Summary: Why do we pray? Does prayer work? Does God listen when we pray?

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Sermon by Paddick van Zyl on 19-6-2011 CBC

Prayer – The Doorway to Blessing


Do we really believe what we pray for? Perhaps the following story will answer this question…..

Illustration* :

A small Oklahoma town had two churches and one distillery. Members of both churches complained that the distillery was giving the community a bad image. And to make matters worse the owner of the distillery was an out spoken atheist. He didn’t believe in God one bit. The church people had tried unsuccessfully for years to shut down the distillery. So finally they decided to hold a joint Saturday night prayer meeting. They were going to ask God to intervene and settle the matter.

The church folks gathered on Saturday night and there was a horrible thunderstorm raging outside and to the delight of the church members lightening hit that old brewery and it burned to the ground.

The next morning the sermons that were preached in both churches were on the power of prayer.

But the insurance adjusters promptly notified the distillery owner that they were not going to pay for the damages because the fire was an act of God and that was an exclusion in the policy.

The distillery owner was furious and he sued both churches claiming that they had conspired with God to destroy his business. But the churches denied that they had anything to do with the cause of the fire.

The presiding judge opened the trial with theses words: I find one thing in this case most perplexing-we have a situation here where the plaintiff, an atheist is professing his belief in the power of prayer, and the defendants all faithful church members are denying the very same power * (Clint Palmer - Sermon notes)

It seems that sometimes as Christians we pray asking God to do certain things, either in our life or the lives of others, only to be totally surprised when God answers our prayers.

1. So why do we have to pray ?

Because God said so?

What do you seek God to do for you in your prayer time ?

So many times we are guilty of saying, "God supply my needs", "God supply my wants", "God make things turn out the way I want them to". A grocery list prayer. He wants to know that you love Him. He not only wants you to tell Him this, He wants you to prove it by serving Him faithfully. He needs to know that you desire to fellowship with Him. This involves spending time with God. It’s more than just a passing comment. Sometimes it means spending time in prayer talking to Him and sometimes it means shutting up and listening to what He has to say. He needs to know that you are devoted to Him. That means choosing Him when you have a choice. It’s amazing just to think that God wants to answer your prayers but He desires for you and me to be in the proper attitude for prayer.

Without prayer NOTHING gets done or accomplished.

 Not revival

 Not church growth

 Not Christian growth.

 Without prayer we will not see the will of God accomplished in our lives and ministry.

 If no one prays no one gets touched, healed, delivered or saved.

Think about this: we are all gathered here today because someone somewhere prayed for each one of us to come to salvation!

2. Does God answer prayer and why?

Psalm 145:8-9 (NKJV)

8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,

Slow to anger and great in mercy.

9 The LORD is good to all,

And His tender mercies are over all His works

If God knows the very amount of hair on your head does He not know what you need and what desire and what is best for you even before you ask Him ? Absolutely YES.

James 5:17 (NKJV)

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.

1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

The Message (MSG) translation of this same passage reads as follows

13-15My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God's Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he's listening. And if we're confident that he's listening, we know that what we've asked for is as good as ours.

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