Title: Getting High #3 - How to Pray
Focus: In order to stay spiritually and emotionally healthy, we must engage in a regular prayer life which involves praying trusting, heart-felt prayers.
Function: To help the hearers improve their prayer life
Intro: 1. Story of little Billy leading prayer in Bible Class a. Uses a big, deep voice full of pomp b. Isn't that the proper way to pray? 2. Knowing how to pray not come naturally a. The disciples were grown men and felt they still could learn b. They asked Jesus to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1 c. It is okay if you have difficulties praying - As long as you don't stop 3. Going to look at some principles of prayer this morning I. (1 Thess 5:17) - Pray Constantly A. Paul instructs us to pray without ceasing 1. How many of us do this very thing? 2. Book of Nehemiah - A man who prayed constantly 3. Do any of us pray like this? B. (Luke 11:5-13) - Jesus illustrates this 1. Background a. Working class families often slept together b. To get up would mean waking the family 2 If a freind grant request to persistent freind a. How much more will God grant requests to us b. God gives what we need, gives good gifts 3 Exhortation is literally - "All of you keep on asking" 4. In the past, I always would look to someone else as example a. A have known a few who prayed at drop of a hat b. Since someone else as example, means I have work to do c. have gotten better - But it takes humility C. ILL: Pride hinders Praying with Persistence 1. You ever not tell anyone about struggles because not want help? 2. Like the child you try to help that says, "I'm doing iiiiit." 3. Pride says you can handle it all on your own 4. Same attitude can hinder your prayer life D. Need to make communication with God a regular daily, hourly activity II. (Mk 11:24) Pray Faithfully A. Faith can move mountains 1. Jas 5:17 - Elijah prayed for no rain, it not rain 3 1/2 years 2. Josh 10:2 - Joshua's long day 3. Faith as mustard seed move mountains B. ILL: I have a couple of stories about God answering prayers 1. Jeremy and his birth - God granted request 2. Prayer for Verlin - But he died anyway 3. I thought if we keep on asking, we will receive? C. Does this mean God not answer prayers? Not get what we ask? 1. (2 Cor. 12:7-10) a. Paul persistent in praying for healing b. Asked for healing, got grace c. Did he ask for fish and got a stone? 2. Did this sort of thing ever happen to Jesus? (Mk 14:32-41) a. Prayed for cup removal THREE times b. Didn't get removed c. Did God ignore him? 3. In both Jesus, and Paul's case, they accepted God's answer a. Jesus said, not my will but yours b. (1 Jn 5:14) ask anything according to his will, He hears us c. (Jas 4:3) - Ask not receive, ask with wrong motives 4. So we need to ask according to his will D. But isn't this just a cop out to smooth over unanswered prayers? 1. Accepting a "NO" answer is an excercise of faith 2. Faith that God will do what is best as in Gethsemane a. What if God had said yes? b. God knows and does what is best 3. Faith that God will do what is best as with Thorn in flesh a. What if Paul said, "I not ask for grace, take it away!" b. God gives what is best 4. God knows what is best, so submit by saying "Your will be done" a. Not a cop out b. It a statement of extreme faith III. Pray Sincerely (Matt. 6:5-8) A. Not pray as the hypocrites - "actor" 1. Their motivation - To be seen on the stage by people 2. They have their reward 3. Go into your inner room a. Reflects a sincere motivation - To be seen by God b. God will answer you B. Meaningless Repetition - Key word is "meaningless" 1. Not reciting a magical formua, talking to God a. Acts 19:15 - Sons of Sceva tried to pray using name of Jesus as a magical forumula, it not work b. They were not followers of Christ, not sincere 2. Do not need repetition for prayer to be meaningless a. One empty word just as good as many empty words b. Not trying to impress God, he knows what we need C. ILL: Kind of like kids coming up and saying 1. "You know what, you are the BEST DAD EVER" 2. Of course, you say, "What do you want?" or just "No" 3. You can tell when things like that are really sincere D. So Jesus says to go to your special place 1. No distractions, can spend quality time with God 2. Prayer does NOT have to be spontaneous to be good 3. Writing them down, from deep in the heart, time to think Concl: 1. Exhoration: Pray all the time, sincerely in submission to his will 2. Don't feel close to God? Maybe not praying enough 3. God not blessing efforts? Maybe not praying about it enough 4. Elders said we here for three reasons, the first of which is to worship God a. Part of worship means prayer to God b. Challenge you to follow their lead as they lead us to better prayer life as a congregation c. Challenge us all to spend more time praying as a group 5. I am confident God is really going to bless us 6. PRAYER 7. Invitation