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HOW TO GET GOD'S EAR
Intro: Ill. What the church and the world needs is more pray-ers, more prayer warriors! That's right, we need more people who will devote themselves to prayer for the Lord. Ill. The young lumberjack. A lot of us are just like that, we spend our time chopping away in the Lord's work, never accomplishing much for Him and all the time we are simply using a dull ax. If we do not take the time pray, we can never expect God to bless our efforts. The state of a persons prayer life is evident - Ill. Prayer paths.
The truth is, it is much easier to get Christians to do almost anything than it is to get them to pray. What a shame! For, it is prayer that brings us into His awesome presence, Heb. 4:16. It is the God Who answers prayer that changes circumstance and touches lives. It is prayer that marks the difference between mediocrity and greatness in the Christian life!
In this passage, the disciples wanted to learn more about prayer and the Lord taught them some lessons that are as fresh tonight as if they had just been spoken. I want to share some of them with you tonight as we think about the thought, How to Get God's Ear.
I. V.1 A PROPER MOTIVE
A. Prayer must come from a heart that is properly motivated. (Ill. James 4:2-3)
B. The disciples had just witnessed Jesus praying, they noticed the closeness he had with the Father. They witnessed the miracles that He performed after prayer, (Feeding 5,000 - Mt. 15; Transfiguration - Luke 9; Raising Lazarus - John 11) They saw the power of prayer lived out and the glory it brought to God and they wanted the same power in their own lives. Note: Their request is not just about how to pray, but they specifically say, “Teach us TO pray.” We need to learn to pray!
C. They remembered John the Baptist - (Ill. What we remember about him) They remembered his prayer life! They saw his prayers result in the glorifying of God!
D. The proper motive for prayer is not to get our will done in Heaven, but to get God's will done in the earth, through us! (1 Cor. 10:31) (Note: too often we spend our time on prayer seeking a change in our circumstances. In truth, we need a profound change in character!)
II. V.2-4 A PROPER METHOD
(Ill. This prayer is called The Lord’s Prayer, others refer to it as The Disciples Prayer, but it is really The Model Prayer!)
A. There are several elements of successful praying. Jesus mentions them here. This is not a prayer that is to be prayed repetitiously, it is a skeleton around which we can build our prayer. A framework that will support the weight of our prayer and make it pleasing unto the Lord. Notice some elements that prayer ought to include:
1. A Proper Direction - To God. (Ill. Who He is and what He can do! Jer. 33:3) (Ill. Prayer doesn’t change anything, but God does!) (Ill. Prayer is directed to God - Ill. Bill Moyers!) (Ill. Our Father!)
2. Praise and thanksgiving - 1Thes. 5:18; Eph. 5:20; Phil. 4:6 (Ill. Always take time to worship the Lord in prayer!)
3. Concern for God's Kingdom - The furtherance of His work and glory! (Church; Saints; Lost!) (Ill. "I am sorry I am late today," said a clergyman visiting an aged parishioner, "but I have been all round the parish." "Why," said the old woman, "that's just where I've been!" "But you cannot walk," exclaimed the astonished minister. "Ah," said the old saint, "you see, my soul isn't bedridden! So I just go round the parish every day in prayer, while I lie here.")
4. Pray For God's will - 1 John 5:14-15 (Who’s will do you really want?)
5. Give Him Our requests - Phil. 4:6; Jn. 14:13; 15:16; 16:23 (Ill. He will answer, and in shocking ways sometimes, Acts 12:3-17.
(Ill. Pray for rain and bring an umbrella!)
(Ill. During a morning worship service, Ellen noticed a nice looking man sitting by himself on the back pew. As a single woman she had a vested interest in meeting him. She approached him with an extended hand and said, "Hi. I'm Ellen." He took one look at her and bolted out the door without saying a word. The following Sunday he returned to church and made this apology: "My name is Bob Price, and I owe you an apology for my rude behavior last Sunday. You see, my deceased wife's name was Ellen, and I had been praying, 'Dear God, please send me another Ellen.' When you approached me and said, 'Hi. I'm Ellen,' I lost it." Bob and Ellen have now been married twelve years and are both very thankful for the way God answered Bob's prayer.)
6. The Confession of personal sin - 1 John 1:9 (Not my neighbor’s sins, but my own!)
7. The Forgiveness of others - Mt. 6:15; Eph. 4:32 (Regardless of what they may have done or said to you; or done or said about you!)
8. A Plea Guidance and leadership - John 16:13 (Ill. We need His guidance to make it, but I am glad He promised it to us, Psa. 37:23!)
9. For Deliverance and victory - 1 Cor. 15:57; 2Cor. 2:14
(Note: Prayer should be based on FACTS. F=Faith; A=Adoration; C=Confession; T=Thanksgiving; S=Supplications)
B. Sometimes, we will prayer about all of these things, at other times, only some will be addressed. But, these are the things Jesus has commanded us to pray about. Folk, He will honor proper praying! James 5:16. (Ill. “I will at 4:00 PM, Sarge”)
(Ill. It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are;
nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they may be;
nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be;
nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be;
nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be:
it is fervency of spirit which availeth much!)
III. V.5-13 A PROPER MOOD
A. When we pray, we must believe God for the answer! (Ill. James 1:6-7; Mk. 11:24) Proper praying is an act of faith! We must believe or we shall never receive. When we come before the Lord in prayer, we are to pray in faith and expectancy. We are to pray believing that God will hear us and that He will answer our prayer in His way in His time!
B. Jesus gives us several arenas where God performs in answer to prayer.
1. V.5-10 God Honors Faithful Praying - This is a promise of success! He will hear you and He will answer you, Isa. 65:24! Just keep knocking, He will answer in His time!
2. V.11-12 God Honors Specific Praying - (Ill. 11:5 - 3 loaves!) (Ill. Hot water bottle and baby doll!) How will you ever know unless you pray for exactly what you need an answer for?
3. V. 13 God Honors Childlike Praying - He honors the prayer that trusts Him like a child trusts a parent.
C. The proper mood for prayer is one of absolute faith and dependence that God will do as He has said He would do! Faith is the key that opens the vast storehouses of God's provision and pours them out on a humanity that will simply believe in God. Faith is indispensable to answered prayer - Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6; Mt. 21:22
Conc: Do you have God’s ear? What do you need to get a hold of Him about this evening? May we see the need to pray and may we come before Him to learn how to be effective in our praying!