Summary: Christ speaks to us about the need for persistent prayer.
Griffith Baptist Church – 2/24/08
Text: Matthew 7:7-11
While Josh McDowell was attending seminary in California, his father went Home to be with the Lord. His mother had died years earlier, but Josh was not sure of her salvation. He became depressed, thinking that she might be lost. Was she a Christian or not? The thought obsessed him. “Lord,” he prayed, “somehow give me the answer so I can get back to normal. I’ve just got to know.” It seemed like an impossible request.
Two days later, Josh drove out to the ocean. He walked to the end of a pier to be alone. There sat an old woman in a lawnchair, fishing. “Where’s your home originally?” she asked.
“Michigan—Union City,” Josh replied. “Nobody’s heard of it. I tell people it’s a suburb of —”
“Battle Creek,” interrupted the woman. “I had a cousin from there. Did you know the McDowell family?”
Stunned, Josh responded, “Yes, I’m Josh McDowell!”
“I can’t believe it,” said the woman. “I’m a cousin to your mother.”
“Do you remember anything at all about my mother’s spiritual life?” asked Josh.
“Why sure—your mom and I were just girls—teenagers—when a tent revival came to town. It was the fourth night—we both went forward to accept Christ.”
“Praise God!” shouted Josh, startling the surrounding fishermen.
Our Daily Bread, September 18
Prayer is a vital link between us and God
Here Jesus talks about the persistence of prayer and what can happen when we bombard heaven.
Dr. Thomas M. Carter, an ex-convict, tells a thrilling story of his mother who constantly followed him with her prayers. On one occasion while he was in prison, she received a telegram stating that he was dead and asking what she wanted done with his body. Stunned by the news, she opened her Bible and laid the message beside it. "Oh, God," she said, "I have steadfastly believed that You are a rewarder of them who diligently seek You. I felt sure that I would live to see Tom saved and preaching the Gospel; and now this wire says he is dead. Lord, which is true, this telegram or Your promises to me?" When she rose from her knees, having won the victory, she sent this note to the prison: "You must be wrong. My boy is not dead!" There had been a mistake -- Tom Carter was alive! He was later converted and lived to preach!
We should never grow weary in the fight or in prayer.
Sometimes, it is merely a test from God of how important the request really is to us.
Christ speaks to us in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount about persistence in prayer.
How important to you are you request you make to God?
Transitional Statement: Christ first gives us the requirements for answered prayer in verse 7. What He reveals tells us how we should approach prayer but before we get to these, we need to take a look at some other requirements as well.
1. Requirements for Answered Prayer – 7:7 (five requirements)
i. The story is told of an Italian duke who went on board a galley ship. As he passed the crew of slaves he asked several of them what their offenses were. Every one laid the blame to someone else, saying his brother was to blame or the judge was bribed. One sturdy young fellow said: "My lord, I am justly in here. I wanted money and I stole it. No one is to blame but myself." The duke on hearing this seized him by the shoulder, saying, "You rogue! What are you doing here among so many honest men? Get you out of their company!" The young fellow was then set at liberty, while the rest were left to tug at the oars. --Spurgeon
ii. The truth of our sinful nature and tendencies sets us free. We confess sins and repent of sins
iii. God looks for the most sensitive and cleanest hearts
iv. Psalms 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
v. We cleanse our hearts and souls and approach God in purity (1 John 1:9)
i. It is said that submission to God is the only balm that can heal the wounds He gives us.
ii. Another word for submission might be humility. The smaller we are the more room God has.
iii. Submission is a two-step process:
a. First, is surrender to God’s will (tell God yes)
b. Second, is obedience to God’s Word (ask God which way and go)