Summary: This sermon focuses on the need for and the power of prayer.
Secrets to Successful Prayer
Why do some people’s prayers seem to always get answered while others don’t? Why is it that sometimes our prayers are answered in minutes while other times they are answered in years or not at all? Do you believe that God answers prayer? I mean some would say that answered prayer is nothing more than coincidence. Others say it is our imagination. Even others say that we fulfill our own prayers because of positive thinking and moving in the direction that we are praying for.
Doctoral student at Princeton, 1952: "What is there left in the world for original dissertation research?" Visiting lecturer Albert Einstein: "Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer."
This morning I want us to examine some of the things that the Bible teaches us about prayer.
SUCCESSFUL PRAYER IS:
I. CONSISTENT PRAYER. Neh 4:7-9
A) Consistent with our actions.-Notice they prayed and set watch.
ILL. Lady in Baptist church praying for the liquor store to burn down,,,,Well preacher I must tell you the truth…I put some feet on them prayers.
B) Consistent with the will of God. I Thes 4:3-7
1) There is no need to pray about the written will of God in our life If it is in His Word, we don’t need to pray about it, we need to obey it.
2) I have no need of praying about if it is O.K. to have an affair. I have no need to pray about If I should kill someone. I have no need to pray about whether I should tell someone about Jesus (I can pray about timing and approach).
The problem I have with name it and claim it guys is they never search the will of God. Let’s search God’s Word for His will and then search the leadership of the Holy Spirit for his will about issues that are not given in black and white.
C) Consistent in the midst of circumstance. James 5:13
1) If you are afflicted (Afflicted in the Greek means in the midst of trials-Let him pray-(To offer prayers of asking God to intercede.)Little Boy being taken out of church saying "Ya’ll pray for me."
2) If you are Merry (Merry means to be of good cheer) Everything is peachy keen. Then we are to offer thanks. To Sing Songs-Praise, Worship, Thanksgiving.
Many years ago A.J. Gordon went to the World’s Fair. From a distance he saw a man pumping water with one of those old hand pumps. The water was pouring out and he said as he looked, "That man is really pumping water." But when he got closer, he discovered that it was a wooden man connected to a pump powered by electricity. The man was not pumping the water, the water was pumping him.
II. PERSISTENT PRAYER. Luke 18:1-7
A) Jesus tells the parable of the Judge and Widow to teach us the value of persistent prayer.
B) This is not the same as vain repetitions---Vain repetitions were chants, things said without any thought or emotion.
C) Persistent prayer says "Lord I am going to bug you until you answer my prayer. Be careful:
1) To show respect for God’s will and direction in your life.
2) To make sure that you are seeking something good and worthwhile.
An elderly lady was once asked by a young man who had grown weary in the fight, whether he ought to give up the struggle. "I am beaten every time," he said dolefully. "I feel I must give up." "Did you ever notice," she replied, smiling into the troubled face before her, "that when the Lord told the discouraged fishermen to cast their nets again, it was right in the same old spot where they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing?"
III. SHARED PRAYER.
A) Prayer to be shared with God. Rom 8:26-28
B) Prayer to be shared with our church family. James 5:14-16
Bill Hybels said "If the request is wrong, God says, "No." If the timing is wrong, God says, "Slow." If you are wrong, God says, "Grow." But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, "Go!"
As we seek God’s will in the relocation of this church, As we persistently pray that He would send laborers for the harvest and open the hearts of the lost, we need to be a praying church. There is a difference between a church that prays and a praying church.
A church that prays is one that has brief prayers throughout the service. That is good. But a praying church is one that places an emphasis on prayer, spends time in the altar in prayer, believes in the power of prayer.