Sermons

Summary: God will answer us if we ask.

Prayer

Matthew 7:7-12

"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. [8] "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. [9] "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? [10] "Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? [11] "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! [12] "Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

If you ask the young children in our Sunday School, "How can I be a better Christian?" They are likely to respond, "Go to church, read your Bible and pray." Even the youngest among us know the value of doing these things, yet every week there are empty pews at the church, and dusty, unread Bibles in our homes. And most of us would admit we don't pray enough. How many of you are satisfied with your prayer lives?

In this text, Jesus promises to respond to our prayers, if we will only pray them. So, my question is, WHY DON'T WE ASK?

Do we not ask because we don't trust God?

Fidel Castro, the notorious Cuban dictator, recently offered to send monitors to supervise a new presidential election if asked by the United States. As generous as his offer was, I doubt that he will be getting a phone call anytime soon. A communist dictator probably doesn't have any expertise that the US can use to help grease the wheels of democracy.

I can understand why the US government won't be asking Castro for help, but I don't understand why Christians are slow to ask God for help. I know we trust Him, so why do we suffer from an epidemic of prayerlessness?

(From Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html )

Our text today clearly says He will respond if we ask. Look at Matthew 7:7 again, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.

Do we not ask because things are going well? I know that I did not suffer from prayerlessness when I was struggling with cancer. Have you noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well?

This Thanksgiving, many of us took time to thank God for what we have. Some of us even concluded we have all we want. Contentment is a virtue, but not when we say we "have all we want" and the "all" does not include God. St. Augustine said, "God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full - there's nowhere for Him to put it."

Do you think that we regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it? --C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, pg 96

Do we not ask because we are too busy doing good? Billy Kim is the newly elected Baptist World Alliance President and the pastor of a 13,000 member church, the Suwon Church in South Korea. In his comments after his election, he said, "If I had to do it all over, I would do more praying and less preaching."

(From Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html )

How could that be? Isn't preaching a high calling? Yes, but so is praying. When we preach, people listen, but when we pray, God listens. When we preach, people act, but when we pray, God acts.

Faith praying can change the world. The scripture says, " . . .if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you." (Matthew 17:20 NASB)

After the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl a few years ago, Gilbert Brown was a hot commodity. Jacksonville offered him an extra million dollars to put his 325 pound body into their uniform, but Brown decided to stay in Green Bay.

Why would he turn down a million dollars? A tearful little girl in an autograph signing session asked him to stay.(From Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html )

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE ASK?

When we ask, Revival Comes.

Jim Cymbala began at the Brooklyn Tabernacle as an ill-equipped, under-educated, time-strapped preacher who led a second congregation in New Jersey. The Brooklyn church had no money to pay him, a ramshackle building, and barely enough attendance to bother with weekly meetings.

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