Teach us to Pray

January 4, 2015   Luke 11  Pray Teach us to

 

    A lot of folks think about new goals at year end and in the beginning of a new year.   Many people make New Year resolutions.  What does resolution mean?   It is the act or result of resolving something.  It is a thing determined upon a decision of future action or a formal statement of opinion or determination of an assembly.  Did anyone make a resolution for this New Year?   I am not going to ask you what they were.   Did anyone make a spiritual resolution?  

     I have a suggestion for you for a new year’s resolution.   How about a resolution to be dissatisfied?  I suppose you could think what in the world am I talking about.   We certainly have preached how the apostle Paul learned to be content.  Christians should be content when it comes to the things of the world.  Is there anything you should be dissatisfied with?   Are you dissatisfied with anything?   James 4 tells us to grieve mourn and wail.  Change our laughter to mourning and joy to gloom.  Humble your selves before the Lord and he will lift you up.  There is a time to mourn.     One person I was talking to mentioned the need for holiness.  They wanted to grow in holiness.   I heard something about 1 person making a commitment to bible study this year.   Are you spiritually content?  I do not think we go crazy laboring over that but I think we should be improving our walk and making progress in our relationship with Jesus.  A disciple of Jesus is disciplined and devoted.    Where are you going this year?   Who or what are you trusting this year?  Do you trust Jesus or yourself or something or someone else?    

    I think most of the church in America is way to content with their walk with Jesus.  It seems for some folks that Jesus gets less and less of them and the world gets more and more and after awhile the Christian can look like the world.  I do not think that is us but I think we have room for improvement.   It is the beginning of a new year and I want to bring us back to the basics of our walk with God.   And yes I will bring a message at some point on tithing.  God promises to bless us when we walk with him and when we tithe so it is to your advantage to do that.  Being in the scriptures, praying, fellowship, giving and ministering are foundations of the church.   Acts 2 they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  That is the heart of the church.  Jesus loves his church.   Jesus died for the church.  Jesus loves Bethel Christian Fellowship and Jesus desire is to bless and we would also bless Jesus church.

    Our walk with another human being is contingent upon communication.   It is the foundation of marriage and it is the foundation of the Christians walk.  We communicate with God through getting the bible in our life.   I think that involves learning from the scripture but more importantly it is allowing God to speak to me through his word.   We also communicate with God through prayer.   And prayer is more than just telling God about a bunch of needs and desires that we have that God already knows about.  Prayer is also listening to him.  Communication is 2 ways.

      Our relationship to God, to the saints, and to the lost are the values of this church.   We are here to love God love others and minister the word of God to the lost and to each other.  Jesus cares about lost people and I would like to see some get into a relationship with God this year through this fellowship.  Do not let the devil tell you that you cannot pray for the lost and lead the lost to Jesus.   I do not want to listen to the lies of the devil.  He at times likes to whisper in my ear.   He will come and say this sermon is not going to be as good as last weeks?    God always promises to bless his word.   That is like saying to yourself God did not hear my prayers.   My prayers do not count.   This prayer I prayed is not going to count as much as another time I prayed.  Well if pray in faith to Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads me there is great power in prayer.   We do not want to be negative and we certainly do not want to be listening to the devil. 

     God has a call on this church.  God has a call on your life.  God has important work for all of us to do.  God has an important ministry for you.  We are light and salt.  The things of the world are going to burn up some day but that which God has for you and I to do will last and it is important.  In the hustle of life let’s not lose sight of what is important.  I think God at times has a way of bringing us around that which is important and we need to welcome those times even when they are painful. 

    I like this passage in Luke on prayer.  I love the thought of learning how to pray.  Yes prayer is simple and it is just praying from your heart.   That is what the Father wants.  God is certainly not interested in vain babbling and repetitious prayers.  I do not want to make this complicated or intimidating.   Jesus was praying one day and after Jesus prayed one of his disciples come to him and ask Jesus to teach them how to pray.  Now they must have had some prayer back ground.  He knew that John had given some instruction on prayer to John’s disciples and they most likely had heard and prayed with Jesus.   If they were around the synagogues they had heard the rabbis pray.   But he says Lord teach us how to pray.   I could ask myself do I know how to pray?  Well I have been praying for the last 50 years.  But prayer is one of those things that we grow into and you never get to the point of where there is not more.  

     Lord teach me how to pray.  That is a great prayer.   Teach me how to be effective in prayer.  In the Old Testament Nehemiah heard news about Jerusalem and it was not good.   The walls were broken down and not rebuilt.   So Nehemiah takes it to the Lord in prayer.  Some folks only pray a few minutes and then stop.  Nehemiah prays and fasts. Nehemiah weeps and he mourns.  This need goes deep into his heart.   He prays for a day and a day turns into a week and a week turns into weeks and weeks turn into a month and a month turns into 4 months.  Sometimes what you want folks takes more than casual prayer.   Nehemiah prays for 4 months and then the king notices that Nehemiah is troubled but not sick.  Nehemiah could have been killed on the spot but God has a plan for him.  Lord teach me how to pray fervently and teach me how to pray effectively.   Lord teach me how to pray with passion. 

    Alan Redpath sums up how many feel even when they have prayed, “When we have finished our praying we can scarcely bring ourselves to believe that our feeble words can have been heard, or that they can have made a difference in the things concerning which we have been praying. We’ve said our prayers but we have not prayed.” [Victorious Praying: Studies in the Lord’s Prayer.   Nehemiah knew that he had prayed.  There are times when I know that I have prayed. 

    The God of all creation has invited us to pray.   That is pretty neat.  What could be more exciting?   The lover of our soul says come to me – come into my presence.  What a great and mighty God.   Prayer can be hard work but it is more than that.  It is connecting with our creator. It is connecting with the source of our joy.   Lord teach me how to pray so that I connect with you because prayer is more than saying words it is connecting with your soul mate. 

     In Acts 12 King Herod sees that it pleased the Jews that James was killed with the sword so Herod has Peter thrown into prison.  Peter is guarded by 4 squads of soldiers of 4 men each.   He is guarded by 16 soldiers but the church is fervently praying for Peter.  Herod was going to bring him to trial after Passover.   It looks like Peter was in jail for a few days and the night before Peter’s trial an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and shone in the jail.  The angel struck Peter on his side to wake him up.  That is spiritual hitting physical by the way.  The angel tells Peter to get up the chains drop off his hands and they walk out of jail.   In the morning there was no small commotion because Peter was not to be found.    Herod ordered all of the guards to be killed.   Not a good night for guard duty.   Lord teach me to pray so that your miracles may be experienced.   God is still doing miracles today.   God had a plan for Peter.  Day by day the church prayed and a miracle happens.   I would like to see some miracles this year. 

     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 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.     Hebrews says to come boldly before God.   The God that we come before is a loving heavenly Father who wants us to trust him.  

     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.  We need to see the favor of the lord on our families and the church.   We want to see the favor of the Lord on our work.   We want to see the blessing and favor of the lord when we pray and when we minister.    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.  God would birth some things through us this year.  Lord teach me how to pray and what to pray for.   God gets all the glory.   

      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.   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.   Satan is a thief and God uses prayer to stop him.  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 to 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.        

     Jesus said to the people in verse 11 which of you fathers if your son asks for a fish would instead give him a snake or if he asks for an egg would give him a scorpion instead.   If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more your heavenly father.  God delights in blessing you with good things but you have to believe and ask.  Lord teach us to pray.   Jesus came to give his children abundant life.  Abundant life is found in Jesus.  Jesus knows how to give good things.   Jesus knows how to meet your every need.   Jesus can bring light and joy.  Through prayer we can break through the darkness and forces of hell into light and into blessing.   Curses can be turned into blessings.  We can walk in power and victory.    Pray folks and become a person of prayer.  You can move the hand of God.  Heaven will answer.