Luke 11:1-13 - You Do
Have A Prayer
Proper 12 - Jesus' Teaching On Prayer
Some years ago, when Leonard Griffith was pastor of the famous City Temple in
London, he wrote a fascinating book entitled Barriers to Christian Belief. In
that book he dealt with some problems that have over the years been real
obstacles and stumbling blocks for people in their faith pilgrimage… specific
problems that hinder people, that burden people, that disturb people… and keep
them away from the Christian faith. One of the barriers he listed
was…"unanswered prayer." It does seem to be a fact of our experience that many
people do get discouraged and they do give up and drop out on the faith because
they feel a sense of failure in their prayer life.
This leads us to ask then… "How do you pray?" "Why pray at all?" "When do you
pray?" "Is there a special formula or a sacred language that should be used?"
One thing is clear. There are many questions and there is much misunderstanding
about how you pray and why. In a Peanuts cartoon Charlie Brown is kneeling
beside his bed for prayer. Suddenly he stops and says to Lucy, "I think I've
made a new theological discovery, a real breakthrough. If you hold your hands
upside down, you get the opposite of what you pray for."
Prayer must be more than an emergency magical lamp rubbed in a crisis. The truth
is that many people give up on prayer because they never understand what prayer
is. Much that passes for prayer is irrational, superstitious, and self-centered,
and is therefore unworthy of the pattern of the prayer that Jesus offered to us
How do you pray and why? We are not the first to ask. The disciples of Jesus
came to Him one day and said, "Lord, teach us. Teach us to pray!" Notice
something here. When did the disciples ask for this? When did they make this
request? Was it after Jesus gave a lecture on prayer? No! Was it after Jesus led
a seminar on prayer? No! Was it after Jesus preached a powerful sermon on
prayer? No! None of these. Remember how it is recorded in Luke 11… "Jesus was
praying in a certain place and when he finished, they said to him, ‘Lord, teach
us to pray.'" They saw the power of prayer in Him. They saw how important prayer
was to Him. See the point. Harry Emerson Fosdick stresses it in his book, The
Secret of Victorious Living. "Note that this awakened interest in prayer came
not at all from new arguments about it, but from a new exhibition of its power.
Here, before their very eyes, they saw a personality in whom prayer was vital
and influential! The more they lived with him, the more they saw that they could
never explain him or understand him unless they understood his praying and so
not at all because of new arguments, but because of amazing spiritual power
released in him by prayer. They wanted him to tell them how to pray."
The disciples sometimes were slow on the uptake, but at this point they were
quickly and precisely on target. They saw in Jesus the answer to this question:
how do we pray and why do we pray? And they learned from Him (as we can) what
the elements are that lead to a meaningful prayer life.
1. Jesus Prayed Regularly.
2. Jesus Prayed Sensibly.
3. Jesus Prayed Confidently.
rest of this sermon following the outline can be obtained by joining
eSermons.com. When you sign up you will get immediate access. Resources
are offered by www.sermons.com