Summary: This message is designed to help people realize the power they have in the privilege of prayer.
Do you realize how much power we have when we pray? Do you realize how powerful prayer is? When you say you’ll pray for something, do you? I see it on Facebook all the time. Someone will request prayer and the responses are, prayers, praying, picture of praying hands. And I wonder, they say they are praying but do they really stop what they are doing, put the cell or computer, or tablet down, fold their hands together and really pray? Do you know how to pray?
In our verse for today, in Luke 11:1 it says, “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”
The men, upon whose shoulders rested the initial responsibility of Christianizing the world, came to Jesus with one request. They did not say, “Lord, teach us to preach;” “Lord, teach us to do miracles;” or “Lord, teach us to be wise.” They said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
The followers of Christ saw the example He set in praying, and they noted the direct relationship between Jesus’ ministry and His devout life of prayer. Jesus considered prayer more important than food, because the Bible says that hours before breakfast, “In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
The Son of God considered prayer more important than the assembling of great crowds of people. The Bible says, “And great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So, He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16).
The precious hours of fellowship with His heavenly Father meant more to Jesus than sleep, because the Bible says, “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).
Can you even imagine getting alone and praying all night? We do good to give God 3-5 minutes in prayer, but praying all night long?
Jesus prayed at funerals and the dead were raised. He prayed over the five loaves and two fishes and a multitude was fed with a little boy’s lunch. He prayed, “Not My will, but Yours” (Luke 22:42), and a way was made whereby sinful men and women might finally be able to approach a holy God.
It has pleased God to relate His work in the world to the prayers of His people. Let me tell you what I mean by that. Think about how people have prayed and how God has moved in answer to those prayers.
? Noah prayed, and God handed him a blueprint of the ark of deliverance.
? Moses prayed, and God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.
? Gideon prayed, and the mighty enemy fled in fear before his valiant and prayerful army of just 300 men.
? Daniel prayed, and the mouths of the lions were closed.
? Elijah prayed, and the fire of God consumed the sacrifice and licked up the water around the altar.
? David prayed, and he defeated Goliath on the Philistine battleground.
? The disciples prayed, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit so that 3,000 were added to the church in one day.
? Paul prayed, and hundreds of churches were born in Asia Minor and Europe. God does answer prayer.
You say, “Well I quit asking for prayers because God never answers mine.” If you have ever said or thought that, then maybe you’ve never been taught that some prayers are answered with a “yes” and some with a “no.” The Bible says there are specific reasons why prayers are not answered.
It may be that your prayers are not answered because of disobedience. A disobedient child cannot expect to have his cake and eat it too. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 28:15, “It shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you”.
Perhaps your prayers are not answered because of secret sin. David said, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18). Sin short-circuits the communication system between earth and Heaven, and your praying with an evil heart will not even reach God.
Another reason for prayers not being answered is selfishness or willfulness. The Bible says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Prayer serves a dual purpose: the blessing of man and the glory of God. Prayer is not just about YOU. It’s also about GOD. If a prayer is prayed willfully for our own benefit but not for God’s glory, it’s not worthy of being answered. Remember again how Jesus prayed right before He was arrested and crucified, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). That is the spirit of a prayer that is effective.