Summary: A sermon series on the power of a short prayer.
Poweful Short Prayers that Were Answered Pt 1
A. I have been wanting to do a sermon series on prayer. But I was hesitant, because anytime you talk about prayer, people immediately feel bad, and often will say, “I don’t pray enough.” There are certain topics that if a preacher talks about them, people feel guilty, because they are almost never doing enough. If I talk about evangelism, we feel bad, because we don’t share our faith enough. If I talk about giving, people feel bad because they are not giving enough. If I talk about prayer people feel bad because we don’t pray enough.
B. But as I was thinking about this topic of prayer a thought came to my mind. What about short prayers? What about thought prayers that we might say during the day? Do they count? Then I started thinking of all the short prayers that are recorded in the Bible and how God mightily answered them. Now that got me excited. There is a lot of confusion about prayer in the church today. My hope is that this sermon series will help clear some of it up. I would like to start with a passage in Ephesians 6:14-20 today and take a look at one of the greatest short prayers recorded in the Bible that is found in Genesis.
Short prayers verses devotional prayers Eph 6:14-20
A. In verse 18 Paul talks about ‘praying always.” There is a lot of confusion about what Paul meant when he said this. Did he actually mean that we are not supposed to be doing anything else but pray all day? There are actually people who have felt that is what they are supposed to be doing, so they have joined religious groups and that is what they do most of every day, pray. Once I visited one of these monasteries. It was called a Trappist monastery, located in Kentucky. Interesting experience. Talking is discouraged, prayer and quiet work throughout every day is encouraged. Dinner is eaten in silence. Vespers, prayer times are held five times a day. I am sure God can use these people but it was not for me! I don’t think this is what Paul was talking about when he said, ‘Pray always.”
B. I am pretty sure Paul was talking about short thought prayer here when he says, “praying always.” Praying always is a reference to a lifestyle of prayer. This is similar to lifestyle evangelism: there are times when we are to go out and share our faith, but we are to always “be a witness.” There are times when we are to go to pray but we are to “pray always.”
C. If we don’t have daily thought prayers or short prayers, if we find ourselves going throughout the day and never even thinking about God or talking to Him, then there is real doubt of whether we really have a relationship with Him, or ever met Him. Short prayer or thought prayer means to be in constant contact with our Maker. Throughout the day, every day we must be in prayer.
D. Devotional prayers are very different. They are special times we set aside to get quiet before God. They are times we meditate on Scriptures and worship God for who He is. Devotional prayers are important. They are necessary for spiritual growth. Often it is during times of quietness that God can really speak to us and give us revelations and direction. But I need to be clear on this. First of all no one ever spends enough time in devotional prayer. And the truth is you don’t have to have devotional prayer to have a relationship with God. But you do have to have short/thought prayers to have a relationship with God. We should all seek to have set aside times alone with God but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t!
E. Many people have been taught that the ONLY kind of prayer that really counts though are long dedicated devotional prayers. Many people think that short prayers do not count. But after taking a look at all the short prayers recorded in the Bible and how God felt about them and how they really, really counted I have changed my mind about the importance of short thought prayers.
F. Let’s take a look at a very short prayer prayed by one of Abraham’s servant and how God answered this prayer. Gen 24:12-14.
Tell the story why Eliezer was on this journey Genesis 24
A. Abraham was getting very old, Sarah had died and Isaac was about 40 years old. In those days, the father did the match making and it was probably overdue that arrangements had to be made for Isaac to get married. I wonder how many of us would have ended up with the same spouse if it were up to our parents to make the arrangements. How many of you would really want your mom or dad to make your selection for a husband or wife? Might not have been such a bad idea!