Topical Sermon on Prayer | Sweet Hour of Prayer Before the Father

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Sweet Hour of Prayer

When we face crises, we often pray. At the first sign of cancer, we pray. When children begin to go astray, we pray.

Yet, we need to be a people who pray continually, not just when we face troubles. Scripture exhorts us to be steadfast in pray. If we pray when times are good, we will know how to pray when things get tough.

Jesus prayed much during his ministry. Scripture records many times Jesus prayed. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mk 1:35). “Now it came to pas in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Lk 6:12).

If Jesus needed to pray, surely we need to pray.

We Must Pray

The Scriptures teach us to be a people of prayer. When Jesus taught the apostles to pray, he told them, “When you pray,” not “If you pray” (Lk 11:2). “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Lk 18:1). “Praying always with all prayer and supplication” (Eph 6:18). “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2).

If we are to be pleasing to God, we must spend time in prayer. Are you spending time in prayer?

God Answers Prayer

God has promised to answer our prayers. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Lk 11:9). “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (Jn 14:14). “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (Jn 15:7). “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 Jn 3:22).

God has a long history of answering prayer. Elijah engaged in a competition between himself and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. The prophets of Baal called out to Baal to come and devour the sacrifice; he did not (he could not). Elijah prayed and God answered his prayer—Fire came from heaven and consumed the sacrifice (1 Ki 18:38). When Hannah prayed for a child, God allowed her to have Samuel (1 Sam 1:27).

God will answer your prayers—Are you praying?

God Does Not Answer All Prayers

God will not answer the prayers of some:

  • “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard” (Prov 21:13).
  • “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov 28:9).
  • “Then they will cry to the LORD, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from at that time, Because they have been evil in their deeds” (Mic 3:4).
  • The one who prays must pray in faith (Js 1:6-7).
  • The one who prays for his own self-indulgence will not receive an answer to prayer (Js 4:3).

Does God hear your prayers? Does God have reason not to answer your prayers?

Our Prayers Need to Be Earnest

We cannot pray just when we feel like praying—We must be a people who are totally given to prayer. When the Hellenists complained about their widows being neglected, the apostles had the church appoint deacons so that the apostles could give themselves to prayer and preaching (Acts 6:4). Jesus prayed earnestly before his crucifixion (Lk 22:44). When Peter was in prison, constant prayer was made by the church (Acts 12:5).

Are you praying earnestly?

For What Should We Pray?

If we lack wisdom, we should ask God for wisdom (Js 1:5).

We are to pray for our enemies. Jesus told us to do so in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:44). When he was dying, our Lord asked God to forgive those who crucified him (Lk 23:34).

We need to pray for those in positions of authority (1 Tim 2:2).

We are to pray for the sick (Js 5:16)

We are to pray for the forgiveness of our sins (Matt 6:12).

Prayer is Powerful

The Bible teaches that there is great power in prayer. When Elijah prayed for a small boy who had died, the boy came back to life (1 Ki 17:21-22). Elijah prayed that it would not rain, and it didn’t rain for three and a half years; he prayed again and the heavens gave rain (Js 5:17-18).

We should understand that when we pray, great things are going to happen.

As one man said, “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world!”

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.

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