6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: An awesome message about the power of prayer, with many new insights from Scripture and great illustrations. It will preach.

YOUR HIGHEST PRIORITY: TO SEEK AFTER GOD

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: Church Growth

1. Johnny’s mother looked out the window and noticed him “playing church” with their cat. The cat was sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work.

2. A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, “Johnny, stop that! The cat’s afraid of water!”

3. Johnny looked up at her and said, “He should have thought about that before he joined my church.”

B. A THOUGHT ABOUT PRAYER

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Aug. 28:

“Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished….We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.”

C. THESIS

1. Whether we really pray or not, will make all the difference in how carnal/worldly we are, the impact of our life in this world, and maybe our position in Heaven.

2. Today we’re looking at what prayer is, different aspects of prayer, and how prayer should be our highest priority.

3. The title of this message is “Your Highest Priority: To Seek After God.”

I. WHAT IS PRAYER?

A. DIFFERENT FORMS OF PRAYER

1. Bowing Ps. 95:6

2. Kneeling Ps. 95:6; Dan. 6:10.

3. Standing Ps. 135:1-3

4. Laying prostrate, Lk. 17:16

5. Laying down in bed, Ps. 63:6

6. Silently, Ps. 46:10; Hab. 2:20;

7. Speaking Ps. 71:8; 98:1;

8. Shouting Ps. 89:15; 98:6; Ezra 3:11;

9. Lifting up Hands Ps. 63:3-5; 141:2; 1 Tim. 2:8;

10. Walking & Leaping 2 Sam. 6:16; Acts 3:7-8.

B. HUMOR: FOUR TYPES OF PRAYER

1. Mark Gellman, a rabbi who often appears on the Today Show and writes periodically for Newsweek says there are four kinds of prayer: Gimme, Thanks, Oops, and Wow! Thanks is obvious. Oops means confessing our sins. Wow is when we overflow in praise for who God is, not just for what he’s done for us lately.

2. We have a tendency to overemphasize the first element of prayer. We can turn asking into “Gimmie.” James says, “You do not have, because you don’t ask God. When you ask, you don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” James 4:2-3.

C. DEFINITION

1. Prayer is defined as “the act or practice of praying to God; a supplication, expression, earnest request or wish addressed to God.”

2. But I want to add that prayer (should) form a connection between us and God, through which flows the life of God into our spiritual beings.

3. Jesus talked about this in the analogy of the Vine & Branches, John 15:4-6. The sap of life must flow from the trunk of a tree into its branches, or they’ll die. So with us.

4. “And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing (as in a mirror) the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from glory to glory…” 2 Cor. 3:18, AMP.

5. ILLUS. There was a king’s son who was born with a bent back, bending over. His father, the king, hired a sculptor to make a statue of his son walking erectly, as if he were well. The king placed the statue where his son would see it all day. As the boy grew up, he saw himself walking erect & straight. With this vision, the boy became conformed to the image in the statue!

6. As we continually look at Jesus in prayer, we’re transformed into His image! Hallelujah!

II. THE VAST IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

A. ROOT MEANINGS OF “PRAYER”

1. Ge. 20:7 “palal,” Abram was told to pray for Abimelech. This word involved the sense of “judging” as part of the prayer.

2. 2 Chron. 6:32 “chanah.” Solomon’s prayer that God would hear the prayer of the scattered Israelites if they turned back to Him. It means “to bend or to stoop.” (humbling)

3. Ezra 6:10 “tsela,” Chaldean, from “tsame”--“to thirst.”

4. Job 21:15 “paga” means to “impinge” or to ‘drive something in,’ like a wedge. Thus to Intercede is to drive in the wedge of the supernatural.

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