Summary: Our lives are so busy that often times we neglect what is most important like our times of communication with God.
A great help to gain more incite into this sermon would be Bill Hybels’ Too Busy Not to Pray
Take The Time to Pray
Some years ago a young man looking for work approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked him for a job. “It depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you take this one down.” The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. The foreman was impressed and exclaimed, “you start Monday!” Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rolled by. Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.” Started the young man asked, “I thought you paid on Fridays.” “Normally we do,” answered the foreman, “but we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind, or daily charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last place on Wednesday. “But I’m a hard worker” the young man objected, “I arrive first and leave last, and I even work through my coffee breaks!” The foreman sensing the boy’s integrity, though for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your axe?” The young man replied, “Well, no, sir. I’ve been working too hard to take the time.”
I must tell you the truth today, and that is I am not as devoted to prayer as I would like to be or should be. Perhaps this sermon has more application to me than it does to anyone, because many times I am preaching to myself. I do not dare to stand up here and claim to have it all figured out or mastered. I do believe that God answers prayer still today. I do believe that people’s lives and hearts can be transformed through prayer. I do believe that our world can be turned right side up through prayer, but why is that we don’t always pray like we should. Perhaps prayer is such a difficult thing because it is a very unnatural thing.
Text: Exodus 17:8-13
On one occasion a group of people called the Amalekites attacked Israel. Moses instructed Joshua to gather some men together and to go into battle, meanwhile Moses would go up to the top of a hill and watch. While he was there he learned something interesting. As long as Moses held his hands up the Israelites were winning the battle, but as you an imagine it got harder and harder for him to hold his hands up and when he let his hands down the Israelites began to loose the battle. So Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses and the Israelites were victorious in battle mainly do to Moses’ intercession.
In the same way that Moses’ arms being held up resulted in victory, so when the people of God lift up their voices in prayer the church will be victorious.
I.Taking The Time To Pray May Have Some Hindrances
A)The Hindrance of Unanswered Prayer or Doubt
I tell Stephanie on occasion that the world is out to get me. Have you ever gotten your money stuck in a vending machine? Or even worse have you ever gone through the trouble to fish out change, get your hopes on a bag of chips or candy bar, push the button for it, and out pops some mints? Well, if you’ve ever come across a vending machine that has a sign that says out of order, there is a good chance that it is my money stuck in the machine or I have been there before you. There is no telling how many times I have lost money in one of those machines. I learned a trick though after a while. If your product gets stuck, you can nudge the machine just right and it will dispense your order. Sometimes we see God as the “great vending machine in the sky” and if he doesn’t dispense what we want when we want it we get a little bit perturbed. Sometimes a bout of what we feel was unanswered prayers can hinder us from praying with devotion and persistence. No matter what God’s response is to our request we need to prayer persistently and continue to trust in Him. Sometimes unanswered prayers can hinder us from continuing to ask. Maybe sometimes we do not take the time to pray because we do not really believe that God will answer prayer. When you have a problem going on do you really believe God can handle it? When there is something big going on do believe God can take care of it? Do you believe that God still answers prayer? If you do, why not pray more?
B)The Hindrance of Busyness
The Bible never gives us a specific command for how much time we should spend in prayer. The closest we come is when it says, “pray without ceasing”. The reason why I believe is because if there was a command given we would see prayer as routine and an obligation rather than a privilege and an opportunity to communicate with the Almighty God. We live in a society which has increased technologically dramatically in the past century. For those that have been around a long while, they can say that the world is a totally different place. All of the advances in technology have been developed to make life easier and make our lives less busy. Our society is now overrun with words such as “multi-tasking”. People are busier now than they ever have been. The word “busy” is actually an acronym for “being under Satan’s yolk”. When most people tell you how busy they are it is actually just a way to boost their egos to let you know how important they are. Sadly, in the midst of all this busyness people often fail to take time for the things that are most important. Why is it that people in their busyness are usually busy with the wrong and less important things. I have heard countless people that have retired lament how much time they spent working to the neglect of their families. Sometimes we look at what we have to do and realize that there is not just enough time in the day to do all the things we want to do and need to do, so we need to prioritize. We show what our priorities really are not by what we verbally acknowledge, but rather by where we spend our time and energy. Is prayer a priority for you?