Summary: Prayer moves us towards the will of God.
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I Need To Pray
“Prayer moves us towards the will of God.”
Sunday Morning Sermon
Intro: (Start with Text & Title)
A country preacher sold a mule to a friend, and told him the mule was trained to go when the rider said "Praise the Lord," and to stop when the rider said, "Amen." The buyer mounted the mule and commanded, "Praise the Lord," and the mule shot off like a rocket. The startled rider panicked. "Whoa!" he screamed. The mule was headed straight for a cliff, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" At the last second he remembered the preacher’s instructions. "Amen!" he shouted, and the mule screeched to a halt right at the edge of the cliff. As the new owner peered over the cliff, he wiped his brow and sighed, "Praise the Lord."...
Prayer changes our situation. Prayer changes who we are, and brings the will of God into a clearer perspective.
Can you do something for me? Can you say with me 4 simple words – “I need to pray.” Good. I’ve discovered it would be much easier to look good in your eyes, than in the eyes of God. I cut my hair, shave my whiskers, brush my teeth, take a shower – and I look pretty good – to you! I am struck by the reality that I don’t need to look good for you, and you, as good as you look this morning don’t need to look good for me or the person next to you – but we need to look good in the eyes of our heavenly father . Jesus told a group of people something fairly harsh – (Advance) Matthew 23:28 (NIV) In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Those are not nice words. People looking good on the outside, with their clean hair and clipped toe nails – but inside they are rotting away.
It is my desire this morning that you will take four words and put them into practice. I’m going to either brainwash you into praying more, or convict you into spending more time in prayer. Say those four words with me again “I need to pray”. Good. A church that prays together stays together – Amen – But also grows together.
Turn with me this morning to our text (James 5:13-20) (Advance) read
Our text this morning asks an excellent question: How do I move myself closer to the will of God? I am going to give you three ways
I. Pray (13-15)
Prayer is not a time on a calendar. I think God is offended when we pencil him in while waiting on the traffic through town. I think God is offended when we pray while trying to stay awake. I think God is offended when we rush through communion with him and offer him something less than our time. Prayer should involve all of who you are, the good the bad and the ugly.
a. Prayer is a lifestyle –
God is near to us in every moment of life. All realms are open to prayer.
James isn’t giving directions for certain kinds of prayer as much as he’s showing us that we can pray no matter what – listen to what he says
i. Is any one of you in trouble?
He should pray. So many times our response isn’t prayer! People that we care about ignore us, the IRS doesn’t like us. Our parents don’t understand us, our kids are crazy. Someone is rude to you, someone is controlling you, or some one is embarrassing you -- Your response, the godly response – prayer.
b. Prayer gives you
i. The ability to think clearer
When you take the time to stop and pray – you are given the chance to reflect and to become obedient to His spirit working in you. Now, it’s much easier to shoot your mouth off, and pick up the pieces later, hit a wall and fix the damage later. But the wise person will weight the words and actions before they get to the point of anger. Prayer gives you
ii. The time to make a good choice – good questions to ask
1. Is this the right decision for me?
2. Are these the right words to say?
Ask yourself – If I continue to say something – is God glorified? Is my own will being followed or am I working towards following His will.
Can you repeat those four words with me? (Advance) “I NEED TO PRAY” Good. Prayer gives you