Summary: This sermon answers three questions about prayer: Why? How? and What?
Luke 11: 1 – 13 Teach Us
Intro: It seems to me that science and technology have brought our society to the point that we feel we don’t need God. Churches in most communities are sparsely attended while others are converted into private dwellings and restaurants. Some people believe they have everything they want or need, excelling because of their own wit or intelligence . . . UNTIL THERE IS A NATURAL DISASTER . . . One Sunday there was a man who took his little boat out into the Gulf to fish. He wasn’t particularly a religious man until a terrible, unexpected storm came up. His little boat was tossed about so severely the man dropped to his knees on the deck and said, “Lord, I know I have prayed to you in 15 years; but it you’ll save me right now, I promise I won’t bother you again for at least another 15 years.” --- I have 3 basic questions about prayer to share with you.
I. This gospel lesson is about the Lord’s Prayer --- My 1st questions is WHY? Why did the disciples want to learn to pray? Why do we pray? Some believe prayers are some magical formula that will unlock God’s treasury or release God’s generosity. (READ Vs. 1) “Father in heaven (LK 11:2a)/ Our Father who art in heaven”(Mt. 6:9a)
A. The disciples saw how important it was to Jesus. They wanted to have the same closeness to God that Jesus shared.
B. We pray because the Spirit of God is in us and we have this deep unquenchable desire to commune with God.
C. Like the disciples, we all have a part of us that longs to know God intimately and fully. --- Personally, I pray to be close to God.
II. My 2nd questions is HOW? How do you pray? How do you approach God because that is what prayer is . . . approaching God.
A. How did you learn to pray? Simple prayers used at the table and at the bedside --- from a radio, television, by trial and error, read a good book, devotional materials. How do you pray? With “stained-glass” language?
B. The proper way to pray is given to us here: (Read Vs. 2b) “Hallowed be your name.” (Mt. 6:9b) HALLOWED – WITH REVERENCE. (See parable in Luke 11: 5 – 8) it speaks about persistence in praying.
C. Is there a difference between persistence in prayer and pestering God? --- Gimme prayers are pestering. --- the difference between persistence in prayer and pestering is what we pray for. It is the difference between praying for a want or a need. We must recognize our dependency on God and God’s freedom to grant what God wishes, not what we want.
III. The final question is WHAT? For what do we pray? It is difficult for us to distinguish between a want and a need. What I need may be someone else’s want and vice versa. The prayer here in Luke and the one in Matthew both tell us the WHAT.
A. (Read Lk 11:2c – 4) Your kingdom come --- Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And led us not into temptation. --- The list of what’s is even longer in MT. 6: 1 – 15
B. The what of prayer should include: reverence for God, the progress of God’s Kingdom and Will on earth, physical necessities, spiritual needs, forgiveness of sins, protection and deliverance from evil.
C. How many of those things do we include? Are we so busy praying for our wants that we overlook what we really need? Do we find the time to pray at all?
Conclu: The story is told that one day Charles Spurgeon, a famous British preacher from the last century was walking down the sidewalk when he heard a young man swearing and using God’s name in vain. As he came upon the man, Spurgeon asked, “Can you pray as well as you can swear?” --- The young man laughed and said prayer was useless. Mr. Spurgeon help us a very valuable coin and said, “I will give you this coin if you will promise me never to pray.” --- the young man grabbed the coin, thrust it in his pocket and walked away. As the day progressed, the young man began to feel a bit uneasy. --- Never to pray? Never? Perhaps he had made a bad bargain because he may need to call upon God someday for some urgent need. When the young man returned home he and his wife discussed the incident and decided to see if they could find the person who had given the coin and to whom the husband had made the promise. They found Mr. Spurgeon, who seeing their interest began to talk with them about Christ and soon had two new converts. --- I ask you, would you sell your privilege to pray for a valuable coin? What would you be willing to sell it for? (illustration from “A Dialogue with God” sermon by Tim Zingale, SermonCentral.com)