Summary: Believe week 12 - Prayer
Believe - Week 12 - Prayer
January 4, 2015
We have moved into week 12 of our Believe series, for the first 10 weeks we looked at some of our core beliefs, now we are looking at the Actions which come from our beliefs. Before advent, we started looking at the action of Worship, and today we are moving into prayer. There’s no better topic for us to talk about.
Prayer can be a really difficult action to talk about. So many people don’t feel comfortable praying. We’re not comfortable alone with God, and we certainly don’t feel comfortable praying in front of others. Prayer seems too personal. So, we shouldn’t talk about it, right? Wrong! That’s all the more reason to.
Prayer is simply and profoundly a conversation with God. It can be much, much more, but that’s all it really is. Prayer comes in all shapes and sizes. We have our prayer warriors. People who love to pray and can pray for hours and be fully energized when they are done. And we need prayer warriors in the church. I know we have some at FBC. That’s a vital ministry.
But sometimes we become anxious when we hear about prayer warriors. We assume everyone is supposed to be a prayer warrior. Martin Luther, one of the great leaders of the protestant reformation said, “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day.” Wow! That leaves me out in the cold, how about you? But we’re not all Martin Luthers.
Most people pray sporadically. They don’t have a set time or a set method of praying. It’s haphazard, it comes when there’s a problem; they cry out to God and when they don’t hear back in 2-3 minutes, they give up. That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but I don’t think I’m far off.
Prayer is connecting with God. If we say Jesus is my friend, then wouldn’t you want to connect with your friend? Especially, if Jesus is your best friend? Don’t good friends or best friends talk regularly?
I remember when I graduated from college. I was out on my own. And there was an expectation from my parents. Maybe you’ve said this or heard this. My parents would not call me! I had to call them. I had heard it a 1,000 times, every week they would go see their parents. They would take the streetcar in Chicago, and it would take a long time for them to get there, but they visited their parents weekly. I was supposed to do the same. Drive my car and visit my parents weekly and call them daily. I didn’t always do that. They didn’t like it. But here’s the point when it comes to Joshua and Zachary . . .
As a father, I want my kids to call me, not because I’m making them feel guilty . . . I hope our relationship is better than that. I hope there’s an eagerness to seek my advice and a desire to hear my voice.
I don’t want Joshua and Zachary to feel obligated to call me. Yet at the same time, I want them to call to check in.
In the same way, God doesn’t want us to feel obligated that we have to call and visit Him. I always felt God was mad at me if I didn’t come to Him in prayer.
What I want you to hear today is this . . .
We have a God who loves us so much and wants to help us so much, and wants us to connect with Him . . . that He longs to be in an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to call Him and visit with Him. He wants us to be so excited to be in a relationship with Him, that He is always on our heart, spirit and mind. And we’ll realize just how accessible He is.
I find it interesting that after spending 3 years with Jesus, you would think the disciples would have asked Jesus to teach them how to walk on water, to stop storms, to know where to catch all the fish or to catch a single fish to pay your taxes. Maybe to know how to feed unexpected guests, how to escape from an angry mob, how to heal the blind, the lame, the sick, the possessed, or how to tell stories that get everyone’s attention.
Nope, one disciple asked Jesus how to pray.
When talking about prayer, Jesus explained what prayer is not. In Matthew 6, during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.