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A Crash Course on Prayer | The Solution for Worry

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 6, 2024 3:00 am

A Crash Course on Prayer | The Solution for Worry

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 6, 2024 3:00 am

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

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

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. It's not hard to get overwhelmed with life and its many troubles. Well, coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie has some good encouragement from the Word of God. Life is full of troubles, isn't it?

So we need help. And the Bible says, don't worry about anything. Pray about everything. And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

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

What shadow is looming over you right now? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie continues a series called Faith 101, a crash course on the Christian life. We'll tackle the problem of worry and anxiety. Pastor Greg points out the Lord has given us a very powerful tool that will help us that will help us put our worries to rest. I heard the story of a young man who was raised in a crazy way, had a very chaotic childhood. He spent a great deal of his time living with his grandparents because his mother didn't really have much time for him. And then that young man got older and he himself made some bad decisions and found himself in a drug lifestyle. Well, as it turns out, he would hang out with a little group of guys and they would walk around and they happened to walk past the home of a pastor and his wife every single day. So the pastor's wife would look out the window at these kids and she started praying for them and she prayed that one of those kids would come to Christ, even more than one. But she kept praying that and then one of those kids went and ended up hearing the gospel on his high school campus and gave his life to Jesus Christ. By the way, that kid was me and the pastor was Chuck Smith and his wife was Kay Smith. And so I bring this up because every one of us probably had someone pray for us to believe in Jesus. It might have been a mom or a dad or a grandparent or a son or a daughter or a spouse or a sibling or maybe a complete stranger. But I bring this up to point out to you there is power in prayer. And it is one of the things that we fail to take advantage of as often as we should. So I want to talk to you about prayer.

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

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

Sometimes God says yes to us. And remember this is a series that we're doing called Faith 101. We're going over the basics of what every Christian needs to know.

Let me review what we have already seen together. Number one, if you want to be a growing Christian, and by the way you never outgrow this, but if you want to be a growing believer you must love, read, study, meditate on, and memorize the Bible. That is absolutely essential. As I've said before, failure or success in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. Number two, if you want to be a successful and growing Christian you must share your faith. Jesus has told us all to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

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

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

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

Listen. You need the church and the church needs you. I know the church is flawed. I know the church has its shortcomings. But it's the only organization if you will that Jesus set up when he walked this earth.

And of the church he said, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Now point number four, if you want to be a growing Christian you must have a prayer life. And I want to share with you seven things that you need to know about prayer. What is prayer? Prayer is basically hearing from and communicating with God. And there are different kinds of prayer identified for us in the Bible. I'm going to have you turn to two passages in my message in this time. One is going to be Ephesians 6 and the other is Luke chapter 11. So let's look at Ephesians 6. One simple verse.

Action packed. Here it is. Ephesians 6 18 says, Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. So here's my first point. We should pray always. It says all prayer. We should pray publicly. We should pray privately. We should pray verbally. We should pray silently. We should pray kneeling. We should pray standing. We should we should pray lying down and sitting down.

Those are all valid positions to take when you are praying. And by the way you can pray with your eyes open and you can pray with your eyes closed. You know we read of Jesus lifting up his eyes and praying. I think somehow we feel one's eyes must always be closed in prayer. Have you ever been with a gathering of Christians and maybe praying for a meal and and someone says well let's pray. So everyone closes their eyes and and you open your eyes and you see somebody else with their eyes open and you make eye contact and you're both embarrassed and you close your eyes. Like you can open your eyes in prayer.

It's okay. You can pray when you drive. Maybe you really should pray when you drive. Definitely keep your eyes open when you do that. A while ago our granddaughter Stella she was much younger than we were praying. We were having a hamburger and fries and as we were praying I saw her eyes were closed but she was eating a french fry with her eyes closed.

So it's okay. Open your eyes. Close your eyes. Stand. Kneel. Sit.

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

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

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

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

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

Are you known to be a man or a woman of prayer? And he had some enemies that wanted to bring him down. They were jealous of his power and influence on the king. So they realized there were no scandals in his life. There were no skeletons in his closet. In fact instead he was praying in his closet.

So they decided that the only way they could bring him down was if it had something to do with him and his God. And they knew that Daniel had this amazing habit. Every day he prayed. Not just once.

Not just twice. Three times a day he would pray. He would get on his knees. Open up his windows. And he would pray.

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

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

So basically it was now illegal to pray. So what did Daniel do? He said huh interesting. Time to pray by the way.

He went home as he always did. He got down on his knees and he prayed to God. But it is interesting what it says. It says that when he went to offer his prayer in Daniel chapter 6 he went home, knelt down as usual, opened his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed three times a day as he always had done giving thanks to God. Isn't that interesting? Giving thanks to God you would have understood if it would have said and Daniel got on his knees and freaked out crying out to God for deliverance.

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

So we should pray. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from so many people who find Christ through the harvest crusades like this woman. Pastor Greg I grew up going to church as a child with my family on a military post.

As an adult I married into a military family and my husband and I were stationed in California. One day some of the other military wives invited me to one of your harvest crusades. It was there that I heard for the first time what a true relationship with Jesus Christ was. I can't thank you enough.

You have touched so many lives including mine and you're a blessing to so many. Thanks Pastor Greg. Do you have a story to share with Pastor Greg?

If so email him and tell him about it. Send it to greg at harvest dot org. Again that's greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well we're learning important lessons on the value of prayer today as Pastor Greg continues his series Faith 101 a crash course on the Christian life. Why should we pray? Number one we should pray because Jesus told us to. We should pray because Jesus told us to. Jesus said in Luke 18 verse 1 men should always pray and not give up.

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

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

Now consider this. Jesus was God. And if Jesus who was God felt it was necessary for him to pray how much more important is it for us you and me sinful human beings to pray as well. So again point number one we should pray because Jesus told us to. Now if it were extremely difficult to pray maybe one could understand why we're reluctant. For instance let's say every time we prayed a prayer it was the equivalent of getting a root canal.

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

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

Now I don't want you to misunderstand this. This is not the only reason we should pray. But if we fail to see this we're missing out on a great blessing. The Bible says in James 4 to you have not because you ask not. Now think about this for a moment. Are you facing something right now where you need help. Maybe you're thinking why is it that I always just have enough to get by. I never have more.

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

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

They're not interested in following Jesus. What can I do. Hey have you prayed about it. You have not because you ask not. You ask why is it that I never know God's will for my life.

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

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

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

Turn it over to the Lord. So as you can see prayer is not an option it's a necessity. We all have prayed prayers that are not answered in the affirmative and we've wondered why.

Listen to this. If the request is wrong God says no. If the timing is wrong God says slow.

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

They are plainly declared in the Bible. But they might be a secret to some because they haven't read the Bible. So let me try to unlock some secrets if you will to unanswered prayers or why our prayers are not answered. And we will find those answers in what is often called the Lord's Prayer in Luke chapter 11. I love the Lord's Prayer.

Most of us know it by heart. It's a prayer that we usually pull out in case of emergency sort of like behind glass break it out this is a big one. Let's pray the Lord's Prayer.

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

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

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

Amen. The Lord's Prayer. Now we could just as easily call it the disciples prayer. The Bible never calls it the Lord's Prayer. Jesus never had to pray this prayer himself because he never had to say to the Father forgive me my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against us.

So it's really for us more. But right out of the gate in the Lord's Prayer we'll call it that we discover this. That we need to acknowledge the greatness of God. It doesn't say our Father who art in heaven give us this day our daily bread.

It says our Father who art in heaven hallowed be your name your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So our prayer should start if you have the luxury of time. Now let's just say that you're out swimming and a great white shark is coming at you quickly you can just pray help and cut to the chase. Okay but under normal circumstances when you have a little time contemplate the power awesomeness and greatness of God.

Why? Because when you see God in his greatness you'll see your problems in their relative smallness. If you have a big God you have small problems. If you have big problems is your God too small? I'm not in any way not acknowledging that you might be facing a real crisis right now. I simply want to say this to you God is bigger than your problem. Christ is greater than your crisis.

So pray and when you pray take time to think about the power and awesomeness of God. Today on A New Beginning some practical insight on prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. He has more to come in this message called A Crash Course on Prayer. You know Pastor Greg of course prayer is also the way we approach God to begin a relationship with him. We can freely come to him and ask him to forgive our sins.

That's right. If you would speak to the person listening who would like to do just that. Listen if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you go to heaven when you die just pray this prayer right now after me. Just pray Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord as my God and my friend in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Amen. And listen if you have just prayed that prayer and meant those words sincerely we want to welcome you into the family of God and let us help you get started walking each day with the Lord. Pastor Greg wants to send you his New Believer's Bible absolutely free along with some other helpful resources. They'll help answer your questions and get you started off right as you live for God each day. Just let us know you prayed with Pastor Greg and you want the New Believer's Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime again at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words know God. And then we're happy to have New York Times best-selling author Lee Strobel with us today.

He's written a new book called Is God Real and we're so pleased to make it available to you right now. Pastor Greg. Hey Lee when people say they're atheists because you used to actually be an atheist but do you think most people really are that or do they say that as a way to get Christians to leave them alone and stop talking. That's a great question Greg.

Here's my feeling about this. You know back when I was an atheist back in the 70s and early 80s it was embarrassing. You just didn't admit that. Nowadays it's culturally popular.

It's the in thing to be. It is harder to come out these days as an evangelical Christian than as an atheist because culture will support you in your atheism. Oh yeah well sure you know you're smart so you must not believe in God and so forth. So I think a lot of people who say they're atheists have not really looked into the evidence number one and number two most of them when you press them are really agnostic. They don't know one way or the other really whether God exists.

They're kind of in spiritual neutral. Explain the difference between an atheist and agnostically. Yeah an atheist says there is no God and when you think about that you would have to be God to be an atheist because the only way to know for a fact there is no God is to have all knowledge.

The only one who has all knowledge is God himself so it's really a self-defeating kind of position. Agnosticism says that I'm not sure. I'm kind of hung up between I know and I don't know. I've got doubts. I've got questions and I think that's where most people are but they're encouraged by the culture to kind of go to sink deeper into their skepticism these days and that's why I tell parents don't freak out when your college kid comes home at Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever and says I'm now an atheist. Don't freak out. That's the popular thing to do these days. Keep praying for them.

Keep reaching out to them. Maybe give them a copy of this book for a birthday present or something but I think most people who these days say they're atheists are just spiritually confused. Well you're listening to Lee Strobel. He's talking about his brand new book titled Is God Real?

It was C.S. Lewis who once said quote, even atheists have moments of doubt and so those people that you may know who say they're atheists may in fact not be atheists at all but whatever they are this book is going to help to answer questions they have if they really want to know answers. So whatever you're able to send in that will ensure that we will continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God through this radio broadcast and it will be our privilege to send back to you a copy of this book that we've just been discussing Is God Real? by author Lee Strobel. So Dave tell them how they can get a copy for themselves.

Yeah it's easy to do. Just get in touch by calling 1-800-821-3300 and let us know you want a copy of Is God Real? As Pastor Greg said we're sending this to thank you for your support of this ministry and of these daily studies in God's word. So again call 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or you can just go online to harvest.org. Hey everybody I want to encourage you to check out the new Harvest Plus app. It's on Roku, Apple TV, and Google Play among others and you can stream incredible content on all major platforms for free. You're going to find live events, our evangelistic films like A Rush of Hope, Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon, Steve McQueen The Salvation of an American Icon, and our newest film Fame. Plus our tv programs, our podcast Harvest at Home, and a lot more.

Stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Well next time more insight on the crucial role prayer plays in the life of the believer, the finale to the series Faith 101. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. 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 / 2024-03-06 05:24:48 / 2024-03-06 05:35:08 / 10

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