Posted by: skokiecentralchurch | October 20, 2013

2013.10.20 “P.U.S.H., Pray Until Something Happens” – Luke 18:1-8

 

Central United Methodist Church

P.U.S.H, Pray Until Something Happens!

Lay Leader, Cindy Barron

October 20, 2013

Luke 18:1-8

 

Will you pray with me?

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.

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A young man went into his local Walgreens to buy 3 boxes of chocolate: small, medium, and large. When the pharmacist asked him about the three boxes, he said, “Well, I’m going over to a new girlfriend’s house for dinner. Then we’re going out. If she only lets me hold her hand, then I’ll give her the small box. If she lets me kiss her on the cheek, then I’ll give her the medium box. But if she really lets me smooch seriously, I’ll give her the big box.” He made his purchase and left.

That evening as he sat down at dinner with his girlfriend’s family, he asked if he could say the prayer before the meal. He began to pray, and he prayed an earnest, intense prayer that lasted for almost five minutes. When he finished his girlfriend said, “You never told me you were such a religious person.” He said, “And you never told me your dad was a pharmacist!”

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It’s a good thing to pray–whatever the circumstances! According to many public opinion polls, prayer is very important to Americans. In 2012 the Gallup organization found that 78% of Americans pray. 66% said they believed in God–isn’t it interesting more people pray than claim to believe in God?

The title of my message is “P.U.S.H.,” an acronym for Pray Until Something Happens!

Jesus had a great deal to say about prayer. His disciples watched Him, and they said, “Lord, teach us how to pray.” They never said, “Teach us how to do miracles, or to teach, or to love people.” The one thing about His life that was so fascinating that they wanted to imitate Him was His prayer life.

In Luke 18:1-8 (which Claire read for us today)…. He shared a parable about prayer: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up. You don’t have to wonder about the meaning of this parable because the interpretation is given in the first verse.

He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!

There are at least three important prayer principles Jesus taught in the parable.

1. DON’T WORRY–PRAY!

2. DON’T QUIT–PRAY PERSISTENTLY!

3. DON’T DOUBT–PRAY POSITIVELY!

Unfortunately, however, the messages passed down from Jesus are often muffled by the messages we receive in our daily lives. Messages that we are reminded of here is that what truly matters, and what is so much more important than money or status, is how we treat others.  That message is repeated and reinforced in a variety of ways.  Sometimes we are reminded of this from the biblical teachings of Jesus that we are all very familiar with:

“Do for others what you want them to do for you.”

“Be charitable, but don’t make a big show of it.”

Often, we are reminded of this message by listening to the sermons that come from this pulpit each week.

We are to be instruments for God, not ornaments. INSTRUMENTS–NOT ORNAMENTS

Too many Christians have the mind-set that we are God’s ornaments. They want to be on display, and sparkle a little!
But we are to be GOD’S INSTRUMENTS. We are to be used by God, spent for the welfare of others. You see, we need each other. We cannot do it without each other.

DO YOU REALIZE HOW MANY PEOPLE it takes just to do this Sunday morning service? First we have five Sunday School teachers, one Sunday School administrator, one accompanist, two musicians, choir of 15+ one song leader, one special vocalist, one sound person, four ushers, two money counters, and one preacher.

That’s 32 people just for a two hour teaching and worship service.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Prayer is request. The essence of a request, as distinct from a demand, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant them and sometimes refuse them…

If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?

Folks, if we are going to reach the unchurched and misled people of the world for Christ and for their own welfare, IT IS GOING TO TAKE MANY MORE OF US all laboring for the glory of God! Amen?

God is limited without your ministry commitment. This is an amazing thought. Do you realize that God is limited here by the people?
But do you realize that God has chosen you and chosen me to do the ministry which will bring other people to His Son Jesus! God waits on us to bring His mercy and His grace to others.

==> We are His feet, His hands, and His mouth. WE ARE THE EXTENSION OF JESUS’ MINISTRY, and He is limited if we don’t do what He has enabled us to do.

What is God trying to say to you personally? Are you consumed with worry and anxiety? Pray instead. Have you stopped praying about a need in your life? Are you considering quitting in some area where God has placed you? Don’t quit–keep on praying persistently! Are you filled with doubt about prayer? Start praying positively, God will answer.

Have you known people who have quit praying because they didn’t seem to get an answer?

If I walk into a room and flip the light switch, I expect the light to come on. If it doesn’t, I don’t curse Thomas Edison and say electricity is a lie. I start looking for the problem. Maybe the light bulb is burned out, or a breaker has been thrown, or the power is out.

If it seems your prayers aren’t answered, don’t quit praying–start looking for the reason. It may be the wrong request, or the timing may not be right. God always answers prayer. But He answers prayer in different ways.

Jesus used the word “quickly” in verse 8 to describe how God answers prayer. The word “quickly” is a relative term. If someone was injured, I would say, “Call 911 quickly!”  The word Jesus used means “suddenly.” Your prayers may seem to be unanswered for months, and then BOOM! God gives the answer.

I heard about a lady who was rushing to the mall to buy something. It was pouring rain and she didn’t have an umbrella. As she drove into the parking lot she said, “Please, please, Lord let me find a good parking place near the front door.” Just as she said those words she saw the back-up lights of a car as it backed out the best parking space in the entire lot. She said, “Never mind, Lord, I’ve found one myself!”  God answered her prayer so quickly she didn’t even have time to understand it was God at work.

Our sense of timing is flawed, but God’s timing is impeccable. So pray persistently, and then wait patiently for His answer.

But maybe you’ve been praying a long time, and you haven’t gotten anything better yet–in fact things seem to be getting worse–just wait. God always answers prayer in the way and at the time that it will give Him the greatest glory.

In Ron Dunn’s book, “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something”, God answers prayer along the route that brings Him the most glory. And on the way to better, it may pass by worse for a while.” So don’t stop praying–even if things seem to be worse right now.

Sometimes you ask God for something and His answer is simply, “NO.” But that’s still an answer to prayer. Don’t ever stop praying until you hear God say, “No.” At that point, stop making that request and start praying in a different way.

When my father was dying of cancer, I prayed and asked God to completely heal him. I didn’t worry about it, I prayed about it. I didn’t stop praying, I prayed persistently. I prayed in positive faith–I expected God to heal my father. After months of praying for God to heal him, one day He clearly spoke to my spirit and said, “Cindy, I’m not going to heal him the way you want him healed. I’m going to totally heal him by bringing him home to be with me.” At that moment, I stopped praying for his healing. I changed my prayer to, “Dear Lord, keep him free from pain and help him to enjoy the days of physical life he has left–and God answered that prayer.

CONCLUSION ………..
We all appreciate Mother Teresa and what she did on earth. Of course, she went Home to be with Jesus in 1997. In her book, “A Gift from God,” She talks about how we all want to be with God in heaven, and how we get so mystical as Christians. Listen to what she said:
“We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with Him right now. To be happy with Him at this very moment means loving as He loves, helping as He helps, serving as He serves, rescuing as He rescues, and being with Him for all the 24 hours. Because…we touch Him when we touch others.”

So who are you going to TOUCH today?

From now on every time you walk through a door that says:

PUSH–let God remind you to… Pray Until Something Happens!

Amen!

 

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