Summary: 1st in Stewardship Series 2004
Welcome, attendance pad
Luke 11 (NLT)
5Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this illustration: "Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, 6`A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7He would call out from his bedroom, `Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and we are all in bed. I can’t help you this time.’ 8But I tell you this--though he won’t do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want so his reputation won’t be damaged.9"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. 10For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.11"You fathers--if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."
Dear Father, we praise you for your good character. We praise you for your faithfulness, when so many of those around us do not seem to be so faithful. Your constant love surrounds us even when we do not clearly sense it. We are confident in your complete provision for our needs, even when it is not yet obvious to us.
Father, we pray for the many hurts that we have - some known only by you. For those in marriage near divorce, for those of us whose loved ones are very sick, for those whose emotions have been deeply wounded by those that we dearly love, for those of us needing money and seeking employment to where we believe you have called us, for those of us who need to express our deep personal emotions - let us be near you now. This morning touch our lives with your strong and powerful hand.
Help us to see ourselves, your provision for us and your everlasting love for us through your caring eyes and sensitive heart. Prepare our minds, wills and emotions as well as our spirits for worship of you this morning. Look clearly into our hearts as we sing and speak praise to you. We pray to receive all that you have to give us this morning. May our lips and lives glorify you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As you know, we are beginning today our “I Love My Church” campaign. One of the best ways to show and grow in our love for the church is through prayer, praying for the church, praying for each other. And that’s what I want us to focus on this morning.
A little boy wanted $100 very badly. He prayed for weeks, but nothing happened. So, he decided to write a letter to God requesting $100.
When the postal authorities received the letter to "God, USA", they decided to send it to the President. The President was so amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5 bill. The President thought this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy.
The little boy was delighted with the $5 bill, and sat down to write a thank-you note to God. The postal authorities forwarded this letter on to the President, too.
"Dear God, Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you sent it through Washington, D.C., and those guys deducted $95 in taxes!"
That’s an appropriate story as the election draws near.
As you begin to think about prayer—watch this video about what some people on the street had to say about prayer. And what people pray for.
(11 am --In 1996 a Spanish man visiting Stockholm on business stood to inherit about a million dollars, according to an October newspaper account in Germany’s daily Bild. Eduardo Perez had stopped off to pray at a Roman Catholic church and signed the guest book of a man whose body lay there in a coffin. Perez was later notified that the deceased, real-estate developer Jens Svenson, had died without heirs and had specified that "whoever prays for my soul gets all my belongings."
Don’t you wish your prayers yielded results like that?)
I bet if I surveyed you today most of you would conclude that your prayers are ineffective. You seldom see results or answers that are as clear as you’d like them to be.