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Summary: Prayer / Evangelism (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Reading: Luke chapter 11 verses 1-13.

Ill:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson went on a camping trip.

• As they lay down for the night,

• Holmes said, "Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what you see."

• Watson said, "I see millions and millions of stars".

• Holmes asked, "And what does that tell you?"

Watson replied,

• "Astronomically,

• It tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.

• Theologically,

• It tells me that God is great and that we are small and insignificant.

• Meteorologically,

• It tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.

• What does it tell you?" asked Watson.

• Sherlock Holmes replied; "Somebody has stolen our tent."

Sometimes we miss the obvious in life!

• When it comes to evangelism;

• One of the obvious things we can easily over look is prayer!

• If I’m honest I am much better at talking to people about God;

• Than talking to God about people!”

Quote

“In evangelism there is no point talking to people about God;

Until first you have talked to God about people!”

I want to use as a springboard for our thoughts this morning:

• The Lord’s prayer (although technically the Lord’s prayer is John chapter 17) in Luke’s gospel.

• This really is the disciples prayer e.g. verse 1b: “Lord teach us to pray”

(1). The priority of prayer (verse 1).

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples”.

Question: What do you think of when someone mentions John the Baptist?

Answer:

• His habitat (surroundings not the shop)

• Raised in the solitude and loneliness of the desert.

• His clothes; He wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.

• This was not a fashion statement; but in the desert this was all that was available.

• His food: He ate locusts and wild honey;

• Once again this was not some sort of special diet, he simply ate what he could find.

• His message: he had a unique style (ill: fire & brimstone):

• Quote: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath!”

• His unusual practice: He is known throughout history as John the Baptist;

• Not because he founded a denomination but because he baptised Jewish people (shock!)

• His death: Beheaded at the whim of a young teenage girl aided on by her mother;

• His death was sordid & violent, the very opposite of the man himself.

Now John the baptiser is one of my favourite Bible characters:

• I have a folder at home full of sermons on John the baptiser;

• Yet I have not got one entitled; “The prayer life of John the baptiser!”

• I did not realise until I started preparing this sermon;

• That to the disciples of Jesus; they remembered him as a man of prayer.

• In fact as I strain my brain, apart from here in Luke chapter 11;

• I cannot remember any of the gospels recording the fact John the baptiser ever prayed.

• Yet he obviously he did and the disciples of Jesus took note of the fact;

• That John taught his disciples to pray and they felt they were missing out on something.

Ill:

• Don’t forget John was a "miracle baby," filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born,

• And yet……………………… he had to pray.

• He was privileged to publicly introduce Jesus the Messiah to Israel,

• And yet……………………… he had to pray.

• Jesus said that “John was the greatest of all the prophets” (chapter 7 verse 28),

• And yet……………………… he had to pray.

• If prayer was that vital to a man who had these many advantages,

• How much more important it ought to be to us who do not have these advantages!

Maybe this is one of the secrets to John’s powerful and effective evangelistic ministry:

• He was a man of prayer;

• And as a result God worked in him and through him!

Verse 1 is interesting, and worth noting:

• John had taught his disciples the value of prayer;

• And Jesus' disciples observed this and they too wanted to learn how to pray better.

• Notice: They did not ask Jesus to teach them how to preach like John.

• They did not ask Jesus to teach them how to do great signs & miracles;

• They asked Him to teach them to pray.

• They realised that this was a priority for any disciple of Jesus Christ.

One the greatest arguments for the priority of prayer in the life of a Christian;

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