Summary: If we just want good things to happen then don’t pray. But if we want GOD things to happen pray with boldness, passion and expectancy.
I’ve said on the front cover of this weeks bulletin that prayer is the highest use of the gift of speech.
Words are a powerful tool. For example apparently for every word in Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, 125 people lost their lives in World War 2 (W. Wiersbe "Be Complete" p135).
So words are powerful and today I want us to look at the most powerful and effective use of words and speech – prayer.
Again on the front of the bulletin I’ve quoted Paul who says,
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too (Colossians 4:2-3a)
But how do we pray, and can we be more effective in our prayer? Does God always hear us? Why does he seem to take his time in answering sometimes?
The disciples asked Jesus these exact same questions. One day when they were alone with him and Jesus was praying, when he finished they said, "Teach us to pray." You can read about it in Luke 11 – In fact why not turn there now. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he proceeded to outline the Lord’s prayer for them. This gave them a pattern for prayer. But after that Jesus went on to tell a story about a friend who went and knocked on his neighbors door at midnight. Let’s read it together.
In the Lord’s prayer, just before this, we have a pattern for prayer, but then Jesus tells this story about a friend who disturbs his neighbor in the middle of the night for some bread to serve a guest. You see, in this story Jesus is still teaching us about prayer – and in it he outlines some principles we can apply if we want to be more effective in our praying.
And the first is simply this – like this friend knocking on his neighbors door at midnight, we are to be bold in our prayer.
I.BOLDNESS (vv 5-8)
(Illus.: Taken from Ronald Dunn, "Don’t just stand there, pray something." pg48-50)
-Ronald Dunn tells the story of a trip he and his family took to a local fair. At the time he had three kids and he also had his brothers child, which made four. The tickets for the rides were ten cents a piece so they bought a roll of tickets and Ron would stand atthe entry way of each ride and hand the tickets to the kids as they got on. At one ride in particular, he took his post and began handing out tickets. He handed out the fourth ticket to his son, Stephan and he wacthed him limb on the ride. He then noticed a fifth child standing before him with hand held out waiting for a ticket. "Who is this kid?" he thought to himself. He got a little angery thinking that this boy was trying to get a free ticket that was meant for his children. He was just about to tell this kid that he would get no tickets when his son, Stephan called back, "It’s okay, dad, he’s my friend and I told him that you would give him a ticket." Long story short, Ron Dunn gave the boy a ticket, not because he wanted to or that the boy deserved it but because of his sons word
He realized, as a result of this that this boy was asking for a ticket "in Stephan’s name," and he gave this boy a ticket, "in Stephan’s name." This illustrated our praying in Jesus’ name for him.
If we are Believers, then we can ask God for anything we need with the same boldness of that boy, because Jesus is right there with our heavenly Father saying, "It’s all right, he’s with me." This is exactly what Jesus is talking about in the story of the neighbor at midnight. He says:
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs
Like a child expects the necessities of life from a loving father, and seeks them boldly, unashamedly from him, so we can go to God boldly expect him to meet all our needs.
When a soldier is in battle, he goes to his commanding officer to request the tools or weapons he needs to get the job done – to win the battle – and he expects to get them. In the same way we can go to the Lord with boldness and confidence knowing he will give us everything we need to get the job done.
The point is this if we want to have an effective and powerful prayer life we must cultivate an attitude of boldness. The disciples asked Jesus, "Teach us how to pray." And Jesus said, "Be bold."