Summary: This sermon is not a "how to" sermon but a "need to" emphasis on prayer.
V. 17 “Pray continually”
Is prayer effective as a painkiller?
Anita Manning, USA TODAY provides the following information how "Americans have found a no-cost painkiller they say is as effective as prescription drugs: prayer.
"More than half of those who responded to a USA TODAY/ABC News/Stanford University Medical Center poll released Monday say they use prayer to control pain. Of those, 90% say it worked well, and 51% say "very well."
"Among a dozen therapies, including bed rest, massage and herbal remedies, only prescription drugs were as successful as prayer in easing pain: 89% report that such drugs work well and 51% say "very well.""
While I will not advocate for or against prayer as a painkiller, I do believe the words of a chorus sung many years ago in Salvation Army churches around Canada:
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of
More things are wrought by prayer than this world knows,
With prayer we forge a chain
A chain of gold around the earth
That binds us to the feet of God.”
Today marks The Salvation Army’s Global Day of Prayer. In an effort to honor this emphasis we will consider prayer. We will not be addressing the “how to” of prayer but the “need to” of prayer
Why bother? Because
1. Prayer connects us to God
Our custodians are working wonders! They are task-oriented with multiple jobs to do and are determined to finish them before the day is out. I remember seeing the expression on a custodian’s face one day when she turned on her Harley (vacuum cleaner) and couldn’t get it to work. She checked the switch; she examined the nozzle and attachments, but still no power. When I chuckled she knew what had happened. I had pulled the cord out of the wall socket! She laughed; I plugged it back in and away she went!
There was a current flow through the whole building supplying power to computers, lights, heating systems, and magnetic door stops. All that energy flowing through a building of 24,000 square feet and yet one small vacuum didn’t work. Why? The vacuum wasn’t plugged into the source of power. The connection of simply putting the cord into an electrical wall outlet changed that and the work could continue.
A person who reads the Bible but doesn’t pray is a spiritual hermit (a recluse or removed from interacting with people). If you read the Bible but don’t pray, you are not interacting with God. On the other hand, a person who prays but doesn’t read the Bible is a chatter-box (one way conversation is so hard to sit through). It is easy to be a spiritual hermit or chatter-box. God attempts to offer words of love and instruction, of advice and warning but we easily miss the whole experience and pay no attention. Other times some think they’re hearing voices and say, “What was that?”
I read this week of three pastors who quickly stated that God told them to divorce their wives which they did without question. Now, if they had spent some time interacting with God, they would have known that God did not tell them to divorce their spouses.