Summary: Steps to answered prayer.
Do you have difficulties with Prayer. If so, then there are two possible reasons: a) Some people don`t really KNOW that God loves them and wants to bless them. b) Some people pray in the wrong way.
LUKE 11.5 Jesus is teaching His Disciples how to pray and uses two homely illustrations: 1. A friend has come to visit you unexpectedly, and there`s no food in the house. You go next door to ask for help, but it`s late and your neighbour has gone to bed.
After much knocking on your part, he pokes his head out of the window and says: "What do you want at this time of night. It`s after midnight". But, though he`s reluctant, he`s still your friend. Friends help out when you`re in trouble, so down stairs he comes, opens wide his fridge door, and says, "Help yourself".
And if reluctant human beings are prepared to help when you`re in trouble, GOD IS MUCH MORE WILLING THAN THAT - there`s NEVER any reluctance on His part, SAYS JESUS.
2. The next story - your son comes home from school and says: "Dad, I`m starving. Can I have a bit of last night`s left overs, or that fried egg that we didn`t eat at breakfast. What do you do? BITE HIS HEAD OFF? No, you love him, and, because you`re his father, you give him what he needs.
Now, says Jesus, if earthly fathers are generous enough to do THAT, HOW MUCH MORE OUR DADDY IN HEAVEN! Why He`s willing to give the good things of His Spirit to us, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
And I haven`t gone all irreverent calling God "DADDY" - for THAT was the concept that Jesus was constantly trying to get across to His Disciples. When Jesus spoke to His Father, His title for God wasn`t "GREAT JEHOVAH", or "ALMIGHTY GOD", or "THOU WHO ART BEYOND THE FURTHEST MORTAL EYE CAN SCAN"............. It was an Aramaic word, "ABBA" - AND THAT WORD WAS A VERY INTIMATE WORD.
David Pawson, a Baptist Minister, explains, "I was in in Israel when, one afternoon, I passed a School just as it was letting out. I saw one little boy walking through the gateway, when suddenly he saw a man who was quite obviously his father. As soon as he saw him the little boys through out his arms, and ran towards him shout "Abba, Abba, Abba". He through himself towards the man who caught him up and swung him round and round, laughing and loving. And I saw that, if this had been England (or America), the boy would have shouted, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy".
THAT`S what Jesus is saying - THAT`S what Jesus is trying to communicate. The word "ABBA" literally means "DADDY, DEAR DADDY". St. Paul tells us, that, when God`s Spirit enters our life he enables us to call God "ABBA - DADDY". We are to ask and receive from a LOVING DADDY, who is longing to pour out blessing upon us.
However, there are certain blockages to our receiving:
1. First there is our attitude towards God. In one of my Parishes a choir member used to say, "Oh, I don`t believe in asking things for myself" - she thought she was being very humble. If we don`t think God wants to bless us, then we`ll not come to Him for blessing. But Jesus says, "ASK" - "SEEK" - "KNOCK"
2. The second is our attitude towards ourselves: if we don`t think we`re WORTHY to receive, then we won`t come for blessing. Now, let`s get it straight, of course, in one sense, we`re not worthy. No-one ever is - but we`ve been assured that it was while we were yet SINNERS that Christ died for us. Do you think He`s going to do that great thing for us whilst we we`re full of sin, and then, from that point on tell us, "I`m not going to give you anything or do anything for you, because you`re not worthy". Christ DIED to give - He`s dying to give to you now - you are a SON OF GOD - ALL of God`s blessing are waiting for you to claim them.
3. The third blockage is our attitude towards others: God forgives us, and wants to bless us. But remember the Lord`s Prayer - it says, "Forgive us our sins AS WE FORGIVE those who sin aganist us". If we are not willing to forgive those who hurt and harm us then we are actually saying to God, "I haven`t forgiven them - Treat me the way the same way, Father". What a way to pray.
THAT`S GOT SOME BLOCKAGES OUT OF THE WAY!
Now let`s step out in faith and learn how to GROW IN THE STEPS OF FAITH. There are certain opriciples we need to learn which will lead us to a greater experience of answered prayer.