Sermons

Summary: Learning to be persistent in our quest for a deeper, more personal, intimate relationship with God through prayer.

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THE STORY WAS TOLD OF A LITTLE BOY WHO HAD BEEN MISBEHAVING AND WAS SENT TO HIS ROOM. AFTER A WHILE HE EMERGED AND INFORMED HIS MOTHER THAT HE HAD THOUGHT IT OVER AND THEN SAID A PRAYER.

"THAT’S WONDERFUL," SAID THE PLEASED MOTHER. "IF YOU ASK GOD TO HELP YOU NOT MISBEHAVE, HE WILL HELP YOU."

THE LITTLE BOY SAID, "OH, I DIDN’T ASK HIM TO HELP ME NOT MISBEHAVE, I ASKED HIM TO HELP YOU PUT UP WITH ME."

LIKE THIS STORY, PRAYER HAS SOMETIMES BEEN UNDERSTOOD AS THE WAY OF COAXING GOD INTO GRANTING OUR HIGHEST EXPECTATIONS TO OUR GREATEST BENEFIT. A WAY OF ADDRESSING GOD AS IF HE BLIND TO US AND NEEDS TO BE HELPED ALONG AND ENLIGHTENED.

PRAYER HAS NEVER BEEN A "LOPSIDED" CONVERSATION NOR A "ONE-SIDED" RELATIONSHIP CONTROLLED BY THE "CREATED" OVER THE CREATOR. NEITHER WAS PRAYER MEANT TO BE ONLY THE EXPRESSIONS OF OUR "WISH-LIST."

PRAYER IS INTIMATE AND PERSONAL COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE CREATOR AND HIS CREATED. COMMUNICATION THAT REQUIRES US TO SPEND LESS TIME TALKING AND MORE TIME LISTENING.COMMUNICATION REQUIRING MORE PRAISE, WORSHIP, AND INTERCESSION THAN "BARKING OUT" REQUESTS.

THIS WAS THE LESSON JESUS WAS TRYING TO TEACH TO HIS DISCIPLES. THE DISCIPLES WANTED TO KNOW HOW TO PRAY SO JESUS TEACHES THEM THAT IT IS MORE THAN MAKING REQUESTS OF GOD.HE TEACHES THEM THAT THERE IS A PATTERN TO FOLLOW WHEN PRAYING TO THE FATHER.

AFTER TEACHING THEM THIS "PATTERN" THAT WE KNOW TODAY AS "THE LORD’S PRAYER" JESUS ALSO TEACHES THEM TO BE PERSISTENT IN THIS NEWLY ESTABLISHED PRAYER-LIFE.

IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE A RANDOM, HAP-HAZARD, ACT OF RELIGIOUSLY REPEATING THE STEPS OF THE PRAYER, BUT USING THE PATTERN AS A WAY OF DEVELOPING A DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR HEAVENLY FATHER.

EMPHASIZING THE POINT JESUS TELLS HIS FOLLOWERS A PARABLE OF THE PERSISTENT TRAVELER. JESUS WANTS US TO HAVE A BOLDNESS AND PERSISTENT ATTITUDE IN PRAYER.

BOLDNESS IN PRAYER IS AN EXERCISE NEEDED TO OVERCOME THE PRAYING PERSON’S APATHY, NOT GOD’S PERCEIVED INSENSITIVITY.

PRACTICING PERSISTENCE WILL CHANGE THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THOSE PRAYING, AND IT WILL HELP THOSE WHO ARE PRAYING TO UNDERSTAND AND EXPRESS THE INTENSITY OF THEIR NEED.

BY PRAYING PERSISTENTLY, BELIEVERS ARE NOT TRYING TO GET A RELUCTANT GOD TO ANSWER THEIR PRAYERS, BUT ARE ACTUALLY SHOWING THAT THEY ARE VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THEIR REQUEST.

THIS IS A KEY LESSON FOR US FROM JESUS. THE GREATEST STIMULI TO PRAYER IS THE AWARENESS OF OUR NEED AND ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE ON GOD AS THE SOURCE OF EVERYTHING THERE IS IN OUR LIVES.

ONLY THOSE WHO KNOW THEIR OWN NEED AND THE LOVE OF GOD AS HEAVENLY FATHER WILL BE ABLE TO PRAY NOT ONLY CORRECTLY, BUT PERSISTENTLY.

THAT IS WHY JESUS WENT ON TO ENCOURAGE US TO "ASK, SEEK, AND KNOCK" TO EMPHASIZE THAT OUR GOD IS THE GOD WHO GIVES, OPENS, AND ALLOWS US TO FIND.

THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THESE THREE VERBS IS THAT THEY ARE CONTINUOUS. THIS MEANS OUR PRAYERS ARE NOT TO BE AN "ASK ONLY ONCE" SINGLE ACTIVITY BUT A PERSISTENT ONGOING ADDRESS OF PETITIONS.

GOD WANTS US TO KNOW THAT WHEN WE DEVELOP A PERSISTENT PRAYER LIFE THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE WILL EVENTUALLY COME TO US IF WE WILL NOT GIVE UP OR APPROACH GOD AS IF HE IS UNWILLING TO GIVE OR RESPOND.

GOD IS ALWAYS READY TO GIVE GOOD GIFTS TO HIS PEOPLE. BUT IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE DO OUR PART BY ASKING AND COMING WITH THE UNDERSTANDING OF HOW GOD MAY CHOOSE TO ANSWER OUR REQUESTS.

JESUS DOES NOT SAY AND DOES NOT MEAN THAT, IF WE PRAY, WE WILL ALWAYS GET EXACTLY WHAT WE ASK FOR. JUST REMEMBER THAT "NO" IS JUST AS DEFINITE AN ANSWER AS "YES"!

HE IS SIMPLY STATING THAT ALL TRUE PRAYER IS NEITHER UNHEARD NOR UNHEEDED. IT IS ALWAYS ANSWERED IN THE WAY GOD SEES BEST.

PRAYER IS A WONDERFUL GIFT OF COMMUNICATION FROM GOD THE FATHER WHO DESIRES SO GREATLY TO COMMUNE WITH HIS PEOPLE PERSONALLY AND INTIMATELY.

MAY WE DEVELOP A NEW SENSE FOR THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER IN OUR LIVES. MAY WE NEVER AGAIN THINK OF PRAYER AS A "BLANK CHECK" ON WHICH WE CAN WRITE ANYTHING OUR HEARTS DESIRE.

JESUS TAUGHT THAT WE WOULD RECEIVE OUR "NEEDS" NOT NECESSARILY OUR "WANTS." WE ARE JUST GUARANTEED THAT ANSWERS WILL COME TO THOSE WHO PRAY OUT OF A SINCERE NEED FOR GOD’S WILL TO BE DONE AND FOR HIS KINGDOM TO COME.

MAY WE STRIVE TO KNOCK AT THE DOOR OF GOD’S HEART WITH PERSISTENCE. MAY WE PERSISTENTLY PRAY WITH A GREATER AWARENESS OF OUR DESPERATE NEED FOR GOD.

CAN WE OFFER "THE GIFT OF PERSISTENT PRAYER" TO GOD THIS CHRISTMAS?

WILL WE STRIVE TO COMMUNE WITH HIM MORE PERSONALLY SO THAT OUR PRAYERS BECOME A FORM OF WORSHIP?

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