Summary: Forgiveness is an active choice. Forgetting is a passive process in which a matter fades from our memory with the passing of time. The sad thing is when it comes to people who have offended us, we have total recall.
A young man in college was visiting his girlfriend’s hometown for the first time. We’ll call him Tommy. It was a small town with only one drug store. Tommy stopped in and told the pharmacist he wanted to buy three boxes of chocolate: a small box, a medium box, and a large box. The pharmacist asked why he was buying three boxes. Tommy said, “Well, I’m going to my girlfriend’s house for supper. If she only lets me hold her hand, I’ll give her the small box. If she lets me give her a kiss on the cheek, then I’ll give her the medium box. But if she lets me do some serious smooching, I’ll give her the big box.”
That evening at dinner his girlfriend’s father asked Tommy to pray before the meal. Tommy proceeded to pray a long, sincere, intense prayer that lasted over five minutes. When he finally said, “Amen,” his girlfriend said, “Why Tommy you never told me you could pray such powerful prayers!” Tommy said, “And you never told me that your father was the local pharmacist!”
The Bible has a lot to say about prayer. Jesus was such a powerful prayer warrior that the disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They never asked Him to teach them to preach, or to do miracles. But they coveted His prayer life.
In this message we’re going to talk about “God’s Prescription for Powerful Prayer.” In Mark 11, we’ve been following the activity of Jesus during the week that will end with a crucifixion and an empty tomb. In the last passage Jesus spoke about mountain moving faith.
Mark 11:24-33 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism--was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’…” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
Jesus actually does answer the question about His authority by telling a parable which we find in Mark 12. That’s our next lesson. Today we’re going to learn about powerful praying.
My parents taught me to pray when I was a child. I can remember starting with the simple prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.” Around the age of six I learned I could pray and ask God for something and He would give it to me. I can clearly remember the first time I asked God for something.
We lived in South Alabama close to Ft. Rucker, where the Army trained helicopter pilots so dozens of helicopters flew over our house each day. I was fascinated with helicopters, so whenever I heard one I ran out and waved my arms for them to land and give me a ride. None ever did, of course, so I decided to try prayer.
So, one night, before I went to bed I got on my knees and I asked God to give me a helicopter. I told him I wanted a real one, not a toy. I went on to describe it in case God had never seen a helicopter. I asked Him to just have it parked in the field behind our house the next morning. I prayed so sincerely, the next morning I got up and got dressed to go flying. I truly expected to find a helicopter behind my house. I ran out back ... and would you believe it? One of the army helicopters made an emergency landing in the field! Not really. I just asked you if you would believe it. When I didn’t find a helicopter I remember thinking, “This praying stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Where’s my helicopter?” Since then, I’ve learned much more about prayer—and I’m still learning. I came to realize the reason I didn’t have a helicopter was not God’s fault; I just needed to learn more about praying. In this passage we are going to learn three principles about powerful praying.