Thank you for joining us this afternoon, for inviting us to come together and worship our Lord and Savior with you. What a blessing it is to be here, together on this glorious day!
Our most righteous and dear heavenly father, We thank you for bringing us here today safely. We ask that you be with those who can not join us due to illness, that you place your healing hands upon them. We ask that the Holy Spirit is with us and guides us as we study your word today. We ask for open hearts, minds and souls as we receive the instruction that you prepared for us. Taking us and continue to teach us to our betterment in your eyes. For we ask in the name of our loving savior, Jesus Christ, AMEN.
I need to take a moment to share with you, that 88 years ago today, my mentor, a true man of God and one whose patience never failed to endure. The one who taught me what God can and will do for all of HIS children. A true mason and a wonderful father! Was born.
I was watching a program several years ago featuring Loretta Lynn and her family. She talked about how her oldest son, Jack Benny was down by the river of their property when a preacher came by. The preacher noticed Jack was concerned. The preacher asked him what the matter was, Jack replied that he didn’t know how to pray. The preacher then took the time to teach Jack how to pray. Surprised me completely, that Jack, coming from a Christian family, a famous country music family didn’t know how to pray. It then came to me, well how many of us “fake it” when It comes to praying.
In a recent study (2011) it was revealed that 90 percent of the world’s population believe in prayer. In another study conducted by scientific researchers revealed that intercessory prayer had a 80 percent positive result, that those near or next to the subject had a higher benefit, but those that knew nothing about the prayers from them also benefited. WOW, exciting, but nothing that we didn’t already know, GOD has told us this already and Christ spread the message to pray for those where are sick and infirmed so that they be healed.
There are methods, or shall we say proper methods to accomplish our undertakings. There is the proper way, the right way, and of course the wrong way.
Take the method that we make a phone call. Things have to be in good order for us to get that phone call made. IN the “ole” days, we didn’t have wireless phones. You probably had one phone in the house, and it was most likely hanging on the wall in the kitchen. It was secured to that wall, you couldn’t move it. The handset ( the receiver and mouth piece) were attached to the phone base (which had the dial) by a 3 feet wire. There were so many things that could go wrong and you couldn’t make a call.
That is the way it is with prayer….there is nothing more powerful in our arsenal, than the power of prayer….nothing is more honoring than to have someone by your side and praying for you,,,,to take your care to God in prayer….But there is a proper method to prayer, a preparation if you will.
God only hears the prayer from a pure heart.
A heart free of sin, a heart free of things of this world.
AND that is by the graces of our LORD.
In prayer we show our total dependence on God who created all things and us and by Whom all things continue to exist. In prayer we give praise, honor, glory and reverence to His name for His greatness and goodness. We recognize Him as the source of all blessings. It is also the outpouring of our hearts desire. In Romans 10:1 the apostle Paul says, “Brethern, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel, is that they might be saved.” Our prayer must come from our heart.
Prayer to God is only reserved for those who are obedient children of God. We are told in John 9:31, “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” There are people whose prayer God will not hear. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But you iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” To allow anything to separate us from the fellowship of God, so that He will not hear our prayers is a very serious matter. It is a sad situation for those who try to pray to God if God will not hear them. But it is their own fault, because they are not obedient to God. They could be obedient if they wanted to be.
Then we read Proverbs 28:9; “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” God looks with disgust at the prayer of one who is not faithfully following His will. What a pitiful situation it is for us when our prayers become disgusting to God. Could anything be more hopeless? We also read in 1 Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” The Lord desires to hear the prayers of His faithful children and His eyes are watching out for them. What a great and wonderful blessing this is.
When we pray to God, we must be humble and not self-righteous. Our Lord gave a parable which illustrates this requirement very well. In Luke 18:9-14 we read, “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you that I am not like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing affar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The attitude we have when we approach God in prayer and other worship is very important.
If we approach God with an attitude of showing great pride and arrogance in ourselves, but contempt and scorn for others, then God will despise this kind of prayer. Our prayers must be like the attitude of the tax collector. >From what our Lord is trying to teach us here, when we approach our Creator in prayer we must be humble, not proud or self-assertive, but modest, unpretentious and our prayer must be from the heart. We are told in 1 Corinthians 14:15, “I will pray with the spirit and I will also pray with the understanding.”
Our prayers should not be flowery and to impress other people, because God will not be impressed with such. Jesus says in Matthew 6:5, 7, “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 of men. Assuredly, I say they have their reward. 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.” The only reward someone who prays a prayer like this receives is the recognition he receives from men because God will not heed his prayer. We are also warned not to use vain repetitions, such as repeating something over and over. This type of prayer makes us a hypocrite because it is pretentious.
Our prayers must be asked in faith. Concerning our prayers James 1:6-7 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” We must have faith in God and if we are faithful and obedient to Him then He will hear and answer our prayers, otherwise we will receive nothing. Jesus says in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” So we must have faith if we expect God to answer our prayers.
Since Jesus is our advocate or go between with God, Jesus says in John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Our requests to God must be in the name of or by the authority of Christ.
Another requirement of God answering our prayers is we must be forgiving of others. Jesus says in Mark 11:25-26, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” How important it is to be forgiving of others? Could the Lord be any clearer as to what will happen to us if we are not forgiving? The Lord will not forgive us. We will be eternally lost. According to Isaiah 59:2, it is our sins that “separate us” from God so we cannot go to heaven. We must develop a forgiving attitude toward all people so that God will be forgiving of us so we can go to Heaven.
How we treat others can also affect the way God hears our prayers. In 1 Peter 3:7 we read, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” Our prayers can be hindered by the way we treat our wife, husband, children, relatives, friends, acquaintances, or strangers.
We must pray regularly and not just when we are in trouble and need God. As 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Also we are instructed in James 5:17, “The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” If we expect our prayer to be effective, it must be fervent and we must be righteous. In our prayers we must, with all earnest, show great feeling and intense devotion to God.
The things we ask must be in accordance with God’s will. 1 John 5:14 says, “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Our requests to God must not contradict His will but must be in agreement with it. We should not ask for anything contrary to His will or for selfish things on our part. Our prayers must be “in spirit and in truth” if they are to be heard by God.
Our prayers are like making a phone call, all must be in the right accord, functioning properly to make the connection.
God only hears prayer from a PURE HEART (free of sin, forgiving of other’s sins and ours to them)
Prayer comes from our heart
WE must be obedient to God
WE must follow God’s Will
WE must be humble and not self-righteous
Must be made in faith
IN Christ’s Name
PRAY regularly, not just when in need
Consider the truth I have presented.
Understand the personal application of it.
Act on it.
And to my dad, which today would have been his 88th birthday, Happy Birthday Dad!