“CELL PHONE vs PRAYER” By Pastor YAU
Text: Luke 18:1-8; Phil 4:6 August 18, 2013.
1) Something about cell phone: When I first bought a contract to use cell phone in April 2002, I was surprised by all the conditions and restrictions. On top of that there were many different kinds of phone you could choose with various price range. It wasn't as easy as I first thought that I could just use it anytime, any place with any length of time I want to talk. After the breakup of monopoly cell communication by giants like ATT, there are even more and complicated details when one wants to use the cell phone. It isn't as easy and convenient as we use our land line home phone. Of cause the convenience and the feeling of security and connected with family and friends through cell-phone is great. But users have to follow the rules and pay the price.
2) Something about prayer: From both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible, there are countless teachings and examples of prayer, talking to God. From the first record of prayer by Seth when he built an altar and prayed to God in Genesis 4:26 to the last prayer by John at Revelation 22:20, prayer has been an important and integral part of life for God' people. From the cries of the Israelis as slaves under the cruelty of the Egyptians task masters to the heart ranching call of mothers for their sick children, prayer has been the lifeline for God's people in all kind of circumstances. Beautiful testimonies and stories on the power of prayer had been written, spoken and repeated throughout the church history in the past 2,000 years.
PRAYER IS FAR SUPERIOR: Seven outstanding advantages of prayer.
1) We can pray any day, any time: Unlike all cell phone contracts, you can only use it on certain hours of the day and certain days of the week; we can pray any time, any day, any hour of the day. My first cell phone contract had 300 daytime minutes, that is 14 minutes a day. If I want to talk more than 14 minutes a day, I need to wait till nighttime or weekends but by then the urge to talk is gone or you don't remember what you want to talk about.
2) We can pray as long as we want: Most cell phone contracts limit us how long we can talk, weekday, evening or weekends. If we use it over the limit, we have to pay a ridiculous high rate of charges. God doesn't set limit on how many times we may pray or what hour or how long we pray. We may come to him any day, any time, and talk to him as long as we need or want to. Just like eating at a buffet place where you can eat all you want, in praying to God we can pray all we want, never have to worry if we are over time limits.
3) We can pray anywhere in the world: Cell phone service depends on direct and redirect transmission of signals with towers, so we can only use it where towers and transmission is available. In places where signals are weak, cell phones don't work. That will never happen with prayer. We can pray in the highest mountain, the deepest valley, in a crowded city or in the remote desert, our prayers will always reach God loud and clear. Nowhere in the world can cut us off from reaching God in prayer.
4) The power of pray will never run out: All cell phone batteries will run out if you forget to recharge. When the battery is low, signal is weak, it is hard to hear and it will cut off. This won't ever happen in prayers. The power of prayer is the Holy Spirit and the spirit will never run out power. You won't get cut off because the Holy Spirit is too weak to carry your prayer to God. Nothing may slow down or weaken the effects of our prayers.
5) We don't need any agent to pray: Cell phone works well when transmitting towers work well. Without towers that are well designed, constructed, and well maintained, cell phone won't work or won't work well. But that won't happen in prayers. We don't need any agent to be the mediator for our prayers to reach to God. Jesus had opened the path so all God's children have the privilege to approach the throne of grace any time, anywhere. (Hebrews 4:6)
6) The prayer line is never too busy: Like any other phone service, cell phone lines can get busy sometimes. In that case, you can only leave a message of need or call back later. This is frustrated to all people: when we want to talk, we want to talk NOW. But the prayer line to God will never get busy. God is always open, ready to take our calls, anytime, any day. In fact, each one of us has a private line to God and it is open and ready 24/7.
7) You never have to pay to pray: No cell phone service is free, truly free. All the gimmicks of cell-phone promotion such as free phone, free minutes and other free stuff are not free at all. They are all included in the contract you sign and the monthly payments you make. But on the other hand prayer is truly free life long. God never charges anyone anything for any prayer, any time from anywhere. All you pay to pray is your time.
PROPER STEPS TO EFFECTIVE PRAYER: (Luke 18:1-8)
1) Prayer is important in Jesus life: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray.” (18:1a) Prayer was an important part of Jesus’ life. He retreated to the mountain to pray after a day of busy ministry. (Matt 14:21) He gave lots of teachings on prayer, over 40 places in the gospels. He taught the disciples how to pray. (Matt 6:9-15) If it is so important to Jesus, the Son of God, it must be very important to us, being his disciples. One major reason many of us do not receive the power and blessing of prayer is because we don’t take it serious enough. If we don’t take it serious enough, we won’t put much effort into it, and we won’t get much blessings from it.
2) Prayer isn’t an emergency rescue: “That they should always pray and not to give up.” (18:1b) “Not to give up,” me egkakein in Greek, means not to faint, not to abandon or stop because of exhaustion. Many of us treat prayer as a miracle act in time of emergency needs or rescue. Most of us don’t pray much in peaceful time. We pray more when things get tough. And if our prayers don’t get immediate answer, we quit. Some spiritual giants see prayer as the spiritual lifeline that needs to get connected with Jesus always so we may draw power from him to bear fruits. (John 15:5) If we see prayer is essential to our spiritual health as food and water to our body, we can’t afford to neglect it as we usually do.
3) Persistent under adverse condition: “There was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with a plea: “Grant me justice against my adversary.” (18:3) If being a widow in ancient time without the support and protection of a husband isn’t bad enough, this widow was taken advantage repeatedly by a reckless adversary without the help of a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. It is in that hopeless and helpless situation, she kept coming back to the judge until he was moved by her persistence to give her justice she deserved. This is the theme Jesus tried to teach his disciples in his time and us at the present time. No matter how bleak our situation may be, we are not to stop praying until our prayers get God’s answer.
4) Persistence in prayer pays: “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? I tell you, he will see that they get justice quickly.” (18:7-8) If an unjust judge eventually gave justice to a pleading widow, how much more our God of all justice will answer the plea of his children? This parable is not about why God delays his answers to our prayer. The theme of this parable is about the need to be persistent in our prayer until God answers our pleas in his time.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) Missing the hidden treasure: Many exciting stories on treasure hunting inspired imagination and hope for children and adults. But most of us realize that they are only stories. There is a real hidden treasure waiting for us to dig out: The power and blessing of prayer in our lives. The unlimited resources of God is waiting for us to seek, dig and find. This includes wisdom to make decisions for life, power to overcome obstacles, strength to endure hardship and joy to go through life. All the above are readily available to all who will seek and ask. Jesus promised that if we seek, we will find; if we ask, we shall be given; and if we knock, the door will open to us. (Matt 7:7) Most of know and believe all these, the problem is we haven't put into action until we get what God has promised.
2) Treasure permits are ready for all: If there is a need to get a permit to do treasure hunt, God has prepared many permits ready to give away whoever will ask for one. All you need to do is go to Jesus, the Son of God, tell him you have sinned against God and men, ask Him to forgive your sins, and accept him as Lord of your life. This will open the door for you to access God and all his treasures through prayer. Through his sacrifice, Jesus had opened the door for all of us to come to God and share all the riches in his nature, power and blessing. DO you have that permit yet? If not, you can get one now, just accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in your heart and all the power and blessings are yours forever.