Summary: There are some specific ways scripture teaches us to pray that will help us to see more answers. This sermon points out 5 things to consider.
Using Your Prayer Keys
INTRODUCTION: A few weeks ago I asked you to bring an old key and you did. These old keys are going to speak to us today. Not too long ago we used these keys to open doors, to start our cars, to open up a post office box, or a suitcase; but now, for one reason or another, they are not being used and were just lying around the house or on a part of an abandoned key ring. I brought an important key chain with keys from the past. Just how are they going to speak to us today in a sermon? How are they going to help us?
1. OUR KEYS: All of us have keys that are rightfully ours. They are so important to us, and we use them everyday. Our house key, car key, office key, post office box key, etc. Can you think of another key you use every day? I use the church key at different times of the week. Then there are keys we only use occasionally--a suitcase key, key to an RV, or a vacation home. Whatever these keys that are in our possession open, we know that they are OUR keys. We know that we have the right to use them.
When we become Christians we also have been given some keys that are rightfully ours. We may put them on our spiritual key ring, carry them with us, and use them when we need them. These keys are sometimes thought of as our prayer keys because they unlock doors to answered prayer. A lot of times we forget we have them and often only use one or two of them, forgetting about all of the rest.
How do we know we have been given keys? Matthew 16:19 says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” There are various interpretations to this scripture and scholars can’t seem to agree on it. The Message Bible says, “You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
Our communication with God is through prayer and scripture points out numerous keys to use in getting answers to prayer. So first of all let these keys be a reminder to you that you have access to many different prayer keys, and they are rightfully yours to use and carry with you. One key won’t do the job. We come to church to learn how to use these keys more skillfully. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to “come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Just as you walk up to your front door and put the key in and turn it BOLDLY because it is YOUR key and YOUR house--you can do the same in taking your requests to the throne of God. You have been given this prayer key--it is yours. Step right up to the door and use your key.
2. CARRY KEYS: Don’t use them or know what they are for? ILLUSTRATION: Show a key chain. Many of us have key rings that contain lots of keys like this one. I have carried this key ring for years and years. There are 17 keys on this key ring plus a fingernail clip, a rabies dog tag, and a find yourself in the Air Force Tag. Some of these keys have not been used for 20 years. They are just excess baggage to carry around. As I looked over the various keys, I remembered that some belonged to cars and trucks we no longer have, this little one belongs to some Shoei motorcycle bags. One belonged to an office I had at school, there’s a post office box key from the old post office, a key to Mom’s house that was sold years ago, and a lot of other keys that I can’t even identify. Why do I hang on to these keys? No reason, except that I am a “stuff” person. We have a lot of prayer keys that we carry around with us in our Bibles, but we don’t use them either for one reason or another. Some we don’t use because we don’t know what they are for--Scriptures that we have noticed before or that we have forgotten are a part of our prayer keys. But they are doing us no good.
3. SPECIFIC KEYS: A few weeks ago I asked you to bring an old key with you. Here are the keys (show framed keys). All of these keys have a specific purpose or have had in the past. As a reminder to you of your prayer keys I am going to hang this frame with your keys in a prominent place in this church. And I want you to be sure to take a look at this and find your key. My key has a 29 on it and it goes to an office at my school. Who brought the skeleton key? I was hoping to get one of these. As you can see there are lots of different keys in here. When we pray we need to be aware that there are many specific keys rather than just praying in the same way every time. We need to know what they are. It does us no more good to carry our prayer keys if we don’t use them or even know what they fit. We must become skillful in using our keys.