Summary: Prayer has been called "breathing for the soul" yet so many of us are spiritually suffocating and don’t understand why.
“Fill My Cup, Lord”
The subject upon which we will dwell this morning, is no doubt one that Satan would rather we not explore. Why? because today it is my intention to make known to you an unbeatable weapon provided to us by God. Now this particular weapon is included in the spiritual arsenal that every Christian receives when he or she reports for duty, but yet you may not
even realize that you have it. Not only is this weapon both offensive and defensive in nature, but it carries with it more than enough power to completely defeat our enemy. But unfortunately, like most of our VCRs that are always blinking 12:00, few people have a clue as to how to get the most out of it. And, because of our inability to fully understand and utilize this weapon, we easily become bored with it--in fact, chances are good that many of you routinely fall asleep while trying to use it.
If you haven’t guessed it already, our message this morning is all about prayer. Prayer is something that is absolutely vital to our spiritual well-being, in fact, aside from being a spiritual weapon, it has been rightly described as ‘breathing for the soul.’ That’s how important it is; so this morning, open your ears and your hearts, tune out any and every distraction as we explore together this powerful yet often under-estimated phenomenon.
The best way that I can think to describe prayer is that prayer for the faithful believer can become ‘spiritual wings’ by which we can potentially ascend into the very midst of heaven. But as I said earlier, far too many Christians today have yet to truly test these magnificent wings. And that’s a shame because these particular wings were designed for soaring upon the warm currents of God’s love, enabling the believing soul to rise high above any and every obstacle that we face here on this earth--that’s exactly what prayer can do!
But just as baby birds, who are not born ready to fly above the highest tree tops-- neither are we born knowing how to pray in the most effective and spiritually uplifting ways. You see, there is a process or a series of stages by which God Himself teaches us to use our prayer wings. And as we go along this morning you’ll realize that each stage of prayer seems to prepare us for--if not lead us directly into the next stage.
Today we will talk about four main stages or types of prayer. The first one that we want to consider is the most common type by far and amazingly enough, this prayer is sometimes uttered by people who don’t even profess to believe in God-- in fact it’s almost involuntary at times. We’ll call this prayer the ‘prayer of desperation.’
It would be safe to say that out of all the prayers made to Jesus in the bible, nine out of ten were of this very type. Prayers not offered in a calm spiritual manner--but abruptly wrung out of some distraught soul by a terrible affliction or pressing emergency. In fact, what these prayers lack in spirituality, they more than make up for in sheer desperation.
Now, many religious people will tell you that God will not hear unspiritual prayers from unspiritual people....but I for one will have to disagree on the basis of biblical history. Ask the blind man who had his sight restored to Him, ask the paralytic who was let down through the roof but walked out the door, ask the lepers who were made clean, or the demon
possessed who was delivered. Or ask the woman healed of her severe bleeding who prayed only in her heart as she reached out and touched the edge of the Lord’s cloak. And let’s not forget the desperate plea of the Syrophonecian mother who’s persistent plea brought her daughter back from the brink of death. Spiritual prayers? Hardly. But yet notice that they were all
mercifully answered by the Lord.
You see, in this is revealed the true goodness of God because He doesn’t wait until we’re ‘good enough’ or spiritual enough before He honors our prayers with His attention--no matter how void of spirituality they may initially be, rather He meets us where we are with what we need. In fact, I believe that as we face tragedies and trial, when we find
ourselves or our loved ones in desperate situations, there is a natural tendency placed in our hearts by God Himself that urges us to cry out to Him for help. And often it is by cries such as these that a prayer life is born and a relationship with the Lord first begins.
And, many times, out of these prayers of desperation another type of prayer is conceived. When we find ourselves coming back to God again and again, praying that He would deliver us once more from these periless predicaments that we seem to stumble into again and again, we begin to realize through the working of the Holy Spirit that many of those