Summary: This sermon is part of our Building God's House series. It is about our need to build a prayer life.
Building God’s House
“Building a Prayer Life”
There was a little boy who was saying his prayers right before Christmas, and when he got to the end he yelled, “And give me a new bicycle.” When his father asked why he yelled, he said, “It’s because grandma is in the next room, and she’s hard of hearing.”
It is said that of all the responsibilities that we have as Christians, the most difficult and challenging is having a fervent and vibrant prayer life.
For the Christian, praying should be like breathing. Just as breathing is the response of physical life to the presence of air, so prayer should be the response of spiritual life to the presence of God. In other words, prayer is as important for our spiritual life as air is for our physical life.
Martin Luther said about his need of prayer, “I have so much to do that I must spend the first three hours of each day in prayer.” However, if he knew his day would be even more demanding than usual, he would make sure that he would spend more time in prayer before starting.
Prayer changes us. It changes our perspective and gives us a clearer picture of this world we live in, and that’s because God is the Creator, and knows a whole lot more about it than we do.
Further, it is said that if Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling, they would soon have nothing to grumble about.
Most of us, however, struggle with our prayer life. Sometimes our time in prayer is glorious like what happened to the woman who had the issue of blood and was able to reach out and touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, that is, in our time of prayer we’re able to touch God.
Other times, more often than we would like to admit, we’re more like Zacchaeus, pushing and shoving through our crowded thoughts and the business of life, only to find out that our time with God has been crowded out by all the other stuff. And so we become discouraged with our prayer life, and it becomes more of an after thought than a necessity.
Pastor John Powell began his message on prayer with this disclaimer. “What I’m about to say to you represents my ideals.”
Maybe the reason we don’t take the time to pray as we should is because we either don’t see its use, because we haven’t received what we’ve prayed for, or we deny the power of prayer.
There is a story about a tavern that was being built in a small town. The Christians from the church opposed it and began an all night prayer meeting for God to intervene and stop the tavern from being built. That night lightening struck the tavern and it burned to the ground. The owner of the tavern sued the church claiming they were responsible. The Church hired a lawyer to claim that they were not responsible. After both sides presented the arguments the judge said, “No matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians don’t.”
What is prayer?
John Powell said, “They say that every relationship is as good as its communication. I think that’s true in our relationship with God too. Our relationship with God is about as good as our communication with God, and this communication is called prayer.”
Prayer is our line of communication with God, where we talk with God and God talks with us. You see, prayer is not a one sided communication that we have with God. It is listening more than it is talking.
The Bible says, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV)
Prayer, therefore, is something God expects from His people. Let’s say that Jesus personally appeared to us and said He wanted us to pray. Now, while I’m not a betting man, I will wager that we’d be more inclined and faithful in our prayer life!
But we don’t really need Jesus to come down and tell us, because He already has in His word. Throughout the gospels He says, “When you pray,” and in the disciples’ prayer, or what is more commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, He said, “This is how you are to pray.” Jesus also said to his disciples to always pray, and prayer was the subject of several the parables Jesus taught.
Jesus, therefore, has already requested our presence in prayer.
Elsewhere in the New Testament we are also commanded to pray.
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 NKJV)