Prayer

February 17, 2013    Luke 11:1-13     Prayer I   

      Jesus one day was praying in a certain place and when he was done one of his disciples came to him and ask him to teach them how to pray.  There are many things involved with prayer and I desire to speak to some of them today.   I think the whole idea of prayer is pretty profound.    I mean it is created man talking to his creator.   That runs pretty, pretty deep if you think about it.    Maybe the disciples struggled with prayer like we do from time to time.   Maybe they saw that Jesus was more effective than they were.   Many people do not know how to pray and maybe they did not know how to pray.   The Jews held God in very high esteem and they would not even speak one of his names.   How do you pray to this one who you do not even dare to speak his name?   That is a good question.   We are on the other side of the cross and we know that God has invited us in.    Are we really aware of being in His presence when we pray though?      Do I really understand that I have the ear of Him who created 100’s of billions of galaxies when I pray?   Sometimes we pray and do not see the results that we want or we do not get the results in our time frame. 

     How do you feel about prayer?   Is it something you look forward to?   I feel it is exciting.   I feel energized by prayer.   Sometimes I know I have touched the Father’s heart.   I look forward to prayer.   I count on prayer and I trust God to work as I pray.   Sometimes I feel like I am close to the Father.   I find great joy in prayer and at times I find the heavens are wide open.  I think prayer is very important and I see it as a critical part of my life.   Sometimes I find prayer hard work and frustrating.   Sometimes the heavens seem like iron and it seems like the heavens are closed.   Those are the times we walk by faith and not by sight.   Prayer can be frustrating and hard work.   Sometimes prayer is rest and sometimes it is an act of labor.    I would not want to live without it.   I need prayer every day and I count on God to answer my prayers.   I desire to be a man of prayer.    I have offered many definitions of prayer over the years such as getting our will attuned to God’s will.    Prayer is not laboring with God but laboring before God over things.   Prayer is having God’s will done on earth not my will but His be done.  Prayer is worship, thanksgiving, confession, intercession for others and petition for our self.     ACTS 

     God has told us to pray.   I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continuously.   Ephesians 6:18 and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, with this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.   I Timothy 2 I urge then first of all that requests, prayers intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.   This is good and pleases God our savior who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.   Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.    Jesus said men should always pray and not faint.   Jesus in several places in the gospels invites us to pray including this passage.    Hebrews says to come boldly before God.   The God that we come before is a loving heavenly Father who wants us to trust him.  

     Lord teach us to pray.   Maybe you feel that you are a mature Christian and you do not need to pray that kind of a prayer.   Personally I am not sure that kind of request ever goes out of style or need.   When have you last asked God to help you to pray or teach you how to pray?   Sometimes I am not sure how to pray.   Sometimes God wants people to suffer.   He is more interested in holiness than our comfort.     A desperate person would be most likely pray like that but shouldn’t all of us be that desperate?   For one reason we have no promise of tomorrow.    How would you pray for your children or ministry if you knew this was your last prayer for them?   What is a desperate prayer like?    Well I think an example of that would be Peter when he was walking on the water and then he started to sink.    Lord help me!   There are prayers of joy and thanksgiving but we miss out when we do not pray desperately or fervently.   The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.   When we pray we want to be effective in our prayers as one church stated we want to be more than a praying church we want to be a church that sees answers to our prayers.

     As you and I pray we want an anointing on our prayer time.   To anoint means to smear or to cover.   We desire to have our prayers covered to be blessed with the Holy Spirit.    We desire to move in the presence and will of the Father.   In John 12 Mary anointed the feet of Jesus and she smeared about a pint of expensive ointment on his feet.   It is interesting that in the next chapter that Jesus washes his disciple’s feet.   We want God’s covering, blessing, presence, anointing on our prayer time.   We seek to move and be led with and in the Holy Spirit.   Without God’s anointing on this message it is just words.  Prayers can be the same.   Jesus talked about vain babbling prayers.  I am probably not teaching anything new today but God can speak through his word.   We know the Disciple’s prayer that Jesus taught them here.   That is not new material.      When we pray we want the favor and anointing of the Lord on our prayers.  

     Mary the mother of Jesus found favor with the Lord and then she conceived.   She gave birth to God’s son.   She gave birth to that which God wanted.   When we pray we want to give birth to that which God wants done.  Without the favor of the Lord you cannot raise kids that will walk with God.  It takes more than discipline to raise godly children.  It takes more than providing a good home and provisions for them to grow up with.  People need to be prayed for.   Children need prayer.  Churches need prayer.   We need the blessing of God.  I believe all the great revivals started with prayer.    Do you desire to birth something new and exciting for God?   Maybe you do not know what that is.   Prayer is a good place to start- probably the only place to start.     Lord speak to me.  Lord what do you want done?   Lord how can I serve?   There is never a lack for servants.  It has been said that most of the spiritual gifts are the gifts of helps.  Why?  Well we need help.   Those gifts are critical for the church which is the body of Jesus. 

     There are hindrances to prayer.   Jesus teaches us in this passage to pray your kingdom come and your will be done.   Not everything prayed for is the will of God.   God make me a billionaire.   For me I am sure that is not God’s will.   But we can pray that God would bless us with resources so that we can not only pay our bills but give money away.   God tells us to be a giving people.   Psalms tells us that if we regard iniquity in our heart God will not hear our prayers.   I Peter 3 warns us that our prayers can be hindered if things are not right with our spouse.   Christians that want an effective prayer life work on drawing near to God and moving away from the world.    They deal with sin issues.   The spirit of bitterness can totally poison a person.  Unforgiveness can hinder answers to prayer.   Mark 11 and when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive him so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins.   God tells us in Ephesians to forgive one another as Christ has forgiven you.  A critical spirit is not helpful when it comes to answered prayer.   God forgives and justifies and Christians in our pride sometimes do not do that.  Proverbs 6 tells us that 6 things God hates 7 are an abomination and the first one on the list is pride.  We would perhaps put other things on that list other than pride but God puts pride on the list and it is the first item listed.    Every single one of us have pride issues.   God hates my pride.   It is an abomination to Him.   We need to deal with sin in our life.   We need to pray and ask God if we have unforgiveness in our life.    We need to ask God to point our pride issues and anything that hinders our prayers.  We need to submit these areas of our life to God.   We can turn these tissues over to the Lord and allow Him to work in us and change us. 

.     Prayer changes things because God answers prayer.   God makes things happen that normally would not happen as I pray.  God prevents things from happening when we pray.   Prayer changes things.  Do you feel like you are facing situations and things that are impossible?     Can we invade the impossible?   With man it is impossible Jesus said but with God all things are possible.   Are you on a mission?   Do you want to invade the impossible?    Sounds like a challenge to me.  With God we can have a can do spirit.   With God we have hope and we can be optimistic.     Your situation is not impossible – not with God.   Why pray if God knows our needs?   One purpose in prayer is repossession.   God your kingdom be done on Earth.   God’s will was done on earth before Adam sinned.  Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth.   Prayer is repossession.    That is an interesting thought.   God wants to take back what man gave to Satan in the Garden of Eden.

       Jesus builds his kingdom through the prayers of His people and the working of the Holy Spirit though Christians.   Thy kingdom come thy will be done.   Why should I pray your will be done since God is sovereign?   Well God is sovereign and Jesus tells us to pray His will to be done.    Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.    When man sinned there was a loss.   One thing that happened was that control of the world changed.    Man lost control.   Adam was like a king.   He had control before sin came in.  Man ruled which is a good thing when there is no sin.  Shouldn’t we be ruling today?   We should but only under Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit.   God wants you to be effective in prayer.   We will reign and rule with Jesus in heaven and in a sense we should be reigning and ruling here on earth now in submission to God’s spirit.  Jesus told us to pray, “Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.   God wants heaven on earth.  Prayer invades and conquers the kingdom of darkness and Satan.   God wants to pour out his blessing upon us on earth right now.   Every good and perfect gift is from God and God desires to pour out blessings.  

      We have been rescued as Christians from this world system and God has granted us power to change the world.   He has given us power in and through the HS to work with God and set the captives free.   He is looking for people to stand in the gap to pray and invade the powers of darkness.    Sometimes we do not pray because we say God knows my needs.   Yet Scripture tells us to pray about everything.   Jesus said to pray give us today our daily bread.   John Wesley said, “God will do nothing on earth except in answer to believing prayer.”     Do you believe that?    Jesus said pray your kingdom come and your will be done.