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A Crash Course on Prayer: Pray About Everything

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2021 3:00 am

A Crash Course on Prayer: Pray About Everything

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 5, 2021 3:00 am

Someone has said worry is the advanced interest you pay on troubles that seldom come. An old Swedish proverb says worry gives a small thing a big shadow. What shadow is looming over you right now? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues a series called Faith 101: A Crash Course on the Christian Life. We’ll tackle the problem of worry and anxiety. Pastor Greg points out that the Lord has given us a very powerful tool to help us put our worries to rest.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Don't worry about anything. Pray about everything and the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

So the Bible is very clear and saying, don't worry, instead pray. Someone has said worry is the advanced interest you pay on troubles that seldom come. An old Swedish proverb says worry gives a small thing a big shadow.

What shadow is looming over you right now? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues a series called Faith 101, a crash course on the Christian life. We'll tackle the problem of worry and anxiety. Pastor Greg points out the Lord has given us a very powerful tool that will help us put our worries to rest. I heard the story of a young man who was raised in a crazy way, had a very chaotic childhood. He spent a great deal of his time living with his grandparents because his mother didn't really have much time for him. And then that young man got older and he himself made some bad decisions and found himself in a drug lifestyle. Well as it turns out he would hang out with a little group of guys and they would walk around and they happened to walk past the home of a pastor and his wife every single day. So the pastor's wife would look out the window at these kids and she started praying for them. And she prayed that one of those kids would come to Christ.

Even more than one. But she kept praying that and then one of those kids went and ended up hearing the gospel on his high school campus and gave his life to Jesus Christ. By the way that kid was me and the pastor was Chuck Smith and his wife was Kay Smith. And so I bring this up because every one of us probably had someone pray for us to believe in Jesus. It might have been a mom or a dad or a grandparent or a son or a daughter or a spouse or a sibling or maybe a complete stranger. But I bring this up to point out to you there is power in prayer. And it is one of the things that we fail to take advantage of as often as we should. So I want to talk to you about prayer.

Just kind of a flyover on it. Again the title of my message is Crash Course on Prayer. Now you probably wonder why is it that God answers some prayers and He doesn't answer others. I heard about a young man who was in college and he was taking a very important exam and he handed his exam paper into the professor. And as he was handing it in the professor announced to the class, Hey students hold on before you turn in your exam because I have a form I want you to sign to say to me that you did not have any outside assistance. Well this young man hesitated for a moment and he went privately to the professor and he said, Professor actually maybe I shouldn't sign this. I did have some outside assistance. I prayed before and during the exam.

So the professor said, Well let me see your paper. And he went over the boy's exam and he gave it back to the boy and he said, You can go ahead and sign the form because I can assure you God did not answer your prayer. So sometimes God says no to us.

Sometimes God says yes to us. And remember this is a series that we are doing called Faith 101. We are going over the basics of what every Christian needs to know. Let me review what we have already seen together. Number one if you want to be a growing Christian. And by the way you never outgrow this. But if you want to be a growing believer you must love, read, study, meditate on and memorize the Bible.

That is absolutely essential. As I have said before failure or success in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. Number two if you want to be a successful and growing Christian you must share your faith. Jesus has told us all to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

But not just that. He has told us to make disciples of all nations. And remember I pointed out to you that an older believer needs a younger believer in their life to energize them. And a younger believer needs an older believer in their life to stabilize them.

You see. So when you have a younger Christian in your life learning these things for the first time it is very exciting and reminds you of things that maybe you have forgotten. Then on the other hand if you are a younger believer you need someone that knows the Word of God that can help you as you are growing in your faith.

That is called discipling someone. Point number three. If you want to be a growing Christian and you never outgrow this either you must be an active part of the church. A part of a local congregation of believers. The Bible says, don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is but exhort one another daily and so much more as we see the day of the Lord approaching.

Listen. You need the church and the church needs you. I know the church is flawed. I know the church has its shortcomings. But it is the only organization if you will that Jesus set up when He walked this earth. And of the church He said, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Now point number four. If you want to be a growing Christian you must have a prayer life. And I want to share with you seven things that you need to know about prayer. What is prayer? Prayer is basically hearing from and communicating with God. And there are different kinds of prayer identified for us in the Bible. I am going to have you turn to two passages in my message in this time. One is going to be Ephesians 6 and the other is Luke chapter 11. So let's look at Ephesians 6. One simple verse.

Action packed. Here it is. Ephesians 6 18 says, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

So here is my first point. We should pray always. It says all prayer. We should pray publicly. We should pray privately. We should pray verbally. We should pray silently. We should pray kneeling. We should pray standing. We should pray lying down and sitting down.

Those are all valid positions to take when you are praying. By the way you can pray with your eyes open and you can pray with your eyes closed. You know we read of Jesus lifting up his eyes and praying. I think somehow we feel one's eyes must always be closed in prayer.

Have you ever been with a gathering of Christians and maybe praying for a meal and someone says, well let's pray so everyone closes their eyes and you open your eyes and you see somebody else with their eyes open and you make eye contact and you are both embarrassed and you close your eyes. You can open your eyes in prayer. It is ok. You can pray when you drive. Maybe you really should pray when you drive. Definitely keep your eyes open when you do that.

A while ago our granddaughter Stella she was much younger then. We were praying. We were having a hamburger and fries. And as we were praying I saw her eyes were closed but she was eating a french fry with her eyes closed. So it is ok. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Stand. Kneel. Sit.

Doesn't matter. The main thing is you should just pray. I think sometimes we think well God will hear our prayer more if we pray it in a church building. In a sanctuary.

Not necessarily. Think of some of the places people prayed in the Bible. Daniel prayed in a lion's den. David prayed in a field. Simon Peter prayed on the water and under the water. Remember he began to sink. Jonah's prayer was heard in the belly of a great fish.

Sometimes we say a whale. But his prayer was heard. God will hear your prayer wherever you are. The main thing is praying always. And by the way this phrase all prayer speaks of frequency.

Frequency. So it is not just a prayer here and a prayer there. You pray morning, afternoon, and evening.

The Bible says pray without ceasing for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you. Think about Daniel the prophet. He was known to be a man of prayer.

Are you known to be a man or a woman of prayer? And he had some enemies that wanted to bring him down. They were jealous of his power and influence on the king. So they realized there were no scandals in his life. There were no skeletons in his closet. In fact instead he was praying in his closet. So they decided that the only way they could bring him down was if it had something to do with him and his God. And they knew that Daniel had this amazing habit. Every day he prayed.

Not just once, not just twice. Three times a day he would pray. He would get on his knees, open up his windows, and he would pray.

Not to put on a performance but this is just what the guy did. So if you walked by his house you would notice oh look Daniel is in there praying again. Hey Daniel pray for me. Remember me when you talked to the man upstairs.

Maybe someone might have said to him. He was known as a man of prayer. So these wicked enemies of Daniel hatched a plot to get the king to sign a law. That no one could pray to any God except him for 40 days.

So basically it was now illegal to pray. So what did Daniel do? Huh.

Interesting. Time to pray by the way. He went home as he always did. He got down on his knees and he prayed to God. But it is interesting what it says. It says that when he went to offer his prayer in Daniel chapter 6 he went home, knelt down as usual, opened his windows toward Jerusalem, and prayed three times a day as he always had done giving thanks to God.

Isn't that interesting? Giving thanks to God. You would have understood if it would have said and Daniel got on his knees and freaked out, crying out to God for deliverance.

No. He gave thanks to God. And that's an important thing to remember in prayer is we can give thanks even before the answer has come because we know our God is in control and we know that our God loves us and is looking out for us.

So we should pray. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here, personally inviting you to join us for what we call Harvest at Home. It's a Bible study. It's a worship service. It's church in your home. Maybe you're not able to get out to your church right now. If so, join us for Harvest at Home.

People are listening in from around the world. And listen to this. We have seen thousands of people make a commitment to follow Christ.

So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at Well, we're learning important lessons on the value of prayer today as Pastor Greg continues his series Faith 101, a crash course on the Christian life. Why should we pray? Number one, we should pray because Jesus told us to. We should pray because Jesus told us to. Jesus said in Luke 18, verse 1, Men should always pray and not give up.

So we don't need another reason than that. We should pray because Jesus told us to. And not only did he tell us to pray, he modeled it for us. Jesus was a man of prayer.

He was constantly praying. You remember in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he contemplated the horrors of the cross, we read that Jesus prayed, calling on the Father, saying, Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me. On the cross itself, Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And then he also cried out to God, saying, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? When Jesus fed the 5,000, we read that he looked toward heaven and asked God's blessing on the food. We also read that mothers brought their children to Jesus so he would lay his hands on them and pray for them.

Now consider this. Jesus was God. And if Jesus, who was God, felt it was necessary for him to pray, how much more important is it for us, you and me, sinful human beings, to pray as well.

So again, point number one, we should pray because Jesus told us to. Now, if it were extremely difficult to pray, maybe one could understand why we're reluctant. For instance, let's say every time we prayed a prayer, it was the equivalent of getting a root canal.

Oh, that would be bad. But depending on what you were facing, it would probably be worth it. Oh, well, this is going to be painful, but I'll pray because I really need God's intervention. But the fact is, it's not painful.

It's not like getting a root canal. It's a wonderful, delightful thing to have access to God's presence. So we should pray because Jesus told us to. Number two, we should pray because prayer is God's appointed way to give us things.

Now I don't want you to misunderstand this. This is not the only reason we should pray. But if we fail to see this, we're missing out on a great blessing. The Bible says in James 4, too, you have not because you ask not.

Now think about this for a moment. Are you facing something right now where you need help? Maybe you're thinking, why is it that I always just have enough to get by? I never have more.

I'm always in need. Did you ever think about praying? The Bible says you have not because you ask not.

You ask, why isn't my marriage just struggling and it just seems to be getting worse? I don't know what to do. Wait, have you prayed about it? You have not because you ask not. Oh, my children, they're going astray. They're not interested in following Jesus.

What can I do? Hey, have you prayed about it? You have not because you ask not. You ask, why is it that I never know God's will for my life?

I just stumble about trying to figure it out. Hey, have you prayed about it? The Bible says you have not because you ask not. This is the way God provides for us. Ask and you shall receive, Jesus says.

Point number three. Prayer is the way by which God helps us to overcome our fear, anxiety, and worry. Life is full of troubles, isn't it? So we need help. The Bible says, cast all of your care upon Him for He cares for you.

The idea of casting is picking up something and just throwing it. It's like, man, I don't want this. You take it and you give it over to the Lord. The Bible says in Philippians 4, don't worry about anything. Pray about everything and the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. So the Bible is very clear in saying, don't worry, instead pray. So when you're tempted to worry, and we often are, turn your worries into prayer. Turn it over to the Lord. So as you can see, prayer is not an option.

It's a necessity. We all have prayed prayers that are not answered in the affirmative and we've wondered why. Listen to this. If the request is wrong, God says no. If the timing is wrong, God says slow.

If you are wrong, God says grow. If the request is right and the timing is right and you are right, God says go. But we wonder, okay, I get that, but is there anything I can do to get the Lord to say yes more often? Are there secrets to having your prayers answered in the affirmative? Well, let me say, I don't know that they're secrets.

They're plainly declared in the Bible. But they might be a secret to some because they haven't read the Bible. So let me try to unlock some secrets, if you will, to unanswered prayers or why our prayers are not answered. And we'll find those answers in what is often called the Lord's Prayer in Luke chapter 11. I love the Lord's Prayer. Most of us know it by heart. It's a prayer that we usually pull out in case of emergency.

Sort of like behind glass. Break it out. This is a big one. Let's pray the Lord's Prayer.

There's nothing wrong with that. It's a beautiful prayer to pray. But having said that, recognize that it's not just a great prayer to pray. It's a template or a model for all prayer. An infrastructure for prayer, if you will.

Let's look at it together. Luke chapter 11. We read these words. When it came to pass, as Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he was done, one of his disciples came to him and said, Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples. Notice the disciple did not say, teach us a killer prayer.

No. Teach us to pray. So again it's a template for prayer. And Jesus said, when you pray, say, our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins as we forgive everyone who has sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen. The Lord's Prayer. Now we could just as easily call it the disciples prayer. The Bible never calls it the Lord's Prayer.

Jesus never had to pray this prayer himself because he never had to say to the Father, forgive me my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against us. So it's really for us more, but right out of the gate in the Lord's Prayer, we'll call it that, we discover this, that we need to acknowledge the greatness of God. It doesn't say our Father who art in heaven, give us this day our daily bread. It says our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So our prayer should start if you have the luxury of time.

Now let's just say that you're out swimming and a great white shark is coming at you quickly. You can just pray help and cut to the chase. Okay, but under normal circumstances, when you have a little time, contemplate the power, awesomeness, and greatness of God.

Why? Because when you see God in his greatness, you'll see your problems in their relative smallness. If you have a big God, you have small problems. If you have big problems, is your God too small? I'm not in any way not acknowledging that you might be facing a real crisis right now.

I simply want to say this to you. God is bigger than your problem. Christ is greater than your crisis. So pray, and when you pray, take time to think about the power and awesomeness of God. Practical insight on prayer today from Pastor Greg Laurie here on A New Beginning. He has more to come in this message called A Crash Course on Prayer. It's the kind of insight you really ought to preserve for the future.

You can do that by going to You can hear any part of today's presentation you may have missed, or even order a CD copy by calling us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. And then what a privilege it is to have baseball great Darrell Strawberry with us today. Darrell has just released a new book called Turn Your Season Around.

The subtitle is How God Transforms Your Life. You know, Darrell, you've made a U-turn from so many issues in your life. What counsel do you have for others who need to turn their back on drugs or drinking or immorality, but they just find themselves being pulled back into all that stuff, especially during this pandemic? If they were sitting right across the table from you, what would you say to them?

I would say to them that they really should be able to accept the help from someone who truly loves them. You know, I think of my life how I made the turn. It was because of my wife, Tracy.

Like over 18 years ago, I was in dope houses, South Florida, shooting dope, smoking crack, and she was banging on doors, kicking them down and coming and pulling me out. And she actually was loving me through the whole process when I couldn't love myself. And I would just say to someone that's struggling with that, when you see someone loving you through the process when you can't love yourself, allow that help to help you in that period of time.

I mean, I know it's a lot of confusion going on. You feel like hopeless at that time. But one thing I've learned through this process of change of life, my life didn't change by myself. God used people to help people. And when we can understand the importance of other people encouraging you and walking with you and not tolerating, which Tracy didn't, she didn't tolerate my madness, but she still encouraged me to help me that God had a plan for me. You don't have to accept, you know, what the person is going through. But at the same time, you still show love and compassion.

So I would just I would just encourage anyone that's struggling. If somebody's showing you some love and compassion, trust the process is not an overnight miracle. I didn't get out the mirror. I didn't have a miracle of proof overnight. It just doesn't happen like that.

It's a process. And once I went through the process and accepted the help from somebody else and let God help me through this process, I started getting on the other side. Because when you think about everybody that God used in the Bible, they all had struggles and issues, too, just like all the rest of us.

And, you know, those those struggles and issues, they only get on the right side with other people helping you and encouraging you through your faith. So if you want to get a copy of Joe Strawberry's brand new book that he feels is the most important book he's ever written, you can get it from us here at A New Beginning. Again, the title is Churn Your Season Around How God Transforms Your Life. And we'll send you this book for your gift of any size to help us to continue on here at A New Beginning to teach the Word of God and to preach the gospel that changed the life of Darrell Strawberry.

Yeah, that's right. It's the gospel that continues to change lives anywhere, anytime, even in a pandemic, even in a time of uncertainty. And your investment helps that kind of outreach happen. Could we ask you to partner with us now? And if you can send an investment right now, be sure to ask for Darrell's book, Turn Your Season Around. You can write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to Well, next time, more insight on the crucial role prayer plays in the life of a believer. The finale to our series, Faith 101, next time here on A New Beginning. This is the day, the day when life begins The preceding message from Greg Laurie was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for Pastor Greg's free daily email devotions at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-27 15:00:32 / 2023-12-27 15:10:36 / 10

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