Summary: How to plead with God to hear your prayers. 1- Ask early 2- Hate evil 3- Seek mercy 4- Live righteously 5- Find refuge
INTRO.- ILL.- One Sunday in a Midwest city a little boy was "acting up" during the morning worship. His parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally the father picked the little boy up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer the little boy called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
Do we believe in prayer? Or do we just believe in prayer in times of emergency only?
As you well know, many people only pray when they are confronted with something extremely difficult or unmanageable in life.
ILL.- I remember going to a funeral home before a funeral to be with the family of a deceased husband. I have often done that but generally, only if I have been asked because most family members want some private time to grieve and especially, the first time they view their deceased loved one. This time was an exception.
I stayed back while the family viewed their loved one. The wife of deceased almost immediately broke down in hysterical crying. She screamed out loud, “Would somebody please pray!” What would YOU do in a situation like that? Since I was speaking at the funeral I immediately stepped up and offered a prayer, hoping it would comfort the man’s wife at least a little. And it seemed to do that.
Isn’t it interesting how coming into the presence of God can calm the spirit and soul of a person?! Shouldn’t this tell us something about prayer? Shouldn’t this tell us that we need more time in His presence in order to calm us while living in this hectic world?
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That lady was not a Christian as far as I can remember and her husband suddenly left this world from a heart attack. She was in shock! He meant so very much to her. She needed help. She needed the comfort of prayer. She needed the Lord. And prayer is certainly the right approach to God.
Why pray? Because in prayer we bow, we humble ourselves before Him. We admit our need. We admit our helplessness. We admit we need Him, His strength, His help, His blessing, His mercy and grace. AND WE DO! We do every day.
Give ear to my words, O Lord. Don’t we want God to hear us when we pray?
PROP.- How to plead with God to hear your prayers.
1- Ask early
2- Hate evil
3- Seek mercy
4- Live righteously
5- Find refuge
1. ASK EARLY
3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Does the Lord hear your voice every morning? I hope so.
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
John Bunyan (November 1628 – August 1688) was an English Christian writer and preacher, famous for writing The Pilgrim's Progress. He wrote: “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.”
Could this be true? If this is true, then we’d better start our days in prayer. At least, I have discovered that my days go better with prayer.
He also wrote: “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” Prayer enhances us and empowers us for life!
Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”
ILL.- I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
I didn’t have time to pray.
Troubles just tumbled about me
And heavier came each task.
Why doesn’t God help me, I wondered,
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I tried to come into God’s presence,
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“Why child, you didn’t knock.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on grey and bleak,
I called on the Lord for the reason—
He said “You didn’t seek.”
I woke up early this morning
And paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.
ILL.- C. S. Lewis wrote: “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” That other, larger, stronger, quieter life should be the Lord speaking to us as we seek Him in prayer.