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A Crash Course on Prayer | Access to God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2024 3:00 am

A Crash Course on Prayer | Access to God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 7, 2024 3:00 am

It’s said that Abraham Lincoln had an open-door policy for citizens. They could literally come right into the While House and talk with him. My how things have changed. Today, VIPs are universally unreachable . . . with one notable exception. Our God not only allows us to come to Him, He invites us, in fact He urges us. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us take full advantage of the open door we call prayer.

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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 made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. We'll pray for something once. We don't get it answered in the affirmative. We'll say, well, forget that.

No. If we put so little heart in our prayer, should we expect God to put much heart in answering our prayers? We have to pray with passion. It's said that Abraham Lincoln had an open door policy for citizens. They could literally come right into the White House and talk with him. My, how things have changed.

Today, VIPs are universally unreachable, with one notable exception. Our God not only allows us to come to Him, He invites us. In fact, He urges us. And today on The New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us take full advantage of the open door we call prayer. Why should we pray? 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. And 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. Are there secrets to having your prayers answered in the affirmative? Well let me say, I don't know that they're secrets. They're plainly declared in the Bible.

But they might be 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'll 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. John taught his disciples. Notice the disciples 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, 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, and then that brings me to my next point. If you want God to say yes to your prayers, ask for his will to be done.

Let me repeat that for emphasis. If you want God to say yes to your prayers, ask for his will to be done. Again, Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, your kingdom come, your will be done. Again, our Lord modeled this in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I already mentioned it once. He said to the Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done. Listen, the objective of prayer is not to get God to do what I want him to do, it's to get me into alignment with the will of God. And how do I discover the will of God? By reading the Bible.

Back to one of those earlier principles I mentioned. If you want to be a growing Christian, you must read, study, memorize, and let God's Word impact your life. So listen, prayer is not getting my will in heaven, it's getting God's will on earth. 1 John 5.14 says, this is the confidence we have in him. If we ask anything according to his will, he will hear us and we will have the petitions we brought before him. Listen to this, nothing lies outside of the reach of prayer except that which lies outside of the will of God. Prayer is surrender. It's where I'm surrendering to God. Imagine if you're in a boat and you're headed toward the dock and you throw your rope to the dock and you start pulling yourself in.

Now are you pulling the dock to you or are you pulling yourself to the dock? The same is true of prayer. It's not like I'm getting God to do what I want God to do.

God, you've got to come over here. No, no, Lord, what is your will? Show your will to me. I want to align myself with your will.

Having said that, now we come to personal petition. Verse 3 says, give us this day our daily bread. Isn't it an amazing thing that this almighty, all powerful, all knowing, loving God who created the universe has an interest in us personally? Why would he be concerned about that which concerns me? I don't know the answer, but Job 7.17 says, what is man that you make so much of him that you give him so much attention? I could come up with a lot of reasons, but I think the simplest answer is the reason God cares is because he loves you.

And listen to this, not only does he love you, he loves to bless you. We think God's maybe sort of stingy with the blessings. I'm holding them back. You have to earn them. The very opposite of that, God loves to lavish his blessings upon you. Pour them out upon you. Paul prayed in Ephesians, my prayer is that God will do exceedingly above and beyond that which we can ask or think.

Hasn't that happened for you? Hasn't God gone beyond that which you asked for and blessed you in so many ways? So we say, give me this day my daily bread. Now when we talk about bread, we're talking about his provision.

Now if you're on the keto diet, you say, well, give me this day my daily protein. The idea is just you're asking for God's provision. Bread was a staple of the first century diet, so the idea was, Lord, provide me everything that I need. Food on the table, provide me an income, provide me a roof over my head, provide me everything that I need. And notice it's daily bread, so I come to him on a regular basis. God loves to provide for you.

Call out to him. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. 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 today, Pastor Greg is offering several practical suggestions toward a more successful and rewarding prayer life. It's a message called A Crash Course on Prayer. Number two, you must confess your personal sins. In the Lord's Prayer, as we call it, in this template for all prayer, Jesus said on a regular basis, just as surely as we ask God to provide our daily needs, our daily bread, we should ask him to forgive our sin. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. We all sin more often than we think we sin. The Bible even says if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourself and the truth is not in us. So we need to repent of our sin on a regular basis and say, Lord, forgive me of my sins.

Have you done that recently? I'll tell you this, unconfessed sin can cut off your communication with God, not your relationship. Because every one of us sins.

But it can cut off communication. God says, my ear has not closed that I can't hear you. My hand's not heavy that I can't save you. But your sins have separated you from me. So sin is a barrier. We must confess our sin and in addition to that, we must forgive others. Remember, Jesus says here in Luke 11 four, forgive us our sins and also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Forgiven people should be forgiving people. God has forgiven you, therefore you should forgive others. Listen, forgiveness is the key to all relationships that are healthy and strong. Because we're all going to hurt one another.

Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. We're all going to fall short. We need to learn to keep short accounts and to extend forgiveness. Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham once said, the secret of a good marriage is that both people need to learn how to be good forgivers. Are you harboring a grudge against someone right now? You say, well Greg, they've hurt me. Okay, but when you're harboring the grudge, who's being hurt more, them or you? You're the one carrying that resentment. You're the one being eaten up by your bitterness and anger. And it's time for you to forgive. Not just for their sake, they don't deserve it.

Do it, hey, for your sake. It's been said when you forgive someone, you set a prisoner free yourself. You can get out of that jail of anger and bitterness and be free. Is there someone you need to forgive? The Bible says in Ephesians 4, 32, be kind, tenderhearted toward one another, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you. Okay, one last principle. If you want to see your prayers answered in the affirmative, don't give up.

Don't give up. Let me read a few more verses to you. Luke chapter 11, starting in verse 5. Jesus said, Which of you, if you have a friend, who comes to him at midnight and says to him, Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has come to me on a journey and I have nothing to set before him. And he will answer from within and say, Don't trouble me.

The door is shut and my children are with me in bed. I can't rise and give it to you. I say to you, though he will not rise and give it to him because he's his friend, because of his persistence, he will rise and give him as much as he needs. And so Jesus now concludes and says, So I say, Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you will find.

Knock and the door shall be opened to you. Be persistent in your prayer. Often a prayer will pray for something once. We don't get it answered in the affirmative. We'll say, Forget that.

No. Jesus is telling us to keep asking. It's interesting this phrase that he uses here, Ask and then Seek and then Knock.

There's an ascending intensity in these words. Ask, Seek, Knock. Ask implies just requesting attention, sort of like when you're in a restaurant. Have you ever noticed that you can't find the server when you want to order? But then when you're not ready, right in the middle of a conversation, can I take your order? Oh, well, we're not sure.

We'll have iced tea. And then they leave you for one month or something like that. So you need their attention so they're walking by. Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me.

Could you help me? That's asking. See, it's polite. But then the next word is Seek. That means asking plus action.

Like, I really need you to come over here and help me right now. You're taking it to the next level. And finally, there's Knock. That speaks of persevering.

The stacking of these words is extremely forceful. It could better be translated keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. So I come to the Lord and I'm praying about this. But I'm going to keep praying. I'm going to pray again. I'm going to pray again. I'm going to pray again.

Listen to this. If we put so little heart in our prayer, should we expect God to put much heart in answering our prayers? We can't just offer some flippant, save the world, Lord, and move on.

We have to pray with passion. In the book of Acts, chapter 12, there's a story of when James was put to death by King Herod. And then he arrested Peter.

Without question, Peter was next. He'd be the next martyr of the church. And in Acts 12, we read this powerful verse. Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

I love that. Constant prayer. Not just a one-off prayer. They prayed over and over and over. They kept asking, they kept seeking, they kept knocking. Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. So they prayed together. There's power when we pray together. So don't give up.

I know some of you have been praying about something for a long time. Don't give up. Maybe you're single and you wonder if the Lord's ever going to provide that husband or wife. Don't give up on that. Maybe you've been trying to have children and you feel like it'll never happen. Well, don't give up on that dream.

Maybe you have a heart to start a ministry someday and you think, well, it will never happen. Keep praying about it. Don't give up.

Maybe you have a prodigal son or daughter who's wandered away and they just seem to get harder with each year that passes. Don't give up. Keep seeking. Keep asking. Keep knocking.

Be persistent. Keep praying. Only a Christian can have a prayer life. Anybody can pray. Even an atheist can pray. But only a Christian can have what we would call this prayer life that God wants us all to have. But the reality is we're all separated from God by our sin.

But the good news is 2,000 years ago God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to be born in a manger, to tend to live a perfect life, then to die for us on the cross and rise again from the dead so we could have a relationship with God and that communication we have with him is through prayer. Jesus told a story, and I'll close with this. Of two men that went to pray, one was described as a Pharisee. That would be someone who was very religious, someone who knew the Bible very well, and also a person who seemed to be pretty self-righteous. And then a tax collector or a publican went to pray with him. Two men, one outwardly perceived as a religious dude, the other perceived as the low-life non-believer. And the religious man, the Pharisee, prayed this, God, I thank you that I'm not like other men. Man, you know your prayers are messed up when you say something like that. And he went on to boast of all that he did. I fast twice a week, I give tithes at all that I possess, blah, blah, blah.

Guess what? His prayer was not heard by God. Meanwhile, that sinner who knew he was a sinner simply said this to God, God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

And a better translation would be, God, be merciful to me, the sinner. He knew he was the worst of the lot. He wouldn't even lift his eyes up. He just beat his chest.

He was so ashamed. Jesus said, that man, speaking of the sinner, went away justified, not the other man, because his heart was in the right place. Listen, God knows you're a sinner, and you know you're a sinner.

And God has a solution for your sin, and it's forgiveness through his son, Jesus Christ. If you will turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus, he will come and take residence in your heart. Jesus Christ, who died on that cross and rose again from the dead, stands at the door of your life, and he knocks, and he says, if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. Would you like Jesus to come into your life right now?

Would you like him to forgive you of your sin? Would you like this relationship with God where you can start having a prayer life? It can happen through prayer. And in a moment, I'd like to lead you in the simplest of prayers. And I would ask you to pray it after me. You can pray it out loud if you like.

You can pray it quietly. But just pray this prayer to God. If you want Christ to come and live inside of you, and if you want this relationship with the Lord, bow your head with me right now and pray these words, if you would. 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.

Jesus, come into my life now. 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. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie today here on A New Beginning. And if you've just prayed with Pastor Greg and asked Jesus to forgive your sins and be your Savior, we'd like to offer some help as you get started living as a believer. Let us send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. It's full of hundreds of study helps for those who are new to the faith.

Literally millions of people have this Bible. Let us send it to you. It's free of charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg.

Just go to harvest.org and click on Know God. Or talk with one of our operators by calling 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7.

Again, dial 1-800-821-3300. Now in just a moment, Pastor Greg will come back to introduce us to a special guest he has in the studio with us today, so stay tuned. Well, today's message wraps up Pastor Greg's series called Faith 101, a crash course on the Christian life.

You can listen to any of the previous messages in the series by going to harvest.org. Greg Laurie here in studio with my good friend Lee Strobel who's written a brand new book titled Is God Real? You want to get your hands on this book because it's going to bolster your faith and it's going to be a great tool to use to share the gospel with other people and to answer the hard questions that they may ask you. You could even share the book itself with them. And Lee, in your book you talk about something called the apologetics pyramid.

Yeah. What is that exactly and how does it point toward Christianity being true? Well, this started out when I was a teaching pastor at a church in Chicago and I had just given a message on the evidence for the resurrection. And a man came up to me and said, Hey, I'm an atheist, but what you said is very interesting. Could we get together this week and I could ask you more questions? And I said, I'd love to, but I'm leaving for Europe in the morning and I will be gone for several weeks, but my friend Chad Meister will be glad to meet with you. And so Chad Meister, who at the time was part of our apologetics ministry at the church, said, Sure, I'll be glad to have dinner with you.

Why don't you come over to my house? Well, Chad, who today, by the way, is a PhD in philosophy and one of the leading apologists in the world, said, How am I going to deal with this atheist? And so he came up with this idea of a pyramid.

You know how a pyramid is shaped. And he said, I'm going to start with the broadest question. What is truth? And then I'll move on to the next level, which is what are the possible world views? And then from there we'll look at theism, the assertion that there is a God, and then we'll look at revelation, the Bible, and then we'll look at resurrection, and then the tip of the pyramid would be the gospel. And so he brings this man over to his house.

They have dinner. At 7 o'clock they begin going through this pyramid, and by 11 o'clock that night this atheist is now a follower of Jesus Christ. So I interviewed Chad in the book about this pyramid, and we go through it in detail in the book, and it's fascinating because he points out there are only really three world views. There's atheism, there is no God. There's pantheism, everything is God. Or there's theism, there is one God.

And so we analyze those three world views from two perspectives. Are they livable and are they logical? And in doing so we come to the conclusion that only theism, the idea that there is a God, survives those tests. Because, for instance, atheism, when you think about it, is not really livable. Because if atheism is true, there is no universal right and wrong. Well, we can't function as a society, as a culture, if there is no universal right and wrong. And yet we know there is universal right and wrong.

It is wrong to torture a baby for fun. We would all agree to that. And so there is universal right and wrong, and that's because God exists. And so we analyze these different world views and come to the conclusion that the only one that really survives livability and logic is the idea that there is a God. And then through the resurrection and through the Bible we establish that Christianity is the only one that survives. And the gospel, of course, then is the peak of the pyramid where people realize that they can have a personal relationship with the God of the universe if they repent of their sins, if they reach out and receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased for them on the cross, and they become a child of God, according to John 1.12. And that sort of completes the pyramid process. But it's a fascinating journey that we go through in the book to kind of weed out these other options and show they're not livable, really, and they're not logical.

They were internally contradictory. So you're listening to Lee Strobel, the author of a brand new book titled Is God Real? And he's been discussing the apologetics pyramid. So if you want to know how to better share your faith with others and answer those difficult questions, you want to get a copy of this book, and we're offering it to you this month for your gift of any size. So whatever you send to us, we will use it to continue to teach the Word of God as we do here in The New Beginning and proclaim the gospel. So we encourage you to be generous and send in that gift, and we'll send you your copy of Is God Real? by Lee Strobel.

Yeah, that's right. It's such a substantial collection of information, with so many convincing arguments for the existence of God and the validity of our faith. So let us send you Is God Real? to thank you for your partnership with us right now. You can call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg presents a practical study of the Gospel of Mark called The Gospel for Busy People. 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 / 2024-03-07 05:08:38 / 2024-03-07 05:19:38 / 11

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