Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 12, 2017 Sermon

“Pray Like This”
Luke 11:1 – 10
Ted Jansen March 12, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        “Listening.”  Every moment you listen you determine if what you believe you are going to hear is going to be worth listening to.  Do the sounds, noise, information, have any value to my life, my faith, my family, my work, my attitude, my marriage, my relationships? 
            Sometimes we decide not to “listen” and something occurs and we decide it is vital for us to listen.  Is God getting your attention through some of your life stresses?    
 
2.)        Chris Hogan, a financial counselor, tells of a time when Michael and Donna came to him for an hour session to discuss their finances.  They were not listening to Chris and it was obvious they didn’t care what Chris was trying to teach them.  Chris felt it was a waste of everyone’s time. 
            Three weeks later Michael called Chris and pleaded for another session.  This puzzled Chris because the last time it appeared that they were not interested. 
Chris agreed to see them for 30 minutes.  When they met they were listening, taking notes and were focused.  This was a big change in their listening.  Chris was curious about what had happened since the last time they met.  Michael told him.  
            Michael went over to his aunt’s home to mow her grass and help her out.  She was always helping others and Michael had not seen his aunt in a while and was glad to help.  She was going out to help someone when he came over to mow her grass.  The aunt was not there for long.   
            After mowing he went into his aunt’s house to find something to eat.  There was nothing in the refrigerator except some old milk and some ketchup.  When he looked in her cupboards he found several cans of dog food.  It hit him hard.  She doesn’t own a dog.
Michael was bothered by what he saw and experienced and realized his aunt needed some help.  Because he and his wife were living out of control with their finances they could not help his aunt.  They needed to get their financial lives in order.  That is why they wanted to meet again and listen and get some help.  (Story from Retire Inspired book, page 12.)    
 
3.)        One day Jesus was praying and the disciples were with him.  As Jesus was praying I believe the disciples saw Jesus and heard Jesus.  They noticed His prayer life and one of the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  They were intent on listening and learning about prayer.   
            What did the disciples see and hear when Jesus was praying that created in them a desire to learn how to pray?  Did they look at their lives and realized they didn’t know how to pray?  Did they want to grow deeper in their life of prayer?  Maybe they felt inadequate in their relationship with God.  They needed help and they were ready to listen.  They wanted to grow and wanted to know God like Jesus did.    
 
4.)        What about you?  Have you figured out this prayer life?  Perhaps you still have some things you need to learn. 
Rueben Job, the author of the book, “Listen,” mentioned in the reading from Week Two that he is still learning how to pray.  He is close to 85 and after years and years of practice, he still needs help.  He is teaching us about the different aspects of prayer as we have focused on silent listening and releasing our fears, needs and hopes.     
 
5.)        Jesus offered a prayer to the disciples that day that has been a model prayer.  We call it the Lord’s Prayer.   Let us focus on a few areas of this prayer 
            a.)        “Our Father”
            The way we begin prayer expresses how we know God and how God wants to be known.  Jesus invites us to call God, “Father.” The term, “Father,” implies a personal relationship, as opposed to an abstract or conceptual, expression.  God is personal and in our relationship to God the Father we are children of God.  We are His sons and daughters.  I am a child of God.  This beginning allows prayer to be a personal expression.
Some have said the Aramaic term, for Father, “Abba,” that you might have heard, that means “Daddy.”  That is the personal expression we are to use as we begin.    
            b.)        “Give us” 
            We are to pray for our needs every day.  When we pray daily for bread this is our need.  Daily bread reminds us of the manna that was provided each day for the Israelites in the wilderness.  There was one day they didn’t have to collect manna which was the day before the Sabbath, when they collected twice what they needed.  We come each day with our needs.  Prayer is to be a daily experience, expression, and relationship.  Prayer is not meant to be a once a week, once a month, or once a month experience with God.     
            c.)        “Forgive us”    
            We have the assurance that we are forgiven for our sins by Jesus death on the cross.  We can pray with boldness and confidence.  Jesus adds another part to prayer.  We pray that we forgive those who have sinned against us and have hurt us.  This prayer request for forgiveness is linked to the truth that as God forgives us we are to forgive others.  Prayer involves other people.        
            d.)        “Lead us” 
            We all face temptation.  Each of us have our areas that we are weak in.  We follow the wrong path that takes us away from God.  Jesus was tempted and knew that He needed help.  He understands our needs.  We ask the Lord to lead us away from the temptations we face.  We will never be able to overcome all our struggles in this life so we daily come in prayer to ask God to lead us away from temptation. May God’s Spirit keep us strong.    
 
6.)        As we think of this need for God to lead us listen to this prayer a woman prayed one day.
“So far today, God, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I'm really glad about that. 
            But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help.  Thank you. In Jesus name. Amen.”
 
7.)        Let us listen to the choir sing, “The Lord’s Prayer.”  (845a.m. service)  Let us listen to this Matt Maher’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. (11a.m. service)   
 
8.)        Releasing our fears, needs and hopes is the theme in our Lenten book, “Listen.”  Let’s explore how these help us deepen our relationship with our Father, who art in heaven. 
            a.)        Fears.  We all have fears of some kind.  Prayer is the invitation to bring them to the Lord.  As I was thinking of my fears, though not a strong one, is of having car trouble.  I don’t like the feeling of being vulnerable as it relates to my cars.  I am always thankful when I can get my car repaired.  What are your fears?   
            I looked up the top 10 fears that Americans had in 2016.  This was according to the results from a Chapman University survey, dated October 11, 2016. 
            *The top ten fears in order are:  Corrupt government officials, Terrorist Attack, Not having enough money for the future, Terrorism, Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition,  People I love dying, Economic/financial collapse, Identity theft, People I love becoming seriously ill, The Affordable Health Care Act/Obamacare.  
            A few years ago this list included speaking in public and spiders. We need to give the Lord our fears. 
 
            b.)        Needs.  What are your daily needs?  What do you need each week, month and year?  How much food, money, shelter, and transportation do you need to live on?  Compared to other countries we have a lot of our needs cared for.  In some developing countries the basic need can be a challenge for people because of limited resources.     
For a lot of us in the United States of America we have most of our needs taken care of and a lot of our wants paid for.  When we don’t “need” anything on a daily basis this can affect our prayer life.  We do need to be thankful for how our needs are taken care of.  This is the daily way we can bring our needs before the Lord.      
*4-year-old boy who was asked to return thanks before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip. 
He paused, and everyone waited--and waited. After a long silence, the young boy looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the broccoli, won't he know that I'm lying?"
 
c.)        Hopes.  What do you dream for, what do you long for, what do you work towards, what do you desire God to do?  What do you hope for in regards to your life, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your friends?  What are your hopes in regards to this congregation and its future?  What are the dreams you have for your community, state, country, world? 
            Challenges, at times, can cause us to bring our hopes to the Lord. 
 
9.)        One day, Joe, Bob and Dave were hiking in a wilderness area when they came upon a large, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.  They had a tangible hope to continue hiking but came on this challenge.   
Joe prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength to cross this river."  Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours, although he almost drowned a couple of times. 
            Seeing this, Dave prayed to God, saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river."   Poof! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about an hour, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times. 
            Bob had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength and the tools, and the intelligence, to cross this river."  Poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, then walked across the bridge.
 
10.)      I want you to consider your fears, needs and hopes as it relates to a prayer I will close with.  Write down what comes to you. 
“Father, I thank you for listening to me.  Here is what I am afraid of… I bring my needs to you… Here is my hope for the future…  Allow me to listen to how you will answer this prayer.  Speak to me and teach me as I wait to see how you will answer my prayer.  In Jesus Name. Amen.”