Summary: 1- At the time of prayer we may be tested 2- At the time of prayer we must do good 3- At the time of prayer we must point to Jesus
INTRO.- ILL.- A lady said, “As my five year old son and I were headed to McDonald’s one day, we passed a car accident. Usually when we see something terrible like that, we say a prayer for those who might be hurt, so I pointed and said to my son, ‘We should pray.’
“From the back seat I heard his earnest request: ‘Please, God, don’t let those cars block the entrance to McDonald’s.’”
Brothers and sisters, I hope that prayer means more to you than just asking for what you want in life! I think we should thank the Lord every time He gives us something good, but to focus on our wants while neglecting others is self-centered. God help us if we only pray that way!
ILL.- There was once a godless seaman who was in a boat fishing with his companions when a storm came up which threatened to sink the ship. His companions begged him to offer a prayer; but he declined, saying it was years since he had prayed or gone to church.
Finally, they insisted and he offered this prayer: “O Lord, I have not asked You for anything for fifteen years, and if You deliver us out of this storm and bring us safe to land again, I promise that I will not bother You again for another fifteen years.”
Is that the way some people pray? They only speak to God when they are in trouble? I fear this is true for many people. I’ve often felt like people use God as they would a spare tire: they only get Him out and use Him in times of emergency! Again, God help us if that’s the only time we pray!
ILL.- One Newsweek article entitled “Talking to God” claimed that 78 percent of Americans pray at least once a week, and 57 percent report praying every day or even more often.
What about you? How’s your prayer life? I hope you have a daily prayer life. Better yet, I hope you have an hourly prayer life! I hope that you are constantly talking to your Father!
ILL.- C.S. Lewis said, “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” That’s what praying should be.
ILL.- John Bunyan said, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” What a frightening thought that is! If I want the Lord’s blessing on my life then I must seek Him early and often.
ILL.- There’s a delightful painting that depicts a Christian farmer who has left his plow and turned aside in the early glow of morning to pray. The outstanding thing about the picture, however, is that while the man is lifting his heart to God, an angel is going on with the plowing for him!
We just might be surprised at what God is doing while we are praying. He can listen to us and work at the same time.
Mark 1:35 (quickview)  “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” We can’t find a better example than that of Jesus. We all need to imitate Him when it comes to prayer and to everything else.