Summary: Our prayers can be purposeful, like arrows... or they can be random like super balls.
Your Prayers: Arrows or Super balls
Arrows and super balls are used for very different things…
Pull out an arrow. - An arrow can be a weapon, a tool, something that helps create patience and discipline. An arrow has one job… to fly straight and true ending its flight by fully penetrating its target.
Pull out a super ball. - A super ball is a play thing, something that is random and reacts to what is around it differently every time. A super balls job is to bounce… to entertain us by keeping us guessing.
Now, take a moment and think of your prayer life… is it more like a super ball?... random, unpredictable, something you pull out when you can’t figure out what to do.
Or is your prayer life more like an arrow… decisive, purposeful, powerful and useful.
I do not want to spend a bunch of time identifying “super ball” prayers. I think it is sufficient to say we all know that feeling… we pray and nothing happens, it feels as though God is not listening or doesn’t care.
It is easy to say that we all want our prayers to be arrows. So that is where we will spend our time.
What makes a prayer an arrow?
You must pray the truth of scripture to God.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 - 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD,
(talk about praying scripture – not using the word as a bat to tell God want to do, but claiming promises and asking the Lord to help you bring your life into line with what it says so he will be pleased and you, in turn, will be blessed)
You must pray with passion that comes from KNOWING God.
Prov 8:17 - 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
Matt 6:5-8 - 5"And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. 7"When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. 8Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
(scripture about people NOT praying with power, but with fancy words)
You must pray and expect to hear God’s response.
2 Chor 7:14 – 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Psalm 40:1 - I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
(this is at the heart of having faith)
So, I look out and I know that many of you pray this way, but you are still frustrated… this tells us that there are blocks to prayer. I have shared before that God always answers prayer. That statement is not completely accurate. Just like I can’t stick up a metal sheet between the arrow and it’s target. The arrow is working fine, but there is something in the way.
Let’s take a few minutes and take a look at some blocks to prayer.
You pray to God, but you hold un-forgiveness in your heart and mind.
Matt 5:23,24 - 23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
You pray to God, but you have wrong motives.
James 4:2-3 - You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
You pray to God, but you are not really open to His will.
James 4:7-8 - 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.