Summary: I used this as an informal message on a Sunday evening; letting the congregation guess what the situation was as I gave out the 'hints' one by one.
THREE SHORT PRAYERS:
Some of the best prayers we pray are prayers that come from a desperate heart.
• Jesus warned against praying just to be seen by other people:
• Matthew 6:5, “When you pray you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
• (What does that last part mean ~ they accomplished what they were trying to accomplish ~ being seen as holy to other people ~ and that’s all they are going to accomplish).
I wonder sometimes how many insincere prayers we make God suffer through in a day’s time?
• The gospels tell us of three short prayer, that I want us to look at this evening.
• See if you can figure out (or remember) what’s going on:
I). In the first one, Peter prays, “Lord, save me!” (any idea)
• It happens in the book of Matthew
• It happens out on the Sea of Galilee
• It happened because Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at his surroundings.
• Peter had gotten himself into a hopeless situation, and cried out to Jesus.
• What did Jesus do? (Rescued him).
II). The second prayer is from a Canaanite woman, who prays: “Lord, help me!”
• It also happens in the book of Matthew.
• At first she says, “Have mercy on me, O Lord” and Jesus seems to ignore her!
• The disciples want her to be sent away because (they say) “she is crying out after us!”
• And Jesus refuses to help her (what!!!) ~ He says, “I was not send except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” ~
Matthew 15:21-28 (read)
• Why was her prayer answered?
• What lesson did the disciples learn? (It's not about them)
III). The third prayer is from a dying man who prays: “Lord, remember me!”
• It’s from the book of Luke
• There was no doubt that this man was going to die ~ and Jesus didn’t stop it from happening!
• But did the man pray “Lord, save me” (no, but there was another dying man there who basically did!)
• Here was a guilty man, calling out from a dire need, and Jesus heard His prayer.
In all these prayers, Jesus gave an immediate answer: He saved, He helped, and He remembered! He knows the need already, but we show our faith by calling out to Him!