Sermons

Summary: A look at the Prayer life of Nehemiah using the ACTS Acrostic to prayer.

Introduction: Covey rocks in the jar illustration

Read Scripture/Pray

Background: devastating breakdown of God’s dwelling place. (1) Recognize

Purpose Statement: Once we recognize a problem, then we must react to the problem

Review the context of the prayer

I. Before you pray, pray (v. 4) {Should read and then I prayed}

A. Speculation – He didn’t know what to pray

1. How I see the intermediate time

2. Wait upon the Lord

B. Fix the Spiritual before physical/mental

1. Why some prayers are ineffective

C. Understand the purpose of prayer

1. Greatest definition

2. Kinda like my laptop computer

Let’s look at the prayer itself

II. Adore – Praise God for His character (v. 5)

A. Not to butter Him up but to remind ourselves

1. Don’t just throw out terms, bring them from your heart

2. Rich Mullins Illustration

B. It all starts with Him

1. Shift from self-centered to selfless

III. Confess – Repent of all sin in your life (vs. 6-7)

A. No Pharisees please

B. Agreement with God

1. If self evaluation doesn’t work, ask someone close to you

2. Listen to the Holy Spirit

IV. Thank – Thank Him for all He has done (vs. 8-10)

A. Nehemiah uses term “remember” as a way…

B. Have an attitude of gratitude

1. Wal-Mart Illustration

2. Salvation

C. Why would anyone want to bless an ungrateful child

V. Supplicate – Present your request to God (v. 11)

A. Ask in humility admitting need of God

1. God wants to give, given it’s asked for with the right motives

2. Best Illustration

B. Be specific

1. Note how specific Nehemiah was

2. This kind of specific only comes through a continual seeking of His will

C. God delights in giving good gifts to us

1. Cattle Illustration

Conclusion: Do you have the big rocks in your life, prayer?

ILLUSTRATIONS:

Ineffective Prayers

1. Sin in the heart: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2).

2. Unforgiving attitude: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone” (Mark 11:25).

3. Carnal motive: You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend {it} on your pleasures” (James 4:d3).

4. Self-centeredness “You husbands likewise, live with {your wives} in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7).

5. Unbelief: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (James 1:6,7).

Definition of Prayer

The Norwegian theologian Ole Hallesby gives one of the best definitions of prayer I have ever read. He says, “To pray is nothing more involved that to let Jesus into our needs. To pray is to give Jesus permission to employ His powers in the alleviation of our distress.”

Rich Mullins

Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands

Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land

Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made

Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise

Wal-Mart

One day a woman was rushing home from a doctor’s appointment. The doctor had been somewhat delayed at the hospital, and the lab work took a little longer than usual so by the time she left the clinic she was running quite a bit behind schedule. She still had to pick up her prescription, pick up the children from the baby-sitter, and get home and make supper, all in time to make it to the prayer meeting at her church that evening. As she began to circle the busy Wal-Mart parking lot, looking for a space, the windows of heaven were opened, as it says in Genesis, and a downpour began. While she wasn’t usually the type to bother God with small problems, she began to pray as she turned down the row closest to the front door. "Lord, you know what kind of a day I’ve had, and there’s still an awful lot to do. Could you please grant me a parking space right away, oh, and close to the building so I don’t get soaked." The words weren’t even completely out of her mouth when she saw the backup lights of a car come on at the end of the row. It was the best space in the whole parking lot, right next to the handicap spots and straight out from the front door. She made straight for it and as she pulled in, she said, "never mind God, something just opened up."

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