Summary: What kind of things in our life can get in the way of us praying like we should as Christians. This sermon gives a few of those things.
If someone is listening to your prayers, and they were making a judgment about your relationship with the Lord solely on your prayers, how strong of a relationship with the Lord will those who hear you pray say that you have? Will they say that it looks like you know the Lord, and that His will is important to you?
Obviously, our prayers are not the best way to make a judgment about our relationship with the Lord, but they can be pretty telling about the kind of time that we spend with the Lord and how many things that we may have in our lives that are choking the word out of us as we talked about last week.
When we are reading through scripture, we see a ton of prayers to God. Some of these prayers are amazing. There is something deep and profound about every single one of them. Their prayers just seem to be different; at times on a higher level than my own.
Why? Why does it seem that at times my communication to my Creator is inadequate?
This is the question I want to answer today. What things are going on in my life that is causing me to have the relationship with God in prayer that I need to have?
I. WE HAVEN'T REALIZED HOW IMPORTANT PRAYER IS.
How important is prayer to you? How much time do you spend prayer each day? 5-10 minutes per day? How often do you pray? Once a day? At almost every meal? The answers to these questions may show us how important we see prayer as being.
If you want to be close to a person in this life, what do you need to do? We need to spend time with them. It takes spending a lot of time with someone to be close to them. At times we can have 1-3 hour conversations with people as we are getting close, even doing it many times per week. But for some reason, we think that just talking to God about 5-10 minutes per day is enough. The hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer” cannot be sung in our assemblies because we don’t know what it is like to spend an hour in prayer. How important to your spouse would you feel if they only talked to you that much per day? No relationship will be strong with lack of communication. The same is true with God. We must see our need to spend time with God in prayer many times each day, and even at times for a long period of time. We are too busy in this life not to pray.
This is how we see people in the scriptures view prayer.
1. Jesus. Prayer was important to our Lord. Prayer was so important to our Lord that He prayed at least once all night long before His choosing of the 12 (Luke 6:12). And He made sure that he spent time alone with the Father in prayer (Mt 14:23).
"But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray" - Luke 5:16 (NASB95)
At the darkest moment of his earthly existence, He spent time in prayer; in the garden before his suffering; while he was on the cross. If you knew that you were going to die tomorrow, would the first thing that you would think of doing is go to God in prayer for a long period of time?
Jesus was transfigured while he was praying. There was just something so different about our Lord’s prayer life that the disciples, men who surely grew up praying as Jews, came to Jesus and asked Him to teach them to pray.
2. The Disciples. What did prayer mean to the 1st century disciples? The Apostles in Acts 6 viewed prayer as an important thing. Widows were being overlooked. What a terrible thing. They came to the Apostles and asked them to take care of this situation, but they responded in v2, there is something more important that we have to do. In verse 4 they say “we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word!” They had something more important to do than wait tables, so they appointed others to do the work.
How would we respond if we went to a preacher in a congregation that we were a member of to tell them of a few widows that have been overlooked in being fed, and the preacher said, I can’t take care of this, I need to spend time in prayer?
Would we respond something like this: What do you mean that you need to spend time in prayer? You can pray at any time! You can pray on your way to help the widows! This is important! The Apostles said “we will devote ourselves to prayer.”