Summary: Let’s allow the Master Teacher to teach us as He taught His disciples how to pray.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
ILL. Suppose that I should call you up tomorrow morning about 10:00, after you have been working for a couple of hours or so, & asked you, "Have you prayed yet today?" How would you respond to that?
Would you just start stammering a bit & say, "Well, we prayed last night with the children. And we always pray before our meals. Is that what you mean?"
Or maybe you’d feel that your preacher had overstepped his bounds in even asking you that question.
ILL. We sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" & "Like a mighty army moves the Church of God." But if we’re going to be a good army for God we need the power that comes through prayer. Power to enhance our relationships with others, power to overcome the stress & pressures in life. It is available to us. Yet, so often we leave it untapped.
Frankly, I feel uncomfortable talking about the subject of prayer because I’m not at all satisfied with my own prayer life.
So I invite you this morning to come with me to the Master Teacher, & let’s allow Him to teach us as He taught His disciples how to pray. Turn with me to the 6th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, vs’s 514.
I. FOUR NECESSITIES FOR PRAYER
And as we consider these verses, let me suggest 4 things we need to have if our prayers are going to be effective, & pleasing to God.
A. First of all, we must have faith. You say, "Well, preacher, that is pretty elementary." Yes, it is. This is a very elementary sermon. Before we pray we must believe that God is, & that He hears & answers our prayers.
1. If we don’t believe in God, if we don’t believe that He will hear & answer our prayers, then obviously prayer is an effort in futility.
Now it is not easy to believe in God. Jesus mentions this in Matthew 6:6. He says, "When you pray, go into your room, close the door & pray to your Father, who is unseen."
When we talk, unless we are talking on the telephone, we are usually talking to people we can see. But Jesus says, "You are to talk to an unseen God."
So when you begin to pray, Satan slithers up & says, "Do you really believe in a God you can’t see? Do you really believe that God can hear your prayer when there are thousands of others being offered to Him at the same time?"
2. So you have to pray in faith. Not necessarily understanding, just believing. I don’t understand how prayer works, do you? But I know that the Bible tells me that He knows my needs even before I ask for them; that He knows my name; that He even knows the hairs on my head; & that He knows everything about me; & that He will hear my prayer along with yours.
I don’t understand that, but I believe it.
ILL. There are a lot of other things that I don’t understand. I don’t understand how I can push a button in my car & my garage door opens before I even get there. But I use it.
ILL. I don’t understand how a cordless telephone works. How can your voice travel unseen through the air, through a transmitter & amplifier & then someone can hear you clearly across town or across the nation or around the world? I don’t know how. But it works.
I don’t understand how prayer works, but it works. So I pray in faith to my unseen God & He promises that He will hear.
3. I think that another obstacle to faith is disappointment in prayer. Maybe you prayed to have a baby, & your womb was barren. Maybe you prayed for loved ones who were sick, & they died. Or maybe you prayed for a job & they chose someone else.
And because of that you have been disappointed in God. And you say, "My prayers have been unanswered." But not necessarily.
If your expectation in prayer is that God will immediately grant you everything that you ask for, I can promise you that you will be disappointed, & that you will have moments of doubt.
But if your expectation in prayer is that God will give you all you need, then your confidence in prayer will grow. You see, God is like a loving Father, He doesn’t give His child everything the child wants. He gives what the child needs, not necessarily what he or she wants.
B. So first of all, we must pray in faith. Secondly, we must commit ourselves to pray.
Now, I know from experience that the moment you make up your mind to pray, just like the moment you made up your mind to read the Bible, Satan is going to erect all kinds of obstacles. Because he doesn’t want you to read your Bible & pray.