Summary: Despite the universality of the experience of prayer, we have become aware of a growing neglect of the practice of prayer.
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?
INTRO: Prayer is the universal language of religion. In every age, on every continent, in every religion, people have prayed. Despite the universality of the experience of prayer, we have become aware of a growing neglect of the practice of prayer. Prayerlessness in the pews is one of the preeminent problems in the church today. SO WHY, THEN SHOULD WE PRAY?
I. THE PRACTICE OF THE SAVIOR.
Verse 1 tells us that it was while Jesus was praying that one of His disciples approached Him with the request: “Lord, teach us to pray.” In this matter, as in others, Jesus is our example. We know that we should pray because Jesus prayed. And we are certain of the effectiveness of prayer, despite our searching questions about it, because Jesus was certain of His effectiveness.
ILLUS: The portrait painted of Jesus in the N.T. is the outline of a lone figure on His knees with upturned face to God. Jesus, the Son of God, was a man of prayer. Because He was our example, we, too, should pray.
II. THE PROMISE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Look again at the life of Jesus and you will see not only the saturation of His life with the practice of prayer but also the boldness of His promises concerning the power of prayer.
Study Jesus’ statements in Matthew 18:19; 21:22; Mark 11:24; and John 14:14. Also, in John 14:12-13, Jesus said that we have in prayer a power that will enable us to do even greater works than He did.
III. THE PROCLAMATION OF THE SAINTS.
The third reason we should pray is because of what the saints have declared about the value of prayer.
ILLUS: The testimony of these saints is aptly illustrated in the testimony of Adoniram Judson, the pioneer Baptist missionary, who said, “I was never deeply interested in any object, I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything but that it came at some time.”
All the saints of all the centuries with one voice proclaim it to be true: the key to their power and the secret to their success is prayer.
IV. THE PROVISIONS OF THE SOUL.
We should pray because only in prayer do we gain the energy to live our lives for God.
ILLUS: Automobiles are quite useful machines as long as we remember that they were made to run on gasoline. You can put water in the tank and the car will just sit there. The car will not run properly on anything except gasoline.
The Bible says that God designed humans to run on the power that comes from a relationship with Him. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, the food our spirits were designed to feed on, the water our spirits were designed to be revived on. There is no other. If we do not have a constant intake of the presence and power of God, then we will not be able to go.
That is why Jesus said in Luke 18:1 “Men ought always to pray and not to faint.” The only alternative to prayer is an impoverished, ineffective, impotent soul.
CONC: A navy chaplain walked up to one of the men who was praying in the military chapel. He put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and asked, “May I help you?” “No thanks,” the young man said, looking up from his prayers. “I’m being helped!”
There is no greater way to help your spiritual life than to begin a daily, disciplined prayer life. Will you commit yourself to that today?