#231 (30/04/06)
How To Put Power in Your Prayer

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

JOHN TOWNSEND
I’m excited to have with me a guest who is empowering parents around the nation to bring faith and boundaries into their lives of their teenagers. Dr. John Townsend’s latest book entitled, “Boundaries with Teens: When to say yes and how to say no,” uses the approach of teaching teens when to take responsibility in their lives and emphasizes applying Biblical principles to handle challenges that every teenager faces.

Special Music

Hymn
" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name "
"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"

Anthem
" My Hope is Built on Nothing Less "

Solo
QUARTET – AVALON – “Love Won’t Leave You”
QUARTET – AVALON – “We Will Stand”
QUARTET – AVALON – “Orphans of God”

The Message

Today I want to look at how we pray and how we can put power in our prayer. One of the most important things we can do as individuals and people is to partner with Christ, partner with God, experience the power of God and put that power into our prayer life. 

I have been asked who have been some of the most influential people in my life.  When I think about that, I realize that most of them have passed away!  I think of people such as the man who was president of Fuller Seminary when I attended there, David Hubbard. Also, some of my professors like Louis Smeades and the ministers on the Crystal Cathedral staff who have made such an important impact on my life.  My great uncle, Henry Beltman made an impact on my life and there was also one pastor whom some of you may remember.  When the Hour of Power first started he was on the television every week reading the scriptures and offering prayers on the Hour of Power many, many times. He passed away many years ago, his name was Ray Beckering.  I would sit in the congregation and listen to him pray as a young man. One day I went up to Ray and I said, "Ray, teach me how to pray. I want to pray prayers like you pray.  You pray such beautiful prayers."  And Ray said, "The first thing you have to do is realize to whom you are praying."  In other words, your prayer needs to begin by describing God, describe the God that is in your mind.  What do you think of when God is in your mind?  You're going through a tough time and the first thing you want to do is petition God. You want to say, God help me. However, the way you get His attention is to start describing Him as you address Him.  The most important part of prayer begins with recognizing who you are praying to. It's interesting if we go and we look at the words of Jesus in the Bible, He basically said the same thing.  The apostles came to Jesus and they said, "Lord, teach us to pray."  Jesus responded by saying, "When you pray say these words.  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  Notice there has not yet been one single petition.  All Jesus has done up to that point is tell us about God and how wonderful He is and how He works and what He is all about. That is exactly how Ray said we need to start prayer.  If you want to put power in your prayer you have to recognize who you are praying to. I want to recommend when you pray you start praying like this: "Our Father."  You might want to say, "My Father."  You have to realize that we are children of God.  If you go to Galatians 3 here are some of the words we read: "You are sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ."  (The politically correct translation would say you are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.)  The scripture continues, "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There's neither Jew nor Greeks, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26-29)  

We are children of God. I think one of the most important things you can do when you start to pray is to recognize God. God is our Father. On the cross Jesus said, "Abba, Father."  Abba means Daddy. There are lots of different ways you can translate the Lord's Prayer. A more contemporary form of the Lord's Prayer would be, "Our Father in heaven, your name is holy." You need to refer to Him in the same way you refer to a father that you love and adore.  So it begins Daddy, Abba, Dad, Father, and we make an immediate connection, a connection of inheritance, a connection of relationship, a tremendous connection that takes place between a father and his children.  There's nothing like it.

Recently, you have seen the Iditarod race results in the news. Let me tell you about a couple of the Iditarod mushers. Rachael Scdoris is 20 years old. Rachael was born with Congenital Achromatopsia, a rare vision disorder. She is colorblind and her acuity is 20/200.  She is extremely light sensitive. She is legally blind. She has no depth perception.  Everything beyond a certain distance is completely blurred and her eyes are very sensitive to light. Put that in the back of your mind.  In this year's race, on Wednesday, March 15 in the dark of the morning, Jeff King crossed the finish line and became the oldest man in history, 50 years old, to win for the 4th time the Iditarod Race which is the most grueling race in the world. It is 1,100 miles through temperatures of 52 degrees below zero!  While he was out there it got that cold and after 9 days, 11 hours and 11 minutes he crossed the finish line.  

Now, back to Rachael Scdoris. On Friday morning, March 17, 2 days after Jeff King, she crossed the Iditarod finish line.  Rachael is the first blind person ever to participate in the Iditarod.  Unbelievable, how did she do it?  She has a guide, by the name of Tim Ozman.  Tim Ozman went in front of her and she could see enough to follow him and the dogs could follow the scent and she followed him the entire way until day 11, at 4 a.m. in the morning after 11 days of being in the cold and weathering the storms she fell asleep. Tim Ozman went one way and her dogs went another way.  She found herself on the Bering Sea on sheets of ice, lost.  Tim said he pictured everybody trying to find her and rescue her. He looked for her and when he could do no more he went back in to camp and there she was putting the straw out for her dogs. She beat him to the camp. Everyone asked Rachael how she found her way to camp.  Do you remember one of the symptoms of her blindness?  It was sensitivity to light.  When she woke up it was 4 a.m., the sun had not risen yet.  If she had awakened in the daylight she would be lost, but because of the night she could see a little glimmer off on the horizon.  She thought that is base camp and she simply pointed her dogs at the light and the dogs went and she was saved and she completed the race.  She was successful.  When we pray we have to remember where to look.  When we pray we have this tendency to immediately look to ourselves, saying, "God I need this, this, this, this, this, help me, God.  Me, I, me, I."  We have to remember that the middle letter in sin is the letter 'I'. We have to take the "I" out when we pray and we have to put the light of Jesus Christ into our prayers. When we focus on the light we will discover the path to salvation and we will see the way that God will come and intercede in our lives and He will put power and life and renewed vitality there. 

This past week my wife had breakfast with a friend of ours.  They went out to breakfast and her friend shared with her that she has stage 4 liver cancer, serious cancer. She went on to say, "Donna, I think God is punishing me for some of the things I did when I was a teenager."  And Donna, in her beautiful way, listened to her and then she said, "You have to remember that if that were the case you could look at every single person in this room and if there was truth to that logic every single person here would be going through what you're going through right now.  We have to remember that the God we pray to is a God who isn't up in the sky with his thunderbolts ready to strike us dead whenever we get out of line.  He is a God of grace and love who comes and wraps his arms around imperfect people. Every single one of us is imperfect and we need the salvation of Jesus Christ in our hearts."  When that light shines bright we will know that there is nothing too big for God. 

So if you are facing insurmountable odds today, here is how you start your prayer.  "My Father, Daddy, who is far bigger than any problem I face today, you can conquer any cancer that exists in this world today, you're bigger and you have the power to defeat the cancer in my liver, you have the power to defeat the scarring in my lungs, you have the power to give life, you have the power to overcome the mountains of financial struggles I have, you have the power to restore my relationship with my children, you have the power to do anything, you love me, you care for me."  That is the way we begin our prayer.  Recognize who God is, recognize His power, recognize the ability for Him to intercede in human activity and make a difference and perform miracles. When we do that, things start to change.  That is how we start to pray.

Next week I want to look at how God rules and allowing God to rule in our lives with the words "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done."  Let us pray.

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you that you are God who cares, who loves, who touches hearts and souls, who continues to reach out to your children.  And so, O Lord, touch each one of our lives, touch us with your grace, forgive us, Lord, when we have sinned, bring peace where there is turbulence, give us hope where there is hopelessness, and renew us in your Spirit and may we never forget, not my will but Thine be done.  Amen.


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