Summary: How to pray in the right way
Isn’t it strange how a 20-dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping? Isn’t it strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie? Isn’t it strange that you can’t find a word to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend? Isn’t it strange how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel? Isn’t it strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games, but they do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in Church? Isn’t it strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute? Isn’t it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip? Isn’t it strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible? Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a place in heaven, but they don’t want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?
PREVENTIVE PRAYER AND BEING FREE FROM ANXIETY OR WORRY
Jesus is saying that worry is not the answer to living an abundant life in Him. We are looking at the Holy Habit that Jesus practiced of prayer. I would like us to think on worry as a block from being spiritually alive in Jesus. In this Scripture He has told us not to worry and I would like for us to look at another passage to help us understand the meaning clearly.
Paul had good reason to be anxious. His beloved friends at Philippi were disagreeing with one another. There were two ladies that could not get along. He told them they needed to settle their disagreement and bring peace to the church. He also knew of preachers in Rome who were filled with envy and strife and were out to destroy him. Now he was under house arrest, awaiting trial and it could mean his death. You thought you had problems when you came to church. Are there any to compare with these? Yet his central word is "rejoice!" We find his reason in Ph 4:6-7.
What does the word anxiety mean? Many of us will find a likeness in it means, "To be pulled in different directions." We would see this in letting our hope pull in one direction and yet let fear pull in another direction. To be anxious is to be "pulled apart"!
Bob had finally made it to the last round of the $1,000,000 Question TV Quiz Show. The night before the big question, he told the host that he wanted a question on American History. The big night arrived. Bob made his way on stage in front of the studio and TV audience. He had become the talk of the town. He was the best guest this show had ever seen. The host stepped up to the microphone. "Bob, you have chosen American History as your final question. You know that if you correctly answer this question, you will walk away one million dollars richer. Are you ready?" Bob nodded with a cocky confidence, the crowd went wild. He hadn’t missed a question all week. "Bob, yours is a two-part question. As you know, you may answer either part first. As a rule, the second half of the question is always easier. Which part would you like to take a stab at first?" Bob was becoming more noticeably nervous, so he played it safe. "I’ll try the easier part first." The host nodded approvingly. "Here we go, Bob. I will ask you the second half first, then the first half." The audience grew silent with anticipation. "Bob, here is your question: And in what year did it happen?" So often in our spiritual lives, we want the "second part" first because it’s easier without realizing that the "first part" is necessary before we can have the "second part."
The word for anxiety is like the word worry. Guess what this word comes from? It comes from a word meaning, "to strangle." Have you ever really been worried and it seems to have strangle hold on you. Did you know worry could cause us to have headaches, pain in the neck, ulcers and back pain? Anybody with these today? Worry can affect how we think, mess up our digestion system and we could loose our coordination. Therefore, Paul says “Never worry about anything.” “Don’t worry about anything.” “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray about every thing.”