Summary: This message flows out of a personal desire to be more effective in prayer and a desire to help others along that journey as well. How do we move into greater spiritual authority so that our prayers get answered?
My message this morning flows out of a personal quest for more effectiveness in prayer. Anybody here like to be more effective in your prayer life? By effective I mean “answered prayer.” I’m ok with answers that say to me, “Richard, you are asking amiss on that one; you need to modify your request so that I can answer it. It’s absurd to think that I would simply tell God how to run things and call that prayer. But I want a relationship with Him that includes clear communication between us and the ability to pray in a way that gets answers. There is a lot of teaching on techniques of prayer. For the most part, I have not found techniques all that important or even helpful. I wouldn’t totally discard it; but God looks upon the heart (I) and I’m pretty sure that is where the answer to our inquiry is to be found.
Three Elements of Effective
There is a Mixture of familiarity and awe in the way Jesus taught us to approach God in prayer.
On one hand, He is our heavenly Father and there is tremendous privilege in that. We haven’t earned it; we received it by being born into it through the new birth (ii). Jesus earned the privilege for us & we invited to enjoy it. In John 16:25 Jesus talking to His followers & telling them they can go directly to the Father (in His name) and receive answers to prayer. Vs 26, “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.” Jesus put us in Direct relationship to Father through His sacrifice in our behalf. We are now invited to “come boldly to the throne of grace and receive help we may need (iii). We are already accepted in the Beloved; and we already are part of the family. We have the invitation to get up on Abba Father’s knee and tell what we want (iv). All that represents an amazing transition from attitude of typical Jew who would not even say the name of Yahweh out of extreme respect for who He is. Let’s re-visit some verses we read in Luke 11 last week. The passage begins in verse 1 with the disciples asking Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray….” Jesus immediately gave what we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. And the first instruction was to begin with the words, “Our Father in heaven….” We have to understand Who we are talking to the relationship we have with Him. His is not a cold, distant Sovereign somewhere out in space. We are coming to “Our Father.” He already loves us and is fully inclined to meet our every need. Prayer is never a process of wrestling answers out of clinched fist of a reluctant God. Prayer is approaching Abba Father, Daddy God who delights in giving us (as His dear children) the kingdom. So in Luke 11:9-13 Jesus builds on this concept of God as our Father. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" I said last week and it is worth repeating, THIS IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR FAITH IN PRAYER. We must—we must understand our relationship with God that comes to us out of pure love and grace. We must approach God with the confidence of a child coming to daddy with his or her needs (v). As a part of The Family there should be an openness, a comfort, a confidence, a boldness, as well as intimacy and familiarity. It’s very important that we approach God with that understanding.
On other hand, we come with high regard and extreme respect for who He is. The next sentence Lord’s Prayer is “Hallowed be Your name.” To hallow something is to set it apart as distinct and special. The name of Lord is not to be regarded as a common thing.vi The Jews understood that side of the relationship. Their history was rooted in the experience at Mount Sinai (vii). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (viii).