Summary: Prayer is the ultimate act of trust for the Christian, and to be prayerless indicates a self-led, self-trusting life, in spite of our words to the contrary.
a. This week we witnessed a terrible tragedy in Virginia – 32 men and women entered eternity, and hundreds of others stood at the precipice of eternity and glanced into it as bullets whizzed by their ears. Join me as we pray for the victims families and the future of those who survived this encounter.
2. Question: What do you do when your back is against the wall, when you are out of options, when you don’t have anyone else to turn to and when all of your resources are gone? You cry out to God!
a. What do you think those students did who were trapped in those classrooms, hoping to survive? I have to believe that most of those young adults called out to God!
b. The very act of crying out to God is an act of prayer.
i. Prayer can be a desperate act of trust, a casting of oneself upon One greater than themselves.
ii. You may remember what the definition of trust is – to place your entire weight upon another object without reserve.
c. But what do we really mean by prayer?
i. Dwight Moody was once addressing a crowded meeting of children in Scotland. To get their attention, he asked, “what is prayer?” He really wasn’t expecting the children to answer. To his amazement, hands shot up all over the auditorium. One lad quoted his textbook answer, “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to His will, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies.”
1. That is a bit complicated and theological for a child…
2. But if Mr. Moody were to ask this question of us today, what do you think our replies would be?
3. Think about how you would reply to that question.
ii. Most people would say, “Prayer is asking God for stuff.”
1. But isn’t prayer a lot more than asking God to be our errand boy or magic genie?
2. Prayer is more than a beggar knocking on a rich man’s door.
3. Too many times, we treat prayer as a transaction and not an opportunity to commune with God. Even though we are bred to be consumers in this country, we should never get caught up in the idea that prayer is a retail experience.
iii. Prayer at its core is turning our hearts toward God.
1. Psalm 25:1 “to You Oh Lord, I lift up my soul.”
2. What prayer really is, is seeking God, because with God you have all you need.
3. Prayer is the ultimate act of trust in God.
a. Psalm 31:1-5 1 In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness deliver me. 2 Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, A stronghold to save me. 3 For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me. 4 You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. 5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit
b. The psalmist is voicing a prayer to God. His words are addressed to God Himself.
i. He proclaims that he has taken refuge, and he asks God for deliverance, rescue, and for guidance. In verse four he declares that “You (God) are my strength.” He concludes with verse 5, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.”