Murfreesboro’s World Outreach Church welcomed well-known Christian writer and pastor Max Lucado on Sunday, Nov. 9. He spoke during the two morning services in the Three Crosses Sanctuary to a packed house of 3,000 and to an overflow audience of 200 via closed-circuit TV.
Lucado spoke for a half-hour on the power of a simple prayer, which is the topic of his latest book, Before Amen: the Power of a Simple Prayer.
Lucado has written more than 100 best-selling inspirational books with over 92 million copies in print. His books are sold globally in 54 languages. He has been the senior pastor of Oak Hill Church, San Antonio, Texas, since 1988. He was named “America’s Pastor” by Reader’s Digest and The New York Times has called him one of the most influential leaders in social media. He and his wife of more than 30 years, Denalyn, have three adult daughters.
The pastor of World Outreach Church, Allen Jackson, said he has read Lucado’s books for what seems like forever. “After the third or fourth one, you feel like you’re part of the family.”
After being greeted with a standing ovation, Lucado entertained his captivated audience with a series of jokes and humorous one-liners.
“I am a recovering prayer wimp,” Lucado said. “When I start to pray my thoughts zag, zig and zag again over the million things I have to do except for the one thing I want to do—pray.” He then asked this rhetorical question: “Why would God want to hear from me? Is there something I know that He doesn’t?”
Lucado’s breakthrough came a few years ago when he realized the power behind a simple prayer.
“All the prayers in the Bible can fit into one short prayer, a pocket prayer because it fits in your pocket.” That simple prayer is “Father you are good, I need help, they need help, thank you, amen.”
“Before you say ‘amen,’ say ‘thank you,’” Lucado said. “Thank you for the days I have left and thank you for the hair I have left,” he said referring to his shrinking hairline.
“The real power in prayer is not the prayer itself but the one who hears the prayer,” said Lucado. “If the power of prayer depends upon us, we’re sunk.”
Lucado then painted a word picture about Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana from the book of John.
“Mary, Jesus’ mother, had an excellent simple prayer. She told him ‘They have no wine.’ Lucado then joked that Jesus must have been liked enough to get an invite to the wedding. “He brought his disciples with him, maybe that’s why they ran out of wine.”
“The point is,” Lucado said, “she took the problem, reduced it to a simple sentence and took it to him.”
“Prayer is not a bunch of elegant words, theological wisdom or gobbeldygook,” said Lucado. “Prayer turns our H2O into Bordeaux—that’s good wine!”
Lucado summed up his message with this thought: “Before your problem gets to you, be sure it gets to God first.”