Willing to Pray
Are You Willing to Pray?
One of the most significant reversals in the history of the Christian faith took place in America during the 1780’s in America just as the new nation was defining its independent identity and scripting is Constitution. Drunkenness was epidemic, city streets were lawless at night and the church appeared to be in terminal decline. John Marshal wrote to James Madison, asserting that the church was “too far gone ever to be redeemed.” They said that Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.
The Methodist were losing more members than they were gaining
In sixteen years, they had not taken in one young person.
The Lutherans and Episcopalians were worse off.
Preachers quit preaching and found other jobs.
A poll taken at Harvard had discovered not one believer in the whole student body.
Princeton only had two believers and only five not enrolled in the Filthy language society.
They held mock communions at Williams College.
They put on anti-Christian plays at Dartmouth.
They were burning bibles publicly.
So, what happened?
God intervened in American history to re-sequence the fledgling nation’s DNA, and he did it by mobilizing His people to pray, first in the UK and then in the states. A prayer movement had started in Britain through William Carey, Andrew Fuller, John Sutchlife, and other leaders who began what the British called the Union of Prayer. And it started the second great awakening. They set aside the Monday of each month to pray all day. It was not long before revival came…
Out of came missionaries, the abolition of slavery, bible societies, Sunday schools, social benefits. Utter hopelessness had turned into a massive movement of spiritual and social transformation, and the tipping point had and always will be PRAYER!!
The Lord's Prayer Luke 11:1-13
1. Teach Us How to Pray
A. Focus on Him.
He is your Father.
Hallow Him. Respect Him. Honor Him. Worship Him. Spend time with Him.
B. Moves to Us (Reflective)
Daily Needs. Problems. Forgiveness.
May I be more like You and less Like me.
C. And then moves us Outward
Let Heaven Come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Now Jesus[a] was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,[b]
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[c] (crazy persistence) he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for[d] a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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!”
2. Make us Willing to Pray
And therein lies the problem. It’s not in the teaching it’s in the willingness. The question becomes are you praying. Not just under your breath prayers while you are driving or at work. Have you carved out time in your week, in your days to spend time exclusively with your creator. Praying. If Jesus constantly did this, why aren’t we?
We do everything but pray. We call. We post. We tell. We talk. We even sleep…
The same disciples that said rabbi Jesus, teach me to pray, I want to pray like you…
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane Matthew 26:36-46 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[d] with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.[e] See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
So 2017 in America, here is what we see...
1 in 5 children live in poverty.Bullying and Cyber Bullying is as epidemic proportions.
Live Facebook suicide has become common. Teachers are with students, sexually.
Heroin and other drugs are epidemic. Terrorism is here. Parents are not taking care of their kids.
Kids are the most disrespectful of all times. Self-harming is a trend.
Yet we have the most government run bail out programs and none of it working.
Sexual abuse is the norm. In east Houma there is a bar on every corner that is fuller on every Saturday night than in all the churches on Sunday morning.
People sleep in on Sundays. The schools are unruly and unmanageable.
It’s hard to believe that America, the nation which adopted the slogan ‘In God we trust’ in the 1950’s is where we are today.
So what needs to happen? We have to pray. We have to be willing.
God has more in store for your life than anything you’ve so far experienced. He is calling you to obey unconditionally, to pray with all of you, and to fight like you never have.
To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world. Karl Barth
Christians are called to welcome Christ into every ‘square inch of the whole domain of our human existence’. This means that whenever we see the tyranny of enemy occupation at work in our own lives and the lives of others pray for Christ’s kingdom to come instead. Wherever we see oppression, amongst the poor, in our educational systems, in government or even in the church, we use our free wills to say defiantly, “Not my will but your will be done.”