Richard Gasser - Prayer - Maroota Aus - January 8-12, 2003

Luke 18:1, pray or faint: two options.

Prayer is our only hope.

Some of the reason for failures is due to not having victory in the secret place.

The secret of success is success in the secret place.

Prayer is so necessary if we are going to survive. It is our connecting link to the living God.

Communication is vital in business and in homes. Without it, things go downhill. If you are talking to someone and you notice they aren't paying attention, it doesn't help you. But how often do we do that to the Lord? Our thoughts wander to other things. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth yet He takes notice of us, is interested in us and listens to our prayers - but we are not even serious about it.

The devil doesn't care how long we spend on our knees but just wants to keep us from getting into the Lord's presence. Our time alone with God is what gives us success. If we have a victory and start to depend on our own strength, we can get taken off balance.

The parable of the unjust judge: prayer does make a difference - we don't want to give up.

I have noticed some instances in Luke's Gospel where prayer made a difference. Luke 1:10, I don't think Zacharias was praying for a son, because he couldn't believe the angel's message. I believe he was praying for a need in the Kingdom. He was faithful in his place and we don't read of too many who were faithful in the priesthood at the time Jesus came. So few had a grasp of what was real. So maybe Zacharias felt he was getting old and wondered who would take over the office of priest when he was gone? But the Lord would fill the gap. As a result of his prayer there was a new life created in his own home, but because he didn't believe it at first, he was unable to speak until it happened. He couldn't speak but the people knew there was a difference and it was all because he had prayed. 

Luke 3:21, "Now when all the people were baptized it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened." We want to be praying about the steps we take in life. It is not a light thing to take the step of baptism.  Jesus knew it was a serious step and He was praying. Be faithful in the place of prayer and it creates a right atmosphere where God can speak. Things spoken at convention can mean more to us and the Lord can speak when we can create the right atmosphere in our hearts. We will recognize that it is something for our own heart, from God. We can't be praying all day long but can keep in the spirit of prayer. 
       
We need to be diligent about reading the scriptures. When Jesus was tempted by the devil He used the scriptures (Deuteronomy) to counteract the devil's temptations.

Luke 5:16, "And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed." Preceding this, Jesus had been healing people. All His life, He was drawing people to the Father and He felt His need to be alone with God when things were going well. He was popular with the multitudes at this time. It is easy to get lifted up in times like that but we need to keep humble. Jesus came from Heaven and He kept so humble. We come from the dust and yet we get so proud. Learn how to reflect the power and work of God in our lives so it brings glory to Him. 

Luke 6:12, "And...He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Before He chose the twelve apostles, He needed the Lord's advice. How good when we seek the face of God and don't give up until we get an answer. A lot of choices have to be made when people are young and they can make the right choice when they depend on the Lord. We can't rely on our past decisions. Treat each as a different decision, remember we haven't walked this way before and need the Lord's guidance. He wants to give us a life without regrets. Jesus didn't make decisions He regretted later because He sought God's advice.  We may have made some decisions that weren't the way we would have chosen but it was with the Lord's guidance. We can see so little compared to our Heavenly Father.

Luke 9:28, "And...He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray." Some changes took place there. Jesus' countenance wasn't what attracted men but His countenance was changed when they saw Him here as He was, because of being in the place of prayer. Know of getting alone with Him in the secret place and get a vision of Him that we will not forget. Those three men could have felt Jesus was asking more of them than the others but they would have been glad for every effort they made to be there. It was a picture they would never forget. In spite of our failings or unworthiness, we can be glad for every time He calls us and we get a true picture of Him.

Luke 10:2, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth labourers into His harvest."
 
Maybe it is hard to think that our little prayer matters much, but it will make a difference. This was being spoken about once and a little girl asked, "What are we going to do with all the workers?" She had faith!

At one time I couldn't pray for the harvest field - why? Unwillingness. My Dad said he wasn't surprised when I went into this work because every time he went to pray for the harvest, my name came up and he had a struggle to pray for it. Then my younger brother's name came up in his prayers until he, too, went into the work.  I appreciate those who were willing to pray that we could be closer to the Redeemer than we are to them. It costs the parents something. I left a farm that was my grandfather's and my father's, but when I went into the work, my father said, "I'm glad you didn't just waste your life on this farm."

Luke 22:41, "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down and prayed, and there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him." When battles come up that we can't face, an angel can come and give us strength. The situation may not change but we can be helped through it.

Acts 10:15, "And the voice spake unto Him again the second time, 'What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.'" Something was changed in Peter's life. Peter had some very strong convictions about things. We need to have convictions as long as we are willing to change them if they are not right. In order for Peter to be useful there had to be a little change and he was willing for it. Good to be that close to the Lord that He can show us things that have to be changed in order to be useful. The Lord can change things that look like mountains - prayer does make a difference.