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Summary: Sermon Objective: To encourage and explain the virtue of personal prayer.

The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Human Heart

The Virtue of Prayer

Mark 11:15-17

Sermon Objective: To encourage and explain the virtue of personal prayer.

Series Intro:

We are looking at Mark chapter 11 for the next few weeks. We have chosen to look at it from specific vantage points … to look at some of the Kingdom virtues God has imparted to the believer. The chapter shows our sovereign King making His way into his Holy City and temple for an official inspection. In doing so, He declares His reign.

“The Virtuous Kingdom: Evidence of the Reign of God in the Human Heart” is an appropriate title for such an event.

Last week we looked at verses 1-11 and saw the power and importance of living a lifestyle of worship.

In coming weeks we will look at fruit bearing (11:11-14, 20-21), faith (11:22-25), forgiveness (11:20-25), submission (11:1-6 & 27-33).

But today we will look at Mark 11:15-17.

15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: " ’My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ’a den of robbers.’"

So what happened here? What was so egregious that Jesus became angry … even violent?

The religious leaders were restricting the Gentiles’ access to God. The bazaar was set up in the court of the Gentiles not in any of the other courts (all the others were reserved for Jews). God’s original intent was for ALL humankind to have access to him. God wanted all humankind to pray to him at the temple.

You see, the Court of the Gentiles was an ideal place for missionary work! But sadly, prayer could not take place there any longer. It was now a place for preying and paying … but not for prayer.

This event gives us insight into another of the kingdom virtues that God has imparted to His people: prayer.

PRAYER. WHAT A GIFT!

God does not play favorites in prayer. It has so very few parameters to it.

† God does not prefer for a Jew to commune with Him more than he does a Gentile (Pagan) … but the Jewish leadership thought so.

 All people ought to pray because all people need God.

Romans 10:11-13 says: As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

God does not play favorites in prayer. It has so very few parameters to it.

† God is not more moved by a man’s prayer any more than he is a woman’s prayer … but the Jewish leadership thought so.

 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

God does not play favorites in prayer. It has so very few parameters to it.

† God does not hear an adult’s prayer quicker than a child’s prayer … but the Jews thought so.

 In fact, in mark 9 Jesus makes it clear that children can teach us a thing or two about a relationship with God.

God does not play favorites in prayer. It has so very few parameters to it.

† God does not hear a wealthy man’s prayer more readily than He hears a poor man’s prayer … but the Jews thought so.

 There is no special status for anyone when it comes to prayer. We are on equal footing.

Matthew 7:7-8 says: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

God does not play favorites in prayer. It has so very few parameters to it.

† Some contend that there is a proven format for prayer that gets God’s ear. I contend that God is more desirous to see you pray than He is that you do it via a certain format.

 I read through a book this week that implied you could use a certain posture and go through a specific series of prayer rituals that God would hear from Heaven. That sounds like a superstition not a relationship of communion between a child and their Heavenly Father.

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