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In Case of Emergency | God Answers Our Prayers

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2024 3:00 am

In Case of Emergency | God Answers Our Prayers

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 23, 2024 3:00 am

Because of the deluge of robocalls we all get, if an unfamiliar number pops up on the phone, many people just don’t answer. Who wants those calls? Do we feel like we’re an unfamiliar number popping up God’s phone when we call on Him in prayer? Do we wonder if He’ll pick up the phone? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that God not only answers the phone, He answers our requests. We’re not an unfamiliar number at all. We’re family.

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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 For His Son, He loves you. He lights up when you walk into the room. He wants to hear from you. He wants to talk to you.

He wants to spend time with you. This is your Father who will always be there. Your Father in Heaven. Because of the deluge of robocalls we all get, if an unfamiliar number pops up on the phone, many people just don't answer. Who wants those calls? Well, do we feel like we're an unfamiliar number popping up on God's phone when we call on Him in prayer? Do we wonder if He'll pick up the phone? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out God not only answers the phone, He answers our requests. We're not an unfamiliar number at all.

No, we're family. I want to talk about prayer and having your prayers answered today in my message that is titled, In Case of Emergency. And I want you to turn to Matthew chapter 6.

Matthew chapter 6, In Case of Emergency is the title. And God hears our prayers and God wants to answer our prayer. Prayer is not just petition, though it includes that. Prayer is not just worship, though it includes that as well. So prayer can also be, dare I say it, complaining. There are psalms in the Bible that we call psalms of lamentation, to lament, where you're crying out to God.

You're not happy about something. I guess our closest form of music today might be someone singing the blues or a lot of country songs actually. I was just watching a special last night on the history of country music and how many of those songs have the most interesting titles. They came across these actual country songs. I'm not making any of these up.

These are real songs. Here's one. She got the gold mine and I got the shaft. Yeah.

That's a modern song of lamentation right there. How about this one? You stuck my heart in an old tin can and shot it off a log. Yeah. Good. Here's another one. How come your dog don't bite nobody but me? And here's another. You done tore out my heart and stomped the sucker flat.

And it may be the weirdest of all, you're the reason our kids are so ugly. So Hank Williams, he's a well-known person in country music. He had his song, I'm so lonesome I could cry. And he sings, hear that lonesome whippoorwill.

He sounds too blue to fly. The midnight train is whining low. I'm so lonesome I could cry. Hey, if it's a country song, you got to have a train in there somewhere, right? Well, the psalmist had his own country song, so to speak. Psalm 44, 23. He says, wake up, O Lord. Why do you sleep? Get up. Do not reject us forever. Why do you look the other way? Rise up and help us, Lord.

I thought, wow, if that was a country song, maybe you would call it my heart is aching for you to be waking. I mean, I don't know. But here's the point I'm making. He was being honest to God. Lord, honestly, it seems like you're asleep right now. It seems like you're not paying attention. Wake up, Lord.

Hear our cry. It's not always a bad thing to complain to God, to bring your concerns to God, to bring your questions to God, to bring your pain and sadness to God. Even Jesus, as he hung on the cross, cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Someone suggests Jesus was having a crisis of faith. How ridiculous.

It was the opposite. It was a moment where he was dying for the sin of the world, and he was simply describing what was happening as God the Father turned his holy face away and poured the sin of all humanity on Christ, who had never committed a single sin. So Jesus cries out in anguish, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But Jesus was forsaken, so I might be forgiven.

But here's the point. Jesus said, my God, my God. He was crying out to the Father, and you can do the same thing when you're in pain, when you're hurting. You should pray. You should pray when you're happy. You should pray when you're sad. You should pray when you're confused. You should pray when you have complaints. James 5 13 says, is any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Is any of you happy?

You should sing praises. Well, let me ask you this. Have you ever been in what appeared to be an impossible situation with no way out?

Let me restate that question. Are you in, right now, an impossible situation with no way out? Or have you ever desperately needed or even wanted something, but it seemed there was no way you would ever have it?

Have you ever thought there was no future for you, and for you it was just too late? If so, you need to know more about the power of God and what can take place through prayer. For one thing certainly stands out in the pages of Scripture is that prayer can dramatically change situations, people, and on occasion even the course of nature itself. But the thing that prayer changes the most is us.

God will allow hardship and difficulty in our life so He can reveal Himself and put His power on glory on display for those who are watching. Because when we pray, we're acknowledging our weakness and we're acknowledging our need for the help of God. Maybe that's why we don't pray as much as we ought to.

I mean, I don't know about you. I need to pray more. How many of you feel you need to pray more?

Yeah. How many of you feel you pray enough? Just don't raise your hand. There might be someone. There might be someone. But I think we all know we could pray more. But prayer is an admission of weakness on our part.

And some people don't like to admit they have need, especially men. And why is that? Simple answer. They're stupid.

Well, let me restate that. We're stupid at times if we don't think we need God. I mean, after all, who is the strongest man who ever lived? Don't give me a superhero name. Maybe Samson. Well, the real answer is the strongest man who ever lived was Jesus Christ Himself. And we read repeatedly in the gospel that Jesus prayed and He prayed a lot. He would spend the night in prayer. He would rise up early while the disciples were still sleeping and pray as well. And as the crucifixion approached, He turned to the Father in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and said, Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done. Now, I don't think anyone has ever gotten this right in a film. Because usually when they show Jesus in Gethsemane, He's just saying, Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from Me.

It's not the way it was. He was in anguish. He was crying out in pain as He said these words over in Hebrews 5-7. It says, during the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and pleadings, listen, with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death. And He was heard because of His reverent submission.

Loud cries and tears. There's a place for that too in prayer. And it's implied in the original language.

He said it over and over. So in other words, He didn't just pray one time, Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass. But it was more like, Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass. Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass. Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from Me.

Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done. And Dr. Luke adds a detail that He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. So Jesus prayed a lot. And if Jesus, who was God, prayed a lot, you and I need to pray a lot too. And in this passage before us, He gives us a prayer.

We often call it the Lord's Prayer. Now imagine if you could go to an elite university and have a class taught by the finest person in that field from all of history. For instance, you could study music under Beethoven or Tiny Tim. I just threw that in to see if you're listening. How many of you have ever heard of Tiny Tim? Google him.

No. But that was a joke. Or how about this? Have a drama class taught by Shakespeare. Be taught political science by Thomas Jefferson. How about a philosophy class taught by C.S.

Lewis. Well, we would like that because they're experts in the field. How about this? A class on prayer taught by Jesus Christ. That sounds good to me.

I'd be in that class. Who knows more about prayer than Jesus? And so that's what we're going to look at here in just a moment. The disciples came to Him. They said, Lord, we have a question. Would You teach us how to pray? Now there's a lot of things they could have asked Jesus. One of them could have said, Lord, I'm having a big family reunion. Can You show me how to do the multiplying of the loaves and fish miracle?

That would really make my life easier and I wouldn't have to go to Costco and buy all that food. Another might say, Lord, I'm taking a girl out on a date. Could You show me how to walk on water?

That would really impress her. No. They come and say, Lord, we've watched You. We've observed You. And we're asking You if You would teach us how to pray. And the fact is that Jesus gave them this prayer which shows prayer is something that can be taught. You need to be taught how to pray. And sometimes you are taught by watching others do it. And you're taught, of course, by reading Scripture. And there's certain principles that you can engage when you pray. Now we call this the Lord's Prayer and there's nothing wrong with calling it that.

The Bible never addresses it as such. I don't think it really was a prayer Jesus Himself prayed. You say, well, of course He did.

No, actually He didn't. Because Jesus would never need to pray, Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us because Jesus never sinned. If you want to read the real Lord's Prayer, the prayer that only Christ could pray later on, this is for extra credit. I'll give you a little gold star if you do it.

Remember gold stars from school? That's a long time ago. But John 17. That is the Lord's Prayer.

It's rather long. It's a prayer only Christ could pray. This could better be described as the disciples prayer or maybe the template for prayer.

But call it what you like. We think of it as the Lord's Prayer. It's a model for all prayer. Sort of like when you want to buy a home and maybe you go to a track and the homes aren't built yet and you have those model homes.

You ever walk into those model homes and you go and there's pictures of people that don't live there. And, you know, it's supposed to feel like this is a home of a person. Well, this is a model prayer. This is a template for all prayer.

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, we're considering the importance of prayer today and how to follow Jesus model for effective prayer laid out in what we call the Lord's Prayer. And a special word of thanks to our Harvest partners for making today's study possible. I'm going to be reading from Matthew six versus nine to 14, and I'll tell you what, I want us all to do this out loud together. This is the New King James Version.

Let's read it together in this manner. Therefore, pray our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Isn't that a beautiful prayer? I love that. The Lord's Prayer.

Now we think of this maybe as the big gun. In case of emergency, break glass and pray this prayer. There's nothing wrong with that. If you're in a moment of crisis and you just say our Father who art in heaven that's okay, you pray that prayer. You're having a hard time getting to sleep at night, just go through that prayer. Think about that prayer. Ponder that prayer.

That's all good. But it's not just the big gun so to speak. It's not just the in case of emergency prayer. As I said, it's a model for prayer.

So here's point number one if you're taking notes. You have complete access to the creator of the universe through prayer. You have complete and total access and all stage paths if you will to the creator of the universe through prayer. Let's start at the beginning.

Our Father who art in heaven. Let's apply this to the presidency. You could say our president in Washington D.C. Now let's say you wanted to talk to the president.

You wanted to talk to him about something he said or did or whatever it might be. And so you called the White House and you said, hello I'm an American citizen and I want to speak to the president. I doubt you're going to get through to the Oval Office.

Now let's just say you are the daughter or the son or maybe the grandchild of the president. You don't need to go through the White House operator. You probably have his personal digits. So you just call him and you say, Dad I need to ask you a question.

That's called access. That's a relationship we're talking about here. This is God Almighty but I have I have him on speed dial. I have his private number. I can access him anytime I want. I remember when I first was getting to know Billy Graham and he invited me to his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Montreat is outside of Asheville. And it was a beautiful humble log home decorated by his wife Ruth. And she was cooking something on the stove and I just walked in. And to me he was you know the greatest evangelist who ever lived. And as a young evangelist I was just so impressed by everything.

And I would just take it all in. And I remember I'd be talking with him and I'd say, Well Dr. Graham. And he'd say, Don't call me Dr. Graham. Call me Billy.

And I'd say, Right. So Dr. Graham you know it was hard for me to call him Billy. I had too much respect. And Billy you know that's kind of that's Southern. They're Billy, Johnny you know. They put Y's and I E's on a lot of their names. So it just felt too personal to call a man named William Billy.

Like really? No he said, Call me Billy. So I finally got around to calling him that. But his family they had an even more intimate name. It was Daddy. In the South it's Daddy. And Mama.

Not Father, Mother or even Dad and Mom. Daddy. And his grandkids called him Daddy Bill. And that's what I used to call my grandfather not Daddy Bill. But Daddy Charles. And my grandmother was Mama Stella.

Because they were from Arkansas. So this is an intimacy. Now I don't have the right to call him Daddy Bill.

But I did have the right to call him Billy. That is relationship. Now we have relationship with God.

And we have access to God. You know the other day my son Jonathan was saying something before I spoke. And he said, Well you know Pastor Greg. I said afterwards, Why are you calling me Pastor Greg? I mean.

He goes, Oh I want to be respectful. Just say Dad. It's okay.

You can say that. And you know my grandkids. If I'm in a room and I'm talking to someone and my grandkids come running up to me.

Sorry. Our conversation is going to be put on pause and I'm going to talk to my grandchild. That's relationship. Okay you have relationship with God. You're his daughter. You're his son. He loves you. He lights up when you walk into the room. He wants to hear from you. He wants to talk to you.

He wants to spend time with you. It's never a drudgery. It's always a delight. And the same should be true for us. Our father who art in heaven. Well okay our father. Father. What kind of a father is he? Well he's a good good father. And why is he a good good father?

Because we read about it in scripture. If you want to know what the father in heaven is like just look at Jesus. Jesus said in John 14 9 he that has seen me has seen the father.

Alright. What was Jesus like? Well Jesus was approachable. Little children were drawn to him. He blessed them. Look at the tears streaming down his face as he's at the grave of his friend Lazarus.

Look at him getting down on his hands and knees and washing the feet of the disciples including Judas in the upper room. Look at that picture that Jesus gave us of the father and the story of the prodigal son. Where God the father is presented as a dad. A father who misses his wayward son and longs for his return.

And then when the boy makes his way back home the father can't wait to see him and bolts from his chair and runs to his son and throws his arms around him. And shows deep affection to him and says this my son was dead but he's alive again. This is your father in heaven. A father who will always be there. A father who listens.

A father who loves us. Your father in heaven. You say but that's a problem in heaven. Heaven is so far away.

I need someone here on earth. Well for starters God is omnipresent. Which means present everywhere so He isn't heaven in here. But is heaven really that far away? I think we think you know here's the sky and now here's the solar system and now here's the third heaven and it's just so so far.

And maybe in a sense that's true. But in another sense heaven is closer than you realize. Heaven is another dimension.

It's a supernatural realm. So for the father in heaven to step into your world is nothing to him. He's here. My father who art in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So God is deeply involved and deeply concerned about what you're facing right now.

If it concerns you it concerns him. Some practical encouragement today from Pastor Greg Laurie about the way God the Father responds to our prayers. And there's much more to come from this study here on A New Beginning called In Case of Emergency. You know prayer is such a vital component of a healthy Christian life. And really prayer actually helps us begin the Christian life. Have you ever prayed and asked the Lord to be your Savior? To forgive your sins and to give you an eternity in heaven? Pastor Greg has some further thoughts to share. So as you've been listening today maybe you've thought to yourself, Man I wish I had this relationship with God that is being talked about.

Well you can. He's only a prayer away. You see becoming a Christian it doesn't take years. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't even take hours. It can happen in a moment. That's how it happened for me. I just heard the gospel and all of a sudden I realized this is all true.

And maybe you've realized that as well. Let me ask you. Would you like Jesus Christ to come into your life? Would you like him to forgive you of your sin? Would you like this relationship with God we've been talking about today?

If so why don't you just pray a simple prayer with me. Say this to God. 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 I turn from my sin. And I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As my Savior and Lord. As my God and friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer. And I ask this in Jesus name. Amen. Hey did you just pray that prayer?

If so I want to send you at no charge. What we call a New Believers Bible. Here's Dave to tell you more. And let me just say congratulations. You've made the right decision.

Yeah that's right. And to help you begin to live this new life walking with the Lord. Let us send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. It's the perfect resource for someone who's new to the faith. We'll send it free of charge if you'll just contact us and request it. Call 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to and click Know God. Well Pastor Greg we're so glad to have our friend author Jay Warner Wallace with us today. I noticed that Jim not only graduated from the Sheriff's Academy. But years earlier, I don't know if you know this Greg. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Design. Oh wow. And a Masters degree in Architecture from UCLA.

Yes. So early on he got a higher education for his right brain, the creative side. And then later he educated his left brain, the analytical side.

And both sides of his brain are smarter than either of us. That's my conclusion. That's what the evidence points to I think.

I seriously doubt that. Well let me ask you, in your book, the new book, The Truth and True Crime, you describe 15 different investigations and the lessons learned from them. Which one of those 15 investigations impacted you the most do you think? Well some of these aspects we talk about in the book. We talk about, for example, financial stewardship.

We talk about marriage, fathers. We talk about a lot of practical aspects of human flourishing that are described on the pages of Scripture. But now we're kind of just discovering these, right? These secular studies are just discovering the power of these things. Yet these have been very ancient claims.

I'll say one thing that surprises me. It turns out that there's one attribute of human flourishing that has a tendency to improve almost every aspect of your life. From your physical health, your longevity, from your mental health, the rates of suicide and depression go down if you adopt this attribute. You will become a better learner. You'll get better grades in school. You'll actually become a better discerner of facts if you adopt this attitude. You'll be a far better employee and a far better employee or you'll have deeper relationships.

I mean just about every aspect that you can measure. Okay, let's stop right now. Dave, we need a drum roll right now because this is big.

I'm excited to hear about this attribute that will improve everything. This crescendo. Yeah. Let's go drum roll. The reveal. Here it comes. Here it is.

Ready? Here it comes. It is humility. And it's weird because these studies have really been collected now.

I'd say about 25 years of studies that have shown this. And this is perhaps the central claim, the central attribute of Christianity if you think about it, right? Number one, you've got tons of examples in scripture of people who adopted and showed humility. When Paul says in Philippians to have this attitude in yourselves, which is also in Christ Jesus, he's talking about an attitude of servant humility. Jesus talks about this explicitly with his followers who want to know who the greatest will be.

You see this over and over and over again. And think about Christianity in general. Every other worldview is a collection of do's, right?

Like you have to do something. You have to obey the Ten Commandments. You have to obey the laws of Christianity and even the laws of the prophets. If you're a Mormon, even Mormonism has a list of do's. Hindu's got a list of do's. This is true in Buddhism. This is true in – it's do, what you must do. And, of course, when we do things, we end up becoming pretty prideful about the fact we've achieved these things.

I have a friend who's no longer with us. And I remember he used to tease all the time that he had a book he was going to write, How to Become Humble in Ten Easy Steps and How I Made It in Eight. Well, of course, this is the problem is that when you pursue humility, you end up becoming prideful about the pursuit itself. It's self-defeating. I think Spurgeon said it best.

If you properly assess who you are, then you start to approach humility. I think this is such an amazing insight, and there's that and a lot more in this new book by J. Warner Wallace, former cold case detective, now prolific author, and the title of the book is The Truth in True Crime. You're going to be riveted by the stories that Jim tells from his many years serving in law enforcement, as well as how they connect to biblical truth and how you can connect that in your life. The Truth in True Crime, available to you this month for your gift of any size, to help us continue to bring God's Word to people that really need to hear it.

Yeah, that's right. We're completely listener supported, and your investment makes all the difference in helping us continue to bring these studies your way. So thank you for your partnership. And as you send a donation today, be sure to ask for the new book, The Truth in True Crime. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. Call anytime 1-800-821-3300.

Or just go online to Well, next time, more insight drawn from the Lord's Prayer and how we can maximize our petitions before the Father. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to
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