Summary: When we pray do we expect God to answer? Your prayer releases God’s power to work on the earth.
July 6, 2008
Text: Luke 11:1-13
Title: Praying for Results
I suppose that there isn’t a Christian anywhere that doesn’t pray. I know for a fact that even non-Christians pray (I did before I accepted Jesus). But I wonder how many people know how to pray in order to see results? Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that they could pray in His name and expect results. So when we pray are we expecting something to happen or are we just performing some religious exercise that we were taught as children?
There are so many passages in the scriptures that talk about prayer. Jesus talked about it. Paul wrote about it. The Psalmist spoke of it. So why is it difficult for people to pray until they see an answer? I think our culture has a lot to say about our attitudes in prayer. 1) We live in a fast food society – When we pray we tend to say if I don’t get it now I guess it’s not coming. 2) We tend to only ask God for the big things and we take care of the little things – He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives big and small. 3) We just don’t pray at all.
I like what John Bunyon said about prayer, “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
So let’s look at the scriptures to see how to pray prayers that we can expect to be answered.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. PURSUIT OF PRAYER. (1-4) The first thing I want you to notice is that the disciples saw that Jesus was faithful in prayer. Their request to Him was not to teach them how to pray. They said in verse 1, “Teach us to pray…” WE know Jesus prayed because He was in constant communion with the Father, but He also knew that everything that He was going to do on earth would be a result of His prayer life. Why do you think that He went out often and prayed all night? Jesus’ response to them was not the response that they expected. I suppose they thought that since they had asked Him to remember to pray that He would simply remind them, "It’s time to pray".. What Jesus does is to give them an outline for prayer, that if they follow, they would never not want to pray. Now many people believe that the Lord is teaching them exact words to repeat as a prayer. But that’s not what He is doing. He is giving a pattern. And the pattern goes like this. 1) “‘Father, hallowed be your name…” The first step in effective prayer is to tell God that you recognize who He is. It begins with worship. God, your name is holy. You are awesome. You are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end… You see we cannot even begin to pray effectively until we understand who God really is. Hallowed means set apart – there is none like Him. 2 Chronicles 20:6, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. He has dominion and authority over all things. 2) your kingdom come… The one thing that this hope that we have in Jesus Christ hinges upon is His return. If there is no second coming then there is no eternal life. If there isn’t any hope for the rapture of the church, a wedding feast in heaven, a thousand year reign then there is no hope for a resurrection and Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Jesus says we should pray, “YOUR KINGDOM COME…!” Because we trust His word and expect that what He has said will happen. In Matthew 6 Jesus includes with this “Your will be done…” God’s perfect will shall be accomplished with the second coming of Christ. 3) 3 Give us each day our daily bread. Jesus says that now we can begin to ask for the needs that we have in life. This is the time for petitioning God for your requests. Paul says that we can do that. Philippians 4, 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. The writer of Hebrews says 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. God wants us to ask Him because He is able to meet our needs. 4) We need to take care of our standing with God and with others. Verse 4, Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Unconfessed sin and unforgiveness of others will hinder us from receiving the answer from God that we are looking for. 5) Help us to recognize the enemy’s tricks. And lead us not into temptation… God does not lead anyone into temptation. James 1 says, 13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Lord help us to know when we are being duped by satan. Don’t let us fall into his traps. Keep my spiritual eyes turned upon you. Lord, teach us to pray…