Summary: Prayer, in fact crying out to God, is crucial to his presence with us.
1. Series Review -- Close Encounter of the Holy Kind
a. We have a universal longing for God -- Ecclesiastes 3.11
b. His singular provision is his glory/presence within and among us
c. We have a common access to that glory in and through the church
d. The Epic Failure of Many Churches -- Loss of that Presence
e. The Process to Reclaim the Glory of God
* Unapologetic preaching of God's Word
* The Unashamed Adoration of His Son
* The Unceasing Prayers of His People (1 Thessalonians 5.17)
2. Prayer Illustrations
* When Jim Carrey starred in his movie "Bruce Almighty" the writers of the script gave God a phone number that Carrey could dial to talk with the Almighty. But instead of using the 555 prefix that movie makers and TV shows generally give phone numbers -- they gave God a 776 prefix. People who saw the movie wrote the number down and started dialing it. One lady in St. Petersburg, FL received 20 calls an hour from people who wanted to talk to God.
* In one small church, the minister called the children to come down front every Sunday and then he'd tell them a story. Once he brought a telephone to better illustrate the idea of prayer.
"You talk to people on the telephone and don't see them on the other end of the line, right?" he began. The children nodded yes.
"Well, talking to God is like talking on the telephone. He's on the other end, but you can't see him. He's listening, though."
Just then a little boy piped up and asked, "What's his number?"
3. God's Phone Number: Jeremiah 33.3 (Read verses1-3)
I. God Initially Makes Contact With Us . . .
A. God Often Shows Up in Dire Circumstances
1. Jeremiah in Prison
2. Moses Hiding in the Wilderness
3. Israel in Egyptian Slavery
4. Adam and Eve (as You and I) -- Hiding in Sin
B. God Uses Impeccable Timing -- Galatians 4.4
At the beginning of the twentieth century, women began wearing wristwatches, but not men. World War I changed that, for it's hard to use a pocket watch in a battle zone. Now a hundred years later, our timepieces have become small computers giving us total access to all our electronic needs. Still, for the Christian, our best sense of timing isn't found on our wrists or in our pockets but on our knees.
1. Just when we need an answer, God comes through -- Birth of Isaac in Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
2. Jeremiah in prison receives word from God -- just when he needed it.
3. It is not coincidence -- It is for His Glory
II. God Initially Makes Contact with Us So We Will Humbly Contact Him . . . "Call to me."
A. God Invites
* Matthew 11.28-30
* Psalm 34.8a Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
* Jeremiah 33.3
B. God Directs
* Personal importance -- uses his Covenantal Name
* More than a title -- Elohim or Adonai; Titles create barriers --[If you and I were to meet, there are several titles you could attach to me: Preacher; Dr.; Brother; Mr. but if you call me by name we have a different kind of relationship
C. God Receives
1. Matter of Priority and Order
Tendency to talk to family/friends when faced with issues and then MAYBE God
God first -- his track record on keeping his promises -- Romans 8.28
2. Matter of Passion and Fervency -- "Call" or "Cry out" --
Psalm 57.2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
a. Apparently God loves to answer our passionate prayers
b. Maybe lack of passion brings a lack of answer to our prayers
* James 5.16b-18 The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
* Psalm 34.15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.
III. God Initially Makes Contact with Us; So We Will Humbly Contact Him; So That He Can Answer Us
A. Based on Faith
Mark 11.23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.