Summary: This message examines why some people are powerful in prayer while others are of little impact.
- [Have some massive weights on platform off to the side.] I have before me here on the platform some heavy weights and I want to ask you a simple question: do you think I can lift these weights over his head? [Try it and can’t.]
- Because I don’t work out, the fact that I could not lift these weights is a surprise to no one in the
sanctuary, least of all me. I know that if I haven’t been working out and building up muscle strength that I don’t have a prayer of lifting these weights.
- And yet, on our subject for this morning, we time and again see people basically trying to do what we all just agreed that I couldn’t do with these weights. Our subject this morning is prayer.
- So many people believe that, even if they haven’t prayed in weeks or months or years, they ought to be able to step right up and utter a prayer that is a world-shaker. But as we get into the Word this morning, we are going to find that that’s rather like believing you can step right up to this weight and jerk it over your head without having worked out.
- The simple question we are dealing with is: “Do all pray-ers get the same result?”
- The answer most people would give is, “Yes, of course,” but the answer most people would give is not necessarily the Bible’s answer.
What Is Prayer?
- To get a greater understanding of this, let’s begin with what prayer is.
- Many people treat prayer as a magical incantation: “Hocus pocus,” “Alakadabra.” You just say
the right words and what you want to have happen, happens.
- But prayer is not a magical incantation; prayer is a relationship. Prayer is the developing of a relationship with our Father in heaven.
- Consider this morning two of the relationships I have in my life. One is with Mr. Adkins. Mr.
Adkins is the fellow we call when the furnaces or air conditioners here at the church go down. My relationship with Mr. Adkins consists of having a problem, calling him, he comes, he fixes it, we exchange a few pleasantries, he leaves, and I don’t see him until there’s another problem. A second relationship I have is with my wife Karen. I love her, I changed where I lived when we got married so I could be with her, I changed my plans for my life to include her, I talk to her about everything of importance to me, I see her everyday and miss her when I don’t get to be around her.
- The truth is that many people want a “Mr. Adkins” relationship with God. God offers us so much more than that - a relationship that even goes beyond a “Karen” relationship.
- And, in relating to our subject for this morning, whether we have a “Mr. Adkins” relationship or a “Karen” relationship with God is going to have a huge difference in the outcome and impact of our prayers.
The Big Question
- Verse 19 puts before us the simple reality that not all pray-ers get the same result. Jesus got a
result that the disciples were unable to. The disciples want to know: how come You could and
- For us this morning, we want to know what the keys are to powerful prayer, so that our prayers will be effective.
Getting Results In Prayer
1. Look with me at v. 20.
- One reason for a lack of power in our prayers is a lack of faith. [Note what v. 20 says.]
- Cf. Matt. 21:22 - “And whatever thing you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
- Cf. Mark 11:24 (parallel passage to our text) - “Therefore I say to you, whatever thing you ask
when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
- Notice in each the key of belief, of faith.
- The obvious question then is, “How do I get more faith in God, more belief in the amazing things He is able to do?” That takes us back to the idea that prayer is a relationship rather than a magical incantation. The best way I know to get more faith in the amazing things God is able to do is to have seen Him do some amazing things. But for people who don’t have much a prayer life, for people who aren’t watching for God’s moving each day, what they mostly do is wish (“I really hope God able to do something”) rather than having rock-solid, hard-core, deeply-held
2. Look with me at v. 21.
- A second reason for our lack of power in prayer is a lack of obedience. [Note what v. 21 says.]