Sunday, August 2, 2009

Prayer: Why Do We Need To Pray?

People often ask . . .
"Why do we pray?"
"If God knew how my life would turn out before
I was born, why should I pray?"
"Will it change the outcome?"
"Is praying a step of obedience?"

The following verses can make a person wonder this very thing: "Why pray?"
  • Matthew 6:32-34, "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
  • Matthew 6:8, "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
  • Isaiah 65:24, "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear."
  • Luke 1:13, After maybe as long as forty years of prayer for a son to be born Zechariah hears the angel tell him, "Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. . . "
Some people answer the question, "Why pray?", by simply saying we should be obedient. But, praying just to be obedient is a very weak and a non-motivating answer. At least, for me it is not a satisfactory answer. But, of course, that is why a lot of Christians do a lot of things, such as, go to church, read their Bibles, get baptized, etc. They have no idea what they are doing or why it is important. They just know we are supposed to do it. The Christian life is much more than just being obedient. There is a game plan and God wants you to understand "Why" we do things.

Human Will and Responsibility
  • God originally created man to rule and to have authority (Genesis 1:26)
  • Man is not an animal, he was created in God's image and was God's representative on the earth.
  • Man was given free will, told what was right or wrong, and told of the consequences for his actions. (Genesis 2:16)
  • When Adam sinned it effected him, his world and all of mankind (Romans 5:12)
  • The Exodus Generation, for example, was given a promise, but chose not to follow God's plan. They did not want what God wanted. (Deut. 1:26)
  • The second generation after the Exodus had the choice of blessing and cursing set before them. They could chose which one they wanted. (Deut. 11:26)
  • They were also told to chose between life and death. (Deut. 30:19)
  • Man is unique, then, because he can make decisions that effect his sphere of operation or his realm of authority.
God's Ultimate Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility/Authority
  • Imagine God's Absolute authority (sovereignty) being a large circle or bubble.
  • Everything is in this bubble and under the authority of God. It includes time, history, angels, material, humans, etc.
  • Inside this large bubble are much smaller bubbles (or, kingdoms) which represent each of our own spheres of control, operation, responsibility or authority.
  • God has ultimate responsibility but inside his bubble (realm, kingdom) he has granted individuals to have their own bubble.
  • This bubble is our lives, the things we can control and influence.
  • We do have responsibility and we do make a difference. We can control what comes in and what goes out of our lives to a very great extent.
  • God wants to place his truth, his salvation, his promises into our lives, but we have the authority. If we do not want his plan, like the Exodus generation did not want his plan, we can reject it. But, if we do want his will or his promises we are the one's to allow it into our bubble.
  • If there is something we need, God has already made a way for it, but we must ask.
God Makes Promises and Plans; We Seek Him and His Promises
  • James 4:2, "You do not have, because you do not ask God."
    James 4:1-2 describes people wanting things (food, provision, education, etc.) but they covet, fight, quarrel and kill to get it. God says they don't have because they have not asked him. They weren't asking for bad things, but they went about getting what they needed and wanted in their lives (their bubbles) with out walking in God's ways, trusting God's promises and asking God for what they wanted.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:20, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God."
    Every promise (that applies to us) is available to you as a believer in Christ. So, our position is to speak the 'Amen' or, the 'so be it'. Our job is to ask for it, seek for it, to want it and allow it into our lives.
    1. It is "in Christ," or "through him" which means "in Jesus name."
    2. We speak the "Amen", or the prayer, request. We open the door to our realm of authority for God's promise.
    3. This is "to the glory of God." When we receive God's promises through prayer God is glorified.
God's Promise to Elijah and Elijah's Prayer for God's Promise
  • James 5:13-18 - these verses include "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."
    This verse is true but in both cases (no rain, and lots of rain) God had already made a promise. Elijah's job was to hear, proclaim and pray for the promise.
  • 1 Kings 18:1, God promises he will now send rain on the land
  • 1 Kings 17:41-44, Elijah prays seven times before the promised rain comes.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Matthew 7:7-8

"Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel."
Isaiah 43:22

During the next few weeks in church we will be discussing the basics of prayer. I will be attempting to make prayer more understandable so that it is more natural to pray and more productive for our lives. You need God in your life. We need God in our nation.

Watch this sermon in RealPlayer here
Listen or download the .mp3 here

Galyn Wiemers

No comments: