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It’s Time to Pray | Take Your Cares and Concerns to the Lord

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 5, 2023 3:00 am

It’s Time to Pray | Take Your Cares and Concerns to the Lord

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 5, 2023 3:00 am

Many of us have a few friends on-line who seem to live a worry-free life! What’s that like, huh? Every post is an unbelievable meal, a breath-taking sunset, or some new toy they just had to have. Well, someone said we should never compare someone’s highlight reel to our blooper reel. But how do we deal with the troubles that stop us in our tracks? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie urges us to take those cares and concerns to the Lord. Good insight coming your way today!

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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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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at gregatharvest.org. Again, it's gregatharvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. Am I talking to someone right now that's facing trouble? Are you looking at what looks to be an insurmountable obstacle? What should you do? Pray. Every trouble is a call to praying. So you should turn your panic into prayer. You should turn your worry into worship. Many of us have a few friends online who seem to live a worry-free life. What's that like, huh? Every post is an unbelievable meal, a breathtaking sunset, or some new toy they just had to have.

Well, someone said we should never compare someone's highlight reel to our blooper reel. But how do we deal with the troubles that stop us in our tracks? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie urges us to take those cares and concerns to the Lord. Good insight coming your way today. Let's grab our Bibles and turn to James chapter five.

James chapter five. And the title of my message is It's Time to Pray. How many of you believe in the power of prayer? Raise your hand up. How many of you don't pray as much as you ought to? Raise your hand up. Yeah, I'm with you. I'm with you. Why don't we pray more?

I don't know the answer. Sometimes we offer up what we think are reasons, but in reality are excuses. We might say, well, I don't pray more because I just don't have the time. I'm so busy. Of course, the response to that is how much time do you spend on social media?

Right? I mean, think about that. Local researchers say people check their Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, et cetera, other media accounts, 17 times per day, pretty much every waking hour. Teenagers spend nine hours every day consuming media. You've had it happen, haven't you?

You start flipping through those little videos. And next thing you know, 45 minutes are gone. Even an hour is gone. But we say, I don't have time to pray. What if you prayed 17 times a day as much as you check social media? One of the biggest lessons from social media will prove that in the last day, prayerlessness was not from a lack of time. And then some people will say, well, I don't pray more because, well, I don't really know that prayer is all that important. Now, we probably wouldn't verbalize it.

But in a way, maybe it's true because we don't really think it matters that much. But of course, we should pray and we should pray often. Jesus himself prayed.

And Jesus was God incarnate walking among us. And yet how often do we read in the Gospels of Jesus spending the night in prayer or retreating by himself to pray? Here's another excuse we offer as to why we don't pray. We don't really believe that prayer works. We don't really believe it works, but in fact, it does. In fact, the Bible even says in James 4, 2, you have not because you ask not.

Try this thought on for size. I believe that there are certain things God wants to do for you and in you, certain things that God wants to give to you, they may not be yours because you have simply failed to pray about it. Again, you have not because you ask not.

You might say, well, I'm having problems with my family and I just don't know what to do anymore. Have you prayed about it? Have you specifically brought that need before the Lord? You have not because you ask not. Well, we're struggling right now financially.

It's hard to make ends meet. Okay, hold on, have you prayed about that specifically? Could it be that God will provide for you supernaturally and He's just waiting for you to ask? You have not because you ask not.

Well, I'm sick and the doctor hasn't given me any real hope. Have you prayed about that? Could it be that God wants to touch and heal you and He's just waiting for you to ask? Jesus said, ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened.

But in the original language, it's implied to do it continuously. So keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. You have not because you ask not. Now let's read about what James says about prayer.

James five, verse 13. Is any among you in trouble? Let them pray.

Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is any among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord and their prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. And the Lord will raise them up.

If they've sinned there, sins will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Let's pray together. Now Father, as we open your word, we come at that same request that the disciples came to you with when they said, Lord, would you teach us to pray? Help us to see the power of prayer. Help us to know how to pray more effectively. Speak to us from your word we ask now. In Jesus' name, amen.

So this is our last message in this series on James. And James gives us four specific and practical areas in which prayer is vital. Number one, you should pray when you're in trouble. Verse 13, you should pray when you're sick. Verses 14 to 15 of James 5. When you have sinned, you should pray. James 5, 15. And finally, when specific needs arise, you should pray.

So let's start with the first one. You should pray when you're facing trouble. Am I talking to someone right now that's facing trouble? Another translation says when you're afflicted. Are you afflicted right now? Are you facing a severe hardship?

Are you looking at what looks to be an insurmountable obstacle? What should you do? We should pray. The temptation is to get angry at God for allowing this to happen, when in reality, we should pray. Every trouble is a call to pray. So you should turn your panic into prayer. You should turn your worry into worship. As Paul writes in Philippians, in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. So go to him in your time of trouble. Sometimes God may send the affliction himself. Let's be honest. We don't pray as much when things are going well as we do when they aren't going well. Is that true for you?

When things are going great, it's like, oh, fantastic. Hey, you know, I don't need to pray. But when you're in trouble, you pray. The Lord may allow affliction to get your attention. The psalmist wrote, before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I have kept your word. And sometimes God will allow it. He will allow that, and maybe the devil bringing it in your direction, but God has allowed it for his purposes.

But the main thing is pray about it. You know, we have the story in the Old Testament of Nehemiah who was described as the cup bearer of the king. That meant that he was in a special position to influence the king. He would try out the king's food before the king would eat it. So he was a counselor, a helper to the king. And so he went to the king and asked for permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. And the king gave his permission and underwrote it. So Nehemiah went to rebuild that wall. And did he get a standing ovation from the people living in Jerusalem because that wall had been lying in ruin for quite a long time? No, he faced opposition. A man named Sanballat criticized and threatened him. Which reminds us, whenever we're doing the will of God, you're gonna be criticized and threatened. You're gonna face opposition. And when people are kicking you from behind, that means you're ahead of them, I guess, I don't know. But the main thing is Nehemiah prayed.

He didn't take out a restraining order against Sanballat. He went to the Lord and he prayed in Nehemiah 4, 4 when he said, heroes of God, we're being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own head. So he prayed about it. There's nothing wrong with asking God to remove your affliction. So if you're facing trouble, whatever kind it is, it's okay to go to the Lord and say, Lord, would you remove this from me? And maybe the Lord will say, yes, I will. And maybe the Lord will say, no, I have a purpose in it.

So you need to be patient and wait on me. But I think the best model for prayer in times like that is following the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he contemplated what was ahead with the crucifixion. He said, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done. So you can say, Lord, if there's a way out of this, if you might remove this problem, I would really appreciate it, but you may have a greater purpose. Therefore, I say to you, Father, not my will but yours be done.

Which brings me to point number two. When things are going well, we should praise God. Verse 13, is anyone happy?

Let them sing songs of praise. You know, we call on the Lord when things aren't going well. Do we give thanks to God when they are?

You know, you get up one morning and there's no real problem to speak of, and you say, Lord, thank you for a beautiful day. Thank you for my health. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my job. Thank you for everything, Lord. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for changing me, Lord. Thank you that you're in control of my life.

That can really lift your mood, I'll tell you that. When you just start giving thanks for all that God has done, we all remember the story of the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus, but only one returned to give thanks. And Jesus said to him, hey, I thought I healed 10.

Where are the other nine? Remember to give thanks to God for what he has done. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're thrilled when we hear from listeners who have been impacted by the movie, Jesus Revolution.

Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. I just wanna say, Pastor Laurie, that I found you through your recent movie that was released, The Jesus Revolution, and my brother has known you for years. He came to know the Lord during that time, and I was a little bit later.

But I have found your books. I finished The Jesus Revolution. I've also finished the one on Johnny Cash, and now I'm listening to the one about Billy Graham, and I'm enjoying them so much, and also just enjoying your podcast every morning. And I'm just so thankful for you and your ministry. But I just wanna thank you again that God has worked through you to reach us all over the years.

Thank you so much. Do you have a story to share? If so, would you let Pastor Greg know? Just drop him an email, gregatharvest.org. Again, that's gregatharvest.org. Well, we're gleaning some great practical insight on prayer today, as Pastor Greg presents his final message in our study series in James.

Let's continue. Number three, we should pray when we are sick. We should pray when we're sick. Verse 14, is there anyone among you who is sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them, and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord, and their prayer offered in faith will make this sick person well. Question, does God still heal people today?

I believe he does. As I've said before, God is still in the healing business. Have we asked him to heal us? I do believe there's a promise of physical healing in scripture there in Isaiah 53 five and quoted again in the New Testament. By his stripes, we are healed.

So what should we do when we are sick? The answer is call for the elders of the church to pray over the person. And verse 15 says the prayer offered in faith will make this sick person well.

That doesn't mean there's some special prayer that you pray. It just means with as much faith as you can muster, you ask God to heal you, but then you go to the leaders of the church to pray for you. There are instances in the Bible of people who are not healed. The apostle Paul prayed for people, and God healed them. The apostle Paul even raised a guy from the dead. That's a top-level miracle right there. He was preaching one night, and he was going long, as preachers sometimes do.

And a young man who was up on a top balcony by a window fell out and died. So someone comes to Paul, Paul, stop. Eutychus just fell out the window, and he's dead. Paul says, everyone, wait, hold on a second. He goes out, goes to Eutychus, prays over him, raises him from the dead, then goes back and finishes his sermon.

I like that. So that's a big miracle. So certainly everyone Paul would pray for would be healed.

No, they weren't. He wrote to Timothy and said in 2 Timothy 4.20, he had to leave Trophimus, sick in Miletus. He mentioned Epaphroditus, who was ill and almost died in Philippians 2.27. So if he had this gift of healing, why didn't he just pray for all of them to be healed?

Because God doesn't always say yes. And Paul himself had what he described as a thorn in the flesh, some kind of physical ailment or infirmity. Three times he asked the Lord to remove it, and the Lord said, my grace is sufficient for you. So we pray, and we bring it to the Lord.

Number four, when we pray, we should confess our sin. Verse 15, if they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Now this verse appears to suggest that one's sin could contribute to sickness.

Now let me explain this carefully. In a broad sense, all sickness is a result of sin. I don't mean personal sin, I mean sin in general. If Adam and Eve had not eaten of the forbidden fruit, we would have never gotten sick. If Adam and Eve had not eaten of the forbidden fruit, we would have never aged.

If Adam and Eve had not eaten of the forbidden fruit, I would have a full head of hair. But because they sinned, sin and death entered the world. Romans 5, 12 says, when Adam sinned, sin entered the world.

Adam's sin brought death, and death spread to everyone, for everyone has sinned. But sometimes, sometimes, I underline that word, there can be a connection between personal sin and an affliction. There's a story in John 5, 14 where there was a paralytic that Jesus healed, and then Jesus said to him, see your well again, stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you. And so that doesn't mean if you have a disability, it's because you've sinned.

What it does mean is there can be a connection. But having said that, there are some people that are afflicted who are godly men and women, and it has nothing to do with their sin. Remember the story of Job again. Job was a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil. And yet the Lord allowed physical calamity to come upon his servant.

So we don't know that. So the best thing to do is just confess your sin to God. Verse 16 says, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. This means we do this with believers. This is why a small group can be great, because it's harder in a large group.

But when you develop a close circle of friends who you trust and will keep your confidence, you can say, hey, I'm struggling with this, or I need your help there. But also, I would add, if you have sinned against someone, you should go to that person and ask them to forgive you. Because unconfessed sin can bring your prayer life to a screeching halt. The psalmist says, if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. So if you're holding on to some sin and you need to ask someone to forgive you, that could hinder your prayers. In Matthew 5 23, Jesus says, if you're presenting the sacrifice at the altar and you suddenly remember someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar and be reconciled to that person, then offer your sacrifice to God. Sometimes it's just going to someone and saying, I'm sorry that I said that to you.

Or I'm sorry I said that about you. I'm sorry for this thing that I did that was wrong. Will you forgive me? Point number five, you are a righteous child of God, so pray like one. You are a righteous child of God, so pray like one.

Look at verse 16, the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. You might say, well, Greg, I'm not a righteous man or woman. Excuse me, are you a Christian? If you are, then you are a righteous person. I didn't say you always act like a righteous person, but positionally, you are a righteous person.

First Corinthians 1 30 says, Christ has made us righteous, he's made us pure and holy, and he's freed us from sin. So you're a member of God's family, behave like that. Don't come, you know, with timidity to God. Father, I just pray this, come boldly, you're his child. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we might find mercy in time of need. Boldly, Lord, it's your son. Lord, it's your daughter. Father, I'm your child and I come to you now with this need or with this petition or whatever it is. When you're a member of the family of God, you have access, use it.

Boldly, isn't that great to know? It's not based on what you've done. It's based on what he's done for you.

It's through the blood of Jesus, through a new and living way, Hebrews says, that I have access to the throne of God. You know, my family, if they call me, I'm gonna answer. If my wife calls me, if my son calls me, if my grandchildren call me, you know, if I get that call and I'm talking to you, I'll say, hold on one sec, yeah, what's up? They might be calling me to take them to ice cream.

I don't know. But because they're part of my family, they have access. I answer immediately.

I'm not so sure if that's a two-way street. When I call my wife, sometimes there's no answer. So I have a special feature on my phone called Find My Wife.

Do you have that? Actually, it's called Find My Phone, but it works to find your wife or husband, too. And so when you call it, it sets off a special sound in the phone, and I'll call it, call it, call it. She finally answers, what?

Yeah, hi, what's going on? Well, what are we having for lunch today, right? Relationship provides access to God. Some great insight today on a new beginning on the privilege of prayer based on our relationship with God. And Pastor Greg Laurie will have a final illustration before we wrap up today, so stay tuned. Well, it's a joy to have Shannon Bream in the studio with us today, along with Pastor Greg and Kathy Laurie. She's anchor of Fox News Sunday on Fox News, and the author of a number of books, including the new one, The Love Stories of the Bible Speak. One of the love stories you discussed, Shannon, is found in the book of Ruth, the story of Ruth and Boaz, and what a colorful story that is.

That must have been a lot of fun to explore. You know, I love Ruth and Boaz. I think their story gives us the idea of second chance, love, and of hope, and that God is always weaving in through our pain. You know, she was a young widow who followed her mother-in-law to, her mother-in-law's homely, and so she was a foreigner there. She's a widow, she's got a mother-in-law she's trying to care for.

They're thrust into poverty, because that's just how it would work for women in those times who didn't have a male provider anywhere. So Ruth humbly decides to go out and just glean in the fields and catch whatever she can that the harvesters have left behind, and Boaz sees her, and he's attracted to her because of her heart and her humility that she would go out, stay with this mother-in-law she had no legal obligation to, and just be in this poverty and this pain together. And their story of how they came together I think is just such a beautiful thing of a second chance. I think we all have seen widowers and widows go through this, or even somebody who's gone through a really painful breakup or divorce, and then somewhere along the line, God redeems that pain with another person who is a believer and they come into each other's lives, and we see a second chance and we see healing.

So I find so much beauty in that story. I love that story in particular because when our son went to be with the Lord he left behind his widow and his child and another one soon to be. And so I had this beautiful young woman in my life who I loved like a daughter, and my prayer was on that day, because there's so many fears that come into the mind of one when you think about a young widow facing life alone.

My prayer was, Lord, bring me Boaz, bring me a Boaz for Brittany, and a father who will love our grandchildren. And it was a very hopeful prayer, and the example of Ruth and Naomi and the relationship that continued on was such an encouragement to me. That I love your selection because there's something for everyone in one of these chapters, whether it's grief or being a widow or a dysfunctional relationship or just obeying God in hard places like Hosea. I mean, there is something here, and I wanna pitch this for all of you ladies out there that are looking for a Bible study, a group discussion over a rich book.

Do it with your small group. This will hit every, I guarantee all the women and men in these chapters are gonna be easily relatable to somebody in your group, and it'll be a rich discussion time, I guarantee it. Thank you.

So that's Kathy Laurie talking to Shannon Breen, who's written a brand new book that's titled The Love Stories of the Bible Speak, Biblical Lessons in Romance, Friendship, and Faith. And it's our gift to you for your gift of any size. This month, continue to support our ministry of teaching God's word and proclaiming the gospel.

Yeah, and thank you so much for that gift. It's needed and appreciated. Contact us today by calling 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, so you can call right now, 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg concludes our study and our series in the book of James. More good insight on taking our prayer lives to the next level. But before we go, Pastor Greg closes with this final illustration. Years ago, we were holding a crusade in some city, and I left my Bible in my hotel room. So I went to my son Christopher, who's now been in heaven for 14 years, and I said, Christopher, I left my Bible in the hotel room.

Will you go get it for me? He said, sure, Dad. So he goes and gets my Bible and comes back. And he approaches the room where I'm at, and there's a couple guys volunteering to provide security.

And he says, I need to give this Bible to my dad. Well, you don't have the security clearance. No, I'm his son. Yeah, I don't know who you are. You don't have the little badge.

You're gonna have the badge. He goes, look, look at the Bible. It says Greg Laurie on the Bible. It's my dad's Bible. Yeah, but how do I know you're his son?

He pulls out his driver's license. Look, it's Christopher David Laurie. I'm his son.

The guy wouldn't let him in. I heard about this. I had that man killed. Now, let me explain.

No, he was just a little overzealous, right? But my son had access. We all have access to God. This is the day, the day when life begins. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 05:23:11 / 2023-07-05 05:34:24 / 11

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