Summary: A sermon that precedes bringing the church to a new level of focused prayer. Text, outline & audio will be placed at www.sermonlist.com
Have you ever seen somebody try to use a tool that they had not used before? They are clumsy and awkward at best, and they certainly do not get as good of results as someone who knows how to use that tool.
Too many people go into prayer without giving any thought as to how they should pray. We have been taught that prayer is talking to God, and that is pretty much the extent of our teaching.
Last Sunday, in Bible class, I emphasized the need to focus on God as we pray to Him. I said it was fine to talk to Him all day long while we do other things, but we also need time to be alone with God. We need to have a time with no interruptions, nothing pulling our attention away from God, a time when we slow down and know that He is God.
I feel God calling us to take our prayer life to a new level here at CrossRoads; both individually and corporately within the church. Most of the churches I have attended throughout my lifetime have mentioned prayer, but have never taught on prayer. They have told about prayer, but have never modeled prayer.
Yet, prayer is the most important tool we have in our walk with the Lord. It is also the most powerful weapon we have in fending off the onslaughts of the evil one. And, it is the least understood and least used of all the blessings God has given to us.
Don came to us with cancer growing quickly in his brain and in his lungs and lymph nodes. The prognosis was dire. And Don was in that situation where he had to face the facts that we all try out best to ignore; the facts of our own mortality.
We prayed for Don, anointing him with oil, and we laid hands upon him as we prayed, just like it tells us to in the Bible. It wasn’t a one-time deal, as we continued to pray over him and anoint him several times.
Many a night, I would wake early and kneel in my living room, going to the Lord in very focused prayer. I began to see God’s work in Don, getting rid of the cancer. I had others outside this church praying for him, in groups and in individual prayer closets.
Purlene called me the other day to give me some news. She said they had been to the doctor again and he said the tumors were shrinking. I love her attitude. She told the doctor that wasn’t good enough; she wanted to know how much they were shrinking. The doctor told her that in this short time they have shrunk about 50% and were still getting smaller.
Let’s hear praise for what the Lord has done for Don!
Last week, Lorene came up during invitation, asking for prayer. She had been very sick for the entire week, having pains in her stomach and being nauseous. In addition, she had a steady and pounding migraine for several days.
We anointed her with oil and laid hands on her while we prayed. When we got done, she stood there, weak and half faint. She said she had never experienced feeling like that before. Diana walked her to a chair and sat with her, holding her hand and talking to her.
By the time she and Leon were on their way home, the stomach had stopped hurting and the migraine was gone. In fact, I talked to her Wednesday and she said she had not had so much energy in months.
I told her we serve a God of abundance. When we are serious about our requests, and go to Him with a focused mind, he gives us more than we ask for. I told her that if she would have had a hang-nail, He would have cured that, too!
What happened? Was it something I did? I can tell you right now that it was not anything I did. All I did was do what we are all called to do; I went to the Father in sincere prayer. It was God and Don and Lorene who did all the doing. They had the faith to believe what God promises.
Over and over again, you read where Jesus would heal someone and then tell them it was their faith that made them well. It was Don and Lorene’s faith that healed them.
Last week, I talked a little about the Beatitudes in Matthew, chapter 5. Today, I want to continue talking about what Jesus said to His disciples.
Turn with me to MATTHEW 6:5-15.
Jesus and His disciples were on the side of a mountain where they sat down to rest. While they rested, Jesus began teaching them. All the things He taught them at this time are called the Beatitudes. Today, I want to tell you what He taught about prayer, so that we might be able to have a more effective prayer life.