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 Luke : Chapter 11:1-9

1)  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: “‘Father,[a] hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.[b] 3)  Give us each day our daily bread. 4)  Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c] And lead us not into temptation.[d]’” 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.

Book of the Month

Sammy Tippit told his fiancée, “I can’t promise we’ll be rich, but life won’t be boring.”
Sammy had no idea what an understatement that would become. Beginning in the bars of Baton Rouge and the nightclubs of Chicago, Tippit has shared the news of life-changing faith in Christ all over the world – including in the middle of a revolution in Romania, the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda, and war in Burundi and the Congo.
Sammy’s lifelong adventure has come at a great price. He’s been cursed, threatened, arrested, deported, and blacklisted. He’s also been personally broken, ravaged with illness, and devastated by grief.
Yet he continues to preach to in stadiums, in open fields, and via satellite technology to hundreds of thousands around the globe.  For all other books…

What Is Prayer? 1 John 4:8
Sammy Tippit: I want to welcome you to this session where we’re going to be talking about prayer: the power of prayer, what prayer is, and how we pray. God can do more through one praying person than through a whole world of people trying to do doings in their own power and their own strength. Prayer has been the greatest adventure I’ve ever taken in my life. We want you to join us in this adventure, so I’ve invited a friend of mine.
Dave Butts is the president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and also the chairman of the U.S. National Prayer Committee. But for me, the most important thing is that you’re a friend. You have been a challenge to me as a friend, especially in this area of prayer. You have challenged me to be a man of prayer, so I’m just thrilled to be able to have a conversation with you. I know everyone is going to enjoy sitting in on what we have to say. Dave, I just want us to start with the basics, okay?
Dave Butts: Sure.
Sammy: Tell me, what is prayer? I mean, all over the world people pray. People from all kinds of religions, churches… Hindus, Muslims, and all kinds of people pray. Everybody all over the world is praying, but what is prayer?
Dave: Well, in one sense I have to say that’s a good question. Every time I think I really have my arms around it, it kind of eludes me a bit, but you’re right. Everybody prays to one level or another. There are a lot of ways in which people pray. I would say that ultimately we could simplify it and say it’s talking to God, but I think we need to go beyond that because not all prayer is prayer. A lot of it is just thinking religious thoughts.
Sammy: Yeah.
Dave: A lot of it is somehow trying to get something from someone. One of my personal favorite definitions… I thank you for the introduction, but I’m just on this journey like you, and I have a long way to go still. But in my life, the definition that has helped me is that prayer is the conversational part of the most important love relationship in my life.
Sammy: Wow.
Dave: It’s the relationship with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, so it’s a relationship, but it’s not just a relationship. It’s that conversational part, and it’s a love relationship. I can be in relationships with a lot of people, but they’re not always love relationships.
Sammy: Right.
Dave: But this is different from anything else with anyone else.
Sammy: Yeah. This communion and communication… In true love relationships (at least the one I know about the most, my relationship with my wife), there has to be that communication that takes place. That not only grows out of the relationship but enhances the relationship.
Dave: Absolutely.
Sammy: Now this is going to a lot of people from different places, different backgrounds. What is the difference between religious praying and what we’re talking about, which is this relationship, this conversation that grows out of a love relationship with God?
Dave: Sure.
Sammy: What’s the difference there?
Dave: I would say, by the way, that religious praying can be in virtually any religion including our own religion of Christianity.
Sammy: Right.
Dave: Religious praying comes out of religion, which is basically man’s somehow trying to connect with God and (in some ways) bring God down to their own level. But the kind of praying we’re talking about is not religious. It isn’t about religion. It is about relationship, and it’s about a God who initiated that love relationship.
It’s God who loved first, and he’s the one who wants that relationship. He’s the one who really wants this. I have been brought to my knees again and again by the reality that God wants to spend time with me far more than I want to spend time with him.
Sammy: Yeah. Right.
Dave: It isn’t my trying to somehow talk God into something, trying to manipulate forces, or trying to somehow bring myself up somewhere but rather my responding to a God who loves me in an astonishing way. And…get this…he wants to spend time with me.
Sammy: Yeah. You know, I prayed religiously for a long time before I came to know Jesus and before he became a reality in my life.
Dave: Sure.
Sammy: It was religious. But one of the things I noticed was that I always fell short. There was never that kind of absolute peace. I wasn’t in or out. It was kind of nebulous, and praying was like, “Okay, I failed my test. God, help my parents understand why I failed. Get me out of this mess I’m in.” Then when I came to know Jesus, it was a whole new dimension.
I mean, life changed for me because now I was in, so to speak (not by my own works, as you said, but by God’s love, God’s grace). I was accepted by a holy God. I think that to me, that’s one of the things that make the difference between religious praying and praying through a relationship with God because of faith in Christ.
Dave: Absolutely.
Sammy: It’s by God’s grace. We don’t deserve that.
Dave: No.
Sammy: I mean, it’s just totally his love, so we can come into his presence, the presence of a holy God, because he loves us and we have that.
Dave: And we have to keep reminding ourselves it’s God who initiated this. It’s God who wants that. That’s what changes how we pray. Your understanding of who God is changes the way you pray. If your idea of God is that God is this celestial Santa Claus who is just looking to figure out how he can give you a bunch of stuff if you can ask him correctly, then you’ll ask that way, and there will be no repentance. There will be no holiness and all of those sorts of things.
Or you have the other God who is the mean God. He’s always angry, always judging, and you always have to somehow try to figure out how you can placate him and ease into his presence, depending upon yourself. We have all sorts… Maybe your God is the god of Star Wars, the force. It’s not a person at all but something to be manipulated and used.
Who God is, what your understanding of God is, will change the way you pray. That’s the reason that I love the God of the Bible who reaches out first to me in love and who wants that sort of love relationship that allows me to have this conversational relationship with him.
Sammy: You know, there’s a verse of Scripture in 1 John that says, “…God is love.” I mean, the essence of God is that he loves us. He’s holy. He’s absolute purity, but he is love. He loves us so much that he sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins. I know a lot of people who “pray” but are very angry people.
Dave: That’s right.
Sammy: One of the reasons is that all they do is see God as angry and pray to try to appease God’s anger. Well, Jesus appeased God’s anger when he died on the cross and took the punishment for our sins, so we have this relationship. I think this thing you’re talking about… I think you’re really tapping into something deep, because when people begin to look and see that God loves them… Talk about faith rising up. I mean, it’s a whole different deal. If you’re thinking God is mad at you all the time rather than seeing he loves you… Of course, how do you see that?
Dave: You put it on a personal level. You realize, “There are some relationships I’ve walked into where I didn’t think those people really wanted to talk with me, and I really wasn’t all that eager to spend much time in conversation then. I could tell they weren’t interested. But I’ve also been in those situations where I could tell, ‘Man, they’re asking questions. They’re drawing me in.’ I could tell they wanted to be with me. That’s our God.”
Sammy: Yeah. Amen. I want to just encourage everyone who’s listening to understand God loves you. Prayer is not your trying to appease him, trying to do a duty for him, but he loves you, and he’s calling you into his presence to have a relationship with you. That’s what true prayer is.

About Sammy Tippit Ministries

STM has been providing inspiration and help around the world for nearly 50 years. Sammy Tippit, founder and president, is a world renowned counselor, teacher and evangelist with experience serving and helping people in over 80 countries. Sammy provides materials that help people tackle a broad array of social, societal, psychological and spiritual issues. He is particularly passionate about making materials accessible to other countries around the world. Sammy is married to Debara “Tex” Tippit, and they have two children and five grandchildren.
Sammy Tippit Ministries is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization.
Contact: info@sammytippit.org

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