Summary: This series is to make the church more aware of the importance of practicing the biblical discipline of prayer. Last three weeks adapted from a sermon series by Greg Groeschel called Prayer.
Exciting to see people getting interested in prayer.
Many things to get excited about- our relationship w/God should be at the top of the list.
This morning- continue with our series on prayer- Pt 3.
Have you ever prayed a prayer sincerely-someone very sick (they died),marriage in trouble (ended in divorce),someone’s salvation (not saved), and you honestly believed God would answer your prayers, and He did not.
What is it that actually matters to God that would cause Him to answer our prayers?
God is not a genie in a bottle that we can rub or say the right thing and He will do what we ask Him to do.
Look at several things- matter to God when we pray.
1. Your relationships matter
The way you treat other people matters to God.
Can you release offenses and forgive others?
When we pray our relationships with others matter.
We cannot carry bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts and expect God to respond to our prayers.
1 Jn 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. NASU
We must be gut level honest concerning our attitudes.
Ill: As a parent- bothered me to see my children fight. The way my children treated each other mattered to me. I was more likely to grant their requests when they treated each other properly.
If- prayers- not being answered, we need to consider the condition of our relationships w/others.
1 Pet 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
This is another example of how relationships matter.
2. Your motives matter
Ja 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. NASU
NT- you see- Pharisees praying with wrong motives.
They wanted their prayers to be seen/heard by people.
Selfish motives will hinder/interfere with our prayers.
Ill: Guy- sees a cute girl at school/work- not a believer. He prays, God help her to get saved so I can date her.
May be a good prayer- but- motives- not exactly pure.
His concern is not for her salvation, but for his desires.
Ill: God help me get that promotion, instead of my co-worker, they do not deserve it.
How about praying for your favorite football team?
Our motives matter to God.
Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives.
3. The way you live matters
The way you live your life matters to God.
Our prayers may sound spiritual, but-
what goes on in our life secretly and
the way we live our life matters to God.
Ja 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. NASU
First, God wants us to honest about the way we live.
Second, it does not say the prayer of- an unrighteous person,
a casual/worldly Christian … is effective.
It says the prayer of the righteous man is effective.
Ill: Who would you give money to?
1. The guy who is healthy, turned down several jobs because they are beneath him, and the last time you gave him money he spent it foolishly.
2. The guy busting his tail, working two jobs, falling behind in his bills, but if you give him money you know he will buy food for his family.
In the natural, the way people live affects how we respond to them- the same is true in the spiritual.
Pro 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
Not saying- if you try really hard and you are better than others, that God has to do what you ask Him.
Not saying- if you are bad and have really blown it that God is not going to answer your prayers.
I am saying- at some level the way we live our lives matters to God.
4. Your faith matters
Your faith matters to God when you pray.
God appears to respond to simple/child-like faith.
Sometimes the more experienced we become in the ways of this life, the less faith we seem to have.
We allow the ideas/philosophies of this world to affect our thoughts, faith, and belief in God
more than we allow the Bible to shape our thoughts, faith, and belief in God.