Summary: Prayer is more than just talking to God, it is a conversation with our heavenly Father that deepens our relationship to and faith in Him.
So, What Is Prayer Anyway?
Griffith Baptist Church – 7/16/06
Text: Philippians 4:4-7
Theme: Prayer goes deeper than us talking to God. It is at the heart and soul of our ongoing relationship with our creator.
The captain of an ocean steamer tells that on one occasion his ship was engulfed in a dense fog off the coast of Newfoundland. It was Wednesday evening and the captain had been on the bridge for 24 hours when he was startled by someone tapping on his shoulder. He turned and saw one of his passengers—George Mueller.
“Captain,” said Mueller, “I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.”
“That’s impossible!” replied the captain. “I’m helpless!”
Mueller suggested, “Let’s go down to the chart room and pray.”
The captain thought he had a lunatic on board. “Do you know how dense the fog is?” he asked.
“No,” came the reply, “my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.” Once in the chart room, Mueller got down on his knees and prayed, “O Lord, if it is consistent with Thy will, please remove this fog in 5 minutes. Thou knowest the engagement Thou didst make for me in Quebec for Saturday. I believe it is Thy will.” Within a matter of minutes the fog lifted. Our Daily Bread, February 23
Prayer is more than just talking with God.
When we pray it is to achieve results (we often pray without believing it will really ever come to pass)
• We always feel like God is going to say no
• We expect negative results instead of positive results
• We set ourselves up for defeat
• If we don’t ask, than we don’t have to be disappointed.
We should have results-oriented, focused, targeted, expectant prayer
Impact Statement: Prayer is a conversation with our heavenly Father that deepens our relationship with Him and is designed to get results.
1. True prayer is worship
During the tenure of the great orator Henry Ward Beecher, a visiting minister (Beecher’s brother) once substituted for the popular pastor. A large audience had already assembled to hear Beecher, and when the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits. That’s when the minister stood and said loudly, “All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your seats!” Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 22
A. We are created for praise - Isaiah 43:21 – “The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.
B. Prayer is part of sacrificial worship - Hebrews 13:15 – Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
C. It comes from the heart - Jeremiah 29:12-13 - 12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
2. Prayer establishes a dialogue with God
A. It is a form of communication that gets a response
i. Psalm 5:3 – In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
ii. Psalm 143:8 – Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul.
B. God longs to hear from us – Psalm 116:1-2 - 1I love the LORD, because He hears my voice and my supplications. 2Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
i. Psalm 120:1 – In my trouble I cried to the LORD, and He answered me.
ii. Psalm 34:4-6 – 4I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. 6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
C. It takes action on our part - James 4:8 – Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
3. True prayer is accompanied by faith
For the umpteenth time Mrs. Youngston came to her pastor to tell him, "I’m so scared! Joe says he’s going to kill me if I continue to come to your church."
"Yes, yes, my child," replied the pastor, more than a little tired of hearing this over and over. "I will continue to pray for you, Mrs. Youngston. Have faith - the Lord will watch over you."