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It's Time to Pray | Are You Praying Wholeheartedly?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2022 3:00 am

It's Time to Pray | Are You Praying Wholeheartedly?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 31, 2022 3:00 am

In Hebrews 4 we read, “So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” If God, in God’s Word, invites us to come to God in boldness . . . maybe we should! Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us take that direction to heart. We’re continuing our studies in the fascinating Old Testament book of Nehemiah. So many great lessons from the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

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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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Today's episode of a new beginning is brought to you by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn and while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith verbally go to God and we won't know for certain what you're afraid they're bothering God kind of an excuse to Gregorian purchasers to have confidence. Jesus shall be given you seek and you shall find. The door shall be open for this should I should pray with expectation. So let us keep on coming boldly great that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help me God in God's word advisors to come to God.

We should have a new beginning for Greg Laurie helps us take the direct we're continuing our studies of the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. Many great lessons will my messages time to pray and when I say it's time to pray.

I me that it's time to pray fervently. I like the word fervent because it communicates something more than just what we might call all prayer you know those Russian prayer like when the food is served and all we've got is a great scholarly knowledge is like one of distraction are one of those worthless prayers we say something along the lines of Lord just save the world. In Jesus name, amen. Pretty much covers everything right. No not talking about passionate prayer on talking about prayer with fervor.

The word fervent means displaying passionate intensity some synonyms for the word are ardent, sincere, wholehearted, avid, it's a kind of prayer that that woman pray for her daughter who was possessed by demons which he came to Jesus and she said son of David, have mercy on my daughter, she's possess by agreement is a disciple said stop bothering Jesus a vector bothering us go away and she cried out even louder and then Jesus said to her dear woman, your faith is great.

Your request is granted, you think that had anything to do with your persistence about wine Bart Emmaus who heard Jesus was coming up the road and he cried out, son of David, have mercy on me and they said be quiet. Don't yell anymore and he said stop day went really loudly see me in Jesus the son.

What can I do for you, Lord, I want to receive my site and Jesus heals them right then and there that expression. The squeaky wheel gets the oil healing passion had anything to do with that. Did not Jesus say ask and it shall be given to you seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open by the weather is an ascending intensity in the burbs is on those statements of Christ, meaning that we should keep asking, keep seeking, keep talking it's building the kind of a prayer will be go to God and we will not take no for an answer and writes in a Greg that's rather presumptuous that all depends.

Because if I'm praying for something that God wants to give me that's not presumptuous at all. I should pray with boldness, I should pray with passion. I should pray with expectation. You know, you think about Elijah, about the guy who knew how to pray and we will. I just sort of you know spiritual rock star right he was on another level, meant I could never be like him. Actually, the Bible points out that he was an ordinary guy just like us and even had bouts of depression and things that others face and here's what the Bible says about Elijah and James 516, the urban prayer of a righteous man has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are yet when he prayed fervently that no rain would fall, none fell for 3 1/2 years. Then, when he prayed again. The sky rained down heaven. So you might say well I prayed about something but nothing really happened.

I asked the Lord to do this thing anyway. He didn't seem to answer weight did you pray of fervent prayer. Listen we need to pray for our nation right now like never before. America needs help America needs God we need to cry out to God. There are people that want to destroy us. People that are bent on our destruction. On the outside and in some ways, even on the inside and what we need in America. More than anything else is a spiritual awakening.

We need to pray with fervency that God would send one there been a number of great awakenings in American history that change the course our country was taking for the better. We need another one and we needed soon. We need to pray and that is the theme before us now in Nehemiah. It's about prayer. As we come to chapter 9 of course the overall theme of this great book is about building specifically rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, but it's also about building our lives we seen a lot together in this series that we've done that we call the rebuilt life. We learned how to motivate others when morale is slipping how to respond to personal attacks and react when lies are told about us to finish what you start and not let anyone or anything stop you from doing that but just started to get the big picture in case you haven't been a part of this whole series of the way this all started was God Warning his people, the Israelites to stop turning the idols they kept worshiping the stupid false gods when in a relationship with the true and living God because all the other nations that it know when your kids say mom I want to do it because everyone's doing it right and then you say if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you jump off a cliff and they say if it was cool yes no no that's what Israel is doing all the pagan nations around them worship false gods and they kept doing it God warning that you because I'm telling you better stop doing it. Reminiscent judgment upon you, and they kept worshiping false idols he sent prophets warning them that judgment would come and they continued on and so the Lord allowed the Babylonians to conquer Israel and they were carted off to the distant land of Babylon for 70 long years. Babylon was ultimately conquered by the Medo Persians and they were allowed by Cyrus to return to their homeland. The first wave of Jews was led by the priest Ezra and what he did was he rebuilt the temple. The problem is, he didn't completely finish the job and the walls of Jerusalem still were in the room and they were burned out, covered in weeds. By the way walls mattered in those days, not to just keep enemies out there a greater significance. They were there is a center of power effectively. That's where the elders would be in the walls there.

They were very important so God raised up Amanda finish the job and I wasn't Ezra. He did his part so the Lord found another guy named Nehemiah the most unexpected drive all Ezra the priest was set apart to serve God. Nehemiah well here very interesting job. He was the cupbearer of King Arctic Xerxes. His job was it Teasley Kings food before the king ate it, which is a pretty sweet job unless someone poisons the food then while you're dead basically and so he would taste everything that would be served to the king, and this meant that not only would he be in close proximity to the king, but he would be a counselor of sorts, a confidant, even a friend. Probably no one spent more time with the king then Nehemiah and King trusted him so he was living in the lap of luxury and the cushy. His job ever one day someone told him about the state of the walls of Jerusalem line of rubble being a Jewish guy in a believer in the Lord God. He got up, got to do some about this.

So yes the king for permission to go back to Israel and rebuild the walls. Not only did the king given permission to send an armed escort and underwrote the whole project which is pretty amazing. So Nehemiah arrives on the land he faces a lot of opposition a lot of obstacles, but he manages to finish the job.

Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment. Everybody what are you doing this weekend. I like to hang out with you at harvest and home services own. It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home.

Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Pastor Greg is presenting a message today called, it's time to pray based in Nehemiah chapter 9 let's continue now. So now there at the completion of the walls and it's time to bring Ezra out of mothballs to this great priesthood been there at the beginning, but he hadn't been active in recent years, so they said let's bring him back out to preach a sermon and in Ezra preacher three hour so there's a lot of pent up energy and old Ezra right he could hardly wait to speak in as he spoke and open the word of God to the people they were deeply moved and they wept over their sin and that so we are in the story. Nehemiah 9 is sort of like a flyover of the history of Israel and God's faithfulness to them. This despite their persistent unfaithfulness to him. I guess you could say one of the great lessons of history as we don't learn anything from history. I it's been said that history is old news happening to new people. I love history.

I love to read historical books.

I love to watch documentaries allowed to hear the stories of people's lives. And I like it better than fiction, because you see all the twists and turns of real life right and we can learn from what is happened to other people, but apparently they did not learn a lot because they kept repeating the same behavior over and over again, so Ezra brought God's word to them and now they wanted to turn from their sin. Nehemiah chapter 9 verse one. Let's read together. By the way I'm reading from the new living translation on October 31, the people assembled again and this time they fasted interest in burlap and sprinkled dust on their head. Those of Israeli dissent separated themselves from all corners, as they confess their own sins and the sins of their ancestors, they remain standing in place for three hours while the book of the law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Ever. Three more hours. They confess their sins and worship the Lord's are there any take away points for us. Yes, there are about four you're taking notes.

Point number one. The people prayed with fervor. The people prayed with fervor and we should to verse three says for three more hours the confessors sit in worship the Lord and then point number two they separated themselves from ungodly influence. They separated themselves from ungodly influences verse two they separated themselves from all corners are modern interpretation would be that just get away from bad influences ungodly people or places the pool is down spiritually Think about food for a moment, let's say there are certain people you know were really healthy, really healthy, the kind of people to go to work out and see that was a great workout. I've never had a great workout to me.

I'm looking at the clock. I can't wait till it's over. I mean, I'm glad I did it afterwards, I suppose, but it wasn't a great working for some people it is and they what I eat, clean. I like to eat, clean, okay, whatever you know and so they're very careful with the order and all can I get that on the side and don't want that if and when you're with them a kind of influences you just don't feel good about getting that burger deep-fried and lard when they're having their tofu solid made out of kale right so there their choices influence you to make better choices with any of other friends lead every fattening thing on earth. And when you're with them. You know it's gonna be your downfall right now. Let's take that and apply that in a different way certain people to bring you down spiritually. You know are not believers, and so they don't want to talk about your faith and they like to tell dirty jokes and they like to slander people and their filled with anger and so you hang out with them and I fear with them for a while. It brings you down spiritually and so I asked why do you hang around those people will to be a witness to them.

You respond okay.

Did you witness to that.

Did you speak upper to know but I'm a silent witness hold on who's helping who are you pulling them up or are they bringing you down so that's the point here, the people of Israel separated themselves from these bad influences. Point number three they heard God's word and they acted on it. They heard God's word in the acted on it.

Listen to this.

The Bible is a lot like Amir tells us the truth about ourselves.

I am liking mirrors less and less as I get older you know, especially magnifying mirror so should be outlawed right is in you see what everybody else see in the wool. My goodness and and actually, the Bible compares itself to Amir over in James chapter 2 it says if you just listen to God's word and don't do what it says you're fooling yourself. You're like a guy who looks into space and Amir sees himself walked away and forgot what he looked like a big part of this way and its many of you know in your day but everyone smiling that you even laughing there we go out on really impacting people today and then you go on the restroom to wash her hands and you see yourself in the mirror and you find out why they were laughing because you staying on your shirt that you didn't know about or you have spinach in your teeth or you actually have the little piece of pasta from lunch encrusted on your chin or worse of all, you have all three at the same time. No wonder they were smiling and laughing so the mayor just told you the truth about yourself. Now you a choice you can walk out and ignore those things and leave them there or you can get yourself right. You know, clean yourself up and so that's the idea of curing the work. It's not just hearing it.

It's doing what it says. The Bible must be our model for how we think and live sometimes people say even Christians will I just did what I felt God wanted me to do what is that even me to what the Bible tells you to do because your feelings can mislead you. Emotions can deceive you. So I don't know what the Bible says about the subject will then talk to someone who's been a Christian longer than you talk to a pastor and asked the question, does the Bible address this area because I'm dealing with this right now.

Seek God's word has something to say to you spend time in it every morning in the afternoon in the evening, continue in the word of God that is a secret to spiritual success. Over in Joshua chapter 1 verse eight here's what God said to Joshua as he entered into the promised land. Careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or left. Then you will be successful in everything you do study this book of instructions continually meditate on it day and night and be sure to obey everything written in it, and only then will you prosper and succeed in life.

Folks, this is not rocket science. Okay if we'll just do our part.

You watch how the Lord will bless you so we back to me in my nine verses 7 to 10 talk about how God chose Abraham led him out of the pagan world.

God said to Abraham and his descendents.

The Jews that he would bless those that bless them and curse those that curse them. So Abraham went out and was he married Sarah and then he had his sons and ultimately Joseph was born in Doug Joseph, the son of Jacob who was the son of Isaac was sold by his brothers as a slave, but through God's providence he was elevated to be the second most powerful man in Egypt. He forgave his brothers and invited his family to Egypt to live with them and their family group and grew in time pass and they grew larger and larger. Fast-forward. There's a Pharaoh that does not know Joseph or why these Hebrews, or even their aegis using them as slave labor is cruelly mistreating them so the Jewish people are crying out for a deliver God answers their prayer any sense. Moses and Moses takes them out of Egypt and the inner into the wilderness, and here's how they think the Lord. Nehemiah 9 verse 16.

Our ancestors are proud and stubborn to pay no attention to your commands. They refuse to obey and did not remember the miracles you done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader did take them back to their slavery in Egypt but you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry and rich and unfailing love. You did not abandon them even when they made an idol shaped like a calf that said this is your God who brought you out of Egypt. Yes to this question. How would you feel if your wife left you tomorrow, she left you. You said who did you leave me for this guy and you looked in her car and it was a mannequin from the department store your wife left you for a man I can see is me there. Can you explain why. First of all, he's handsome and you're not. Secondly, he never criticizes me and you do. And thirdly, I can basically get him to do whatever I want him to do. I can never look at me the whole time just by going to have their artists who have broken stucco patch it up. Okay, no problem. That would be pretty and solely is not enough to have your wife leave you for a guy. What about a mannequin, a dummy, that's what Israel did, they were worshiping false gods. Again, the Lord get is that you know what were down here bye-bye don't let the door hit you on the way out on know God was gracious.

He was forgiving giving them a chance after chance. Here's a history of Israel. God bless this people they forgot God turn to false gods repented God forgive them, bless them, they forgot about them turned a false god. God bless them the return and just went on and on and on about this horrible hold on, that's the story of our life to.

Is it not to say for this coming year. God said, I've got you covered no challenges, the first will give you more money did he can spend in the year so don't worry about finances.

You can have perfect health, not to be tempted one time you can help one conflict or one problem when you think the Lord will hear from you next probably a year from now, but because challenges come our way.

Hardships come our way needs come our way, we become dependent on God is seen. So the very thing we don't like can actually be a good thing to help regaining search tactical insight. Studies in Nehemiah. Many of us are seeing the book in a whole new way. Pastor Greg Laurie today on a new beginning with the study called, it's time to pray and are series in Nehemiah is called the rebuilt life. Have you heard about Pastor Greg's new book is called lemon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus that examines the way so many of the top music artists had it made, but their lives soon unraveled and your pastor Gregor tried to imagine what it must be like to be extremely famous. You know or you can even go to the grocery store without a mob developing.

You can even open your window blinds for fear of paparazzi with telephoto lenses and that's the point you make in the book. These music stars have a lot of stuff but they have a lot of stress to yes they really do.

I mean, it's been said careful what you wish for you might get it. And these are people that got what they wish for. And then it even went beyond their wildest dreams. But the problem is the dreams in many cases, turned into a horrible nightmare.

You know, when you look at the founders of rock if you will. They call them the millionaire quartet Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis call Perkins. They were all produced by a man named Sam Phillips who had Sun records. These guys came from abject poverty.

In some cases there were just country boys, all of them was sort of the gospel foundation, all of them were taken to church as young men and of course they all rebelled against it, but interestingly, every one of those founders ultimately came to realize they needed to turn to Jesus. Elvis struggled through the years. He often sang gospel songs. There's a lot of fascinating revelations about Elvis Presley. In this book Lenin Dylan Allison Jesus Jerry Lee Lewis is the only one alive still. Of the four, but in recent interviews. He's talked about his need to get right with God and of course Johnny Cash became very strong in his faith. I wrote a whole book about Kim as a matter-of-fact goal, Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon and then finally call Perkins who wrote blue suede shoes and other great songs.

He was a raging alcoholic and actually came to the Lord while he was on tour with Johnny Cash and took his bottle of booze and threw it into the ocean and committed his life to Christ and serve the Lord for the final years of his life. So yeah, these guys experienced it. In some cases girls experienced it and saw the emptiness of it.

So this is a very honest book so I start the book with these words, W3 surprises when we get to heaven. Number one.

Some of the people we thought would be there won't be there. Number two. Some of the people we never thought would be there will be there surprise number three you will be there. So these are some of the people you never thought would be there who will be there because no one is beyond the reach of God. That's right. What we hope you'll contact us for your own copy of Pastor Greg's new book, Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus.

The subtitle is the spiritual biography of rock 'n' roll there so many lessons to be learned from the lives of dozens of artists who choice where the pursuit of fame and fortune ultimately leads will send this book.

Your way to thank you for your partnership.

It's only through the investments of listeners that we can continue to bring Pastor Greg's insight your way each day.

So thanks for prayerfully considering how you can help and will thank you. With the book, Lenin, Dylan, Alice and Jesus just call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24 seven phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest God for the next time Pastor Greg continues our studies in Nehemiah more insights on the importance of prayer. See the effective prayer demonstrated powerful way. Join us here on a new beginning. Pastor and Bible teacher. Pray for and everybody thinks or listening to an beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners.

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