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It’s Time to Pray | Be On Speaking Terms With Our Heavenly Father

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 6, 2023 3:00 am

It’s Time to Pray | Be On Speaking Terms With Our Heavenly Father

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 6, 2023 3:00 am

We know prayer is a privilege. We know prayer is powerful. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. But what some don’t realize is that God WANTS us to come to Him. He welcomes our petitions. He listens to our cries. And prayer can make a difference, even if we don’t feel worthy for such an important role. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us insights on prayer straight from the Word of God. It’s good encouragement to be on “speaking terms” with our Heavenly Father.

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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. Prayer isn't reserved for perfect followers of Christ. There aren't any. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out our standing before God and what our prayers can do. You are a righteous child of God, so pray like one. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing.

This is the day, the day where life begins. We know prayer is a privilege. We know prayer is powerful. Prayer moves the hand that moves the world. But what some don't realize is that God wants us to come to Him. He welcomes our petitions.

He listens to our cries. And prayer can make a difference even if we don't feel worthy for such an important role. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us insights on prayer straight from the Word of God. It's good encouragement to be on speaking terms with our Heavenly Father.

This is the day, the day where life begins. So this is our last message in this series on James. And James gives us specific and practical areas in which prayer is vital. James 5 verse 13.

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. 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, Which brings me to point number two. When things are going well we should praise God. Verse 13. That can really lift your mood, I'll tell you that. When you just start giving thanks for all that God has done.

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 the 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?

Number four. When we pray we should confess our sin. Verse 15. If they have sinned they will be forgiven. 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.

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.

Point number six. Despite your flaws God hears and will answer your prayers. Despite your flaws God will hear and answer your prayers. Verse 17. Elijah was as human as we are yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall none fell for three and a half years. Then when he prayed again the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

I love that. Interesting Elijah is used as an example. What a prophet he was. He did miracles on another level. This is Elijah who outran chariots raised the dead called fire down from heaven and stopped the rain.

He was so powerfully used of God you can almost think of him as a superhero. Especially when you see him stand boldly on Mount Carmel and face off of the prophets of Baal. And say let whoever of us is serving the real God let that God answer by fire.

You guys go first. So the prophets of Baal scream and yell and cut themselves and it goes on for hours and there's no fire that comes from heaven. Elijah says now it's my turn. And then he said I want you to take water and douse the altar.

Which water was very scarce at that point because of the drought. So they pour water over the altar. They do it again.

They do it again. And then he calls out to the Lord to answer by fire and fire comes from heaven and consumes the altar. And Elijah gives the order have all of these false prophets put to death. This is some prophet I'll tell you. But then we read that Jezebel is so upset she's the queen. She puts a contract out on Elijah. Says he's going to die. And you would think he would blow this off. Are you kidding me?

I don't care about what she says. No he ran for his life and was depressed and so filled with despair he wanted to die. Wait what? How could he go from Mount Carmel to some cave where he wants to die?

Here's the answer. He was as human as you and I are. Another translation puts it he had feelings just like us. So I bring this up.

Really James brings it up. They say Elijah was flawed. He was as human as we are. Yet he prayed and things happened so you can do the same. You just pray in faith with as much faith as you have. Sometimes people will say the reason you're sick still is you don't have enough faith.

That's wrong. You can come and say Lord with as much faith as I have I pray. And like that man in scripture said Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.

You see? So you just pray. That's what Elijah did.

Final point number seven. Prayerful people are compassionate people. Look at verse 19. My dear brothers and sisters as someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back you can be sure that whoever brings that sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

Wow. What an interesting way to end this great epistle. James is concerned with the person who's walked away from the Lord. By the way not someone who's just slipped up but someone who has deliberately turned their back on God. The phrase here for wandered away has the same Greek word as the word planet. The idea is of someone who like a planet has left their orbit.

Someone that maybe has left something they once knew in an intimate way. And we know people like this. We worshiped with them. We prayed with them. We heard the word of God with them.

We served alongside of them. And one day they walk away. We're thinking what's that all about? You hear this expression today. People are deconstructing their faith. I'm deconstructing.

Hey maybe you never constructed to start with. Did you really have faith? If you had real faith and a real God that is a faith that's going to sustain you through thick and thin. Well I saw hypocrisy.

Okay I'm sorry. Listen I've been a pastor almost 50 years. I've seen hypocrisy. I've seen people fall short. I have seen things that disappoint me deeply among my fellow believers. And I've seen great stories of faith and trust in God and people that have honored the Lord far more of those than the other. Having said all that Jesus Christ has never disappointed me. Jesus Christ has never let me down.

Put your eyes on him. Yeah but Craig you don't understand. My parents they say they're Christians and they're hypocrites. Yeah grow up and move out of your house. You're 40 now. Stop living off your parents. So what if they're hypocrites?

I'm sorry. Pray for them. You're accountable to God for what Christ has said to you. And there are people that do fall away but here's the thing. I believe a person is a true believer. Even if they have a lapse of faith or they fall away from for a time they'll always return to God. And if they don't return to God I suggest to you they were never a believer to begin with. Because John says hey these people left us and if they were with us they would have stayed with us but they left us and it shows they never really were part of us.

That's a loose paraphrase but that's what he said. But a prodigal will always make his way home. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. More and more people are sharing how Pastor Greg's movie Jesus Revolution has impacted them. Pastor Greg I just watched Jesus Revolution and wow I'm touched and stirred up.

I'm literally on fire and desperate for a move of God in this generation. Thank you for sharing your story. After watching Jesus Revolution I've rededicated my life to Jesus. I'm all the way in Pastor Greg. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Praying for you and your ministry and that more people will find Jesus. Would you like to share a comment with Pastor Greg? If so email him. Greg at Harvest dot org.

That's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well we're considering what the Bible says about prodigals. Those who wander from the faith and then come back.

Pastor Greg continues now. So what should we do when a fellow believer falls? Should we confront them? Should we ostracize them? Should we leave them alone? Should we call them out on social media? That's a popular thing to do.

I'm going to post a lot of stuff about them. Do you have all of your facts straight? Have you had a conversation with that person? Are you sure what you're saying is actually true?

What should you do if you know someone that has stumbled and has fallen? Paul gives us some insight in Galatians 6. He says, dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by sin you who are godly should kick them when they're down and tell everyone about their sin. Have you read that verse? No you haven't because it's not in the Bible.

Here's what he actually says. Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by sin you who are godly, listen, gently and humbly help that person back under the right path and be careful to not fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's burdens and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. If you think you're too important to help someone you're only fooling yourself. You're not that important. So when I see someone fall, what do I do?

With humility I go to them, let me help you up. Why? Because it could be you sometime. You could be that person who falls. You could be that person that stumbles.

I could be. We all have the propensity to sin. Hebrews 2, 1 says we must listen carefully to the truth we've heard or we may drift away from it. One of the signs of the end times is an apostasy or a falling away. 1 Timothy 4, 1 says the Spirit tells us in the last times some will turn away from the faith.

Peter turned away from the faith and denied Jesus three times. That all started with a conversation. Jesus was hanging around with Peter and he turns to the fisherman that says, Simon, Simon, Satan has been asking excessively for you by name that you would be taken out of the care and protection of God.

Hey, would you freak out if Jesus said that to you? Hey, Greg. Hey, Mary. Hey, Josh. The devil's been asking for you by name that you would be taken out of God's protection but I prayed for you.

I wonder if Jesus paused for a fact. I prayed for you. And then he says, and when you have returned you'll strengthen your brother. Peter says, there's no way.

They'll all deny you. I will never deny you. Jesus says, well, since you brought it up, before the roosters crow twice you'll deny three times that you knew me. So what did Jesus just say to Peter? Peter, you're going to fall. You're going to fail and you're going to come back and then you're going to help others. Peter says, no, I'm not going to fail.

I'm not going to fall. So he just contradicted Jesus. Never argue with Jesus. Jesus told him what was going to happen. And yes, Peter did fail and he failed big.

But what happened after Christ rose again from the dead? The angelic message was go tell the disciples and who? And Peter, not and Matthew or and James or anybody else. It was and Peter. Why was Peter singled out? Because Peter needed a word of encouragement.

Do you need a word of encouragement? Jesus recommissioned Peter in John chapter 21. And our job is to reconcile people with God.

That's our job. Reconcile people with God. Second Corinthians 5 18 says, God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. Listen, we're Jesus people.

Do you understand what I'm saying? This church was founded in revival. We started around 1972 as the Jesus movement was happening. And we started out as a little Bible study and we were called Jesus people and sometimes we were derisively called Jesus freaks.

I was fine with all of it. Anything with the word Jesus in it, I'm good. We need to be Jesus people. The problem is often Christians are far more known for what they're against than what they're for. They know we're against this, we're against that.

Okay, there's a place for all those things. But I want people to know I'm for Jesus. And I'm a Jesus person and my big focus is I want you to be reconciled to God.

I want you to be in a relationship with God. And if you've stumbled and fallen, I want to help you get up again and get back into alignment with God. That's what I'm called to do. That's what you're called to do. That's what we're called to do. And that's what we're doing. That's what we're all about. That's what we're all about.

That's what we're all about. Our message to our culture is God loves you. He'll change you.

And then we want to lead them into Christ and disciple them. So are you in trouble or in distress? Then pray.

Are you sick? Then pray. Is there a sin to confess? Then confess it and turn from it.

And I want to close with this. is there somebody here that needs to get right with God? The Bible gives us promise. If I'll confess my sin, God is faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. What does it mean to confess my sin? It means to agree with.

That's a literal definition, agree with. And in this context, agree with God. I agree with God and what he says about sin.

He says sin is bad, I say I agree. Let's say you and I go later in the day and we watch the sunset. I say that's a beautiful sunset. You say yes it is. Then we go and have an amazing burger. And I say that was one of the best burgers I've ever had.

And you say I agree, it really was. See, we're in agreement. So God says this is good and I say I agree with you, God. That's good. God says that's bad.

I agree, Lord, that's bad. So to confess my sin means I agree with what the Bible says about sin. If I will confess my sin, he is faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. You don't have to go beat yourself up over it time and time again. You're forgiven. We should not choose to remember what God has chosen to forget. Forgiveness. But here's the thing, when you have not confessed your sin, you have something called guilt that troubles you. And you're wondering, how do I get rid of my guilt?

Maybe the focus should not be getting rid of your guilt as much as it should be on what is causing my guilt. Be like if I'm sick, I go to the doctor. Doc, I've got this pain over here. He goes, well, yeah, that's because of this.

Let's fix that. And your pain goes great. So in the same way I go to God, I've got this guilt.

Well, let's get to the source of it. The reason you feel guilt is because you're guilty. Guilt is not always a bad thing.

And it can be a warning system, right? And so the way to get rid of it is to say, Lord, forgive me for this sin I've committed. And then the guilt is removed, you see. And that's all accomplished with what Jesus did for you on the cross 2,000 years ago when he died for your sins. And then rose again from the dead. And now stands at the door of your life and knocks.

And if you'll hear his voice and open the door, come in. I wanna close with a prayer for any of you to pray to get right with God, to come to the Lord, to know that you'll go to heaven when you die. You can become a child of God. You might say, well, Greg, we're all children of God. No, we aren't.

Where'd you get that? Only a person who has put their faith in Christ is a child of God. We're all created by God. We're all loved by God, but we're not all children of God. The Bible says, for as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become children of God. So you must receive the son of God to become a child of God.

That's how it happens. So if you ask Jesus to come into your life, then you can say, now I'm a child of God. And there's some of you that have strayed.

You've left your orbit. I'm gonna pray with you, too, to come back to the Lord. So let's all pray together. Father, we ask now that you will speak to the heart of every person who needs to be reconciled to you. Maybe it's a person who has never believed in you. Maybe they're hearing this all for the first time, someone that just needs Jesus. Help this be the moment they believe. We pray also for some who have strayed, who are believers, but they've gone off the path.

They need to come back to you again. Lord, would you speak to them as well? For we ask this in Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie, praying an important prayer with those who want to make a change today in the relationship with God. And if you'd like to make that kind of change, Pastor Greg will help you do that before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. Well, Pastor Greg and I are fortunate to have two guests with us today. Pastor Greg's wife, Kathy, and another special guest. Pastor Greg?

I'm in studio with my friend, Shannon Breen, who you probably know as a newscaster. She has her program, Fox News Sunday, but she's also not just a broadcaster, she's a Bible student, and in some ways, a Bible scholar. You know your Bible so well, Shannon. So were you raised as a Christian, and did you learn scripture from your childhood, or did this come later in your life?

I did. My parents divorced when I was very young, and my mom was sort of a baby Christian at that time, so she was growing in her faith, and I was growing in faith. She ended up taking a job in a Christian school as a teacher, and I think that just kind of exploded everything for both of us, because there was constant exposure to scripture, we were very involved in church. As a kid, I was in the Awana program, if people know what that is, which was all about memorizing scripture, and so people were constantly pouring into this little vessel, this little kid, as she was learning what I found is, I've gone back to these stories as an adult, and re-studied them in a deeper, in a different way. Gosh, there are so many gems and nuggets, and new things to learn.

All three of us are probably this way. You go back and read a piece of scripture, and you get new things all the time, so it's a joy to me to learn more about these things, and study them. Well, I love these books you're writing, and your newest, The Love Stories of the Bible Speak, subtitled Biblical Lessons on Romance, Friendship, and Faith is available to our listeners for their gift of any size, to help us continue to teach the word of God, so more people can hear how relevant the scripture is to their lives, and also, we're here to introduce people to Jesus Christ, so you can order your copy of Love Stories of the Bible Speak from Shannon Breen. Yeah, we'll be glad to get this book on its way to you.

The Love Stories of the Bible Speak is our way of showing appreciation for your investment right now, in the work of the ministry here at A New Beginning. Your partnership helps keep Pastor Greg's teaching coming your way here on this station, and many others like it across the country, so we hope to hear from you today. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300, or go online to harvest.org. Well, Pastor Greg, if somebody listening right now knows they need to ask the Lord to forgive them of their sins, and make a fresh start, could you help them with that right now? You know what, Dave, I'd love to do that. It's an amazing thing to me that over the years, I've heard so many stories of people who have come to know Christ listening to this broadcast, and they'll say things like, I prayed that prayer with you at the end of the program. One guy wrote me and said, I pulled my car over to the side of the road, and prayed that prayer, and Christ came into my life.

Just incredible. And I'd like to lead you in that same prayer. Look, I don't have some super special prayer. It's just a basic prayer based on scriptural principles of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ.

I mean, if we wanna get real technical, the only sinner's prayer, if you will, and we often call this prayer a sinner's prayer, the only real sinner's prayer in the Bible is a guy who just prayed, God be merciful to me, a sinner. So I'm gonna lead you in a prayer similar to that, but this is a prayer where you will be acknowledging your need for Jesus and putting your faith in him. So listen, if you want to go to heaven when you die, if you want to know that you are a child of God, if you want the Lord to forgive you of your sins, just pray these words, if you would.

Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, and I'm sorry for my sin, and I turn from that sin, but I know that you died on the cross of Calvary for my sin, and rose again from the dead, so forgive me, Lord. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. I want you to be my Savior.

I want you to be my friend. I want you to be my God. Thank you for hearing my prayer and answering my prayer.

In Jesus' name, I ask this, amen. Now I wanna help you start growing spiritually, so I have something to send you at no charge. It's my gift to you. It's called The New Believer's Packet, and in it is a copy of the New Testament in a very friendly, understandable translation called The New Living Translation. It also has some notes that I wrote, hundreds of notes, actually, that will encourage you in this commitment you've made.

These notes will answer a lot of the questions you probably have right now, and there's some other materials in this packet as well. So order your copy of The New Believer's Packet immediately, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to lead you in that prayer, and I wanted to be the first to say to you, welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and here's how to get that free New Believer's Growth Packet. Just call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300, or go online to harvest.org and click on Know God. Well, next time, Pastor Greg begins a brand new series called Seven Signs of Jesus from the Gospel of John. Some important principles coming for sharing the love of Christ more effectively. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-06 05:36:44 / 2023-07-06 05:49:34 / 13

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