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Sermon Summary

9th May Speaker: Keith Harrington

Prayer 2: Prayer Changes Things

Co- incidences or answers to prayer? If you were a skeptic you could explain things away. Natural occurrences. Co-
incidences. Strange flukes.

Prayer changes things. Is this true? Cliché, bumper stickers, posters but is it true? Key issue. Because while changing
things isn’t the key point of prayer, relationship is, what is the point of asking things if prayer does not change anything.
Prayer is about relationship Means by which we relate to God. Amazing thing in itself. God allows us to talk with him.
Relate to him. He does not stay distant and remote, angry father figure in the sky, who has set the universe in motion and
then just sits back and observes. God desires a relationship with him and prayer is the means by which we have that
relationship. Primarily prayer is about relationship with God. But it seems that God encourages us to ask of him.
Mat 7:7-8 James 4:2 Matthew 6:11 Matthew 6:10
So does prayer change anything. Suggest that prayer changes 4 things.

1. Prayer changes circumstances.

Abimelech prayed and a king was healed

Jacob prayed all night until he received the blessing from God.
Moses prayed and the Red sea parted as the Egyptian military approached
Joshua prayed and the sun stood still
Samson prayed and bare handedly demolished a Philistine temple
Hannah prayed and she conceived after years of being infertile
Elijah prayed and a military commander was healed of leprosy
Elisha prayed and a widow’s son came to life
Elijah prayed and it did not rain for seven years. Then he prayed and it did rain.
Nehemiah prayed and his boss gave him leave and the resources to rebuild a city.
Jonah prayed and a whale conveniently vomited him up on a beach.
Daniel prayed and was able to interpret dreams
Peter prayed and a lame man walked
Believers prayed and the building they were in shook
List just goes on and on.
Bible is full of stories of people who have prayed and things have changed. Physical realities have changed. Some are
unexplainable. Some you could say are just coincidence,. But as has been said before. The more payer, the more
coincidence seem to happen.
Prayer enables God to give to us You don’t have because you don’t ask. (James 4:2) What is it that you are missing out on
because you have not asked.
Prayer deals with the fourth dimension . There is unseen spiritual dimension at work. See in Daniel 10 a glimpse into the
unseen world Daniel is praying for his people who were struggling to re establish themselves in Israel and rebuild the
temple He is praying and fasting for 21 days when he has a vision and a visitation from possibly a pre incarnate Christ.
Whoever it is explains that the answer to prayer has been delayed in the spiritual realm by demonic forces. Tantalizing
glimpse into what apostle Paul says unseen spiritual forces that we battle with.

2. Prayer changes us

Prayer changes us because prayer bring us into the presence of God. First things that happens is we become aware of our
brokenness and sin. This does not mean we should not be praying. As Christians we have access to God because of what
Jesus Christ has done. But we don’t deserve to be there on our own right. No room for pride. We do become aware of
our need for forgiveness from things we have forgotten all about, that we need to confess. I.e. Praying for your neighbor.
How is God going to touch your neighbor. Working in their heart. True. But save from God supernaturally visiting your
neighbor, God is most likely going to work through his people. That very well might include you. You become the hands
and feet of Jesus. He might whisper into your spirit something kind you could do for them. Or to go and visit them and
when you do you find they are in the middle of a crisis.
Prayer changes us because as we begin to pray, God begins to align our heart up with his. Let’s say we begin to asking God
for our desire for a Lamborghini. Genuine prayer and we are Listening to God’s response. Might sense God ask why we
want one. Or he might ask us how that would bring glory to his name.
Become aware of how selfish our prayer is. Really only about us looking good.
Become aware of how want this car to fill a void in our life that God wants to fill
Become aware of how our brothers and sisters around the world are suffering.
I.e. God uses our prayer, desires to begin to change us. God is not offended that we ask. He knows that is our desire
anyway. And we are talking to him about that deep desire. Honesty. God loves that. Responds to that.

We are told to pray for our enemies. What happens. Not that our enemies suddenly become nice. It is that our heart
towards them is changed. We start to treat them differently. We start to love them. You cannot pray for someone and
not be changed. Pray for the Burmese people, you will begin to love them. You begin to pray for your spouse, you will
begin to love them. Pray for your enemies, and you will end up loving them. Prayer changes us.

3. Prayer changes people

We are told to pray for people. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 Luke 10:2 Eph 6:18
Assumption is that it will make a difference. Many all of you are here because you know someone prayed for you. Realize
that our prayers can’t overrule a person’s free will and choices. God does not overrule peoples ability to choose. Our
prayers can’t force people to do right. God can bring much influence on a person. He can send them dreams. Change
their circumstances. He can send other to them He can quicken their conscience. But in the end they choose. Painful
part of praying for others. No guarantees. But there is no doubt the prayer changes people.

4. Prayer changes God.

2 Kings 20:6 God told Hezekiah he was going to die now. Hezekiah prayed and God said he would add 15years to his life.
The conclusion. Prayer changed God.
Moses prayed that God would not destroy the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf. God changed his mind. Ex
Abraham prayed for Sodom, and God did not totally destroy it but allowed his family to leave. Genesis 18:16-33
Prayer moves God. Now don’t expect to be able to understand this idea that prayer changes God. God is unchanging
the Bible says. His character. Does not change. But there is a mysterious sense in which God works through us and our
prayers. Moved by our prayer.
Our relationship with God is a living one. Not just a one way relationship. Just as when we are in relationship with
someone, it is a two way thing that impacts both parties. Both change. Our relationship impacts God. Tricky theology
Free will of humanity, sovereignty of God. Huge debate about.
Sure Hezekiah did not get hung up on the theology of it all. He just knew that God said he would die, he prayed, and God
gave him another 15 years.

I looked for a man to stand in the gap but could find none so I will destroy it. God wanted someone to pray so he could act
with mercy towards Israel but could not find any. Ezekiel 22:30 Spiritual leadership, intercession. Again this is a bit
mind blowing. One person’s godly prayers and leadership can make a difference in terms of how God acts.

Our struggle e with prayer suggests one of two possibilities.
We are not convinced that prayer changes things. We think it might changes some things. We think it changes things for
some people. We think it is worth a shot as a last resort. But we must be convinced that prayer changes things if we are
ever to become passionate in prayer

Second possibility. We are satisfied with the status quo We pray in crisis because we want things to change. But we don’t
live in crisis most of the time. Maybe we have become satisfied with the way things are. Maybe marriage is OK Maybe
church is OK. Maybe think you are OK. Little motivation for you to pray. If that is you, then my prayer is that you become
dissatisfied with the status quo. Have a Holy dissatisfaction. You begin to hunger for more of God. Not just for you.
This church, this city, in your workplace. for our country, our world Until it becomes a passion that burns within. Begin
to cry out for more. , Cry out for God to move Change circumstances. Change lives, change us.

Group Discussion Questions

Does prayer always change something?

How can we tell if changing circumstances is a result of prayer or just co-incidence, or the enemy?
When we pray do we sometimes expect God to do what he often expects us to do?
How do you experience the presence of God? What helps you be aware of his presence?
How do you reconcile God’s sovereignty and our free will, and the idea of God changing his mind as we pray?
Why do we often accept the status quo rather than pray for more of what God would have?