Prayer Series - Part 2
The most popular reason that people pray is to receive God’s blessings.
A MOM PRAYING FOR HER DAUGHTER
Here is an example of a mother praying for her daughter.
“You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it.” -James 4:2
“A woman, whose daughter had an evil spirit in her, heard about Jesus and came to him at once and fell at his feet. The woman was a Gentile, born in the region of Phoenicia in Syria. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.” -Mark 7:25,26
(If she had not asked, her daughter would not have been healed.)
A MAN PRAYING FOR HIMSELF
“As Jesus was coming near Jericho, there was a blind man sitting by the road, begging. 36 When he heard the crowd passing by, he asked, “What is this?” 37 “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they told him. 38 He cried out, [Prayer to Jesus] “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” 39 The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. [Don’t pray] But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” 40 So Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Sir,” he answered, “I want to see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Then see! Your faith has made you well.”
If he had not asked, he would not have been healed.
I want you to notice that it was his faith in Jesus and not faith in his Prayer that made his prayer effective.
When you think about the phrase,
“Prayer changes things”
Q: What comes to mind?
Q: What percent of people do you think believe
Q: If you think that it is a high percentage, then
why do you think more people don’t pray?
Q: Why don’t you pray more?
Q: Do you think that I believe that,
“Prayer changes things”
There are a couple of facts about that statement that are very important in understanding
and the role that actual
plays in any changes that do or do not happen when we pray.
First of all, it is “God” that changes things.
Prayer is only the “vehicle” of change, or the “means” to the end.
The “means” = prayer.
The “end” = the change.
God = the agent of the change.
So, to be more specific,
“God changes things”
So, when we hear the phrase,
“Prayer changes things”
we want to make sure that we always give credit to “God” for the change rather than “Our Prayer”.
There is a tendency for many people today to trust and put their confidence in Prayer
rather than in God.
It is not the marriage “proposal” that makes a person married.
It is the “Yes” answer from the person being proposed to that makes it happen.
HOW OFTEN PEOPLE SAY THEY PRAY
*According to a survey conducted by
“The Presidential Prayer Team”
reported in the Christian Post
on October 8, 2020.
53% of Conservatives say that they pray every day.
42% of Moderates say that they pray every day
33% of Liberals say that they pray every day.
9% of Conservatives say they never pray.
14% of Moderates say they never pray
30% of Liberals say that they never pray
REASONS PEOPLE DO NOT PRAY AS THEY SHOULD
(*Wherever I have included statistics, I am referring to the survey above.)
From my perspective, the following are some of the reasons that people do not pray, or may be tempted not to pray.
#1 They think they are self-sufficient.
#2 They have been deeply hurt or burned by a prayer that did not work in the past.
#3 They may be mad at God. (for any number of reasons)
#4 They think that they haven’t earned the right to pray? (They haven’t earned an audience with God).
*About 11% said that God hears all prayers but only answers those submitted by people who are truly committed to Him
#5 They don’t know “how” to pray. [The right formula or procedure]
#6 They may not know exactly “what” to pray for, but the Holy Spirit does.
“… hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people
in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
#7 They believe in fate [That everything is “Set”, “Predetermined”, “Predestined”]
* 20% of people said that they think God hears all prayers, but carries out His will regardless of people’s intentions.
#8 Bottom line… They do not think that prayer works.
1. Because God tells us to pray.
“Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. 7 And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6,7
2. Jesus prayed. One example leads to #3
3. Prayer helps with decisions in life.
“At that time Jesus went up a hill to PRAY and spent the whole night there praying to God. When day came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he named apostles…” -Luke 6:12,13
4. Praying helps us with spiritual warfare against the Satan.
Jesus healed a boy with an Evil Spirit when the Disciple were unsuccessful.
When they asked why they could not, Jesus answered;
“Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus;
“nothing else can.”
5. Praying helps us overcome temptation.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane before being arrested, “He returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, “How is it that you three were not able to keep watch with me for even one hour? Keep watch and PRAY that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
6. Prayer changes us whether or not we get the answer that we are hoping for.
The Ultimate CHANGE with “Salvation”
“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you WERE.
BUT you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and by the Spirit of our God.”
-1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone,
-2 Corinthians 5:17
The CHANGE from Hopelessness to HOPE
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”