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Summary: WE need to understand the nature of prayer if we are going to engage in prayer!

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INTRODUCTION

• VIDEO CLIP

• SLIDE #1

• A comparison of the following book titles on the subject of prayer points up some of the tensions of the subject:

• Where Is the Lord of Elijah? (Cox) vs. You Never Walk Alone (Mesner)

• How Can God Answer Prayer? (Biederwolf) vs. Getting Things from God (Blanchard)

• Let’s Pray Together (Fromer) vs. The Hidden Life of Prayer (McIntyre)

• Saying Better Prayers (Karney) vs. Prayer Without Pretending (Townsend)

• Teach Yourself to Pray (Winward) vs. The Holy Spirit—Our Teacher in Prayer (Walton)

• Five Laws That Govern Prayer (Gordon) vs. Beyond the Natural Order (Best)

• . . . and lastly, Taking Hold of God (Zwemer) vs. Prayer: Conversing With God (Rinker)

• Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

• Prayer is something that many Christians do not fully grasp the meaning and importance of.

• How often do we only pray when we need or want something from God? Do we use prayer as an emergency call or a cold call to God?

• Jonah had been rebellious to God’s calling and he finds himself in DEEP trouble. Look at what he does.

• SLIDE #2

Jonah 2:7 (CSB) As my life was fading away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, to your holy temple.

• A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2014 found that 45% of Americans – and a majority of Christians (55%) – say they rely a lot on prayer and personal religious reflection when making major life decisions. The same survey found that 63% of Christians in the U.S. say praying regularly is an essential part of their Christian identity. (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/05/04/5-facts-about-prayer/)

• This research is int eresting to me. 55% of Christians, only 10% more than those who are not Christians say they rely a lot on prayer.

• Only 65% of Christians in the U.S. say praying regularly is an essential part of their Christian identity.

• In the New Testament, Jesus both taught and displayed the importance of prayer. For some reason, according to Pew Research, many Christians do not seem to get it.

• Today we are going to look at the third of our 7 Hebrew words every Christian should know, the word Tefillah (TU FEE LAH’), ONE OF THE WORDS WE TRANSLATE PRAYER.

• We talk about prayer, we have prayer chains, but how do we utilize prayer in our life?

• Today we will dissect the definition of the word TEFILLAH. As we examine this word we will gain a deeper understanding of what it means to pray.

• SLIDE #3

SERMON

????????? I. Tefillah centers on communication.

• If you were to open a lexicon (which is a book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and their definitions) and look up the meaning of the word TEFILLAH, part of the definition states, “THE ACT OF COMMUNICATING”

• When we go back to the passage in Jonah, TEFILLAH is the word translated PRAYER.

• SLIDE #4

Jonah 2:7 (CSB) As my life was fading away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, to your holy temple.

• Jonah had been rebellious, he refused to go to Nineveh to preach against because of the evil that was happening in Nineveh.

• Jonah gets on a ship heading in the opposite direction of Nineveh, that was heading to Tarshish.

• God called up a great storm, the ship was going to go down, the crew was in panic mode; however, Jonah knew what was happening.

• He told the crew to throw him overboard so they would be saved.

• Reluctantly they did.

• Jonah was a dead duck; however, we are told that God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah to keep him from drowning.

Jonah 1:17 tells us that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days.

• After three days, Jonah seemed to have a change of heart, and when he did, began to pray to God.

• Now Jonah was in a desperate situation, he turned to prayer.

• Prayer centers on communication. To communicate, one must have a sender, a receiver, and a message.

• Jonah understood that when he was praying, he was not lifted words to a great nothingness, he was sending up his heart to God.

• SLIDE #5

Jonah 2:2 (CSB) I called to the Lord in my distress, and he answered me. I cried out for help from deep inside Sheol; you heard my voice.

• Jonah tells us that God HEARD his voice.

• When we go into prayer thinking we are wasting our time or that we are talking to an empty phone line, we will not be encouraged to pray.

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