Friday, October 17, 2014

Prayers: Words or Actions?

What is prayer? There’s a political commercial on the airwaves that shows a candidate saying she and her husband prayed for her opponent during his moral misconduct, but she goes on to say that now was time for action as opposed to words. Is that all prayer is? To the atheist, a prayer is a waste of breath. To the agnostic, prayer could be a waste, but they are not sure. What about you, who answer to the name Christian. Is prayer a route chore before a meal, bed, and at the church on Sunday when you feel guilty or perhaps earnestly convicted?
The following words spoken by Billy Graham as reported by CSN News should wake us up, brothers and sisters. “Even though America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God, God would spare us if we were earnestly praying, with hearts that had been cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ,” said Rev. Graham in his commentary for Decision magazine, published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “Today the world is being carried on a rushing torrent of history that is sweeping out of control,” said Rev. Graham.  “There is but one power available to redeem the course of events, and that is the power of prayer by God-fearing, Christ-believing people.” 
John Owen, a Puritan writer, has said: “What an individual is in secret on his knees before God, that’s who he really is, and no more.” D.L. Moody put it this way: “Be humble or you’ll stumble.” Before we come to Jesus with sincere repentance, we have to humble ourselves. There are those who will flat out fight me over this, but God being holy and pure turns his head from sin which we are by the way until we repent and make Him Lord of our lives. This means until we are willing to accept Jesus, we are sinful and God the Father does not hear us.
Proverbs 15:29
The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Psalm 145:19
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
Proverbs 28:9
If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.
Psalm 66:18
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
Psalm 34:15
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;

John 9:31
We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.

Christ shows us the model prayer-not one that is consistently naming off the over 157 names of the Trinity, or the loudest that shows intricate knowledge of Bible truths given only to preachers of the certain denomination-there aren’t any by the way. We all have access to the Glory of Heaven named Jesus.
We are told to pray without ceasing. Elmer Towns says this way, “The effective prayer is not measured by how loud you pray, or how long you pray, or even if you say the words of the Lord’s Prayer again and again in a repetitious fashion. Your prayer life will be effective it you are sincere (your approach) and if you ask for the right things (what you say).” I will tell you right now and I may be wrong, Born Again Believer, but God is not too concerned with you sincere desire to see the Cowboys win, or for you to find the lucky lotto numbers. God grants prayers not wishes that will ultimately bring Glory to himself.
We need to acknowledge the power in prayer.
POWER that Paul and Silas experienced in the midst of a jailhouse when they prayed and an earthquake shook the foundation of the prison and broke the chains that bound them. 
POWER that Steven possessed as he was stoned to death due to his testimony for the Lord Jesus. As he stood there with death approaching he looked at towards heaven and said “I see Jesus standing on the right hand of God.”
It is estimated that 4,000 churches a year close their doors permanently. In 1920, 27 churches existed for every 10,000 Americans. In 1950, 17 churches existed for every 10,000 Americans. In 2004, 11 churches existed for every 10,000 Americans. “If trends continue, by 2050 the percentage of Americans attending church will be half of what it was in 1990” “Between 80% and 85% of all churches in America are either plateaued or are declining. The Acts of the Apostles teaches that a huge number in one day were added to the Lord’s count. What about us today?
Little bit of Biblical history. Peter’s in jail. The people are earnestly praying for his release. He gets released, and they even though they were praying didn’t believe it. Folks, we must understand that prayer is not just a chore and lip service to God, but it is our way to speak with Him not just to Him. This is the type of praying the church needs today! James says in his epistle… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16) 

Let’s close with this: Casting Crowns sing a song that says this: 

”What if His people prayed”
”And those who bear His name”
”Would humbly seek His face”
”And turn from their own way”

”And what would happen if we prayed”
”For those raised up to lead the way”
”Then maybe kids in school could pray”
”And unborn children see light of day”

”What if His people prayed”

 Coming Soon, unanswered prayers. 

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