Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why Pray?

Pastor Brad began by noting that we are closing our 5 week series on James. Do we need something? We are to pray for it. Re God’s word, we should drink it in and live it out. Don’t just hear the Word but DO what it says.

Today’s Sermon: “Why Pray?”

Can we change the mind and heart of God? Can you actually get through? We’ve all experienced the sort of calls when trying to get through to a person we get messages to push one button after another and get left on hold. Sometimes we try to send an email And it somehow gets lost in cyberspace. Sometimes prayer feels like “a spasm of words lost in a cosmic chasm of indifference."

The truth is that everyone prays. We pray because we cannot help it. In any given week we pray more than we work out, drive, or clock in on our job. Nine out of ten people say that they pray regularly. Even atheists pray. It seems to be hardwired in us. We long to connect even when we don’t believe in God. We pray for healing, for peace, strength for someone else to be healed. When there’s turbulence in a plane everyone on it is praying.

Jesus always snuck away to pray. He made himself unavailable to people so as to make himself close to God. He embraced it as his absolute lifeline. His disciples didn’t ask Jesus to teach them how to walk on water. They asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. They saw that it was a life giving connection to God and they wanted that.

Prayer gives us better focus instantly like lasik surgery.

Job prayed “My world is falling apart. Couldn’t you at least show up God?” Then God does show up and asks questions of Job and suddenly brings everything back into focus.

Prayer helps us reverse roles and gives us awareness of God’s hugeness. It brings reality back into focus. We can come down from our CEO office and find better ways to define success. When we pray we can vacate our mind. The word “vacate” is related to “vacation”. Prayer is like a vacation, a time when we can change our perspective.

I am not the center of the universe. I am a small player in the epic story of God. Life is about His story, His greatness, His plan.

Is anyone sick? We can invite God into the process to help us. Pastor Brad then noted that sometimes there are healing miracles, and sometimes not, but that if people are not healed of physical illness it does not mean that their faith is too small. Sometimes prayer for healing brings us spiritually to a place of peace with God by confessing our sins. There also is a natural aging process we all go through.

Why pray? Because Jesus told us to pray. When our children ask us for things we always want to answer them, but we also want what is best for them.

In Revelation 8 all of heaven shut up to listen to our prayers.

There are certain things that we do not tell others about ourselves but God always knows what is really true about my heart. Go into your closet and pray and be alone with God. Prayer restores the reality of God’s grace and His longing to lavish it upon you. Prayer is keeping company with God. Come to Him in respect and awe, but also in confidence.

Prayer is an ongoing relationship and conversation with God. Sometimes my prayer is like a country music song. It just is telling what is going on in my life. Other times it is more like a rock and roll song. It has a constant and persistent beat that just keeps coming. Other times it’s like jazz. It goes in different directions and you don’t know what’s coming next. Then there are times when it is very much like the blues.

At this point in the sermon Darlene played a few chords of blues style on the piano while Pastor Brad sang some of David’s words from Psalm 22. “My God, Why have You forsaken me? Why are you so far from the words of my groaning? I cry out but You do not answer.” We can get out our feelings of disappointment, anger and frustration to God, He invites us to pray like that. After expressing his feelings to God, David then says “You are faithful”

Prayer is ultimately a love song. Stay connected to the lover of your soul.

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