Summary: Prayer is the disappearance of my personal will, and the appearance of obedience to God’s will in my life.
Being Righteous: With My Prayer Life
“Prayer is the disappearance of my personal will, and the appearance of obedience to God’s will in my life.”
Sunday Morning Sermon
Video on Prayer
Discussion: (Start with title and text)
I was a preacher in Apache, Oklahoma –about 2500 people in this small Southwestern Oklahoma town. Once a year, around this time of the year, the whole town would shut down for a weekend and have a Rattlesnake Festival. The main elder in our church – Ronnie, was PRESIDENT of this Rattlesnake Association, in fact he keeps the world’s largest western diamond back rattlesnake in his basement – he’s hardcore. We’d been there about 3 months and Ronnie suggested that we go snake hunting. I’ll try anything once, so we went to this Boy Scout camp to hunt Rattlesnakes. (Advance) We get off the 4 wheeler and Ronnie looks at me and says – Jay, we haven’t prayed – I’m like ok, we’re going to ask the God of the universe to help us find an animal with big fangs and deadly venom – that’ll be productive. I looked at him and said – Ronnie, you are going to have to pray – cause I don’t know what to pray for. I know Romans 8:26 – if you don’t know what to pray for the spirit intercedes – I got that, but I was certain that if I died because I got bit by a snake, God was pretty much going to meet me at the gates and slap me, for being so stupid.
We can get like that sometimes – I’ve been stopped by cops before, asking God to stop the police officer from giving me a ticket that I deserved. You laugh, but I know you’ve done the same thing. Morning of the big test at school, didn’t really study – asking God to bless your lack of study. Write a check that you know you don’t have the money for, asking God to not let it clear before you can get your paycheck.
Listen to me – When we do that – we are taking our will and asking God to bless what we are going to do anyway – which by the way doesn’t work. We can’t blame God when we put our will on him, and then ask him to bless it. Paul tells the church one very simple thing – it’s not the complete thought – but it’s a complete instruction.
Turn with me to (Advance) 1st Thess. 5:17 (Read) Say that with me – PRAY CONTINUALLY. (Advance)
Prayer is the disappearance of my personal will, and the obedience of God’s will in my life. Let me give you three things, about prayer –
I. The Purpose of our Prayer
If God knows everything we are going to ask before we speak a word as the Bible says – what’s the point of asking – why doesn’t God just give it to us?
a. God is not Santa Clause
We read verses like: (Advance)
John 14:14 – You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Ok, God, I want a cherry red corvette, 65 grand a year, and all 2.5 kids on the honor roll at school. You could just sit back and watch it happen – We misquote the mustard seed verses – thinking we can just ask, and watch. (Advance)
Matthew 17:20 – He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
i. He’s not taking a naughty and nice list
ii. He’s not focused on how many good works you’ve done this week – which is a real shame, cause Tuesday night was a disaster, and several people jumped right in.
1. But that limits prayer and salvation to our righteousness
iii. He’s not even in heaven waiting for you to ask for stuff.
Here’s what he’s looking at:
b. Your heart – It’s not about goodness
i. He wants to know
1. If he can use you –
2. If you are moldable
I could preach on prayer for a year – there are many examples of prayers – the book of Psalms – several of those are beautiful prayers, crying out to God – all the prayers have something in common. It’s not about bringing God – the creator of the universe in line with my will – It’s about bringing me – the person praying in line with God’s will. He’s looking at:
c. Your Requests –
i. Are they selfish?
ii. Are they good long term?