There once was a little girl whose best friend’s grandmother was dying in a bed. The doctor had given her three days to live. As long as the little girl had known the friend, the grandmother had silently laid in the bed, several years. As the time of her death approached the little girl stopped to pray beside her. As she reached out to touch her arm she could see her skin hanging off her bones and sensed that death was close by. She begged God for the grandma’s life. She had already known the pain of a loved one’s death and did not want her friend to go through it. Later the little girl talked with her friend and the friend exclaimed, “My grandma is sitting up eating food, feeding herself”. After more time the grandma got up and walked around the house with a walker! That little girl had left her Bible there with the mother and the mother (who cared for the grandma) thanked the little girl but the girl knew it was God. Her prayers were answered. The family experienced a miracle, one they could see with their eyes, God was revealing Himself to them. The little girl saw what happens when you ask God for something that makes Him famous.
When we study the early church we can see that they had four things in common:
And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (NRSV)
Teaching. Fellowship. Communion. Prayer.
When we are together with other followers of Jesus we should be praying.
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Listen to a few key phrases in there:
His will is above our own. When we pray and first acknowledge His holiness we also pray for His will to be done. That’s first in Jesus’ model prayer for us.
He taught us to pray asking for forgiveness for our sins and those who sin against us. (This must be important, to unify us, and strengthen us because when we are divided we fall).
He said, “Lead us…, deliver us…”
Look at the word “persistence”, don’t give up when you go to God in prayer asking for something, Jesus said we are to be persistence in the story of the man at the door.
When we approach God about our needs, our Father wants to help us. He wants to give us the desires (He has placed) in our hearts.
Now, I know there are many needs to ask about, but what if we ask for some big ones, some ones that have huge eternal ripples? What if we ask for souls? For people to come to Christ? Are we begging God for people to get to know Him, to find Him, to be with Him?
Jesus prayed for us.
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (NRSV).
Look at these:
Be one …that the world may believe
…that the world may know
…that they may behold My glory
…that the love may be in them
Matthew 16:17-19 says, “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The gates of hell will not prevail against what? Against His Church. If you’re a follower of Jesus, then He’s talking about YOU!
He said, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”.
When you’re praying, for whatever you are praying for, believe Him. He has the answer. It’s not yes, I know, but man when it is yes! Ah, when it is “yes”, it’s an awesome thing to see, and be a part of. Start praying friends, and have faith becasue He has the answer. Amen.