Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: No prayer is ever wasted. God hears and answers every prayer. His answer may by "No," "Yes," or "Not now." The underlying principle behind the significance of persistent prayer has to be the truth that no prayer is ever wasted effort.

I. Introduction

A. Three men worked in the Empire State Building on the 102nd floor. One day the elevator was out of service, so they had to walk up to their office. To pass the time, they decided that one would sing a song, one would tell a joke, and the third would tell a sad story - each taking a turn every floor until they reached the top. Finally, as they reached the 100th floor, one man sang his last song. As they reached the 101st floor, the second guy told his last joke. As they ascended the flight to the 102nd floor, the third man said, "I forgot the key."

1. First I want you to know that the outline for this message was the product of another preacher.

a. John Hamby of the First Baptist Church, Vilonia , Arkansas

B. There is nothing that reveals more about a believer than his or her prayer life.

1. How that individual approaches God and what that individual is willing to ask for reveals how he or she views God

2. We frame our requests in accordance with what we know of the character of the one we are addressing

3. It is very similar to how an child will make a request from their father

a. The child with a kind, gentle and firm father, does not fear to ask anything, for deep down they have the assurance that the father has greater wisdom and experience, and therefore would not give them anything that would be harmful to them

b. The child with extravagant but uncaring father will with arrogance lay down his demand knowing his every desire will be met

c. The child with the stingy, ill-tempered, abusive father will seldom dare to ask for anything, fearing yet another emotional explosion

II. Body

A. How we view God the Father

1. When we pray, we pray in harmony with the view of God we have

a. I believe that our view of God can be influenced by the kind of earthly father we have had

(1) Let us turn to Matthew 7:7

(2) An individual that believes God is arbitrary, will be fearful and on guard

(3) The individual who believes that God is vengeful will be fearful

(4) But the individual who believes that God is gracious will come boldly

Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. {8} "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. {9} "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? {10} "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? {11} "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

2. All three verbs in verse seven, Ask, Seek, Knock are imperatives

a. That is they are (commands

(1) There are two basic kinds of imperatives in the New Testament

(2) There is the aorist imperative which is a command to do a particular thing at one specific time

(a) Such as the command to celebrate the passover

(b) This is done at a specific time of year

(3) Then there is the present imperative which is a command not only to do something but to keep on doing it indefinitely

(a) All three verbs in verse seven, Ask, Seek, Knock are not only imperatives

i) But they are present tense imperatives

ii) We are told to ask and keep on asking

iii) We are to seek and keep on seeking

iv) And we are to knock and keep on knocking

3. There is also within this verse a suggested progression in prayer

a. The very words; ask, seek and knock seem to suggest an ever increasing intensity in prayer

(1) Asking

(a) There are some things that the need is so clear that we mere must ask for them

(2) Seeking

(a) Seeking is a deeper level of prayer than just asking

(b) Sometimes we may doubt or be in darkness and we need to first seek God’s will before we know what to pray for

i) Turn to Romans 8:26-27

(c) But God has made provision for us even in such times for we read in Romans 8:26-27 we read

Romans 8:26-27 NKJV

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. {27} Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

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