Summary: To pray effectively about our problems we must pray in faith.
I read about "The Road to Nowhere" this week. Just outside of Bryson City, NC is a beautiful highway that simply goes no place. It’s what’s left of an abandoned attempt to create a highway between Bryson City and Townsend, Tennessee. Environmental concerns caused them to halt the project. Those who travel the road tell of how beautiful the scenery is and how smooth the highway is, but it simply comes to an end. (Preaching J/A 2001)
Is your prayer life like this? Do you feel like the scenery is wonderful and the experience is pleasant enough, but it’s not getting you anywhere? Do you pray about your problems and come away thinking, “That was nice but I still don’t know what to do?”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “just pray.” By this I mean that I don’t want to just take a nice scenic ride when I pray, although riding around with God is very nice. I want to get somewhere with God. I want God to give me some practical help with my problems. Don’t you? For example, how am I to handle problems I am having relating with difficult people? And what about those financial struggles we all tend to experience, not to mention marriage issues and moral temptations.
We need practical help from God, and the good news is that God wants to give us the specific help we need! This reminds me of my first day on the job as a Mechanical Engineer in a Power Plant. I knew only enough to be dangerous, but I was the Engineer. I was called over to approve the start up of a recently overhauled machine. When I arrived it was plain for all to see that I was the new guy because I was the only one with a very clean white hardhat. No knowing what to do I went over to the oldest guy with the dirtiest hard hat and asked, “What do you think? Is this thing ready to go?” And based on his expertise and advice, I signed off on it.
When you are faced with day-to-day practical issues and problems that you don’t have a clue how to solve, you need to know that you can take them to the One who does know what to do and that He’ll help you. That’s the point of today’s message. If we will pray about our problems and pray in faith when we pray about our problems, God will tell us what to do and He will help us do it.
This is third of four messages in our “Prayer Can Change Your Life” series. We’ve looked at the four purposes of prayer and the five conditions of answered prayer over last two weeks. Today our focus is How to Pray about Your Problems – those that you individually have and that you need specific help with. We are again following Rick Warren’s outline for this message from his series by the same name.
Faith is the Master Key that unlocks the door to an effective prayer life! In our new Community Life Center we have one master key that unlocks every door. This master key allows us to get into every room that has just what we need to meet our various needs at any particular time. Likewise, to gain access to the various things of God to meet our many needs in life, we need to have and to use Master Key of Faith!
A. How Do You Get this Master Key of Faith?
Romans 10:17 says that, “Faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” In the context of our verse the message is the Good News of the Gospel of Salvation. To come to saving faith in Jesus a person must hear the Gospel in a way that makes sense to him. When this happens, the Holy Spirit gives him the faith to be saved, if he wants to. I met a guy I will call “Joe” this week through the Evangelism Response Center. I had the joy of sharing the Billy Graham tract, “Steps to Peace with God” with him and helped him to clearly understand the Gospel. While I was doing this the Holy Spirit was telling him that what I was saying was true and that it was true for him. He decided to accept Jesus, so this message of salvation was applied to his life.
My job, and yours, is to communicate the message clearly. That’s why when I witness or preach and teach I use illustrations and word pictures and PowerPoint presentations and video clips and testimonies, so people can easily “hear” the message of Word of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit illuminates the person’s understanding, enabling him to know that the message is true and true for him. This births and grows faith to believe the message and to receive it. When he does, it is applied to his life. In this case the application was for salvation. In your case it may be to meet a need or to solve a problem you are experiencing.