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Prayer 101

40 Days of Prayer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This morning we begin a new series here at FUM. For the next forty days, we are going to look at prayer. Why prayer? Prayer is the greatest force on earth. I am reminded of a quote of John Wesley who said,

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer”

If he was right, God does nothing but in answer to prayer, then we should be people of prayer. What should distinguish believers in Jesus and non-believers should be prayer.
Before we can make prayer a life long habit, we have to answer the question, “Why pray?”

We are wired to pray.

Matthew 6:5 NASB95
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matthew 6:33 NASB95
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 21:22 NASB95
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 6:33
Colossians 4:2 NASB95
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
300 Illustrations for Preachers From Atheism to Christ through Prayer

Andrew Klavan was born Jewish. How he became a Christian is a simple testimony of the power of prayer. Having deserted Judaism for atheism as a young man, he was merrily sailing along in a world of nonbelief. He was reading an adventure novel when one of the main characters said a prayer before going to sleep. Andrew realized he had never tried to pray. In his words, “So I said a little prayer and it went off in me like a bomb. There are really no words to describe it. I have always thought it was a tribute to the generosity of God that even such a prideful, arrogant little prayer in some sense would be answered.”

That one simple prayer began a habit of praying, and eventually he accepted Christ.

300 Illustrations for Preachers Abandoning Disbelief and Embracing Faith

What happens to people who are raised by unbelievers? An interesting study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that 14 percent of people raised Catholic and 13 percent of people raised Protestant abandon the faith of their childhood. At the other extreme, over 50 percent of people raised in “staunchly atheistic or agnostic households” have abandoned the non-faith of their childhood. These people have abandoned disbelief and have embraced faith. What moved them to faith? Over half of those who abandoned unbelief say they had unmet spiritual needs in their lives.

We were created to be spiritual people. If we are open and honest with ourselves, we recognize there are some uniquely human needs that cannot be met apart from God. The Spirit then will move us toward Christ.

God loves for me to talk to him.

God loves for me to talk to him.

Matthew 6:6 NASB95
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matthew 14:23 NASB95
After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

Do you ever play the game “how far”? Its rules are really simple—you fill up your gas tank and then drive to see how far you can go before you fill up again. You watch the gauge nervously as it falls closer and closer to the big E.

What about your spiritual gas tank—do you play “how far” with it, too, trying to see how far you can get on a single fill-up?

God listens to prayers that are sincere and simple.

Matthew 6:7 NASB95
“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.

God likes to show his grace by answering prayer

Matthew 6:8 NASB95
“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Philippians 4:6 NASB95
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Mark 11:24 NASB95
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
Dear Jesus,
I really want a relationship with you. I confess my sins, and ask for your forgiveness. I am looking forward to learning how I can communicate with you through prayer during these forty days. Amen.
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