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The Refreshing Power of Prayer: An Open Invitation from the Lord

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 10, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Prayer: An Open Invitation from the Lord

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 10, 2021 3:00 am

Imagine if the richest man in the world slipped you a piece of paper and said, “Here’s my cell number. Call me if I can ever do something for you.” And then you hear a sound. Oh, it was your jaw hitting the floor. Imagine! What an invitation! Well today on A New Beginning, we see we have an invitation from God himself to come to Him anytime in prayer. No cell phone required. Pastor Greg Laurie is offering insights to help encourage us straight from the truths in God’s Word.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos. Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. You don't have time to pray.

The fact is you will make time for what matters to you. Imagine if the richest man in the world slipped you a piece of paper and said, here's my cell number. Call me if I can ever do something for you. And then you hear a sound.

Oh, it was your jaw hitting the floor. Imagine what an invitation. Well, today on A New Beginning, we'll see we have an invitation from God Himself to come to Him any time in prayer.

No cell phone required. Pastor Greg Laurie is offering insights to help encourage us straight from the truths in God's Word. We're starting a brand new series that I'm simply calling Refresh. Things we must not forget as Christians. And in this message I want to talk to you about the refreshing power of prayer. Am I talking to somebody right now who really doesn't know how to pray at all? You know when we are with our little children before they go to bed sometimes they'll say, kids say your prayers.

Remember now 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. Is this a good prayer to teach to a child? Are you not saying to the child, now listen you may die in your sleep tonight. And I just pray that God takes your soul.

Really? So we'll say remember to pray that prayer. Sleep tight.

And don't let the bed bugs bite. Oh you're going to traumatize your child. Now we don't need to teach our kids prayers. We need to learn how to pray. Do you remember the first time you ever prayed? It's kind of awkward. It's a little scary to pray out loud especially in front of other people. But let me ask you this. Do you remember the first time your prayer was answered?

How wonderful that was. In light of this why don't we pray more often? Why do we put off prayer? Why do we avoid praying?

Well let me offer some observations about that. Maybe we don't pray more because we think we don't have the time. But is that really true?

Let me ask you this. How much time do you spend on social media every day? The latest research says people in the US check their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts 17 times per day. That's once every waking hour. Teenagers spend nine hours every day consuming media. And you see people doing it constantly. They are walking across crosswalks with traffic on both sides. Looking at their phone.

Not even looking up. They go to a restaurant where apparently we are there to have a nice meal and socialize. And a whole family will be looking at their phones the entire time. This is missing the whole point. We can waste so much time doing it. Imagine if you prayed 17 times a day instead of checking your phone. Someone put it this way. And I quote, one of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the last day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.

End quote. How true is that? Then you factor in all the time that we spend binge watching television shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime or some other outlet. We can waste so much time. So don't say you don't have time to pray. The fact is you will make time for what matters to you.

Number two. Maybe we don't pray because we don't think prayer is all that important. Now we would never admit that outright. But do we really think it is important?

I am telling you it is very important. In the book of Joshua is a story of the Israelites leaving Egypt and going into this promised land flowing with milk and honey. And you remember there was an obstacle in their path. It was the mighty city of Jericho. A huge fortress.

There was no way they could bring that down militarily. But the Lord said, I will give you that city. So they prayed and they called on God and He gave them the battle plan, which I have to admit was pretty unorthodox. They marched around the cities. Yell and blow trumpets.

But it worked. And the walls of this fortress crashed and they took control. After that there was another little city called Ai. Much smaller than Jericho. Not nearly as difficult to conquer. They didn't pray about that. They just said, hey we took down Jericho.

Ai would be a piece of cake. And they went in and were soundly defeated because they didn't pray about it. We need to pray about everything. The Bible says in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

It doesn't say in some things or only in the big scary things. It says in everything by prayer and supplication we should pray. Maybe another reason we don't pray more is because well we don't think prayer really works.

Again we wouldn't admit that but that may be the case. We don't think it really works. But we have to understand what the objective of prayer is. It is not like God is a genie and He will grant whatever wish we have. The objective of prayer is not to align God with my will.

It is to align me with His will. Speaking of genies I heard about a lady that was walking on the beach and she saw something embedded in the sand and she reached on to pick it up and it was a lamp. And as she rubbed it a genie appeared. This is a true story of course. And the genie said, oh master I will grant to you one wish.

Whatever you want it will be yours. The lady said, one wish. What happened to three wishes? He said, you know we've had to cut back because of COVID. Oh okay. I think sometimes people are blaming everything on COVID these days. Right?

Oh yeah COVID. We can't do three wishes right now. Oh wow. One wish. She said, hmmm. She pulls out a map of the Middle East that she happened to be carrying with her and she said, genie this is the Middle East and there is conflict in this part of the world all the time. My wish is for peace in the Middle East.

And then she said, no let me change that. I am going to go big if I only get one wish. I want worldwide peace. Global peace. That is my wish genie. I want peace in the world. The genie said, that is kind of a big one.

I don't know if I can really do that. Do you have any other wishes? She said, well I have always wanted to find one good man. A man that would love me. Who would compliment me.

Who would not sit around on the couch and watch sports and TV. Who would help me with the dishes and like the things that I like. Yes that is it genie. My wish is for one good man.

The genie looks at her for a moment and says, get that map out again. So no God is not like a genie. He is a Father in heaven. And the objective of prayer is not to get God to do what I want Him to do. It is to align my will with God's will. Jesus said this in John 15. If you abide in me and my words abide in you you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.

From the original Greek it would come out something like this. Jesus speaking. If you maintain a living communion with me and my word is at home in you I command you to ask it once for yourself whatever your heart desires and it will be yours. Now we immediately gravitate toward that latter part of the verse. Whatever my heart desires. Yeah.

But don't forget the condition. Jesus says if you maintain a living communion with me and my word is at home in you. Coming back to studying the Bible. If I'm studying scripture, memorizing scripture, understanding the message of the Bible, my desires are going to change and thus my prayers are going to change as well. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

Whenever you send us an email, text, or post a comment on social media, we read every word. Hello Pastor Greg. I don't know if you'll ever see this or not but I just wanted to say thank you for all you do. I was raised in the church and was saved at a very young age but like a lot of folks who grew up in church I fell away. Then one day I heard you on the radio and your message made me realize that I needed to get my life right with God.

Thank you. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through Harvest Ministries and if you have a story to tell of how these studies have touched your life or that of a family member, I hope you'll contact us today. Email Pastor Greg at Greg at Harvest.org.

Again that's Greg at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is offering some very practical principles on the power of prayer and you can get a replay of this discussion at Harvest.org. Here before us now in Matthew 20 is two scenarios of prayer and in this text we're going to find how to and how not to pray.

How to and how not to pray. In both of the stories Jesus asks the people before him, what is it that you want? First we're going to look at a mother who had two sons. She loved them.

His mothers loved sons and daughters and she was very ambitious ambitious for them. And she asked Jesus to give something to them that was completely inappropriate. She stands as an example of how not to pray. In contrast we have another story of two men who were unable to see. They were blind. And they called upon Jesus. And the way they prayed give us an example of how to pray.

So let's start with how not to pray. Matthew 20 verse 17. Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. He took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, behold we're going up to Jerusalem and the son of man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes and they'll condemn him to death and they'll deliver him to the gentiles to mock and discourage and to crucify and on the third day he'll rise again. Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to him with her sons kneeling down and asking something from him.

By the way this mother's name is Salome and the sons here are James and John. And Jesus says to her, what do you wish? She said, grant that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other on your left in your kingdom. Jesus answered, you don't know what you're asking for. Are you able to drink of the cup that I'm going to drink of and be baptized with the baptism I will be baptized with? And they said, we are able. Jesus said, you will indeed drink my cup and be baptized with the baptism that I'm baptized with. But to sit on my right and on my left hand is not mine to give but it's for those that have been prepared by my father.

Try to understand what's going on. Jesus is giving a detailed view of what is about to happen. He knew the future.

He knew the thoughts of every person that he spoke to. And now he's saying, this is what's going to happen to me. I'm going to be betrayed. I'm going to be handed over to the gentiles. I'm going to be scourged. I'm going to be beaten. I'm going to be crucified.

And I'm going to rise again from the dead. As he's sharing this with the disciples they're just not getting it. Because you see their view was that when Messiah came and Jesus was Messiah that he would establish an earthly kingdom then and there. They were mistaken in their understanding of the role of Messiah. Because Scripture clearly teaches first Messiah would come and suffer and die for the sins of the world. Then he would return again and establish his kingdom.

They missed the first part and only understood the latter part. So they thought he would drive out the Romans and they would rule and reign with him in positions of great power. Hence the request from Siloam the mother of James and John. By the way James and John were given the nickname Sons of Thunder by Jesus.

You don't get a nickname like that for no reason. I think if they were alive today they would probably be outlaw motorcycle guys or something all tatted up you know. Kind of rough dudes I think. Don't forget on one occasion there was one city that the disciples went to and they weren't all that responsive to the message of Jesus. And James and John the sons of thunder suggested fire should be called down from heaven on the people who lived in that city. Jesus is like oy vey.

I didn't come to toast people but to save people. So you wonder how did they become the sons of thunder. Check out their mother.

Gives us a little hint. She says, I want my sons James and John to sit on your right and your left hand when you come into your glory. They should be thankful God did not answer that prayer. Imagine if God came to you and said, I will give you whatever you want.

Just ask for it. What would you pray for? That actually happened to Solomon when he was a very young man. He had ascended to the throne to rule over Israel now that his father David was gone. The Lord said, ask what you want Solomon and I will give it to you. Solomon said, well Lord I need wisdom to rule your people. The Lord said, Solomon because you have not asked for riches or a long life or the death of your enemies I am going to give you the wisdom you prayed for and I am going to give you all these other things as well. Is that not the perfect example of what Jesus taught us when He said, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. So here now are James and John and their mother asking for this thing.

And understand how insensitive this was. What did Jesus just say? I am going to suffer and die. He said, oh yeah okay whatever. By the way we want to sit on your right and left hand when you come into glory. This should be like someone saying to you, wow I just came back from the doctor's office and I found out I only have two weeks to live. And then you say, oh wow interesting.

Hey can I have your car and your house too? I mean what? That is exactly what they were doing. And Jesus is saying to them, hey do you know what you are even asking for? What did Salome the mother and James and John want? She wanted her sons to be on the right and left hand of Jesus. Salome by the way happened to be standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Who was on the right and left hand of Jesus?

Two criminals who were also crucified. I am sure at that moment Salome said, Lord thank you for not answering my prayer. Fact of the matter is all prayers are effectively answered. Sometimes God says no. Sometimes God says slow. Sometimes God says go.

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. But if the request is right and the timing is right and you are right God says go. So he said no to Salome and her two boys James and John the sons of thunder. Why?

Because he loved them. So listen if God has said no to your request recently don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. It actually could be a very good thing because God sees the big picture. That is how not to pray. Now let's talk about how to pray. Here is a couple of guys who prayed in the right way. Go back to Matthew 20. Look at verse 29.

What do you want me to do for you? They said, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes.

And immediately their eyes received sight and they followed Him. So here is Jesus still on His way to the cross. On His way to suffer.

And two guys are on the roadside. Here Christ is passing by. They call out to Him. Someone says shh. Don't bother Him. He is busy.

He has things on His mind. And they call out even louder. Actually the word translated from the Greek would be they screamed. They screamed. I guess they believed that old adage.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil right? And Jesus stopped and He heard them and He answered their prayer. Isn't it amazing to think that God cares about us. I mean He cares about the things that concern us. David said in Psalm 8.3, when I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is man that you should think of us?

Mere humans that you should care for us. I was in Hawaii recently speaking at our church there. And I went out very late at night and looked up in the sky. And I was stunned by how many stars I could see.

You just don't see that many stars here in California. Just incredible. Overwhelming. And to think my God, my Creator, my Father made all of that. Yet He cares about what I care about. God is never too busy or preoccupied to take time for you.

Listen if it concerns you it concerns Him. So here were two men with a very real need. And Jesus responded to the need. So what do we learn about prayer from this story? In times of crisis they pray and so should we. Today on A New Beginning, good insight on prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie.

And he has more insight to come in his message called The Refreshing Power of Prayer. Well, we're making available a fascinating new book called The Jesus Music. Pastor Greg, you wrote a book called The Jesus Revolution talking about the Jesus movement. How much is Jesus music linked to the Jesus movement? music because it was born out of revival. It was revival music in its early stages. It's worth noting that in the beginning we called it Jesus music and later it became an industry known as contemporary Christian music. But it really started with just songs about Jesus.

And I had a front row seat. We were attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in 1970 which was the epicenter of the Southern California Jesus movement. And all these bands were forming before our eyes. Every week it was like a new band. There was bands with things like Love Song, of course, Gentle Faith, Joy, Country Faith, Mustard Seed Faith, lots of faith back in those days. But what was really unique was these were songs that were written to speak to people. They were songs that expressed this newfound faith that these musicians had found after coming to Christ.

And so it was very exciting to see. And then it became a whole industry. And now there's contemporary Christian music stations, of course, and huge events and concerts that happen all around the world. But it started very simply and it started in revival. And we have a brand new book that sort of tracks the history of Jesus music back in the late 60s, early 70s.

Yes, we do. It's called The Jesus Music written by Marshall Terrell. And by the way, there's a documentary film put out by the Irwin Brothers and Kingdom Productions by the same name, an amazing film. But this book, The Jesus Music, written by Marshall Terrell, tells you the story. And I was able to have some input in the writing of this book because I was there.

I wrote the introduction to the book as well. And as a matter of fact, some of you may recognize Marshall's name because we have written three books together. One of them is Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. Another is Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon. And of course, Billy Graham, the man I knew. So Marshall is a great writer.

He's a good researcher. And this is going to take you back to the beginning of this music to the present day. There's a lot of stories you'll read and a lot of things you will learn. And I'm sure you did not know about some of your famous artists out there and have touched your lives in so many ways. Yet such an interesting book. You'll love it even if you're a relative newcomer to Jesus music.

Again, it's the new book called The Jesus Music. And we'd be glad to send a copy your way to thank you for your partnership with us and making these studies available each day. It's only through listener support that that's possible. So thanks so much for your generosity. Write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. You know, sometimes we can't always make it to church, but here's the good news. Church is coming to you.

It's coming to you on your TV screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone. We do it every weekend and it's called Harvest at Home. We have worship. We have a message from the Word of God. If you want to find out more, just go to harvest.org and join us this weekend for Harvest at Home. Next time, more insights from Pastor Greg's new series called Refresh. Practical pointers coming on making our prayer lives more productive. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Lauren. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 09:18:46 / 2023-07-24 09:28:02 / 9

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