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Seacoast church did a series on prayer titled "Breakthrough" at the beginning of the year. I used to go to this church when I lived in Charleston and I have to say, I really miss it. It's a big church, and a pioneer in the multi-site church movement, but they have great leadership and really manage being a mega-church well.
I listened to the first in the series by Greg Surratt, and based on Luke 11:1-11:
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:Most of you know that's The Lord's Prayer up there. It's a model for prayer that Jesus gave us and there is tons to say about it - Greg speaks briefly on it.
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
After that, Jesus tells that story about a persistent man. Greg calls this importunitance (not sure if that's a word or not) - essentially shameless, obnoxious and bold persistence. Jesus says we should approach God this way, which seems odd, but it's worth a shot!
Here's the sermon:
And here are some notes I took:
- God wants us to ask Him for what we need
- Jesus says this 3 times ("ask, seek, knock"), which means it must be important
- Often times our problem isn't having a bad desire, but how we go about getting our desire (James 4:1-3).
- All of God's kids receive when they ask
- Remember that we're asking our FATHER
- Not getting what we ask for:
- Sometimes we don't get what we ask for because, in our asking, we are acting like God (determining what we need)
- Sometimes we ask for "stones and snakes"
- "The greatest tragedy of our time is the prayerlessness of Christians."
- Fasting = quit doing something so you can hear God more
- To establish a new habit (like prayer):
- Ask "why" about motivation
- Set a goal
- Create the right environment
- Become accountable
- Pray specifically:
- If nothing were impossible, what would I ask God for?
- Set a generosity goal instead of an income goal
- Pray for people specifically
- Pray persistently
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (a good memory verse because it's super short!)
- The bible never says stop praying because of discouragement