New Life Chapel

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Sunday Message – Prayer

This morning I would like to talk to you about prayer. To do this we are going straight to the source, we are going to look at one of Jesus’ teachings. Our scripture this morning is Matthew 7:7-11. These verses are part of Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8“For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10“Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

 To start with we need to look at who Jesus is speaking to. Lets turn back a couple of chapters and look at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount,

Matthew 5:1-2 tells us

 ‘When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them’

  This is telling us that Jesus’ primary audience was His disciples, it is unclear if the text is referring to only the 12 or to a larger group of followers. But, we can safely say that this message was meant for believers. So as we dig into these verses let’s keep in mind who Jesus is talking to.

Starting with verses 7 and 8.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8“For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

 The first thing we need to do is ASK!

James 4:2 tells us “2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”

 We need to come before the Lord and present our request to Him. I am pretty sure this is something that most of us have down pat. When we have a problem, what do we do, we pray. But this is only the beginning, the first step.

As we look at Matthew 7:7-8 we see some repetition.

Verse 7 says to Ask, Seek, and Knock and verse 8 also says Ask, Seek, and Knock.

Do you think Jesus is trying to tell us something?

I do, Jesus is not telling us to pray one time than forget it, He is saying that we need to continually come before Him in prayer.

We need regularly Ask Him to meet our needs.

We need to seek out His will for our lives and His will for meeting our needs,

We need to relentlessly and continually Knock at His door, over and over again.

Essentially Jesus is telling us that prayer needs to be a focal point of our lives. Not something we do only when we have problems, or once a week, or while we are at church.

Prayer needs to be something we do all the time.

 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing”

Make prayer a regular part of your life. We need to spend time in prayer each day earnestly seeking the Lords will.

Bill Hybels tells about an interesting experience after a baptism service in their church. He writes: “I bumped into a woman in the stairwell who was crying. I thought this was a little odd, since the service was so joyful. I asked her if she was all right. She said, ‘No, I’m struggling.’ She said, ‘My mom was baptized today. I prayed for her every day for almost 20 years. The reason I’m crying is because I came this close to giving up on her. At the 5-year mark I said, “Who needs this? God isn’t listening.” At the 10-year mark I said, “Why am I wasting my breath?” At the 15-year mark I said, “This is absurd.” At the 19-year mark I said, “I’m just a fool.” But I just kept trying, kept praying. Even with weak faith I kept praying. Then she gave here life to Christ, and she was baptized today. I will never doubt the power of prayer again.”

Sometimes when we pray and pray we feel like we are experiencing the law of diminished returns—so we stop praying. We correspondingly diminish our desires and dreams. We stop believing that God cares and that he will act—that he is indeed a God who wants us to ask. I hope that you will trust God’s love and concern for you, and his ability as well. I hope that you will continue to be persistent in prayer, no matter how discouraging the circumstances seem.

 When we read verses 7 and 8 did you catch what Jesus was promising. Lets look a little closer.

Listen to these words from verse 7, “It will be given to you”, “You will find”, “The door will be opened to you”. Followed up by verse 8 “Receives”, “Finds”, and “it will be opened.”

 These are definite statements, Jesus isn’t saying that if you ask, seek, and knock that he will consider your request or that He will contemplate answering your prayers. That’s not it at all, Jesus is promising that if you Ask you will receive, If you Seek you will find, If you knock the door will be opened.

 God WILL answer your prayers.

Now before we get to carried away, this does not mean that we can ask God for anything we want and He will give it to us. Remember Jesus is speaking to believers.

 As believers we should be approaching the Lord saying “Let your will be done”.

James 4:3 says

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures”

James is telling us not to bring our self-serving requests before the Lord. God will not answers those requests. To receive the promise of Matthew 7:7-8 we need to bring our prayers before the Lord with right motives. We need to seek His will in our prayers and pray for things that will glorify Him.

 Lets go back to our text in Matthew and read on, starting with verse 9,

“Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10“Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

 Just like we, as parents, want to give good things to our children, our heavenly Father wants to give good things to us. Jesus is perfectly clear here, God WANTS to answer our prayers! We need to have confidence that God will answer our prayers.

 James 1:17 says

“17Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow”

 God will provide for our true needs, He will give us good and perfect things.

 Christopher’s Kidney Reflux

18 months old diagnosed with Kidney Reflux level 2.

Dr. said Give it a year and if we are lucky it will improve to level 1.

According to the Dr. after 1 year, improvement to level 1 was the best case scenario.

If we saw no improvement after 1 year, Chris would require surgery.

We had to give Chris antibiotics everyday, which of course meant we had a fight on our hands every day.

About 6 months later, I was praying after one of fights to get him to take his medicine.

I heard God ask me when I was going to thank Him for healing my son.

Sure enough, when we went back to the Dr. 6 months later, their was no sign of the Kidney Reflux.

Chris was completely healed.

In this situation our specific prayer request was in line with God’s will. We are very thankful that God choose to heal our son.

 Lets think about this for a moment if God wants to give us good gifts is he going to give us everything we want? No. I’d like to look at the example of verses 9-10 in a different way. How would an earthly father react to his child asking for a stone to eat or a snake to play with? As parents we have enough wisdom to know that a stone is not going to be a good meal for our children and that a snake is a dangerous toy. These things will hurt our children, so will not give them to our children.

If we have enough wisdom to know that a rock and snake are harmful to our children. Our Heavenly Father, who is infinitely wiser than we are, would know what is good for us and what is not. He will not give His children things that are not good for them, even if that is what we are asking for.

 Story of Christopher’s hearing loss.

When Chris was 3 he was diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss. We prayed that God would heal his ears like He healed the reflux. The answer to this prayer was not a healing like we asked. Thankfully we sought after the Lord’s will in this situation, and He changed all of our plans. Our plan was once my wife, Alexis, graduated from CSUF she was going to put me through college so I could get a BA in business. But as Alexis finished up at CSUF, Chris was attending 6 different speech therapy lessons each week. Driving him around was almost a full time job. When Alexis graduated from CSUF we decided, after much prayer, that she would stay home with our kids, to take care of Chris’ special needs. A few months later I heard God’s call to ministry and pursued a degree in Ministry and Leadership instead of business. God answered our prayers, just not how we requested. If God had healed our son as we requested our lives would be totally different, we would not have our 3 child Thomas, Alexis would be working, and I would not be here sharing God’s word with you today.

 God does answer prayers, but the answers are not always what we expect. I did not expect that God would change the direction of our lives, but He did.

 I stand here today and tell you that I am thankful that God answered that prayer according to His will, not mine! I know for a fact that my son’s hearing loss will be used to glorify God when the time is right. We will not always get what we ask for because it is not what is best for us, we need to have faith in God’s total provision, regardless if we understand His reasoning or not.

 I encourage each of you to listen to what Jesus was teaching here in Matthew 7:7-11. Make prayer a focal point of each and every day. Pray continually, Seeking God’s will in all things. God wants to answer your prayers! Remember His answers may not be what you are expecting; but it will be what He knows is best for you.

Thank You for Reading and God Bless!

Pastor Robert

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February 7, 2010 - Posted by | Sermon

2 Comments »

  1. I loved this weeks sermon. It really touched me as this is something I struggle with. Yes even the pastor’s wife struggles with prayer. I have begun praying for people in general whether I know them or not as I pass them in the parking lot at the kids’ school. I pray to myself quietly. I pray that they find peace with whatever they are struggling with be they addictions, finances, relationships, confrontations, or personal struggles. I dont struggle so much with prayer in silence but in prayer for others out loud. This weeks sermon helped me to remember that I am praying daily for those I dont know, I can look at it as practice, to praying out loud. Dont know when I will feel comfortable praying out loud, but its something I am working on.

    Comment by Alexis | February 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH ALEXIS. I SHOULD REMEMBER YOUR WORDS.

    Comment by WIL HUDSON | February 11, 2010 | Reply


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