Summary: Statistics show that almost everyone prays. But do you ever wonder if your prayers really reach Gods ears? Do you sometimes feel like you’ve got a bad connection? If you have questions about prayer, you're not alone. This sermon series will help.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 9/2/2012
VIDEO: Prayer – Can you hear me now? BluefishTV
If you live in our area, you’ve probably noticed the new cell tower that AT&T has put up in town. I for one cannot wait for it to actually go online and start relaying signals. Our cell phone reception has been laughable since we moved here. Usually, if my phone rings I’ve to go to the other side of the house or even outside to get a good signal. I feel like the Verizon guy, walking around saying, “Can you hear me now?”
If you live in an area that’s too distant from a cell tower, you know the feeling.
If you’ve ever looked toward heaven and felt like your prayers weren’t getting any higher than the ceiling, you also know the feeling. Statistics show that almost everyone prays. But do you ever wonder if your prayers really reach Gods ears? Do you sometimes feel like you’ve got a bad connection?
Does God really answer your prayers? And if he did, how would you know? If you’ve got questions about prayer, you’re not alone.
Over and over again, Peter and the other disciples had watched as Jesus withdrew to secluded places to pray. And they had seen the serenity Jesus exuded in the aftermath. They may have been uncertain of what made Christ’s face seem to glow, but one thing was certain: they wanted what he had, and they wanted it now!
One of them, probably Peter, assumes the role of spokesman. But instead of asking, “Lord, teach us how to pray,” he blurts out, “Lord, teach us now to pray” (Luke 11:1). And Jesus does just that. And in teaching them to pray, the first thing Jesus does is give them a pattern.
• A PATTERN
This pattern has come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions—the Lord’s Prayer has been a model prayer for followers of Christ generation after generation.
In fact, a father was once chastising his son for not going to church more often. “You probably don’t even know the Lord’s Prayer,” he shouted sarcastically. “Oh yes, I do,” the boy retorts triumphantly. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Surprised, the father stammers, “Sorry son, I had no idea you knew it.”
No, that’s not the Lord’s Prayer. But this is:
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11:2-4 NKJV)
There are two basic parts to this pattern—praise and petition. Jesus starts off by praising God’s holy name and heavenly place. We’d do well to start our prayers the same way. Before you start making requests and appeals, take a moment to acknowledge how awesome God is. He is holy and mighty and amazing. Yet, he chooses to call himself our Father. When David reflected on that fact, he wrote:
“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens… When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:1-4 NIV).
Nothing prepares out hearts for prayer more than and awareness of the majesty and magnificence of the one to whom you’re praying! Take time to praise God, to thanks him and give him the honor that he deserves each time you pray.
Then, slide into the second part of the pattern, which is petitions. Ask God for your daily needs, ask him for forgiveness when you mess up. Ask him to fill you with his Spirit. Ask him to help you avoid temptation—to change your heart and heal your wounds. We’re usually good at asking God for things, but sometimes we’re just not persistent enough. On that note, the next thing Jesus does in teaching us how to pray is give us a parable.
• A PARABLE
You’ll notice in the pattern Jesus gave, he taught us to ask for our daily bread, day by day. There’s reason for that. He wants us to keep coming back and he tells a parable that paints a picture of persistence. This is what Jesus says: