Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
September 6, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Pray and Then Choose
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday September 6, 2015
Pray and then Choose
And it come to pass in these days, that he went our into the mountains to pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God And when it was day he called his disciples: and he chose from them twelve, whom also he named apostles” Luke 6:12-13
There are several religions in the world. They differ in many 
ways, some of which are: the number of Supreme Beings, the time 
of worship, and one’s destiny after death. There is one 
commonality, however, it is that of a belief in prayer. While the 
founders of the religions, taught the value of prayer, Christianity 
stands alone as the religion whose founder taught prayer, 
demonstrated the power of prayer, left a prayer model for believers, 
died in prayer, was resurrected from the grave, ascended into 
heaven, and shall return to claim his own. 
Friends, if we are committed to a belief in the power of prayer, 
it would seem Christianity offers the most reliable method. This 
conclusion is based upon teaching of Jesus on the need of and 
value in prayer. Let us never forget that, among his many teachings 
on prayer, is the glorious invitation to approach God in the name of 
Jesus and we will be rewarded in proportion to the intensity of our 
belief and in accordance with the will of God. 

Since life is characterized an on going decision making task 
and the human group is often too quick in making a selection, our 
sermon has been planned to submit a reliable approach to this 
problem. Its title, Pray and then Choose - the approach that will 
be extolled today. Essentially, the sermon - while acknowledging 
that time can be a crucial factor in the need for a decision - there 
is yet the urgency to utter a prayer for guidance in one’s 
deliberation and ultimate choice. Our sermon will be anchored 
by the account of Jesus prior to his selection of the disciples, 
or apostles as noted in the text. The prayer on that occasion will 
serve as the model from which we can lift the following guidelines 
for our prayer before making a choice; they are: The Lord’s habit 
of prayer, the occasion of the long prayer, and anticipation of an 
answer to the prayer. 
Prior to examining these guidelines, attention will be focused 
on Christ as a praying individual. The praying Christ is a prominent 
figure in each of the four Gospels. While the writers recognized 
that Jesus was divine and, therefore, could easily reach the 
heart of God, St. Luke - with his clear insight into the needs of 
our nature - goes to considerable length to give us a glimpse of 
the human side of Jesus. As noted in the text, Jesus was facing 
the task of selecting men to become his disciples. Instead of 
just taking a glance at the prospects and, then, making a choice 
of persons for discipleship, Jesus went to the Mount where he 
had earlier delivered the Beatitudes and there he lingered and 
prayed throughout the night. At the break of day, we are told, 
he chose from the group twelve men, who Luke described as 
disciples. Beloved, let us take note of the process in decision 
making; it is that of prayer and then choice. Admittedly, our 
highly industrialized, increasingly computerized, and rigidly 
bureaucratized society calls for rapid decisions, we must be 
ever mindful of the process which is prayer and then choice. 
Oh! it will take some time and much faith to master this process, 
but the task can be mastered. To aid us in our effort, the sermon 
focus will now be directed to guidelines gleamed from the prayer 
life of Jesus. First, the Bible tells us that our Lord had a habit of 
prayer. Numerous are the references of Jesus as a praying person. 
Although the skeptic may inquire as to why it was necessary for 
Jesus to prayer? The answer is - “In the first place, it was natural 
for Jesus to pray, because he was the son of God. Prayer is at its 
best whenever the praying person can earnestly feel that he/she 
is talking directly with God. Jesus had this type of confidence as 
was reflected in his prayer at the grave of Lazarus, “Father, I thank 
thee for hearing me prayer...”. Jesus, also, felt the need to pray 
because he was the Son of Man, and as such, He needed strength 
from the Father and so do we, who are less prefect that He, need 
to develop the habit of prayer. Thirdly, Jesus prayer on the 
occasion of the text because he was about to make a decision that 
would impact the rest of his life. Friends, if it is a matter of tea or 
lemonade, a quick decision can be given; in contrast, it if is a choice 
of a spouse - time and prayer are both essential. This fact leads to 
the second guideline - there will be some occasions in which we 
will need to prayer throughout the night. For Jesus, it was the 
time to appoint men who would assist in his ministry. They were 
to be trained as his disciples; they were to aid in his ministry; 
they were to share his concerns; and they were to follow his 
leadership. Hence, Jesus had a major task before him; therefore, 
he felt the need to pray throughout the night and then make the 
choice the next day. Beloved, he prayed and then he made the 
choice. But take a look at the choices. Yes most of the men were 
desirable disciples, but there was Peter who would later deny that 
he knew him and there was Judas who would betray him. Friends, 
I am sure that Jesus knew of these forthcoming event, but he 
continued with his mission. That divine approach echoes across 
the annals of time and reminds us that people are less than 
perfect and most have their hidden agendas, yet we must - after 
prayer and choice - work with them and leave it to God to make 
everything alright. Friends, this glorious reality leads to the final 
guideline in the prayer and then choose process - it is that of 
expecting an answer to the prayer. Just as Jesus expected an 
answer to his prayer, we - too - have the same rights of 
anticipation. Jesus said,“ And all things, whatsoever ye shall in 
prayer, believing, ye shall receive” ( Matt.21:22 ). Without 
attempting to over editorialize this Scripture, we must remember 
that the Good Lord knows what we need and can handle it/them; 
He may give us less than what we request, or even a substitute to 
the request. Our challenge, however, is to remember the prayer of 
Jesus - Remove this bitter cup from me, but not my will but thy will 
be done. ( Matt. 26:42). Let us note, further, the special answer to 
Jesus prayer is seen in the selection of the Twelve, not all of whom 
forever remained loyal to Jesus, but He, later restored, the denying 
Peter to the Christian band... Remember, we live in a world of 
people and people are less than perfect...hence, we must pray and 
then choose from options that include: a job, a spouse, a residence, 
a worship center, associates and in many other areas. Amen.
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