Summary: Prayer is powerful! It must be caught and taught to be effective!
1. The need to pray
A mother and her children were taking a tour of New York City and were in awe of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The children were especially curious about the votive candles at the front of the cathedral, so the mother invited each of them to light one. She explained it was customary to say a prayer of petition or thanks as the candles were being lit. “These are not birthday candles,” she said. “You’re not making a wish but asking for God’s blessings.
After the family bowed for a prayer, they began to walk away. The mother asked the kids if they had any questions about what they had just experienced. “No,” said the five-year old, “but if there’s a pony outside, it’s mine!”
Surveys have found that most Americans understand or believe there is value in prayer. Gallup says 9 out of 10 American’s pray. Andy Greeley surveyed atheists and agnostics and found 1 in 5 pray regularly. That seems like a contradiction doesn’t it? But life is tough and at some time all of us feel a need to pray.
2. Luke 11.1-5
a. Good Rabbis teach their talmidim theory and application – daily conduct; religious practices; dependence on God; Prayer (“Fiddler on the Roof” – “We have a blessing for everything – even the Czar – Lord keep the Czar . . . Far from us!”)
b. Yeshua (Jesus) gives a pattern for prayer that included aspects from the “Amidah” and “Aleinu” prayers that Jewish people recite
c. He goes on in this chapter to describe perseverance in prayer (11.6-13)
3. As an introduction to a study of the Lord’s Prayer consider some aspects of prayer:
I. Prayer is Caught
A. Examples of Yeshua (Jesus) in Prayer (approximately 17 references):
He prayed often (Luke 5:16)
He prayed early in the Morning (Mark 1:35)
He prayed late at Night (Luke 6:12).
He prayed all thru the night
He prayed at the beginning of His ministry. . . (Luke 3:21-22)
He prayed before He chose His 12 disciples. . . (Luke 6:12-13)
Jesus prayed before the confession that He was the Christ. . . (Luke 9:18-20)
Jesus prayed before His Transfiguration . . .( Luke 9:28-29)
Jesus prayed before the cross . . . (Luke 22:39-42)
Jesus prayed on the cross . . . (Luke 23:34)
Jesus prayed before He began His public ministry. . . (Luke 3:21-22)
Jesus prayed before He taught His followers. . . (Luke 11:1)
He prayed while He was teaching others. . . (Matthew 11:25-26)
He prayed after He ministered to others. . . (Matthew 14:23)
Jesus prayed before healing the crowds. . . (Mark 1:35)
Jesus prayed before feeding the 5,000.( Mark 6:41)
Jesus prayed before healing the man who was deaf and mute. . . (Mark 7:34)
Jesus prayed before bringing the dead back to life . . .( John 11:41-43)
Jesus prayed for His friends. . . (Luke 22:32)
Jesus prayed for His disciples. . (John 17:9-16)
Jesus prayed for all Christians. . . (John 17:20)
Jesus prayed for those who nailed Him to the cross. . . (Luke 23:34)
And now that He is in heaven, Hebrews 7:25 says that He constantly interceding for us
(Bruce A. Shields DD with some modification)
B. Experience of Answered Prayer – James 5.16
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
1. One preacher said that in order to get people to pray more, tell them answered prayers.
2. Some people have a “connection” in prayer – that’s why we ask one another to pray for us
C. Elation of Changes Through Prayer
1. Prayer Changes “Things”
A church in a small Kentucky town was located next to a bar. The members of the church were concerned because they thought the bar was hurting their community. To make matters worse, the owner of the bar was an outspoken atheist who would taunt people from that church about their belief in God.
The church decided to hold a prayer meeting on Saturday night to ask God to intervene and settle the matter once and for all. The church met and began to pray for God to close the bar down.
During the prayer meeting a horrible thunderstorm went through the town. To the delight of the church members, lightning struck the bar and burned it to the ground! The next morning in church the preacher preached on the power of prayer.
Insurance adjusters promptly notified the bar owner that they wouldn’t pay for the damages. The fire was caused by an “act of God,” and that was an exclusion in their policy. The bar owner was furious. He decided to sue the church, claiming they had conspired with God to destroy his building and business. The church denied they had anything to do with the cause of the fire.