Summary: What God is saying about prayer and praying in this text. 1- Prayer is a membership-matter 2- Prayer is a power-producer 3- Prayer is an eye-opener 4- Prayer is a filler-upper 5- Prayer is a glory-getter
INTRO.- ILL.- Someone said: A friend of mine took his small son with him to town one day to run some errands. When lunch time arrived, the two of them went to a familiar diner for a sandwich. The father sat down on one of the stools at the counter and lifted the boy up to the seat beside him. They ordered lunch, and when the waiter brought the food, the father said, "Son, we’ll just have a silent prayer."
Dad got through praying first and waited for the boy to finish his prayer, but he just sat with his head bowed for an unusually long time. When he finally looked up, his father asked him, "What in the world were you praying about all that time?" With the innocence and honesty of a child, he replied, "How do I know? It was a silent prayer."
ILL.- Another person said: Attending church in Kentucky, we watched an especially verbal and boisterous child being hurried out, slung under his irate father’s arm. No one in the congregation so much as raised an eyebrow -- until the child captured everyone’s attention by crying out in a charming Southern accent, "Ya’ll pray for me now!"
ILL.- Dwight L. and Mrs. Moody often had guests in their Chicago home. One evening, after a very demanding day, Moody asked a visiting Christian to lead in family devotions. The man expounded on the symbolism in a difficult chapter of the Bible. Then he prayed at great length. When the worship was over, Mrs. Moody and the guest got up from their knees, but Moody remained bowed in prayer. The guest thought that he was praying, but Mrs. Moody soon detected that her husband was asleep!
WHEN I KNEEL BEFORE THE FATHER. Do you kneel before the Father? When and How? Hopefully, you do every day and many times a day. We need to fill our lives with prayer and praise! And we don’t have to do it on our knees but that wouldn’t hurt anybody.
ILL.- I remember when I was student at OCC. Every Wednesday night at the Bible study and prayer meeting old Brother Woody Phillips would preach to us students. I didn’t think he did much teaching but he sure did a lot of preaching. I remember one time when he said, "You OBC students are keeping the local movie theater open!" In other words, he was reprimanding us for going to the show!
In the midst of the preaching and teaching, Brother Woody would stop and say, "Let’s pray about this." He would then ask all of us to get down on our knees between the pews for prayer time. And anybody that wanted to pray, could. Sometimes we had LONG prayer meetings. But one of the funniest things that happened during prayer meeting was occasionally you’d hear somebody snoring!
The moral of that story is don’t pray too long because you’ll fall asleep. Have you ever fallen asleep while praying? How do you feel about that? Does it embarrass you? I used to kind of feel that way until I heard a preacher say that was a pretty good way to fall asleep. However, I still feel a little embarrassed over falling asleep while talking to the God of the universe.
When I kneel to pray.
PROP.- Let’s consider what God is saying about prayer and praying in this text.
1- Prayer is a membership-matter
2- Prayer is a power-producer
3- Prayer is an eye-opener
4- Prayer is a filler-upper
5- Prayer is a glory-getter
I. PRAYER IS A MEMBERSHIP-MATTER
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
Prayer is a family thing. It’s a membership thing and membership does have its privileges. I’m not much of a joiner, but I am glad and thankful to be a part of the Lord’s church. Membership does have its privileges. Church dinners aren’t bad but there are other privileges that are much better.
ILL.- The story goes that one time when Bill Moyers was a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was asked to say grace before a meal in the family quarters of the White House. As Moyers began praying softly, the President interrupted him with "Speak up, Bill! Speak up!" The former Baptist minister from east Texas stopped in mid-sentence and without looking up replied steadily, "I wasn’t addressing you, Mr. President."
And it’s true that when we pray we are not praying for the people around us. We must not be concerned about what they are thinking, because we are talking to God. And being a part of God’s family gives you this special privilege!
I realize that God listens to all prayers, but it appears that He responds to some more than others. And we’re in that group because we’re in His group! We’re in the church, the body of Christ, the family of God! And this means that God our father is quick to listen to us and answer us.