Summary: Second message on prayer, within larger series on being intentional.

Be Intentional

#7 – How to Have an Effective Prayer Life

(Part 2)

Matthew 7:7-12

March 2, 2003


During last week’s message, I went through a scenario of God using a computerized answering service to handle all our prayers. It was humorous, and I used it to point out that God has no need or use for such a device, because He is more than capable of handling our prayers.

But in the interest of maintaining the highest standards of sermonizing, I searched far and wide for actual answering machine messages. And boy, are you about to be blessed!

Actual answering machine answers recorded and verified by the world-famous International Institute of Answering Machine Answers.


Hello, this is Sally’s microwave. Her answering machine just eloped with her tape deck, so I’m stuck with taking her calls. Say, if you want anything cooked while you leave your message, just hold it up to the phone.


Hello, you are talking to a machine. I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity through their office and do not need their picture taken. If you’re still with me, leave your name and number and they will get back to you.


This is not an answering machine -- this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling and a number where I can reach you, and I’ll think about returning your call.


Hi. I am probably home. I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.


Hi, this is George. I’m sorry I can’t answer the phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by your phone until I call you back.


You’re growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You feel very sleepy now. You are gradually losing your willpower and your ability to resist suggestions. When you hear the tone you will feel helplessly compelled to leave your name, number, and a message.


Please leave a message. However, you have the right to remain silent. Everything you say will be recorded and will be used by us.

Contributed by: Dru Ashwell


I want to reiterate to you that God is not aloof and uncaring. He is ready, willing, and able to listen and to act on your behalf, for your benefit and His glory.

The theme of prayer runs from Genesis to Revelation. It’s important to God, and it’s important for any who would want anything close to an authentic and growing relationship with God.

In helping to set the stage for today’s message, I would invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 7:7-12 (p. 685).

MT 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

MT 7:9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

God expects you to pray to Him. And He is a good God, wanting only what is best for you. He never dishes out evil, because He cannot – He is only pure and loving. So I aim to urge you to call on Him in prayer.

My intention with this message is to give you some very practical stuff on having an effective prayer life.

It’s not going to be very deep, but I think it will be useful, and my earnest prayer for you this morning is that you will take something away from here that will make a significant impact on your relationship with God.

So let’s look at the question of…

How do we have an effective prayer life?

1. Approach God with a proper attitude.

Prayer is only possible because of the sacrifice of Jesus – therefore approach prayer with an attitude of reverent awe and thanks.

He is all-holy, you are not. We are righteous in His eyes, but we are still not worthy to come to His presence.

He is awesome – you are not.

Avoid cavalier attitudes. We don’t deserve the opportunity to pray. But God in His grace and mercy opened up the way to pray.

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