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Summary: The sermon lays the foundation for a fuller devotion to the praying for the church and believer.

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Getting Serious About Prayer

Jeremiah 33:3

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, Mo

Do you believe in prayer? Really believe in prayer. This is how one lady came to believe. This supposedly true story started this way:

One summer Saturday morning, a preacher had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then was afraid to come down. He coaxed, offered warm milk, and anything he could think of. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided to pull the branch down so he could reach the kitten.

He couldn’t pull it by hand so he threw a rope over a high branch of the tree and tied a rope to his car. He slowly drove the car away from the tree. He watched his progress carefully, waiting for just the right time when the tree would be bent over far enough that he could reach the cat or it would jump on its own. He drove farther and farther away. The tree bent further and further toward the ground.

Then it happened. The unexpected! Boooiiinning!! The rope broke; the tree flipped back in the opposite direction and one little kitten went sailing out of sight. Not being a “cat person” that would where the story would end if it had been me. The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they’d seen a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen either a stray cat or flying kitten. Finally, he gave up and put it out of his mind.

Monday morning, the preacher was at the grocery store and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. Now this woman made no secret of her dislike for cats. So cat food was the last thing he expected to see her buying. “Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?” She replied, “You won’t believe this . . .” and then she proceeded to tell her story.

Her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the mom finally told her little girl, “Well, if God gives you a cat, I’ll let you keep it.” She told her minister, “That was last Saturday. I watched my little girl go out in the yard, get on her knees and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, I wouldn’t have believed this if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Just as she finished praying, a kitten suddenly came flying out of the sky, paws spread out, meowing to high heavens. It landed on all fours right in front of her. That’s why I am buying cat food!”

Do you believe in prayer? Do we believe in prayer? I know the answer is yes. But I also suspect that the practice of our faith regarding prayer can be a lot more than it is. This is the purpose of our evening studies together. I want us individually and collectively to be the kind of praying people and praying church that are more surprised when God doesn’t answer our prayers than we are when he does.

My core conviction is this: many things are important to the victorious Christian life. A few are absolutely essential. One of those items that we dare neglect is prayer. S. D. Gordon was right when he wrote, “The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer, nor those who believe in prayer, nor yet those who can explain about prayer, but I mean those people who take time to pray.”


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