Summary: Prayer is how you open your heart to God¡¦s will
December 1, 2002
DT.: Prayer is how you open your heart to God¡¦s will.
TITLE: ¡§The God Who Answers Prayer¡¨
Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path."
You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed. John Bunyon
In its early days, Dallas Theological Seminary was in critical need of $10,000 to keep the work going. During a prayer meeting, renowned Bible teacher Harry Ironside, a lecturer at the school, prayed, "Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills. Please sell some of those cattle to help us meet this need." Shortly after the prayer meeting, a check for $10,000 arrived at the school, sent days earlier by a friend who had no idea of the urgent need or of Ironside’s prayer. The man simply said the money came from the sale of some of his cattle!
Dear Pastor, I know God loves me but I wish He would give me an "A" on my report card so I could be sure. Love, Theresa. (Age 8, Milwaukee)
Dear Pastor, Could you say a special blessing for my Aunt Beatrice? She has been looking for a husband for 12 years and still hasn’t found one. Yours sincerely, Debbie. (Age 9, Duluth)
Dear Pastor, Do I have to say grace before every meal? Even when I am only having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Wesley. (Age 9, Baltimore)
Dear Pastor, Thank you for your sermon on Sunday. I will write more when my mother explains to me what you said. Yours truly, Justin. (Age 9, Westport)
Dear Pastor, Please pray for all the airline pilots. I am flying to California tomorrow. Laurie. (Age 10, New York City)
Dear Pastor, We say grace every night before we eat dinner even when we have leftovers from the night before. Yours truly, Jacki. (Age 9, Chicago)
Dear Pastor, I say my prayer before I eat my supper but my mother still makes me finish my spinach and drink my milk. Julie. (Age 9, Buffalo)
Jesus was a man of prayer. He valued the communication between himself and God. His teachings were hard. John Chapter 7 ¡V Jesus was in Galilee, his brothers thought he should go to Judea (no one who wants to be a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things show yourself to the world.) ¡V The response of Jesus is a clear statement about his understanding of God¡¦s will. Vs. 6 ¡V ¡§The right time for me has not yet come; for you anytime is right. 8 ¡V You go to the feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.
Jesus understood the will of the father. It is the desire of Jesus for us to understand God¡¦s will as well.
Jesus is going to give us 3 principles about prayer. Turn with me this morning to (Advance)
Matthew 6:5-15 (READ) (The text is on 2 slides)
I. Pray to God ¡V Not man
a. Communication to God
i. Done in a quiet soft voice
b. Public prayer
i. History of what Jesus was talking about
ii. Understanding of the principles for today ¡V
i. I believe they aren¡¦t in the church Sunday morning
1. Church ¡V Hospital for the sick
ii. I believe they are away from church
1. Because they think they don¡¦t need it
2. Because they don¡¦t understand what the purpose is
3. Because they judge Christians, not for the purpose of building up, but for the purpose of justifying their own sin.
iii. I believe they are possibly religious (same as standing on the street corner praying)
1. For external reasons ¡V nothing deep about it
2. Because they want to feel better about their sinfulness
3. They are short term Christians ¡V waiting for the next big thing.
I was in McDonald¡¦s this week and someone saw that I was wearing my leather Chiefs coat. I guess he assumed that I was a new fan or something. I am use to the chiefs losing. The fact that they lost last Sunday didn¡¦t surprise me. A true fan of something is a fan regardless of the win/loss record. A true Christian is in church regardless of the next best thing across town. (ADVANCE)