Summary: 1- Committed to praise 2- Committed to intercession 3- Committed to seeking
INTRO.- ILL.- One day a woman was rushing home from a doctor’s appointment. The doctor had been somewhat delayed at the hospital, and the lab work took a little longer than usual so by the time she left the clinic she was running quite a bit behind schedule. She still had to pick up her prescription, pick up the children from the baby-sitter, and get home and make supper, all in time to make it to the prayer meeting at her church that evening.
As she began to circle the busy Wal-Mart parking lot, looking for a space, the windows of heaven were opened and a downpour began. While she wasn’t usually the type to bother God with small problems, she began to pray as she turned down the row closest to the front door. "Lord, you know what kind of a day I’ve had, and there’s still an awful lot to do. Could you please grant me a parking space right away, oh, and close to the building so I don’t get soaked."
The words weren’t even completely out of her mouth when she saw the backup lights of a car come on at the end of the row. It was the best space in the whole parking lot, right next to the handicap spots and straight out from the front door. She made straight for it and as she pulled in, she said, "never mind God, something just opened up."
Is this the way we pray? That is, do we only pray if we’re in need but when the need is over, we cease praying? Or else we don’t give the Lord any credit?
We humans are pretty good at using God like He is a spare tire or an EMT (emergency medical technician), or some kind of magic genie. And we’ve all done this with God.
ILL.- A man who had regularly prayed for many years began to wonder if God heard his prayers at all. During one of his routine times of prayer, he started this doubting pattern once again. He stopped praying and thought for a moment. “Enough of this,” he said.
He then lifted his eyes toward heaven and yelled, “Hey up there, can you hear me?” There was no response. He continued, “Hey, God, if you can really hear me, tell me what you want me to do with my life.” A voice from above thundered a reply, “I WANT YOU TO HELP THE NEEDY AND GIVE YOUR LIFE FOR THE CAUSE OF PEACE!”
Faced with more of a challenge than the man really wanted, he answered, “Actually, God, I was just checking to see if you were there.” The voice from above now answered with disappointment: “THAT’S ALRIGHT; I WAS ONLY CHECKING TO SEE IF YOU WERE THERE.”
Are we here? Are we the kind of praying people that we should be? Is God asking, “Are you there?” If so, why don’t I hear from you more often and not just when you need something?
Acts 4:23-24 “On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God….”
In the face of opposition and threats, the early Christians didn’t stop praying, they stepped up their praying! They joined together in praying even more!
ILL.- Someone has said, “When business is good, you ought to advertise; when it’s bad, you’ve got to.”