Summary: We must understand the need for prayer to bring about God's will for the church.
April 10, 2011
Text: Luke 11:1-13
Title: Teach Us To Pray
How important is prayer? I suppose a better question might be, “How important is prayer to you?” The truth is, if you are a Christian, then your life in Christ began with a prayer. When you prayed and asked Jesus to come into your life you began something special. But prayer is not something that is intended just to get you into the kingdom. It is intended to keep you connected to the kingdom. E.M. Bounds, who was a Methodist pastor/evangelist from Shelby County in the mid 1800’s wrote this, What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use--men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.
So let me ask again, “How important is prayer?”
In order for us to really get a grasp on the answer to that question I think we must look to the Word God and see how important prayer was to Jesus. It would be easy for us to look at Jesus as the Son of God and just think that because of that fat that His prayer life was automatically better than anyone else could ever attain. But the truth is that Jesus prayed because He understood that prayer was His lifeline to the Father and His source of hearing from the Father. If you look through the gospels you will find that there are about 13 instances where it specifically mentions that Jesus prayed. In addition, there are eight times where Jesus taught about prayer. If you look at the numbers alone and compare this with the number of times Jesus mentioned sin, heaven, hell, or the law, it would appear that the topic of prayer was not high on His to do list. But it is not the numbers that dictate the importance of prayer to Jesus, but what He had to say about it as well as what happened when He prayed.
Prayer is surrender--surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boathook from the boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God.
E. Stanley Jones, Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome, K Hughes, Tyndale, 1988, p. 73.
Today I want to show you the importance of prayer in the life of every believer. In doing so we want to look at four points concerning prayer. 1) the purpose of prayer… 2) the pattern for prayer… 3) persistence in prayer… 4) the power of prayer.
Today, you can be transformed by your prayer life.
Lord, teach us to pray.
Read Luke 11:1-13
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER What is the reason we pray? It is because we need to connect with God and His will for our lives. Luke 10 tells us that Jesus was at the home of Mary and Martha, which was in Bethany. Bethany was just a couple of miles outside of Jerusalem and in between Bethany and Jerusalem was Jesus’ favorite place of prayer – the Mount of Olives. 1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place… In order to connect to God Jesus like to go to a specific place when possible. At this time Jesus had His disciples with Him. Now here it does not tell us what Jesus prayed or about the result of His prayer, but we know that there must have been something significant about it, for it caused His disciples to make this request, …When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” What must have happened at that time that would make one of the disciples ask this? I mean, they had been with Jesus before when He prayed. Turn over to Luke 3. I think that this one thing that happened at the very beginning of Jesus public ministry is the key to everything else concerning His prayer life. 21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” What happened when Jesus prayed is what caused the disciple to make the request. Now I want you to understand this. The disciple asked, Lord, teach us to pray… He did not say, Lord teach us how to pray… He was asking that Jesus would teach them to pray so that heaven would open up for them as well. That is the purpose of prayer. In Daniel chapter 10, 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. 7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. 10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. The purpose of prayer is to release God’s will for His people on earth and this disciple wants Jesus to teach them to pray that way.