Summary: T/F QUESTION: True or False… God wants us to pray about something over and over and over again.
NOT-GIVING-UP KIND OF PRAYER
Starting a sermon with facts and figures is always fun for some of us, so let’s do that today! Get ready to be astounded and amazed at the numbers and what they show us. Barna research says slightly more than four out of five adults in the U.S. (84%) claim they had prayed in the past week. That has been the case since Barna began tracking the frequency of prayer in 1993. A Newsweek poll titled "Is God Listening?" indicated that, of those who pray, 87% believed that God answers their prayers at least some of the time. Even so, unanswered prayers did not deter them from praying. 85% insisted that they could accept God's failure to grant their prayers. Only 13% declared they have lost faith because their prayers went unanswered. 54% say that when God doesn't answer their prayers, it means it wasn't God's will to answer.
The things people pray for include health, safety, jobs, and even success, valid or not. 82% said they ask for health or success for a child or family member when they pray. 82% believed that God does not play favorites in answering prayers. 79% said God answers prayer for healing someone with an incurable disease. 75% asked for strength to overcome personal weakness. 73% answered that prayers for help in finding a job are answered. On the lighter side, 51% agreed that God doesn't answer prayers to win sporting events. 36% have never prayed for financial or career success.
Those numbers tell us that people pray. The articles tell us that people report that they pray. Today we will be looking at a passage that encourages us to have persistence in prayer.
BACKGROUND AND INFORMATION
Before we jump headlong into our passage today, we sort of need a little bit of background. We need some background in 2 different areas.
First, what is prayer? John Piper, a well known minister in the United States, when preaching on Colossians 4:2-4 defines prayer as, “Mainly it means asking God for things. By "things" I don't mean objects - stuff. I mean, generally, whatever your heart desires or needs. And, of course, what your heart needs most is God - to know him and trust him and love him and obey him. I know that we should come to God with more than asking. We should come confessing sins and giving thanks and praise. In a broad sense, prayer includes all that. But, speaking precisely, prayer is requesting, asking… But prayer, in the strict sense, means requesting. So I define it as asking God for things… the essence of prayer is the expression of our dependence on God through requests.” (http://pipersnotes.com/piper2k/1-9-00.htm)
I like that definition of prayer. Prayer is the expression of our dependence on God through requests. It can mean praise. It can mean confession. It can mean all those things, but let’s face it, the purpose of any prayer is to praise God, but at the same time we also need from Him. He is the Almighty God! He is the One who Forgives. He is our Provider! So now we know what prayer is and we are all on the same page this morning when we speak about prayer: Prayer is the expression of our dependence on God through requests.