Summary: Prayer isn't a wish list. Prayer isn't a formal conversation. Pray is a vulnerable, honest, and raw conversation with God. God doesn't want the information, He wants the conversation.
Title: Does Prayer Even Work?
Text: Matthew 6:5-13
Bottom Line: Prayer isn’t a wish list, it’s the foundation to a relationship.
A couple years ago I was asked to be in a wedding in Iowa. An other buddy of mine was also in the wedding and we decided we would fly out a day or two early and hang out. We asked the groom what airport to fly because my only experience with Iowa was the smell. And we were told Minneapolis and Iowa City were both an hour an a half away. We figured Minneapolis had less corn, so that was the better choice to spend a day in.
We flew in, got our rental car and spend the evening exploring the area. Later that night in our hotel room I decided to look up the directions for the next day to the wedding venue… Turns out we were 5 and half hours away from the wedding venue… Iowa City, was 40 minutes from the venue. To make matters worse Minnesota has an extra tax on out of state drivers for rental cars upwards of $800…
I don’t know about you but nothing drives me more crazy then being told the wrong information… And that’s why we decided to do this Misquoted series. Because there’s a lot of people that have been told something that Jesus never said. They have the wrong information.
And I think this has been a great series. Because there are so many misquotes and misconceptions about Jesus floating around it’s really important that we as a church, and individually, examine ourselves to make sure that we are standing on what Jesus actually said. Because if we don’t we will leave a trail of hurt people behind us.
And the reality is there are some of you in this room that you’ve been hurt by these things. For the rest of us, maybe you haven’t been personally effected by these. But you have people in your life that have. We want to address some of these things and talk about what Jesus actually did say.
This series is especially important for the season that we are heading into as a Church. As we figure out what our new normal looks like it’s really important that we focus on what Jesus said and make sure our foundation is off his words.
Today we are going to talk about prayer. There’s a lot of crazy ideas out there about prayer. Just do a quick google search and you will see a myriad of thoughts and beliefs on what prayer is and how it works. Some are good, and a lot are crazy. That’s left a lot of people confused and lead astray, because they’ve been told prayer is something different then what it really is.
Many of us in this room would probably admit that our prayer isn’t where we want it to be. It might not be bad, but there’s probably room for improvement. Let’s be honest how many of our prayers lives look like this… God, thank you for today, thank you for providing, please be with… Did I forget to paint that spot on the wall? I think I’m out of clean shirts… I can’t forget to pick up milk later… And the next thing you know you are replacing your screen that has a whole in it, right? Come on be honest, how many of you have done that?
I’m guessing for most of us when we pray today it feels more like a check list then it does a conversation. Many of us start praying but a few minutes in we start thinking about work, or a conversation you had earlier, or how awesome the Super Bowl was this past year and how great Tom Brady is… Or is that just me?
Or maybe prayer is tough for you because one time you prayed for something really big and nothing happened. Or what happened was exactly what you prayed wouldn’t happen.
When I was 9 my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given three months to live. And at that age here’s what I knew. God loved me and God listened to me when I prayed. So my assumption was if those two things are true, then he has to answer my prayer the way I want. Because God loves me and I love my dad, surely he won’t take him away. And I knew that God listened to my prayers so this one has to be answered.
But exactly what I prayed for not to happen, did. At a young age it left me confused about prayer was even for and if it even worked. If God loves me why didn’t he answer that prayer? Did I do something wrong? Maybe I didn’t believe enough, or maybe I didn’t have enough faith?