Summary: Answers to key questions about prayer
Questions on Prayer II
November 23, 2003
An elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough."
"Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams.
"We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her." Then he hangs up.
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they’re getting divorced," she shouts, "I’ll take care of this." She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?"
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "They’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own fares."
There was very positive feedback last week on the topic “Questions on Prayer.” My hope is that you will be encouraged to seek God’s face and talk to Him more and more as a result. If all we accomplish is the satisfaction of curiosity, I will have failed, but if you are inspired to pray more, to know Him better, then we will have succeeded.
There were a couple of questions submitted last week, the most challenging one that you submitted was “Does God only hear the prayer of the Christian?”
I found that one particularly interesting, because I had begun to research that topic even before the question had been asked. I would like to take a different path to answering that question, because the more I read scripture, the more I realized that you and I have generally been spoon fed baby food answers to this particular question.
By “spoon fed” I mean we have taken the “pat answers” that the radio and television evangelists give us. And by “spoon fed” I also mean to say that it is these oversimplified answers that we repeat to others without really digging for the answers ourselves.
1. Why wouldn’t God hear a man’s prayers?
a. We need to start with this foundation. God is holy. He is perfect.
i. Man, that is you and I, are not.
ii. We have rebelled against God, chosen our own way.
iii. Adam & Eve’s rebellion is exhibited in every human being alive.
iv. The bible says that you and I are born “spiritually dead.”
v. Dead doesn’t mean non-existant. It means we are born relationally “separated” from God. Just as a person is described as “dead” when the life or soul leaves their body, so are we spiritually dead, when we are relationally separated from God.
b. As a result, we have no right to approach God.
i. We don’t deserve anything from Him.
ii. The bible says that you and I deserve only one thing. We have earned the wages of our sin…death.
1. We do not deserve life, a relationship with God, or our prayers to be answered.
2. We deserve to be allowed to perish. We are the ones who moved away. Not God. We rebelled.
c. But God did something extraordinary. First of all, He set aside the nation of Israel as His own special possession, and He purposely redeemed Israel and set them apart from all of the other peoples of the earth.
i. Not because of anything they did.
ii. But rather, because they were the least deserving.
iii. He made a promise to a man named Abraham, and promised to be His God and his descendents would be His people.
iv. And it was His plan, that through this nation of Israel, that God would work a plan to restore men and women everywhere to a relationship with Himself.
1. His plan was for at the right point in time, for His son to come and take on flesh, and to experience a supernatural birth.
2. Jesus, would be born sinless, and then bear the sins of all mankind, so that all who place their trust in him might have everlasting life.
a. That is, they would be reborn spiritually, made alive again, and have the rights and privileges of a relationship with God.
b. That God’s original plan, in the garden of Eden, which was thwarted by rebellion, would be restored, and that men and women would know Him in the way He designed us.
Why does God hear us?
2. Because Jesus purchased for us, a restored relationship with rights and privileges. Lets look at some of them.