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Summary: Spiritual growth involves playing a sort of ping-pong with God, a casual back and forth exchange between God and the believer.

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Escaping False Paradigms of Prayer

(topical)

1. A young boy was observed by a minister in church praying very fervently; but much to the preacher’s surprise, he was also heard to say from time to time: "Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo." So preacher approached the boy after he had apparently finished his prayer and said, "Son, I was very pleased to see you praying so devoutly, but tell me, why did you keep saying ’Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo?" The boy replied, "Well, you see sir, I just finished taking my geography test in school, and I have been praying for the Lord to make Tokyo the Capital of France." [Sermon Central, Jeff Strite]

2. Well, Washington D.C. is the Capitol of the U.S., and Marylu and I just came from there. No, we were not called in by the president to ask for advice, but we did see many of the sights.

3. Yet one cannot help to think about the tremendous stress it has to be on a president to lead this complex country we call the U.S.A. The Bible encourages us to pray for our leaders, and that we should.

4. We have no idea how much of a difference our prayers have made, but we have to believe they have made some difference.

5. But prayer for leaders we will never meet who live hundreds of miles away is not as personal as our many prayers.

Main Idea: Spiritual growth involves playing a sort of ping-pong with God, a casual back and forth exchange between God and the believer.

I. Prayer Is Bringing God into the STRUGGLE

A. Prayer Is About How You FEEL, Not How You Should Feel

1. We saw this last week as we examined Psalm 4 and Psalm 39

2. This week, let’s look at Psalm 137, which is a psalm of mourning and a desire for retribution…

3. Other prayers express the bleak "Dark Night of the Soul" Psalm 88

B. One Goal of Prayer is To REALIGN Your Attitude

Psalm 73:1-5, 16-26

C. We See GOD Ministering to Our Souls

1. 2 Timothy 2:1-7

2. Note that the Scriptures provide the information, but God the understanding

3. Philippians 4:6-7

4. God’s peace may be the answer He gives to a request. All our prayers are not nor could not be answered in God’s plan. Like Paul when he prayed for God to remove his thorn in the flesh, God’s answer was, "My grace is sufficient for you."

There was once a pastor who had a little five-year-old daughter. Now the little girl notice that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit, and was getting ready to preach he would bow his head for moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time. So one day after the service the little girl when to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?” “Well Honey” the preacher answered, “ I asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.” The little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come he doesn’t do it?” [Sermon Central, Don Cormie]

Main Idea: Spiritual growth involves playing a sort of ping-pong with God, a casual back and forth exchange between God and the believer.

II. Although We Need UNIQUE Times, Compartmentalizing is Not God’s Way

A. Jewish HOLIDAYS

B. COMMUNION Services

C. Many COMMANDS Can Only Be Followed if INCORPORATED in life

1. I Thessalonians 5:16-17

2. Rather than have nice, neat compartments, our prayer life should like a confusing chart that branches off in all directions.

3. Public church services need a clear-cut format; but our prayer lives do not.

D. Sometimes, as we study the Word, we BREAK OUT into prayer and praise

Romans 11:33-36

Romans 11:33-36, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"

"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

E. Prayer is Meant to Be INTERWOVEN into life

1. If our walk with God is high on the priority list, then prayer must be high

2. Researcher George Barna in 2006 asked pastors what they thought was the number 1 priority in the lives of their congregations. Pastors responded that 70% of their peoples #1 priority was their walk w/God. Keep in mind that Barna is asking pastors about people who regularly attend worship. When laypeople were asked the same question only 15% responded their walk/relationship w/God was their #1 priority. That’s a huge difference! [Source: Sermon Central, Don Crowson]

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