What Prayer Accomplishes That Nothing Else Will!
Nov 3, 2013 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
A. This month, God laid it on my heart that we would be a church that is more ready to pray than ever before.
B. Oh we gather together, faithfully, on Wednesday evenings, and pray for an hour
C. But are we READY to pray?
D. Do we know HOW to pray?
E. And more importantly, Do we know how to get what we need for an all powerful, all wise and loving heavenly Father?
F. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus on
1. Why Pray? What Prayer Accomplishes
2. What Prayer Is…
3. Why Doesn’t God Answer Our Prayers?
II. Background (Luke 6:12)
A. So, Why Pray?
1. That’s like asking, Why talk, why breath, why cry, why smile…?
2. We already do all those things… with each other. It is life!
3. Well, there is another life we can life, and experience! Our prayer life!
4. Prayer is talking, crying, laughing, grasping… living and walking with God throughout our day, talking with Him, and leaning upon His strengths and wisdom for every need!
B. Jesus shows us prayer. Real, agonising, struggling, wrestling prayer, that changes things!
1. Jesus, the Son of God – God will us in the flesh, prayed
2. And He didn’t just make a passing comment up to the “man upstairs”…
3. He prayed all night! And He did that often! Wow!
C. If only WE all had a secret prayer life (Mt 6:6) – that actually was experienced, and enjoyed like it was designed to be – oh, not that you would not have problems, but that nothing would overwhelm us anymore, and nothing would stop us from doing God’s will
1. We worry about everything
2. We struggle with everything
3. We wear out, burn out, pass out
4. We need help – not family help, government help, counselling help… we need to pray
D. This month, let’s learn how to …
1. Pray about absolutely everything. There is nothing we should not nor cannot pray about
2. Pray without ceasing
3. Have power with God
III. Message – Why Pray?
Because It Is
1. It is not natural to pray, but it must become normal – part of our normal way of living!
a. Everyone prayed (Luke 1:10)
b. The whole church prayed as often as possible (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 12:5,12)
c. Joe Henry Henkins, a great Baptist preacher said, “The early church had One Solution to all their problems… and that was PRAYER”. That is all they had, and that was ALL they needed!
3. Prayer is normal for pastors and the leaders of church ministries (Acts 6:4)
b. But mainly privately – don’t only wait to pray when you are in a “holy place”
5. It is normal for kings and all political leaders
6. It is normal to pray especially when in trouble (Acts 16:25)
7. It is normal even for unsaved to pray (Acts 10:1,2,30,31)! Oh that this world learned to PRAY from us! Our culture has given up on God because they have seen Christians who have given up on prayer!!!
8. Oh dear folks! It should be so common for us to pray – to be seen praying! To be heard praying!
B. Because There is Power in Prayer (James 5:16)
1. It is the only way that God breaks through the laws of physics, and gives miracles – through PRAYER!
a. The laws of physics are in the universe for a good reason – they hold everything together! This universe would not work well if there were no laws controlling motion and gravity and energy
b. But there are times that we an exception – a breakthrough – a miracle
c. I believe God made His laws of physics so that we could tell when He had done something just for us – just because we prayed!!!
2. Oh, Is there anything too hard for God?
a. To GIVE us a church building?
b. To restore the health of any one of us?
c. James says we can ask for health (James 5:15)
3. Praying avails of / accesses so much that God offers us! Like walking into a huge Tesco with an unlimited Debit Card – walking into Browne Thomas
4. Hannah wanted a son – had no doctor to go to, no herb – she just passionately prayed, and God gave her a miracle son named Samuel (1Sam 1:27)
5. David prayed before he slung that stone at Goliath – and God guided it right into the only part of his entire body that was not protected – the centre of his forehead!
6. Hezekiah prayed when surrounded by 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, and woke up the next morning to see them all dead upon the hills (2Kgs 19:15,16,35)
7. What happens when a person prays:
a. You can obtain God’s forgiveness for anything (Jer 33:3,8) – but you never will unless you pray! You have to ASK!
b. You can actually get all that we need (Philp 4:19)! Item by item, need by need! You just need to ask!!!
c. God can get you out of trouble (Ps 50:15) – or you can keep digging a deeper and deeper hole all because you are too proud to spend time with God in prayer!
d. Your heart gets settled / calmed, quieted (Philp 4:6,7; Acts 16:25; Mt 26:53) – or you can keep trying out new drugs and new counselling methods to deal with your heart’s aches and sorrows!
e. I will rather learn to pray!
C. Because God is Ready to Answer Our Requests (1Peter 3:12; Psalm 65:2)
1. He hears the words even when they are in our heart
2. He already knows our needs before we ask
3. He usually is already answering before we ask (Isa 65:24)
4. Thank God He actually is not bothered by us asking – He WANTS to answer our requests!
5. He just waits for us to want to spend time with Him
a. You see, we want things, we want problems fixed, burdens lifted, enemies removed
b. God wants us! And He just wants to know that HE is needed! And that He is appreciated for who HE is! The God whom we love and trust with all our cares!
D. Because it is the MAIN way that God speaks to you and me (Psalm 4:3,4)
1. A woman named Nadine Moody tells about her stopping to pray one time in an emergency
a. “When a neighbour’s four year old Charles Odam strayed from home one evening, everyone in our heavily wooded, rural area pitched in to look for him. After checking out a big, deep spring I climbed the mountainside, calling the boy and listening. No answer.
b. At the top of the mountain, green moss grew in a thick carpet on the woodland floor and the late afternoon sunlight glimmered through the trees. I had no idea where to look!
c. Without thinking, I dropped to my knees and prayed to God for His help. Raising my head, I noticed a faint trail I had never seen before. It was an almost hidden path used by the forest animals. And it was an enticing trail for a little boy!
d. As I followed it, it ended where someone had cut wood logs. And there was no sign of little Charles there. The sun was going down fast. It was time to go back.
e. But just then, I heard something like a little "miaow" - like a small kitten. Again it came. I crouched down and peered through some bushes. And there was Charles! He had cried and cried until He could only make that funny little sound.
f. He locked his arms around my neck and I carried him all the way home!
g. On the way I thought about the hidden trail. What if I hadn't bowed my head to pray?
2. In all the business of our day, God cannot speak to you and help you unless you stop and take time to pray!
E. Because God Yearns to Spend Time With Us (Prov 15:8)
1. Prayer is the best way to spend time with God
a. He is already here with us, near to all of us
b. But we are not actually SHARING the moment with Him, unless we pray
2. Prayer is not all about you and me and our problems and needs…
3. It is also about God
4. Do you know why God liked David so much?
a. Because David wanted God’s heart more than His gifts
b. He delights in those that delight in Him (Psalm 18:19; 37:4)
5. Praying requires a quiet time (Ps 46:10) where you can ask God to show off just how mighty He is!
6. He spends NO time with a proud man, but only with a humble man (Ps 51:1-4,10,16,17)
F. Because it is the ONLY Way to Fight Our Enemy (Eph 6:11,12,18)
1. We all need to learn how to “Watch and PRAY” (Mk 14:38)
2. How to be very aware of our spiritual enemy’s stalking and attacks
3. And how to pray when under attack!
G. Because Jesus Himself Prayed, and Taught Us to Pray (Luke 11:1)
1. He prayed EARLY in the morning (Mark 1:35) – even without an alarm clock… because it was important to Him!
2. He prayed when he was a nobody in people’s eyes (Luke 3:21,22)
3. He prayed when he was popular (Luke 5:16)
4. He prayed when transfigured (Luke 9:28,29)
5. He prayed when it got hard (Luke 22:41-45)
6. He even prayed on the cross (Luke 23:33,34,45,46)
7. Jesus shows us prayer. Real, agonising, struggling, wrestling prayer, that changes things!
A. So, What is Prayer?
1. Prayer is talking, crying, laughing, grasping… living and walking with God throughout our day, talking with Him, and leaning upon His strengths and wisdom for every need!
2. Jesus, the Son of God – God will us in the flesh, prayed
3. And He didn’t just make a passing comment up to the “man upstairs”…
4. He prayed constantly, and He often prayed all night!
B. If only WE all had a secret prayer life – that actually was experienced, and enjoyed like it was designed to be – oh, not that you would not have problems, but that nothing would overwhelm us anymore, and nothing would stop us from doing God’s will
C. Why Pray?
Because It Is
a. It is not natural to pray, but it must become normal!
2. Because There is Power in Prayer
a. There is nothing too hard for God!
3. Because it is the MAIN way that God speaks to you and me
4. Because God is Ready to Answer Our Requests
5. Because God Yearns to Spend Time With Us
6. Because it is the ONLY Way to Fight Our Enemy
7. Most of all, Because Jesus Himself Prayed, and Taught Us to Pray (Luke 11:1)