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Weekly Sermon - 11 Nov 18                                 

Uselessness of prayer
(Jeremiah 7:1-6)

Speaker: Rev Peter
(50 minutes)
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Sermon Outline

.   Introduction

1.   When Prayers are Useless

2.   What Prayers are Useless

3.   Why Prayers are Useless

4.   How Prayers are Useful

.   Conclusion


Most criticisms of "thoughts and prayers" led into the cynical view that prayer is useless.

"It's magical thinking. A wish list to Santa. An excuse to do nothing."

Prayer is not the problem. The problem is with the Pray-ers.

1. When Prayers are Useless

Isaiah 1:15 "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood."

Job 27:8-9 "For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?"

Proverbs 1:28 "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:"

Matthew 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

"Repetitions we may have, but not ‘vain repetitions.' Counting beads, and reckoning the time occupied in devotion, are both idle things. Christians' prayers are measured by weight, and not by length. Many of the most prevailing prayers have been as short as they were strong." ~ C. H. Spurgeon ~

2. What Prayers are Useless

Jer. 7:16 "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee."

Even the prayer of the godly cannot help them, while they remain in their obstinacy against God, and will not use the means that he uses to call them to repentance.

Jer. 11:14 "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble."

How terrible must the state of that place be, where God refuses to pour out the spirit of supplication on his ministers and people in its behalf!

Jer. 15:1 "Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth."

There is a limit in sin, beyond which God will no longer hear intercessory prayer or delay His judgments.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

"Those that will not regard good ministers' preaching cannot expect any benefit by their praying".

"If you will not hear us when we speak from God to you, God will not hear us when we speak to him for you".

3. Why Prayers are Useless

Isaiah 59:1-2 "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear"

4. How Prayers are Useful

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Countless people past and present can attest that their prayers did bring consolation to the suffering, peace to the downcast and warmth to their hearts.

"Everything to God in Prayer..."

It does sooth our pains and sufferings;

It does set our lives on new paths;

It does help people beat addictions and vices;

It does fill the voids in our souls that worldly things cannot.

L. B. Brown's Biblical Illustrator

Intercession with God is not an attempt to frustrate His purposes, but to obey and carry them into harmonious fulfilment."

"Prayer is not intended to change God; it is designed rather by its reflex influence, to change ourselves; to lift us into the circle of His transforming fellowship."

C.S. Lewis

...brilliantly explains, "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time-waking and sleeping. It does not change God-it changes me."



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