Summary: The sermon focuses upon the power of prayer
About a year ago we were introduced to the concept of a three legged stool. We found by examining scripture that their were three necessary functions for God’s church. Do you remember what they were?
Committed to the word of God, Worship, taking the time to stop our lives and personally connect with God, and Fellowship- encouraging and building each other to be the best that we can be.
In lieu of this I want to spend the next few weeks leading into the summer reviewing the basics. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of life sometimes we miss it. And one of the key basics that we miss has to do with prayer. I truly believe when you and I get to heaven in the midst of the glory of heaven we will see firsthand the power of prayer and what could have and would have happened if only we had prayed.
Before we tackle our scripture passage, I have a question of two to ponder? Assuming all of you in here have a relationship with Jesus Christ? And as a result of that relationship with Christ can approach the throne of Almighty God with our prayers? And knowing that the Bible clearly invites us to ask not only for ourselves but for others. And With such verses like you have not because you ask not or Ask and it shall be given unto you seek and you shall find. Why don’t we pray? Why don’t we regularly lay everything of our lives at the feet of God? Why do we live our lives and make life decisions without everything seeking the counsel of God? Practically living our lives as if God doesn’t exist.
As you ponder that question, you may truthfully wonder if God is really listening? Wondering and feeling like Prayer is a waste of time with our words and our requests going no further than the ceilings of our rooms.
Perhaps you feel like Franklin Roosevelt did when he was president of the United States. He often endured long receiving lines at the White House and complained that no one really paid attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who came down the line and shook his hand he murmured, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." The guests responded in typical fashion with phrases like, "Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir." It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Unrattled, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, "I’m sure she had it coming."
Truth be known, that’s the way a lot of us feel. We’re more surprised when our prayers yield answers that when they don’t. What you need to understand is that unanswered prayer should be the exception and not the norm. We were created by a God who is more willing to answer us than we are to ask him.
Jesus taught his followers the characteristics of effective prayer. If you want to pray and see results then begin to apply his advice. And so it is here that we will pick back up our scripture passage.
Turn with me to Luke 11: 5-10
In this parable are found several important keys to effective praying.
First, It begins with a relationship.
Look back at verse 5, suppose one of you has a friend…
This is perhaps of the most important keys. It is out of the relationship where the praying begins. At the church many times the phone will ring and the person on the other side will say, “Do you help people with things?” I little leary I usually respond Yes, some things” What do you need? And they’ll usually begin to tell me the tough life situation they are in. They are calling asking for help. I usually give the names of different places near them where they can get help. But usually my help is rather limited.
But the situation changes if someone who is a friend, family member, or church member. I tend to become more personally involved and may tend to offer tangible practical help. I remember in one church that same type call caused me to spend the later part of an entire day trying to help this person. What made the difference? We had a relationship.
If all you have is what your mind tells you about God, or what you read in a book, or even what you have memorized, that won’t help you- that is religion. What will help you is entering in committing your life to a personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ. You see the person calling me couldn’t have known everything about me, have memorized my entire resume and even carried a picture of me in his wallet, but if he had never introduced himself to me, I would still not know who he was and the compulsion to help would be limited.