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Saturday, June 23, 2018


Prayer Really Can Make a Difference 
By Pastor Mark Taylor
One of the greatest things you can do is to pray. Prayer is more than repeating something you have learned, but it is having a real conversation with our Heavenly Father. It can happen at any time and in any place. 
Some people have limited their prayer time to the blessing before they eat or repeating the Lord’s Prayer on Sunday at church. Prayer is more than a formal exercise. 
God has answered all of my prayers whether or not I was aware of the answer or the exact time they were answered. Many times the answer was yes to my requests. I probably did not even take the time to say “Thank You” when many of these prayers were answered. Other times the answer was “no.” I can look back now and see if He had said yes over my objection, the answer would have had a negative consequence in my life. And finally, He has often said “Not now, but later.” I have found out that this was what faith is all about. 
Jesus counted on prayer as a source of strength that equipped Him to carry out a partnership with God the Father on earth. He said:“The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Fa- ther doing, for what things soever He does, these the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). 
Prayer makes a difference in receiving forgiveness for your sins. It is a second chance that is given to you every time you go to your Heavenly Father. 
Prayer is more than a social skill.The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God. It is more than a useful exercise. God invites a steady and honest flow of communication from you.“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,“Though your sins are like scarlet,They shall be as white as snow;Though they are red like crimson,They shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). 
Prayer is not just for those who think they are “good people.” It is for those who have problems.“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).There are many examples of this recorded in God’s Word to remind us that He will answer our prayers when we make mistakes. David asked God’s forgiveness after he committed adultery and murder. He prayed: “ Have mercy upon me O God.According to the multitude ofYour tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,and cleanse me from my sin...” (Psalm 51:1-2). Certainly there were consequences for his sins, but his relationship with God was restored and many of his prayers were answered after his prayer of repentance was prayed. 
Prayer makes a difference in what we can receive from God. “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). But that asking should be as a loving child who is asking for things to make him a better person and better serve his Father. 
Some speak to God as he would to a bank manager.We visit Him intermittently, occasionally asking him for a small favor for a overdraft.We come to Him to get ourselves out of difficulty, thank- ing Him for His assistance.We let him know that we will be one of His reliable customers, and will maintain contact if we need Him again.We come to Him as we would an ATM.This is not what prayer is all about. It is about having a relationship with a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. 
We do not pray to tell God what He does not know, nor to re- mind Him of things He has forgotten. Prayer is a cooperation with God, an agreement with Him that opens the way for grace to work. It is a time to listen as well as to talk. God knows the beginning and the end of things that can happen in our lives.We need to ask Him for His wisdom, protection, and presence every day. 
Prayer makes a difference in our relationship with the Creator of the world. I spend time with my closest friends not because of what they can do for me, but for the pleasure of their company. I am sure that our Heavenly Father would like to enjoy our company when we don’t need anything from Him. Just a friendly visit. Prayer that is based on relationship and not transaction. 
Prayer makes a difference in feeling the presence of God in your life. Prayer is not my way of establishing God’s presence, rather it is my way of responding to God’s presence. His presence is a fact whether or not I can detect it.“The eyes of the Lord are on the right- eous and His ears are attentive to their prayer” (I Peter 3:12). 
My feelings of God’s presence, or God’s absence, are not what is important. Prayer means keeping company with God who is al- ready present. 
I was attending a Georgia Bulldog football game with thou- sands of other people. I asked the Lord how in the world could He see or hear me in such a big crowd.Then I looked at a huge screen at the end of the field and saw the camera zoom in on a child who was laughing and enjoying his time with his parents.The Lord spoke to my heart and said as the camera, that man made, can pick out one child in a crowd of thousands, I can zoom in on you and hear your prayer and be in your presence. 
God has time for you.A God unbound by our rules of time has the ability to invest in every person on earth. God has, quite literally, all the time in the world for each one of us.“For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night” (Psalms 90:4). Contact with Him is not our achievement. It is a gift coming down to us from on high like a meteor, rather than rising up like a rocket. God finds ways to communicate to those who truly seek God. I need to think more about God than about myself when I am praying. 
Prayer will make a difference in our lives in increasing our faith. 
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”(Hebrews 11:6). The more we pray, the more faith we will have. 
Prayer makes a difference in our relationship as children of God with our Heavenly Father.Apparently God is the kind of friend and Father who rewards friendship and relationship with Him. No one in the Old Testament directly addressed God as “Father,” but Jesus did so at least 170 times. He taught us how to pray. “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). 
Prayer will make a difference in how much and how effective we will be in our service for the Lord. Prayer is more than a reflec- tive time to consider God’s point of view. It is also a time to find a way to accomplish God’s will in the work He calls us to do. 
After entrusting the human species with the gift of free choice, God asks them to act as partners.And as God’s coworkers, we are         encouraged to submit our requests, our desires, our petitions in prayer. 

The answer to the title of this message is: “YES, PRAYER DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!”