Summary: Tonight in this part of Jesus Sermon on the Mount we will learn about the Power of Persistent Prayer.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Part 17
The Power of Persistent Prayer
Pm service February 22nd 2009
We are sorry to announce the passing of Mrs. Prayer Meeting. She died recently at the First Neglected Church on Ho-Hum Avenue. Born many years ago in the midst of a great revival, she was strong and healthy as a child, fed largely on testimony and Bible study she grew into world-wide prominence and was one of the most influential members of the Church family.
However, in recent years Sister Prayer Meeting has been failing in health, gradually wasting away until rendered helpless by stiffness of the knees, cooling of the heart, lack of spiritual sensitivity and the concern for spiritual things. Her last whispered words were inquiring about the strange absence of her loved ones, now so busy in the market place and places of worldly amusement on Wednesday evenings!
Experts, including Dr. Good Works, Dr. Socializing and Dr. Unconcerned disagree as to the fatal cause of her final illness. They all administered large doses of excuses, even ordered a last minute motivational bypass, all to no avail. A post-mortem examination showed that a deficiency of regular spiritual food, a lack of prayer and Christian fellowship, all contributed to her untimely demise.
The power of prayer is evident. We cannot disregard that prayer is indeed a powerful force in the life of the church. We cannot disregard the fact that prayer is a powerful part of the lives of many Christians. The question that still remains is “What about me?”
Why does God seem to really answer the prayers of some people and not others? Why are some people more powerful in prayer?
Is it their faith? Maybe, Is it their relationship with God? Maybe, Is it the way that they pray? (The right words, the right posture or the right time of day) Definitely not
The answer may well be their persistence – They never gave up, there prayer life didn’t die like the sister prayer meeting, they are alive and thriving in there life. Tonight in this part of Jesus Sermon on the Mount we will learn about the Power of Persistent Prayer.
Read Scriptures: Matthew 7:7-11
I. The Pattern of Persistent Prayer
Vs. 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
These words describing prayer are all verbs (ask, seek, knock) and they imply direct action. We must understand prayer as being active rather than passive
These words also have a natural progression of action from least aggressive too most aggressive. The issue Jesus is raising is one of intensity. If we pray half hearted once or twice a week we shouldn’t expect much from God
The statement that Jesus is making here is in the Greek imperative, which means that this is a command. When Jesus says this He fully expects every believer to be active in prayer. Prayer is not an option.
Pastors and churches have to get uncomfortable enough to say, We are not New Testament Christians if we don’t have a prayer life.
The way Jesus says these words are also important because they are in the present tense. These are words of continuous action. In English this would read keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking
The three steps to persistent prayer
1. Step one: asking
Asking is to make a request of God
Two realities of asking:
1.) We ask something of God when we have a need
2.) We ask something of God because He can provide for all of our needs
2. Step two: seeking
Seeking is asking plus action (Example: Car shopping)
We seek when we need something of value to us
There are times when we need to take an active role in answers to prayer. (Example praying for a job, then you go out and look.)
Martin Luther said it this way, “Pray as if everything depends on God, then work as if everything depends on you.”
3. Step three: knocking
Knocking is asking plus action plus attitude. This implies our petition in asking, our purpose in action and our persistence in knocking
We knock when we are shut out from what we need and desire entrance. We knock on the things that only God can do
Two key realities
1.) When knocking we try every door until we find the right one
2.) Once we find the right door we continue knocking until we gain entrance. This is a revealing factor in how much we depend on God
II. The Purpose of Persistent Prayer
Vs. 8 “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Prayer is based on conditions