is another name, I believe, for supplication.
Slide 2 To help us develop a frame of reference and understanding for this morning, I want to you ask you a question, ‘Who are you thinking about right now?’ Is it a spouse, a relative, a child or grandchild, a friend, a co-worker, someone in this sanctuary? Who are you thinking about right now?
What are you thinking about as it relates to who you are thinking about? Is about their health? Is it about their work situation? Is it about their spiritual life and condition?
In a recent article that he wrote, Incarnate Preaching, Gordon MacDonald listed a set of questions that he believes are asked by adults from age 20 on up to age 70 and beyond and which need to be addressed in preaching and teaching. Here are a few of them with the age segment MacDonald believes is asking them listed alongside them.
Around what will I center my life? (20s)
Why haven’t I resolved all my sin problems? (30s)
Why are some of my peers doing better than me? (40s)
Do I have anything of value to give any longer? (50s)
What does it mean to grow old? (60s)
Does anyone around here know who I once was? (70s)
As I think about these questions, I know that I have asked some of them (and still do) in my prayers over the years. This part of prayer we call supplication is a part that I believe all of us here are the most focused on. I have no doubt that as I am praying each week on your behalf from this pulpit (and throughout the week as well) that you are praying on behalf of others as well as your own personal concerns.
I like how David Mains states this issue of supplication, “How do I get God to pay attention when I say, “Please, Jesus, can you just do these one or two things for me?”
These are important prayers because we believe in a God who does great and marvelous things. We also believe that He cares for us and for the needs and issues that are important to us.
Slide 5 For a moment this morning, I am going to ask you to think of two prayer requests that you would like the Lord to answer and then you are going to have one minute to spend time in prayer for these people or situations. Ready? Begin…
Slide 6 I would like to suggest today that the key part of supplication is ‘agreeing with God in prayer.’
When Jesus, in response to His disciples’ request to teach them to pray, gave them a guideline for prayer, he included this line as we read in Matthew 6:10, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.”
A businessman named Jacob finds himself in dire trouble. His business has gone bust and he’s in serious financial trouble. He’s so desperate that he decides to ask God for help.
He goes into the church he attends and begins to pray: "God, please help me, I’ve lost my business and if I don’t get some money, I’m going to lose my house as well, please let me win the lotto."
Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it. Jacob goes back to the church: "God, please let me win the lotto, I’ve lost my business, my house and I’m going to lose my car as well."
Lotto night comes a second time and Jacob still has no luck! Back to the church again, Jacob asks: "My God, why have you forsaken me? I’ve lost my business, my house, my car and my wife and my children are starving. I don’t often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. Why won’t you just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order?"
Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Jacob is confronted by the voice of God himself: "JACOB, MEET ME HALF WAY ON THIS ONE....BUY A LOTTO TICKET."
As I think about this humorous story, I have to ask, ‘Is this God’s will, God’s way for Jacob to get out of his financial crisis?’ I don’t think so.
Praying for God’s will to be done is very, very hard to do at times because God’s will is perhaps the opposite of what we are praying for. Maybe it was God’s will that Jacob’s business failed because he made some bad business decisions and had to suffer the consequences of those decisions. Or maybe the economy turned sour and his business took a big hit and the failure was the result of natural economic factors.