Summary: This message focuses on how we choose to communicate with God.
What Will It Take?
What Will It Take For Me To Sincerely Pray To God & Receive An Answer?
In my message last week I asked you “What will it take for us to give God thanks with a sincere heart?” This week in keeping with the topic, “What Will It Take….” I will focus on prayer. So my question to us this morning is “What will it take for us to sincerely pray to God and receive an answer?” As a reminder from last week, I am still making the same two assumptions that I made last week. The first assumption is that we believe in God and have some type of relationship with Him. The second assumption is that we know and trust God. I shared with you last week that there is a different between the two assumptions and hopefully you remember what the difference is.
So let’s talk about prayer for a moment. There are many definitions as to what prayer is but I want to give you the simplified meaning: having a conversation with God. Throughout the day we gave many conversations that we participate in. We talk to family and friends; co-workers; strangers, etc. Some of these conversations are meaningful and some are not. Some of these conversations require follow-up with answers and some do not. Sometimes we have conversations with people which require follow-up and we walk away thinking that we will never hear from the person again. Even though the importance of each conversation is different based on the content of the discussion, the fact is that a conversation takes place and there was something that was communicated between the two parties.
Now let’s take this to our conversations with God. The most common word for prayer in the New Testament is the word “proseuche” (pronounced “pros-yoo-khay). This word is used approximately 127 times in the New Testament. It is a compound of the words “pros” and “euche”. “Pros” is a preposition that means toward and can denote a sense of closeness. “Euche” is an old Greek word that describes a wish, desire, or vow. It was originally used to depict a person who made some kind of vow to God because of some need or desire in their life. As illustration of this from the Old Testament was Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She deeply desired a child and was not able to conceive. She prayed to God and made a solemn vow to Him that if He gave her a son she would give Him back to God. This word tells us that prayer should bring us into a close contact with God. It is much more than a mechanical act or formula to follow; it is a vehicle to bring us to a place whereby we may enjoy a close, intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.
We have all prayed at some point in our life. Sometimes we pray when we give thanks for our food while at other times we pray about our situations. Many times though we pray without an expectation and this is where we get into trouble. I will discuss this more in two weeks in part two. When we choose to pray can inform us if in this area of our faith walk we are operating as a situational Christian. Remember this term from last week? In case you’ve forgotten, a situational Christian is one that responds to God based on the situation. As it relates to prayer, we often offer to God three types of prayers when we choose to communicate with Him. The first one is when we have a need or are in trouble and we pray for help or deliverance. The second one is after we have received the help or deliverance we pray a short prayer of thanksgiving. The third is when we pray for others (intercessory prayer). In each situation we do the talking and as quickly as we can finish what we want to say, the conversation is over. We do not wait around for a response from God, it is a one way conversation. (Illustrate) (For those of you reading this you can’t see the illustration but one day you will as we begin to send our services out via the internet.)
In my message this morning I want to encourage you to think about how you communicate with God (your prayers) and how you listen for Him to respond. So let me give you just a quick review of ways we can talk with God.
I. Our Conversations With God
As I go through these examples, consider the conversations you’re having with God. Consider what I shared a few minutes ago about the Greek word for prayer. When we talk with God it should draw us into a close relationship with Him versus being something we do to get it done. Let’s start with adoration.