Summary: Praying for one another fervently and faithfully is our privilege and responsibility.
A. The story is told about three men were hiking one day and unexpectedly came upon a large, raging, violent river.
1. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.
2. The first man prayed to God, saying, “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”
a. Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours, after almost drowning a couple of times.
3. Seeing this, the second man prayed to God, saying, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river.”
a. Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about an hour, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times.
4. The third man had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools and the intelligence to cross this river.”
a. And Poof! God turned him into a woman. She stopped someone and asked for directions and was told that just a couple of hundred yards up stream was a bridge.
5. Sometimes we have to be careful about what we pray for!
B. Look at this Peanut cartoon…
1. Prayer is a mystery to us – we are always trying to figure it out, right?
2. I’m guessing that most of us believe in prayer, but we would have to admit that we don’t feel like we are very good at it, or that we don’t do enough of it.
3. One survey revealed that the average church member spends four minutes a day in prayer, while the average minister spends just seven minutes a day in prayer.
4. Why is that?
C. Richard Meyer gave three reasons for our lack of prayer in his chapter on praying for one another, in his book “One Anothering.”
1. First, he said that we don’t pray because we don’t know how to pray.
a. And that certainly can be a reason.
b. Many of us may feel like we don’t know where to begin, or we aren’t sure what to say.
c. There is a need to learn how to pray, it is not something that we know automatically.
2. Second, he said that we don’t pray because we don’t think prayer accomplishes much.
a. I don’t’ think that many people would admit to this, and yet many may feel that way.
b. Deep down we might think that prayer is a nice religious thing to do because it makes us feel better, but that’s about all it does.
c. Do we really believe that prayer moves the hand of God? Do we really believe that prayer unleashes the power of God?
d. If we really believe that shouldn’t it cause us to pray more than we do?
3. Finally, Meyer says that we don’t pray because we have a faulty concept of God.
a. If we view God as a cosmic kill-joy, then we will not go to God very often in prayer.
b. If we picture God as a colossal vending machine, whose sole purpose is to give us what we want, then we go to him, put in our quarter and out pops what we desire.
c. The problem is – that’s not the way it works. When we don’t get what we want, we become disappointed and angry and we kick the machine for swallowing our prayer.
d. The right view of God is to see Him as our Heavenly Father, who is a great parent who hears all our requests but gives us what is good for us, which is not always what we want.
e. Understanding that God is a loving, heavenly parent will have an effect on how we pray and on our desire to pray.
4. I’d like to add two more to Meyer’s list – I think that sometimes we don’t pray as much as we should because we are too self-reliant, too self-sufficient.
a. We are over-confident in our own abilities to handle life.
b. We tell God that we will handle all the little stuff and only bring the big stuff to Him.
c. So we think we don’t need much prayer.
5. Also, we sometimes don’t pray because we have TB – too busy.
D. Nevertheless, whatever our objections, struggles or hesitancies are regarding prayer, they do not change the fact that we are called to pray, and we are called to pray specifically for one another.
1. Paul gave this command at the end of his letter to the Ephesians, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18)