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Sermon Illustrations: Prayer


A man died and went to heaven. When he got there, he was given a guided tour when he saw a warehouse full of thousands of boxes of different shapes and sizes. “What are these?” he asked. “Those are the answers to the prayers you never prayed. God was ready to send them, but you never asked.

Pray for your pastors; the tree at the top of the hill feels the wind the strongest.

One time, evangelist D.L. Moody’s five-year-old son entered his study while he was busy writing. He didn’t make a sound, but finally, Moody said, “Well, what do you want?” His son said, “Nothing, daddy. I just wanted to be where you are.”

THE DIFFERENCE: I got up early one morning And rushed right into the day; I had so much to accomplish That I didn't have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me, And heavier came each task. "Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered. He answered, "You didn't ask." I wanted to see joy and beauty, But the day toiled on, grey and bleak; I wondered why God didn't show me. He said, "But you didn't seek." I tried to come into God's presence; I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock." I woke up early this morning, and Paused before entering the day; I had so much to accomplish That I had to take time to pray. Author unknown

In Rome, there is a sculpture of Moses carved in marble by Michelangelo. When he'd finished, he was so overcome with its life-like features he said, "Speak! Why don't you speak to me?" Perhaps it broke his heart that he couldn't talk with the object of beauty he created.

Pray for your pastors; the tree at the top of the hill feels the wind the strongest.

God bless me and my wife, My son and his wife, Us four and no more. Amen.

Some people make a few starts at prayer, much as they would drop a few coins in a slot machine, and when they don't hit the jackpot they give it up.

My Collection of Jokes, Quotes & Anecdotes

"As I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." This is not a good prayer to pray just before your five year old goes to sleep.

A suggested daily prayer: Lord, so far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or self indulgent. I have not whined, cursed or eaten any chocolate. However, I am going to get out of bed in a few minutes and I will need a lot more help after that.

Corrie Ten Boom, a woman famous for her accounts of how God brought her through while in a German concentration camp in WW2, author of numerous books, once told the story of how she was hospitalised with a fracture. There she was with numerous speaking engagements, and stuck in a hospital bed. When she prayed, God spoke to her along these lines, "Corrie, you've been so busy lately, you don't spend time with Me like you used to. I've missed you."

The storm was raging, and the ship was taking in a lot of water. Realising that his ship was sinking, the captain suddenly called out, "Does anyone here know how to pray?" A man stepped forward and said, "Yes, Captain, I know how to pray." "Good," said the captain. "You pray while the rest of us put on life jackets. We're one short."

Thousands of letters are addressed to God each year and sent to Jerusalem. One asked the "God of Israel" for help in getting a job as a bulldozer driver. Another: "Please help me to be happy, to find a nice job and a good wife - soon." Another asked for forgiveness for stealing money from a store when he was a boy.

If you are connected to the internet, you know that there are basically two kinds of connection - dial-up and broadband. The major difference is this: broadband is connected all the time. I want to ask you a question: Do you have dial-up Christianity, or are you a broadband Christian? I'm a broadband Christian - I'm connected all the time. And the reason for that is that I have Jesus living within me. I don't need dial-up Christianity - I don't need to go to a priest to worship, or to a particular building, or to the virgin Mary, or anyone else. I am connected directly to God through Christ all the time.

It's not enough just to pray. Wynne Lewis told of a preacher in his home village who was a tailor by trade. Every morning he prayed for four hours before going to work. But nothing happened in the church.

A woman was driving along when she saw a tornado coming her way, so pulled over and moments later watched as a house was demolished. Once the tornado had passed, she rushed over and saw a man coming out of a hole in the ground. "Are you okay?" she asked. "Is there anyone else in there?" "Nope", said the man. "Just me and God having an urgent conversation."

David Brainard, missionary to the Susquehanna, Delaware and Stockbridge Indians once preached through an intoxicated interpreter who was so drunk he could barely stand. Yet scores were converted through the preaching. Brainard's secret was his prayerfulness.

Selfish praying: Several centuries ago, John Ward, a member of British Parliament prayed, "O Lord, You know that I have nine houses in the city of London, and that I have lately purchased an estate in Essex. I beseech You to preserve the two counties of Middlesex and Essex from fire and earthquakes. And as I have also a mortgage in Hertfordshire, I beg You also to have an eye of compassion on that county, and for the rest of the counties, You may deal with them as You may. O Lord, enable the banks to answer all their bills, and make all the debtors good men. Give prosperous voyage and safe return to the Mermaid Sloop, because I have not insured it. And because You have said, 'The days of the wicked are but short,' I trust You that You will not forget Your promise, as I have an estate that I will inherit on the death of that poor profligate young man, Sir J. L. Preserve me from thieves and housebreakers, and make all my servants so honest and faithful that they may always attend to my interests, and never cheat me out of my property night or day."

When Hudson Taylor was asked late in life if he always experienced joy while praying, he replied that his heart felt like wood during prayer. He said, in fact, that most of his major victories came from "emotionless prayer."

Unanswered prayer: In her book Mustard, Virginia Whitman points out that a commercial gardener may pray for a bumper crop with the intention of giving a proportion of the profits to the Lord's work. However, a glut in the market may result in a serious loss to other growers. Also, it may reduce demand for another item causing hardship to someone else. It could even affect import and export quotations, balance of trade, etc. She concludes, "Our finite minds cannot encompass all the ramifications of a single situation, but God can, and He must act accordingly, justly, and impartially for the benefit of all."

Sin and prayer: When Norman Vincent Peale was a boy, he found a large cigar and hurried off to a secluded spot to try it out. He didn't like it, but he felt grown up, at least till he saw his father coming. Hoping to distract his father, he pointed to a billboard advertising a circus. "Can I go?" he begged. "Can I go to the circus when it comes to town? Please, dad?" "Son," his father replied, "One of the first lessons you need to learn about life is this: never make a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smouldering disobedience behind your back."

An organisation asked for prayer instead of money. The finances went down by 1%; the decisions for Christ went up by 48%.

Lord, don't let us be like porridge, slow to get ready and hard to stir. Instead, make us like cornflakes, always prepared and ready to serve.


The one concern of the devil is to keep us from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.

Oh, to realise that souls, precious, never-dying souls, are perishing all around us, going out into the blackness of darkness and despair, eternally lost; and yet to feel no anguish, shed no tears, know no travail! How little we know of the compassion of Jesus!” Oswald J. Sanders

I fear John Knox’s prayers more than an army of ten thousand men. Mary, Queen of Scots

Laziness and frivolity are bad enough in any profession but worst of all in that of a watchman for souls. J.C. Ryle

You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed. A.J. Gordon

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera; and grace before the play and pantomime; and grace before I open a book; and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing; and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. G.K. Chesterton

Fluency is a questionable endowment, experience when it is not attended with weight of thought and depth of feeling. Some brethren pray by the yard, but true prayer is measured by weight and not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length. C.H. Spurgeon

God does nothing except in response to believing prayer. John Wesley

The Bible is a letter God has sent to us; prayer is a letter we send to Him. Matthew Henry

So often we pray narrowly, attending only to our own needs. Instead, we should pray broadly for everyone. We should pray for the lost that they might be saved and for the saved that they might win the lost. D. James Kennedy

Prayer is the gymnasium of the soul. Samuel Zwemer

The sun has never risen upon China without finding me at prayer. In forty years I saw 700 missionaries and 1,000 native workers in China. Hudson Taylor

There's nothing worse than having someone pray and nothing happen, because it's a bad reputation for the Gospel. Peter Youngren

The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.

We mutter and sputter. We fume and we spurt. We mumble and grumble; Our feelings get hurt. We can't understand things. Our vision grows dim, When all that we need Is a moment with Him. Quoted in You And Your Thoughts - Earl D. Radmacher

You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed. S.D. Gordon

It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk. Henry Ward Beecher

It is better ... that the hearers should wish the prayer had been longer, than spend half or a considerable part of the time in wishing it was over. John Newton in a letter on "The Exercise of Social Prayer"

Much of our praying is but giving God advice. Leonard Ravenhill

The church is the only army in the world that can go forward on its knees. Bob Orr

Prayer is not the cause of what God does, but the means by which He does it. Trevor Chandler

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Please note that all Scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New King James Version ®.
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