Summary: Pray without ceasing
Text: Matthew 7:7-11
Theme: God answers prayer.
Prop: Persistence in prayer pays.
T.S.: Let us look at what it takes to get an answer to our prayer.
We are sorry to announce the passing of Mrs. Prayer Meeting. She died recently at the First Neglected Church on Ho-Hum Avenue. Born many years ago in the midst of a great revival, she was strong and healthy as a child, fed largely on testimony and Bible study she grew into world-wide prominence and was one of the most influential members of the Church family.
However, in recent years Sister Prayer Meeting has been failing in health, gradually wasting away until rendered helpless by stiffness of the knees, cooling of the heart, lack of spiritual sensitivity and the concern for spiritual things. Her last whispered words were inquiring about the strange absence of her loved ones, now so busy in the market place and places of worldly amusement on Wednesday evenings!
Experts, including Dr. Good Works, Dr. Socializing and Dr. Unconcerned disagree as to the fatal cause of her final illness. They all administered large doses of excuses, even ordered a last minute motivational bypass, all to no avail. A post-mortem examination showed that a deficiency of regular spiritual food, a lack of prayer and Christian fellowship, all contributed to her untimely demise.
Talk about the power in prayer.
Do we ever feel that God does not hear us?
Do we want dynamic prayer lives? Do we want to know that God is working when we pray? Do we understand what is available to us when we pray?
TRANSISTIONAL SENTENCE: Let us look at what it takes to get an answer to our prayer.
READ MATTHEW 7:7-11
I. MAN’S PART
JAMES 4:2-3 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
1. Asking requires believing . (Withering of Fig tree)
MARK 11:22-24 And Jesus *answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ’Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
JOHN 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
2. Ask in the name of Jesus.
a. John 16:24
JOHN 15:15-16 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
b. What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus.
1 JOHN 5:14-15 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
Sometimes we pray "wrongly" as James says, "to spend it on your passions" (James 4:3). We want what we want, not what God wants. Some time ago I ran across a wedding prayer that illustrates how subtly this can be done. This is a girl praying on her wedding day:
"Dear God. I can hardly believe that this is my wedding day. I know I haven’t been able to spend much time with You lately, with all the rush of getting ready for today, and I’m sorry. I guess, too, that I feel a little guilty when I try to pray about all this, since Larry still isn’t a Christian. But oh, Father, I love him so much, what else can I do? I just couldn’t give him up. Oh, You must save him, some way, somehow. You know how much I’ve prayed for him, and the way we’ve discussed the gospel together. I’ve tried not to appear too religious, I know, but that’s because I didn’t want to scare him off. Yet he isn’t antagonistic and I can’t understand why he hasn’t responded. Oh, if he only were a Christian.