Prayer - Doorway to Blessing
!Sermon by Paddick van Zyl on 19-6-2011 CBC
!!Prayer – The Doorway to Blessing
Do we really believe what we pray for? Perhaps the following story will answer this question…..
A small Oklahoma town had two churches and one distillery. Members of both churches complained that the distillery was giving the community a bad image. And to make matters worse the owner of the distillery was an out spoken atheist. He didn’t believe in God one bit. The church people had tried unsuccessfully for years to shut down the distillery. So finally they decided to hold a joint Saturday night prayer meeting. They were going to ask God to intervene and settle the matter.
The church folks gathered on Saturday night and there was a horrible thunderstorm raging outside and to the delight of the church members lightening hit that old brewery and it burned to the ground.
The next morning the sermons that were preached in both churches were on the power of prayer.
But the insurance adjusters promptly notified the distillery owner that they were not going to pay for the damages because the fire was an act of God and that was an exclusion in the policy.
The distillery owner was furious and he sued both churches claiming that they had conspired with God to destroy his business. But the churches denied that they had anything to do with the cause of the fire.
The presiding judge opened the trial with theses words: I find one thing in this case most perplexing-we have a situation here where the plaintiff, an atheist is professing his belief in the power of prayer, and the defendants all faithful church members are denying the very same power *
It seems that sometimes as Christians we pray asking God to do certain things, either in our life or the lives of others, only to be totally surprised when God answers our prayers.
1. So why do we have to pray ?
Because God said so?
What do you seek God to do for you in your prayer time ?
So many times we are guilty of saying, "God supply my needs", "God supply my wants", "God make things turn out the way I want them to". A grocery list prayer. He wants to know that you love Him. He not only wants you to tell Him this, He wants you to prove it by serving Him faithfully. He needs to know that you desire to fellowship with Him. This involves spending time with God.
It’s more than just a passing comment. Sometimes it means spending time in prayer talking to Him and sometimes it means shutting up and listening to what He has to say. He needs to know that you are devoted to Him. That means choosing Him when you have a choice. It’s amazing just to think that God wants to answer your prayers but He desires for you and me to be in the proper attitude for prayer.
!!Without prayer NOTHING gets done or accomplished.
*Not church growth
*Not Christian growth.
*Without prayer we will not see the will of God accomplished in our lives and ministry.
*If no one prays no one gets touched, healed, delivered or saved.
Think about this: we are all gathered here today because someone somewhere prayed for each one of us to come to salvation!
!!2. Does God answer prayer and why?
8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
9 The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works
If God knows the very amount of hair on your head does He not know what you need and what desire and what is best for you even before you ask Him ? Absolutely YES.
James 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
The Message (MSG) translation of this same passage reads as follows
13-15My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God's Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he's listening. And if we're confident that he's listening, we know that what we've asked for is as good as ours.
And what does prayer accomplish in our lives?
!Key to your miracles : P R A Y E R , P R A Y E R & P R A Y E R
Just like a car key is the only thing that will get your car unlocked and able to start , likewise, prayer is the key to unlocking the miracle working power of God in our lives.
Why did people fall to their knees and repented when Charles Finney , the great evangelist, came to town? Was he feared or was it his charismatic nature? No! It was because of the hours and hours he spent in prayer daily so that the Holy Spirit could touch the hearts of men and woman wherever he went to evangelise.
Praying produces power in our lives. Holy Spirit power is released and the enemy will try anything to stop you from praying as he knows what happens when Christians release their faith through praying.
Prayer is ALWAYS effective if done correctly and in accordance with the word of God.
Some Christians treat/see prayer as they would a chat room or Facebook:
*See who is on-line to chat / or who posted something on your wall
*Type a couple of lines
*Use some emoticons if you like
However Prayer is communication , a means or vehicle to convey our : thoughts, emotions, ideas, needs. It is fellowship with our Heavenly Father
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
Why did God choose the avenue of prayer to speak to us and we to Him? Why not supernatural tele-transportation like in Star Trek?
In many religions and cultures people pray to idols or ‘gods’ Some make use of beads to help them recite their prayers some face a certain direction. Some pray at set times of the day. What does the word of God teach us about prayer?
In one Bible commentary I read that in the OT everyone did not pray as freely as we do today. Prevailing opinion was that only a great Rabbi could compose the words to a new prayer . For this reason many common people would recite the prayers of the rabbis given to them.
Most Christians learned to pray in one of these ways:
1. By some other person’s example.
2. By our own definition.
If prayer is something we are to do unceasingly (Luke 18:1) then best we know how to do it properly.
The Model Prayer
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[a]
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Notice what Jesus doesn't teach the disciples,
*He doesn't teach them about the posture of prayer because any posture will do, in the Bible people prayed standing, lifting up their hands, sitting, kneeling, lifting up their eyes, bowing down, placing their head between their knees, pounding on their breast, facing a temple, etc, etc. There was no specific posture. People in the Bible prayed in battle, in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in God's house. First Timothy says "Let men pray everywhere." In the Bible people prayed in bed, in a home, in a fish even. On a housetop, in a prison, by the sea, in solitude, in the wilderness, on a cross, and so forth.
*He doesn't tell them about the times of prayer, people prayed in the early morning, three times a day, in the evening, before meals, after meals, at the ninth hour, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, today, often, when they're young, when they're old, in trouble, everyday and always. Jesus doesn't tell us a specific time, or a specific posture.
John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray
Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them how to pray.
Jesus did more than teach them He gave them a Model Prayer to guide them in their praying:
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[b]
Let’s look at the Model prayer in a bit more detail:
!!!A. Our Father( v 9) :
You can only call God Father if you have a relationship with Him, if you are born again through the blood of Jesus. The Koran states that God has no children thus the followers of the Koran do not call ‘Mohamed’ their father.
We ought to hallow Him praise Him glorify Him before we come to Him to request anything. The 1st verse gives us the opportunity to do this.
Thank and praise God that because of Jesus’ obedience at the cross and His shed blood, you can call God your Father
‘God inhabits the praises of His people’
!!!B. God’s Priorities( v 10):
Your kingdom come Your will be done .In John 5 :19 & 30 we see that Even Jesus could do nothing by Himself , only what He heard the Father say He must do JESUS did. We should do like wise IN prayer .
Without prayer we will not see the willplan of God accomplished in our livesministry.
God’s priorities are:
!!!C. God’s Provision v 11:
God is not a God that wants His children to be in want but notice that our needs are only addressed after we have given our will over To the Father.
!!!D. Repentance , Forgiveness &Getting along with People( v 12):
Jesus is our example of forgiving those who nailed Him to the cross and ridiculed Him (Luke 23:34) (Eph 4:32)Sin is a debt that causes a heavy burden. If not dealt with, it can totally weigh a person down until he /she is totally ineffective as a Christian.Unforgiveness is a sure way of not having your prayers answered..
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
!!!E. Power over the devil (v13):
We all need a hedge of protection around us and our loved one’s .Commit yourself , loved ones and your possessions to God daily.
!!!F. Divine Partnership (v13):
Praise Him because He has delivered you from every evil work & preserving you for His heavenly Kingdom
18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom
You are being transformed into the image of Christ from glory to glory by the Holy Spirit (2Cor 3:18 Heb 2:9-10)
17 pray without ceasing,
41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
!TYPES OF PRAYER:
A humble earnest entreaty or request made on behalf of ourselves, other believers or people in authority
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
19 “Again I say[a] to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[a] with groanings which cannot be uttered.
The Holy Spirit will not do our praying for us but we will be able to pray with His ability
!!Praying for needs
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
22-24The Message (MSG)
24 That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything.
!!Audible & Silent
There are times when we can only pray in silence God hears even those prayers.
Conditions we have to meet to have our prayers answered:
1 & 6
‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for , the evidence of things not seen’
v.6 ‘But without faith it is impossible to please HIM, for he who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him’
#Is it in line with the word of God
#Faith (A mustard seed amount will do)
#Always pray the solution never the problem- Pray the Word
#Pray until you experience a release/victory
#Expect a response (become quiet and listen)
#Write down what you hear from the Holy Spirit Keep a prayer diary
#Remember : ‘A delay is not a denial’
#Thanksgiving: Thank God before you see the manifestation or answer
When you have done all you know to do and prayed then STAND
No matter what the situation, no matter how dark it seems around us we can bring about change if we will only start to pray and persevere in pray until we have a breakthrough. Prayer and Peace are closely connected 6-7 Those who entrust their cares to the Lord instead of fretting over them will experience the Peace of God to guard them from nagging anxiety…..
11-14 Then you will call upon me and go and pray to Me , and I will listen to you…
Kneeling – our heart attitude, humbleness
We Triumph – In His presence we triumph
*(Clint Palmer - Sermon notes)