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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.