Summary: There is really no need this morning to dwell upon the feelings of fear, anger, division & uncertainty that have enveloped our nation during the last few months. What we must not forget is that we're not powerless. Our voices are heard in heaven!
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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There is really no need this morning to dwell upon the feelings of fear, anger, division & uncertainty that have enveloped our nation during the last few months. And the pessimism about the impact of this pandemic is almost as bad as the pandemic itself.
A. What we must not forget is that we're not powerless. Our voices are heard in heaven! We can & need to lift our voices in prayer; to ask God to intervene & give us guidance for ways we can respond to these feelings with the love of Christ.
In Ephesians 3:14-21 the apostle Paul is praying for the Christians in Ephesus, & he is also praying for us, for all those down through the ages who come to know Jesus as Savior & Lord.
He prays, “For this reason I kneel before the Father . . . I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
“And I pray that you, being rooted & established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide & long & high & deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church & in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever & ever. Amen.”
B. Sometimes our prayers seem to be more urgent when we’re in the midst of difficulties, struggling to understand & overcome the problems that weigh heavily upon us. If that is true, then we should be a praying people, earnestly beseeching God for His help in times like this.
Someone said, “I don’t feel like praying.” His friend answered, “Well, why don’t you talk to God about it?” Prayer is simply talking to God. If you’re struggling with your prayer life, I want to assure you that God is still a prayer-hearing & a prayer-answering God.
You don't have to pray in any specific way, using holy words or repeating any religious phrases. You don't have to pray in any specific place. Anyplace you spend time with the Lord is holy ground.
You don't need to pray a long prayer – the Lord’s Prayer is rather short. You don't have to pray a flowery prayer – just speak from the heart. The important thing is that you take time to pray. And we're certainly living in a time for prayer!
ILL. In the satirical play, “Love and Death”, Napoleon walked by his lady's room & heard voices. Suspicious of her faithfulness to him, he questioned her about it.
"I was praying," she explained. "But I heard two voices," Napoleon said. "I do both parts," she replied.
C. The reason we pray is not because we believe in the power of prayer. We pray because we believe in the power of God. We believe that He is the all-powerful God of the Bible, who has not put His power on hold.
Psalm 115:3 declares, "Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him." God does whatever He pleases, & He doesn't need our vote - nor does He wait for our veto.
Even King Nebuchadnezzar knew that the God of Israel had that kind of power, for he declared, "He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven & the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have you done?’" (Daniel 4:35)
PROP. So if we're going to talk about prayer, the first thing we need is to realize the awesomeness of God. Some have been taught that the only reason to pray is to change ourselves. But that’s not the emphasis of the Bible at all.
Instead, the Bible teaches that prayer can make a difference in what God does, & that prayer can also have an effect on our circumstances.
I. PRAYER CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN WHAT GOD DOES
A. Do you respond when your kids make requests of you? Of course you do. So does God. He is the perfect parent as well as the powerful creator. And the Bible teaches that prayer can make a difference in what God does.
ILL. For instance, remember when God brought His people out of Egypt by those great miracles? Then after seeing the sea open up before them, they traveled on to Mt. Sinai.