Summary: Disciples of Jesus believe in the power of prayer and use prayer for empowerment in discipleship and ministry.

A. One night a young boy was kneeling next to his bed with his mother and grandmother beside him as he softly said his prayers, “Dear God, please bless Mommy and Daddy, and all the family, and please give me a good night’s sleep.”

1. Then suddenly the little boy raised his voice and shouted, “And don’t forget to give me a bicycle for my birthday!”

2. The boy’s mother gently corrected him, “There is no need to shout like that, son, God isn’t deaf.”

3. “I know,” whispered the little boy, “but Grandma is.”

B. Today, I want us to talk about the important place that prayer holds in the life of a disciple of Jesus.

1. Disciples of Jesus believe in the power of prayer, because disciples believe that God hears and answers our prayers.

2. And like that little boy in the opening story, disciples of Jesus know that God isn’t deaf.

3. We know that we don’t have to shout our prayers in order for God to hear us.

4. In this sermon, I want us to be reminded of what disciples should believe about prayer, and then what we should do with prayer because we believe in prayer’s power.

C. Before we focus in on these things about prayer, let’s do a brief review.

1. After having covered lots of the basics of discipleship, including: the call, the cost, and the command of discipleship, we moved into understanding the stages of discipleship and the spheres of discipleship.

2. Since then, we have been talking about the essentials of discipleship and have focused on the place of love, Jesus, and the Bible in the life of a disciple of Jesus.

3. Today, we add the essential of prayer in the life of a disciple.

4. Prayer in the life of a disciple should include all kinds of prayer – concentrated prayer, continuous prayer, and quick prayer.

5. I will describe what I mean by those kinds of prayer later in the sermon.

D. But let me say at the outset of this sermon: prayer is a huge subject that requires extensive study and lots of practice.

1. One sermon can’t cover every aspect of prayer, and I won’t attempt to do so today.

2. Prayer is a subject and discipline full of paradoxes.

a. Prayer is simple and basic, and yet it is filled with complexities and nuances.

b. Prayer is sometimes put into words that are verbalized, but other times prayer is just something in our hearts and minds, and is sometimes beyond words or thoughts.

c. Sometimes prayer requires lots of time and attention, persistence and patience, but other times it is brief and immediate.

d. God knows what we need before we ask, yet God wants us to ask and waits for us to ask.

e. God has a will and wants it to be done, and yet works His will through our asking.

f. God promises to give us what we ask for, and yet God reserves the right to say “no” or to give us something different and better than what we ask for.

3. I won’t pretend to know and understand all there is to know and understand about prayer, but that won’t stop me from believing in the power of prayer and obeying God’s command to pray.

E. So, what should every disciple know and believe about prayer?

1. First of all, we should know and believe that God hears and answers our prayers.

a. Psalm 17:6 says: I call on you, God, because you will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. (This verse begins with just a general truth that God hears our prayers)

b. Psalm 145:18 says: The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. (This verse adds the truth that God is near and listening to those with integrity)

c. Proverbs 15:29 says: The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (This verse adds to the requirement of integrity with idea of righteousness)

d. 1 John 5:14-15 says: This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.

e. This verse adds the understanding that our confidence about God’s hearing us and answering us comes from our relationship with Him and our knowledge of God’s will.

f. So, for starters, disciples should know that God hears and answers our prayers.

2. Second, we should know and believe that God hears and answers our prayers because we are His children, His faithful followers.

a. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 7: “7 Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Mt. 7:7-11).

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