Prayer works. As E.M. Bounds wrote, "Prayer moves the hand that moves the world." We just desperately want to help people see how their prayer lives can be rich, personal, fulfilling, & life-changing.
There's lots of stuff to talk about:
- The Power of Prayer — There are a HOST of examples in the Bible of how God doesn't really care how skilled we are, or what our tools are, or what our strategy is…though we have to work together with God after we pray too, as Ephesians 2 describes. God even specifically says that he's not impressed by our athletic ability: "He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man," Psalm 147:10. Check out these stories on the power we can have in prayer:
- Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14)
- Elijah (James 5:16-18)
- Hezekiah (2 Kings 19)
- Peter (Acts 12:5-17) — This one cracks me up…they can't believe God actually answered their prayers!
- The Mandolin — Did I hear that right? Our band's new mandolin has a NAME??? What gives, Pastor Ben? :-) P.S. I loved the mandolin rain from our band.
- The Video — We purchased our "man-on-the-street" video on prayer here. SermonSpice.com is a great resource for the church.
- E. M. Bounds — I referenced this book on prayer this morning. It's excellent. The quote I referenced came from this web page.
- When God Says "No" — This seemed to touch a lot of people. Kudos to our 6:30a sermon review team who added that point to the message. We had a full house this week: Jason, Chase, Doug, Brian, Josh, & Danny. And Ben brought Dunkin Donuts for everyone! The "When God Says No" thought brought these comments:
- Rejection — After 1st service, one person told me, "In prayer, God's rejection is God's protection." That's totally true.
- 3 Answers — After 2nd service another person told me, "God answers our prayers 3 ways: (1) Yes. (2) Not yet. (3) I have a better idea."
- Did I say that??? — Yes. At the end of 2nd service, I asked people to "Close your heads." Whoops! I meant to say, "Bow your heads & close your eyes." 🙂
- Prayer Stories — Here's what people told me after service:
- A Teen — Told me he didn't know how to prayer & prayed that morning that God would teach him how.
- A College Student — Showed me their prayer journal from Tuesday where they asked God to teach them how to do a prayer calendar for personal accountability
- An Adult — Emailed this note: "This 40 Day Prayer
Challenge in itself was an answered prayer for me. Although I pray several
times a day 'in my head,' I truly wanted something more and didn't know
how to begin. I am excited to be
faithful in prayer for my first set of 40 days."
- An Bunch of People — Keep telling me how they have started their 40-day prayer challenge. Way to go!
- Several Receive Christ — By the way, we probably had 10-15 people claim they received Christ AGAIN this week. Wow!
Now, on to the "40 Day Prayer Challenge." Here's how you do it:
- Notebook — Get a small notebook
- On page 1 — Put the date in the corner. Write out a list of the next 40 days ("Nov 16, 17, 18, 19…Dec 1, 2, 3…23, 24, 25").
- On page 2 — Make list of 3-10 prayer requests. Make prayer request #1, "To pray every day for 40 days, & for it to be real instead of a ritual." Make sure to add a prayer request for others (a friend, your church, the President, etc.)
- On page 3+ — Rewrite each request at the top of a blank page to capture the answers you'll receiving on it. This will be an idea, thought, verse, comment, direction. etc. Then, when you sense a micro-piece-of-the-puzzle, write the date & thought in that section, so you can track the hand of God.
- Pray Every Day — Take 3-10 minutes to pray for your 3-10 prayer requests every day. Let your prayer requests go longer on days that time allows & God leads (20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.). When you pray (& read a chapter hopefully), circle the date. Then jot down any ideas you had in the prayer answer section.
Try it out. You will NEVER regret it…and you get to "move the hand [of God] that moves the world." Here's what your prayer journal might look like after 10 days of praying, watching for answers, & documenting them. (Note: Click on the pictures to zoom in & read the writing.)