Summary: Often we cripple our prayers even before we pray them. This sermon deals with ways we make our own prayers less effective.
Our focus for this month is on revival and I want to suggest to you today that the main reason that our church is not growing as rapidly as we would like is because WE are not growing. We have to understand that the Christian life is a life marked by constant spiritual growth… in fact, if we stop growing spiritually then, by default, we began the process of dying spiritually. Brothers and sisters, whether we acknowledge it or not, that’s where many of us are right now…. We have forsaken the careful and frequent study of God’s word and we have neglected to spend quality time with Him in prayer. That’s very dangerous because we should all know by now that prayer and bible study are critical elements that sustain our relationship with Christ and stimulate spiritual growth. I’m not talking about everyone, but as a church, I think that we have just about flatlined. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will see the critical nature of our condition, pull out those defibrillator paddles and shock us back to life!
Would you agree with me that we need to be revived—that each and every one of us need to experience our own personal spiritual revival? The question that begs to be answered is, how do we go about actually being revived? Listen closely to what I am about to tell you. The single most important thing we can do to usher in a true spiritual revival is PRAY. That being said, please understand that prayer is much more involved than even most Christians realize…what I mean is, everybody can pray but not everybody will be heard.
Imagine that I need to send an urgent correspondence. The only way to do this is by homing pigeon. I write out a detailed message, role it up and tie it to one of the pigeon’s legs—careful not to tie it too tightly and hurt the little bird. After I’m certain my message is secure, I tie a brick to his other leg and throw the bird off the ledge. Do you think my message will get to where it’s needs to go?
Did you know that we do the same thing with many of our prayers? It’s true. We tend to harbor certain “carnal baggage” in our lives that actually weighs down our prayers much like that brick weighed down the pigeon rendering our prayers as flightless as that poor bird.
We would like to believe that every single one of our prayers are being heard by God and that He wants nothing more to give us all of our heart’s desires. We even make symbolic gestures like writing out a special prayer request and tying it to a helium balloon and letting it float up into heaven. Such a beautiful symbol…and quite fitting actually. Because like those balloons which, by the way, end up deflated or tangled up in trees or power lines, many of our prayers never even make it out of our atmosphere..
I know it may seem strange considering how I have preached sermon after sermon about the importance and power of prayer and now I’m telling you that perhaps many of your prayers are essentially useless but trust me, this is something that we all need to be aware of. Many prayers are offered up to God that simply go unanswered.