Do We Pray?

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Luke 11:1 (NLT)
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
– Why did the disciples ask Jesus this request? 
– Why not ask to walk on the water or raise the dead? Why not ask Jesus to teach something more spectacular or more powerful?
– What was so impressive about the prayer life of Jesus that this was the only written request of the disciples?

1. Prayer Is Coming Near to God
Deuteronomy 4:7 (NIV)
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the 
Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
– God says, “When you pray I want to be close to you!” He loves us and wants to be close!
– That’s the reason the Cross took place, the driving force in God was love for us!
– PRAYER – is all about coming NEAR to God!

2. Prayer Is Priority
Jesus made prayer the priority in his life because he made his relationship with God priority!
Mark 1:35 (NIV)
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
– If Jesus needed to pray to make it in this life, then we certainly will need to as well!
– Prayer gives clarity – spending time with God should make you more aware, focused and clear-minded on what you need to do.
Hebrews 5:7 (NLT)
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.
 
3. Prayer Is Hindered When We Cherish Sin
Psalm 66:16-18 (NIV)
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
    let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
    his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened;
– “Cherished Sin” – its not the sins we do as much as it is the sins we want to do that get in the way of our prayers!

4. Prayer Matters To God
Acts 10:1-2 (NIV)
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
– Because he prayed and gave to the poor, God made sure he heard the gospel – he and his family!
– Prayer matters to God! He doesn’t forget your prayers and good deeds – he will make good on things. Maybe that’s why you’re here today!

Q: What keeps us from praying?
1. Listening to ourselves vs talking to God
– Sometimes we like to hear ourselves talk – not really praying.
 
Matthew 6:5-7 (NIV)
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standingin the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
 
2. Nursing our anger vs talking to God
– Ever try praying, but you’re mad at people?
– Even in “prayer” our rage we sometimes just vent our feelings. After venting our anger, always remember to turn back to God and focus on Him!
– If we hold things against people, we are not really praying.

Mark 11:22-25 (NIV)
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
 
3. Relying on ourselves
Joshua 9:14 (NIV) Gibeonite deception
The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.
– Israel didn’t go to God, they SAW NO NEED TO PRAY, they were fooled and they were lied to!
– The more self-reliant we are – the more we don’t pray!
– Psalm 10:4 (NIV) In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
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4. Consumed with pain
2 Chronicles 16:12 (NIV)
In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord but only from the physicians.
– 
Asa – “even in his illness – he didn’t seek God”
– When we are hurt, we cannot think about anything but the pain!
– We can throw God completely out of the picture when in pain – we go looking for relief ANYWHERE!

Q: What inspires us to pray?
1. We find peace – We can relieve fear and anxiety when we pray!
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
– We find peace by talking to God! We usually leave out the “thank him” part.

2. We find our destiny
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “declares the Lord.”
– There are those who think God is out to do good for them
– There are those who think God is out to do bad for them
– Sometimes we do not pray because we think God means to harm us and that He is out to do bad things to us!

3. We break free from human limits
James 5:17-18 (NIV)
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. 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.
– Elijah was a man just like us! He had a powerful prayer life!
– Most people believe in technology more than prayer or miracles
– Things change when we pray NOT when we worry!
– Prayer can push us to go beyond human limits
– Do I pray?