Summary: An examination of the tremendous privilege of prayer, and how we can make better use of the privilege.
Title: The Privilege of Prayer
Series: Prayer 101 (Sermon # 1)
Text: Philippians 4:6-7
Preached: April 27, 2008
COPYRIGHT © Joe La Rue, 2008
A. Hook: Recently I came across something called Prayers of Children, containing prayers little kids had prayed to God. Listen:
From Debbie, age 7: “Dear God: Please send a new baby for Mommy. The new baby you sent last week cries too much.”
From Jimmy, age 6: “Who’s smarter? Boys or girls? Me and my sister want to know.”
From David, age 7: “Dear God: I need a raise in my allowance. Could you have one of your angels tell my father. Thank you.”
From Diane, age 8: ‘Dear God: I am saying my prayers for me and my brother, Billy, because Billy is six months old and he can’t do anything but sleep and wet his diapers.”
From Angela, age 8: “Dear God: This is my prayer. Could you please give my brother some brains. So far he doesn’t have any.”
(Source Unknown, located at http://www.net153.com/magazine/subscription/humor/kids/childrens_prayers.htm (last visited April 22, 2008)).
From Norma, “Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?”
And my favorite, from Joyce: “Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.”
(Source Unknown, located at http://www.christiansoldierscross.com/prayers_of_children.htm (last visited April 22, 2008)).
B. Well, this morning we are beginning a series of messages about the privilege of prayer. The hymn writer Joseph Scriven expressed it this way:
“What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear? What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.”
Joseph M. Scriven, What A Friend We Have In Jesus (1855).
C. I want to speak to you today about the tremendous privilege that prayer is, a privilege that many of us may not fully take advantage of, and because of that, we rob ourselves of much of the joy and peace and personal growth God desires us to experience.
D. Let me begin by giving us a working definition of prayer. If you haven’t already done so, please take your sermon notes sheet from within your program. I’ve given you a blank on the notes page to fill in with this definition. Here we go. At it’s very simplest, prayer is communing with God. It’s pouring our hearts out before Him. It’s sharing our thoughts and our feelings, and – here’s your second blank – allowing Him to work in our lives through the experience. That’s the definition of prayer that we’ll be utilizing through this entire series – communing with God, and allowing Him to work in our lives. That’s true prayer, and throughout this series we’ll be unpacking that definition and seeing how it plays out in our lives today.
E. Trans: But this morning, I want to share two reasons why prayer is such a tremendous privilege. Then I will explain how to better experience this privilege. First, why is prayer a privilege? Number one, on your outlines, because of who God is, and who we are.
I. Why Prayer Is A Privilege
A. Because of Who God Is, and Who We Are. What an amazing thing that the God of the universe, the one who created all there is and sustains it by His power; the one who is radiant and holy and full of glory, has invited us to come into His presence and pour our hearts out before Him in this thing we call prayer. It amazes me that God would invite us to do that. I mean, when I think of who he is, and who I am.... Why would God want to hear from me?
1. This is the same question that confounded King David. He wrote in Psalm 8,
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us? (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT).
Do you hear what he’s asking? God, who are we, that you should think of us?
2. ILL: It’s the same question that was once asked of Albert Einstein. When Einstein fled Nazi Germany, he came to America and bought an old two-story house within walking distance of Princeton University. There he entertained some of the most distinguished people of his day, and discussed with them issues as far ranging as physics to human rights.
But Einstein had another frequent visitor. She was not, in the world’s eyes, an important person like his other guests. She was a ten-year-old girl, named Emmy. Emmy heard that a very kind man who knew a lot about mathematics had moved into her neighborhood. Since she was having trouble with her fifth-grade arithmetic, she decided to visit the man down the block and see if he would help her with her problems. Einstein was very willing and explained everything to her so that she could understand it. He also told her she was welcome to come anytime she needed help.