Summary: Prayer is regarded as the Ascent – Rising to God, an upward movement, which step by step, the soul liftsd airborne. I want to concentrate on the separate steps of this Ladder of Prayer – the ascent that carries the heart upward to the throne.
Dr. Wayne A. Lawson
Antioch Institutional Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, OK
Preached Sunday March 7, 2010
Annual Ushers Day – 3:30 pm
(I claim no originality of this message. I first preached it about 14 years ago. I modified much of it for this delivery)
TITLE: THE LADDER OF PRAYER
SCRIPTURE: GENESIS 28:12
12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
I am honored this afternoon to stand here and bring an encouraging message on this our Usher’s Annual Day. Just in case you are nervous this afternoon, I know that you have heard “I WOULD RATHER BE A DOORKEEPER IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD” preached every way it could possibly be expounded upon. So I found myself communing with God seeking a message that will bless all of us. I felt the leading of the Holy Ghost take me to the simple but challenging subject of prayer. This is a remarkable verse about a very memorable scene. This afternoon I desire to use the imagery of the verse without direct regard to its context. I realize and fully understand this passage pertains to Jacob’s dream or vision, which Connected Heaven and Earth. However, I ask that we put the knowledge that we have pertaining to this event to back of our minds, for it will play a secondary role as this thought develops.
We will not deal this afternoon with the full value of the scriptural context, however; we will examine the first portion of this vision or dream and attempt to have this brief portion stand alone. Those who read devotional books such as Daily Bread or Living Word, have seen on many occasions what the devotional writers have termed “The Ladder of Prayer.” Jacob, on his journey to Haran, stopped in a place called LUZ and there he went to sleep and had a life-changing dream of a STAIRWAY REACHING TOWARD HEAVEN - with angels ascending and descending on it
The dream that Jacob had is one of the Greatest dreams ever recorded in Antiquity. He dreamed that he saw a ladder set up on earth, and it reached all the way to Heaven. At the top of the ladder was God, and scampering up and down the ladder were angels, going up and down. Yes, God Himself was at the top of the ladder. The message of God emanated from Heaven from the top of the ladder, and take note it was not at the bottom of the ladder set on earth. The message from God always comes from Heaven, and not from men at the bottom of the ladder. It comes from God and delivered by men. So what can we glean from this dream, this vision?
Prayer is regarded as the Ascent – Rising to God, an upward movement, which step by step, the soul liftsd airborne. I want to concentrate on the separate steps of this Ladder of Prayer – the ascent that carries the heart upward to the throne. I want you to understand this morning where Prayer begins and to what Heights it is capable of Rising. It is on this Ladder of Prayer I should like to dwell – beginning with the lowest step and so ascending to higher steps.
The First Step on The Ladder of Prayer is called -- EMERGENCY PRAYER. Prayer commonly begins in every individuals life with Cry of Escape from some external evil. This is the Lowest Step on Ladder – souls cry is wrung from some form of disaster or adversity. When men and women faced with dangerous operation; midst vehicle accident, something that momentarily unsettles our lives, or as Paul said may find self in midst of shipwreck in perils of water. Those recently found enduring floods in Florida and other parts of the world, experienced this first step on The Ladder of Prayer. Perhaps when we find a loved one has taken ill or situation of great hazard we cry out to God for help saying where else can we turn. Some scholars attempt to classify that first prayer of a sinner as the prayer of repentance, this is not so, this is the first or initial step.
It is in such a cry that prayer is often born into existence - keep in mind these prayers are not for blessings of the soul. They are wrung out not in spiritual darkness but in some type of distress. Bible does not rule such desperate prayers out because there is no plea for pardon. Lord Knows Our Frame of Mind, our going out and our coming in. God knows that we are but the dust. Therefore, he welcomes the strong cry, and calls it prayeer – although it is uttered in distress or adversity. God is not concerned about a lengthy prayer, he is not concerned about our prayers being theologically sound, not concerned about rythmatic flow, He welcomes this first step on The Ladder of Prayer.