Summary: Believers desire to become attached to God through prayer.
How Does One Learn to Pray?
(Inspired by material found in Harold Hazelip’s "Questions People Ask Ministers Most."
Feb. 26, 2006 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor
A Richard Dehaan tells of a story about a soldier who was standing guard near the front line in WWI.
1 He was relieved of his duty, & as a Christian, he wanted to pray (thanksgiving & continued protection).
a The enemy line was close, so he went up a little ways & began to pray aloud.
b The guard who took over for him overheard his voice & thought he was speaking to someone in the enemy lines, so he reported him.
2 The officer said, "You’ve been accused of revealing secrets to the enemy, how do you respond?" (It’s not true!)
a "Then what were you doing when you were standing out there facing the enemy & talking?" (I was praying)
b "You were praying out loud?" (Yes) "Show me, pray right now."
c The soldier got on his knees & prayed. When he got up the officer dismissed the charges.
d Why? "Because," he said, "Nobody can pray like that unless they’ve been practicing."
B Prayer causes many of us problems.
1 Trivialize prayer (little kids)
2 Selfish prayers (is it O.K. to pray for success?)
3 If God already knows about tomorrow, why pray?
4 Unusual response (IL Chester vs. Red Bud praying to win)
5 We must pray even if we don’t have it all figured out!
C It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples." Luke 11:1 (NASB)
1 Essence of the Text in a Sentence: Jesus’ disciples wanted to learn how to pray.
a Essence of the Sermon in a Sentence: Believers desire to become attached to God through prayer.
b Objective: I hope you’ll better understand how prayer fits into the life of the believer.
2 Probing Question: How well is prayer fitting into your life today?
a Transitional Sentence: Let’s look at two reasons why it’s important to fit prayer into our lives as Christians.
I The Bible calls us to pray even if we don’t understand it.
A The mother of James & John made a huge mistake in her request of Jesus to give her boys the choice seats in His kingdom. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said* to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left." Matt 20:20-21 (NASB)
1 Her request was a normal one from a mother’s heart
a She didn’t understand what she was asking
b There is a left & right place for those who have served the kingdom to win those places.
aa Not salvation!
bb Reward to come
2 Jesus didn’t use the woman’s misunderstood request to humiliate her.
a He taught her a lesson
b She learned something about how to request (pray) that day.
B Sometimes we’re like the sons of Zebedee’s momma, we don’t know what we’re really asking for when we ask.
1 God knows we are going to mess up with our prayer, we’re human.
a In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words Romans 8:26 (NASB)
b The Holy Spirit is praying on our behalf when we drop the ball in our prayer life.
2 Our prayer do not depend on me alone, nor my understanding of prayer (the power is not in my offering the prayer, but in the One hearing it).
a Don’t allow your lack of understanding to prevent you from praying.
b God’s not going to bring destruction because I prayed wrong.
C Don’t allow your lack of understanding stop you from praying.
1 (IL) I heard an anecdote recently about three of America’s greatest English experts who met for lunch. Each had written important works on common mistakes in English grammar.
2 According to the story, scarcely a word was spoken between them. They were apparently so conscious of mistakes in English usage that they preferred not to speak at all!
II We learn to pray by praying.
A Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2 saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3 "There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ’Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ 4 "For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ’Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’ " 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said*; 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8 (NASB) Our heroine was persistent in her request to the hardened judge.