Sunday, June 20, 2010

Preaching at Wheaton (11)

These very odd questions to fathers about snakes and scorpions triggered an unusual sermon about prayer this morning! A couple of things caused particular comment.

First, my prayer journal book (I only showed it during the 9.00 am service) relating to how a particular church practiced prayer from 1980-1993. My wife Carol said I should have shared at least one (!) story from it about the way that God, our heavenly Father, worked (extraordinarily) through the prayers of his children. Perhaps at another time! But I am looking forward to what God is going to do with his praying children at FBC.

Second, the FATHER acrostic. I suggested some key implications from Luke 11:1-13:

F - FOCUS - on Matt. 6:6 - about the room, closed door, and prayer to the unseen Father. Take specific practical action focusing on the real relationship made possible through Jesus. He is unseen, but this spiritual relationship is the most important one for eternity.

A - ADORATION - there is no one like our heavenly Father, Creator, Holy, Wise, Loving and Gracious. Let's use Bible descriptions to praise Him as he deserves.

T - THANKSGIVING - because everything good in life is His gift. We should try to get into double figures every day saying "Thank you Father."

H - HONESTY - it's vital to be "real" in this relationship. Finish sentences which express to God your problems, doubts, fears and possibilities. If you have trouble even beginning to pray, tell him!

E - EVERY DAY - this relationship needs continuous connection. We don't need to spend long periods of time but we do need daily relationship. No days are wasted. There are no unimportant days in God's creation.

R - RECEIVE - in prayer it's what God does that matters most. He promises his Holy Spirit to give strength, healing, conviction, direction and that's the wonder of prayer. He turns "Yes, but how" into " Yes...and how!"

I am sure you can find other ways, better ways, to develop this acrostic. I know that having immersed in this passage again is enlivening my prayer life. May God's word in Luke 11:1-13 help your praying too. I'd love to hear any responses.

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