Summary: Has God changed or have our prayers gotten smaller?
TITLE: PRAY BIG! (By Mark Nichols)
TOPIC: Praying for God to do Big things!
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, January 29th, 2008
PROP.: Because our God is BIG, our prayers should be BIG!
All month long, PRAYER has been our focus! We want to become known as the PRAYING CHURCH.
Last week’s sermon dealt with the real issue of what happens when God doesn’t answer my prayers? And the conclusion we shared last week was that God answers ALL prayer…he just doesn’t answer our prayers the way we like.
UPDATE: I shared last week the illustrating story of Jason Ray and his parents (Emmitt and Charlotte Ray)…well, the Ray will be appearing on Oprah in the near future so be watching for that story!
Today I want to start by sharing a recent observation. There is so much focus it seems these days on making everything smaller.
Computers - (show a picture of an old computer…then show picture of new
Cars - Have you seen the new Indian made car? (show picture of mini-
cooper…then the Nano - Indian made car…then smart car).
Cell Phones - Also, cell phones! (show picture of bag phone, 80’s cell phone, Zack Morris cell phone modern cell phone, LATEST cell phone!)
Just as Cars and Cell phones have gotten smaller over the years, I wonder: Have our prayers gotten smaller over the years? The Bible is filled with people who prayed big prayers and as a result, God moved!!! What has changed? God hasn’t. The same God who performed miracles at the request of His people is the same God we praise today! Why isn’t God doing big things today? Could it be that His people aren’t praying big prayers?
Today I want to challenge you pray big things! When we first started this series, I challenged you “imagine if…” and today, I want to carry through with that challenge!
PRAY BIG…EXPECT GOD TO MOVE BIG!
T.S.: Today, I want to focus on three specific prayers of people who prayed BIG and how God responded! The three people who prayed are pretty famous. They are heroes of the faith. Elijah, Joshua, and Isaac are the people we want to focus our attention on this morning.
NOTE: God answered big prayers of each of these individuals. Why? Because they were faithful, Righteous (holy), and doing God’s will!
Why pray BIG prayers? Because God is big enough to handle your prayers! God is able to more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)
First, let’s turn our attention to Elijah:
I. Elijah - (1st Kings 17, James 5:17,18)
1. Some background on Elijah:
--Who was He?
Elijah is known as the greatest prophet in the Old Testament! (A prophet is God’s mouth piece and advisor to the King…only often times, the King wouldn’t listen to God’s prophets!) He was born and raised in an obscure village in Gilead, Elijah’s entire career was a protest against the idolatry and corruption into which the northern Kingdom, Israel, had declined. He clashed repeatedly with the King (who was morally weak) known as Ahab and his domineering, prophet-persecuting wife Jezebel. Elijah was not only a prophet, but a patriot who loved His God and his nation. Elijah is often confused for his successor (Elisha).
--What was he famous for?
He is known for being colorful and outspoken. Elijah is famous for many encounters including: Being fed by Ravens in the wilderness…His encounter with the widow from Zarephath whose jars of flour and oil miraculously did not run dry…for raising the widow’s son back to life…Defeating the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel…closing the heavens from rain for 3 ½ years…Probably one of the most famous things that Elijah is noted for is that He didn’t die! 2nd Kings 2 tells us that Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire! But if you ask me, Elijah was most famous for being obedient to God! That’s why all of this stuff happened, because of his faithfulness to his God!
--Where can we read his story? 1st Kings 17 - 2nd Kings 2
Let’s read what the Bible has to say about Elijah’s BIG prayer:
Drought on the land:
As Elijah’s story opens, we find him upset with the King Ahab’s actions. King Ahab had turned the Kingdom of Israel away from worship of God in favor of worship of Baal. So in order to turn King Ahab back to God, Elijah prayed for a drought to come upon the land. And God shut the heavens for 3 ½ years (James 5:17,18)
17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.