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Prayer Matters, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
January 12, 2021 7:00 am

Prayer Matters, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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January 12, 2021 7:00 am

Why it's so important to make prayer normative in our daily living; some benefits of prayer; based on Acts 10, Luke 18:1-8, and other passages.

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Prayer matters. When you learn how to pray God's way, when you learn how to pray according to the Word of God, you will discover that prayer matters.

It matters in heaven as well as on earth. I'm sure you talk to people all the time, friends, co-workers, your husband or wife. But how often do you spend time talking to God? Hello and welcome to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. You know, most people don't really know how to pray.

And of the ones who do, many of them don't pray as often as they should. Today Pastor Paul wants to help you gain a better understanding of the power of prayer and the benefits of prayer so that you can build and maintain a lifestyle of prayer. Stay with us now, but remember you can always visit pastorpaul.net to hear any recent Destined for Victory message on demand. That's pastorpaul.net. And here is Pastor Paul with today's message, Prayer Matters.

This series I'm embarking on is essential because the vast majority of people in America today, and it's true in other nations where our broadcast is being heard, but certainly here in America. The vast majority of people today have never been exposed to prayer as a normative and beneficial practice. An increasing number of people in America don't know anything about the power of prayer. And frankly, many people who have been going to church, depending on where you've been going to church, you still in some cases don't know anything about the power of prayer. What the Lord has put on my heart is to make sure I do not assume people know how to pray, what to pray about, how to exercise faith in prayer. I can't assume that because we've got to disciple people today just like Jesus had to in the first century AD when he walked the earth. We're going to look in a moment at a passage where his disciples came to him and said, teach us how to pray. And I want to spend some time teaching what I've learned from the word of God and from experience about prayer, because we need to know that God has given us a vital weapon called prayer.

And we must learn how to wield it. In fact, when you read Ephesians chapter six, people are always talking about the armor of God and they talk about everything, the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, loins gird with truth, all that. And at the end of the passage, it doesn't look like it's a piece of armor, but he says, make sure that you're praying because prayer is part of spiritual warfare. And there are things that won't happen unless we learn how to pray and pray effectively. I'm grateful to God that I was raised in a home in which prayer was exercised. I'm so glad that I was raised in a church where God was worshiped, where Jesus was Lord, and where the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous were normative. I grew up around praying folk and I'm honored and so glad.

The more I see people being raised as pagans, the more I'm grateful that I was raised in a believing home. I went to a praying church. I went to church with folk who prayed. If you had any criticism, they prayed too long and too loud. But thank God they prayed because I can testify like that gospel song.

Of course, somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind, took the time and prayed for me. I'm so glad they prayed. I'm so glad they prayed. I'm so glad they prayed for me. I'm so glad that prayer was not foreign in our home. Prayer took place. We didn't eat till we prayed. We knew God is in this. He's the only one blessing us with the ability to have this food. And we offered thanks before we chowed down.

And so that was part of it. In fact, I grew up where the saints were having a barbecue. You hope certain folk weren't going to be asked to pray over the barbecue. Some of y'all don't know about that, but I see a few of you do know we all us at the park or at somebody's big yard and the food's laid out, food table is ready.

They get ready to go in there and do some damage, but then they mess around and call on the wrong. Mother Hagar, why don't you go on and pray? Oh, man.

Because she getting ready to get a hold to the throne. Father, in the name of Jesus, we bless your name for blessing us. This is the day the Lord has made the alarm clock didn't wake us up. Oh, God, it was your hand of mercy that woke us up this morning and started us on our way. Thank you for giving us a reasonable portion of health and strength that we could come on out to this house where we're going to have this barbecue. Thank you, Lord, for the food. Thank you for the hands that prepared it. We ask you to bless them in the name of Jesus.

And we can't stand there and say, she ain't nowhere near the food. But you just had to wait because them saints were going to pray. Church picnic, they were going to pray. And I'm telling you, it got on our nerves a little bit as kids how long and how loud the saints prayed. But now as an adult going through a crazy world like this, I'm so glad I learned how to pray.

So glad and let me tell you something. If you haven't learned how to pray, this is your time to learn it because you're going to need prayer the rest of your journey. In fact, if you haven't been praying, the way that you got here is somebody been praying for you. You don't have to know. Some of y'all say, no, I'm the only Christian in my family.

No, no, you don't get it. Some of us prayed for communities. We learned how to intercede and pray for your block and pray for your community.

I didn't have to know you to pray for you. When I got to California, believing God to move in this place, I would just send the saints wherever you live, pray for that town, pray for that community, pray over it every week. And we had our power prayer meetings. Sometimes the saints would walk the block. One church has it, they called their SWAT team.

S-W-A-T, that stands for Saints Walking Around Town. And they walk around town and while they're walking by the houses, they're praying, oh, God, save these people in the name of Jesus. Oh, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

And sometimes they'd run up there and put a track in their door or something like that. Listen, you got to be serious about this thing because prayer makes a difference. And so I need to help disciple this generation and help us. And we who have a prayer foundation, we can't take it for granted. And it is our responsibility to pass it on. We've got to raise up a generation of people who know what it is to walk by faith. Because as I've entitled this first message in this series, I don't know how long it'll be.

It'll be as long as it will be. But we got to talk about prayer, not just so that you get head knowledge, but so that you get to praying, praying for real, because that's what's going to make a difference. So I've entitled this first message, prayer matters. Prayer matters. Prayer is not something you're wasting your time doing. Prayer matters. When you learn how to pray God's way, when you learn how to pray according to the word of God, you will discover that prayer matters. It matters in heaven as well as on earth.

What do I mean by that? Well, at the moment I'm thinking about Cornelius in Acts chapter 10. You remember when the early church was purely Jewish and they didn't know that anybody else would be able to receive the gospel? But there was a Gentile, a man named Cornelius. You read about him when you get to Acts 10.

I'm not going to turn to it in the interest of time. Got a lot of ground to cover. But the Bible says he was a devout man. He was a worshiper of God even though he was not of the Jewish nation. He was a worshiper of God and he was devout, gave alms and all of that. So he worshipped at the level of his understanding.

And here's why I'm bringing him up. Here's why I'm saying prayer matters in heaven. Because you're specifically told in Acts 10 that when the angel visited him in a vision, the angel said, Cornelius, your prayers and your giving have gone up before God as a memorial. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, stop by pastorpaul.net anytime to listen on demand. That's pastorpaul.net where you can contact us for prayer or make a safe and secure donation to the ministry online.

And don't forget, you can also download the podcast at Spotify, iHeart or wherever you subscribe to your podcasts. Well, Pastor Paul joins me in the studio after today's message. But first, let's join him for the rest of this message. Prayer matters. Anytime God is receiving your prayers as a memorial, that matters. When your prayers are hitting the throne room, that matters and he was told your prayers have come up into the presence of God. As a result, that the Lord is going to send you to go get a man named Peter. He's going to come to your house and just let him do what God tells him to do. And Cornelius didn't understand what it was all about but he learned to obey God. When you pray, you learn that it's important to obey God because you don't know what he's up to. And Cornelius sent for him and you know the story.

I won't walk you through that. Read Acts 10 when you get a chance. As a result, we saw a group of Gentiles gathered in Cornelius' home. And when Peter got there, and he's still trying to figure out why God has sent him there. And they said, we're all ready to receive, just give us what you got. And he opened his mouth and he began to speak in revelation and said, I perceive by God sending me here that God is no respecter of persons. And he started sharing the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. And as he proclaimed the word of God, the Holy Spirit fell on the household of Cornelius. And the same blessing Peter experienced in the upper room in Acts chapter 2 is now happening in a Gentile's house in Acts chapter 10.

And those folk are in there praising God, speaking in tongues they've never learned. And I know Peter, even while he's flowing in the Spirit, he had to be saying, what in the world is this? But God had already shown him before he got there. Remember the revelation God gave him on the rooftop before he got there?

He said, if I call it clean, don't you call it unclean. Oh, God can do more than you think he can do. And all you got to do is learn how to worship him and follow him when he leads you. So prayer matters in heaven. If your prayers go up before God, and this passage indicates that it does, that's the reason you ought to get down to prayer business. Because God pays attention when you call on him. And prayer certainly matters here on earth, and we'll be talking you through that along the way.

Let me just lay some foundation about the importance of prayer. Notice in Luke chapter 11, the Gospel of Luke chapter 11, the first two verses. Now it came to pass as he was praying in a certain place, he being Jesus, when he ceased, that one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. Verse 2. So he said to them, when you pray.

I'm going to stop right there. Jesus was praying himself. Did you notice that in verse 1? It came to pass, Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, that's when they asked him to teach them to pray. But first they're watching Jesus pray.

Now this ought to seal the deal by itself. If Jesus, the son of God, had to pray when he was on earth, what in the world are you doing thinking you're going to live a high quality life and don't pray? Amen. If Jesus had to pray, God knows you need to pray. If Jesus, who was all God and all man, and you are all man, all woman, because it's not a gender designation, you're all human. Jesus was human and divine, and yet he prayed. And the Bible doesn't just say he prayed occasionally, he prayed on a regular basis. He would go sometimes, get alone, get away from the folks and pray. He would pray often. He would pray before he's working a miracle, getting ready to work the miracle of the feeding of the multitude. He prayed first. Jesus shows us that prayer matters, and if our savior had to pray, you and I better get down to some serious praying.

Amen. And then Luke 18, Luke 18, verse 1. Then Jesus spoke a parable to them that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. The Bible says Jesus said you ought to do it. I've heard people have the nerve to be so disrespectful to the word of God as to say, if God knows everything, why I got to tell him? Do you understand how offensive that is to a holy God for you to assume that because he knows everything, he's your servant and he's going to do everything you want to do because he knows it?

That's not the way it works. The Bible says you bring your request, you bring your petition, you bring your desire. Faith without your bringing doesn't mean much. Without faith, it's impossible to please God, for he that comes to him must believe that he is, watch this, and that he's a rewarder not of everybody who knows God, knows their stuff already. He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. If you're not a diligent seeker, there are some things you'll never see, you'll never find, you'll never discover. Ask, Jesus said, and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.

What's the inference? If you don't ask, some things you won't receive. If you don't seek, some things you won't find. If you don't knock, some doors will not be opened.

Everybody understand that? So don't you dare say, well, God, you know it, so just take care of it. He's not your servant. You're his servant. Amen. I know this is tight, but it's right.

We a spoiled generation. God's just supposed to do it. Just take care of it. I got stuff to do. I ain't got time to be praying.

No, you don't have. I'm too busy to pray. You too busy not to pray. The busier you are, the more you ought to pray.

I just said something. The busier you are, the more you ought to pray. God, all this stuff I got to do, all these decisions that have to be made, I need you to lead me and guide me and direct me. I need you to speak to me.

I need you to steer me away from the wrong places and lead me to the right places. I need to hear you when I'm on the job. You know where you work, you better hear God. You know driving these highways, you better hear God. He'll keep you alive.

These folk out here will shoot you for nothing. You better ride in your car with the Lord when somebody cuts you off or whatever and the man got up on me right just, I think it was yesterday, just driving, panicked for no reason. I'm in the third lane, there's four lanes. The fast lane is to my left and he right up on me. And I heard the Holy Ghost say, leave him alone.

Because the Lord know I'm from Philly. Leave him alone. Just assure the Holy Spirit is just speaking in my spirit. He said he know the left lane is available, he just wants you out his way because he wants you out his way. And he's unhappy that you won't move because he's right up on you. But I did say, but I don't have to move, right?

I didn't sense that the Lord wanted me to move over. He said, no, he can go. I said, okay, good. I just kept driving. And finally, I saw him back there all exasperated. And then he finally got over in another lane. I said, bless him, Jesus. Because he need help.

Give him the help he need. But see, if you in there flipping people off, you're not letting the sun shine through you. See, that's your flesh that want to get everybody told and get everybody straight and get them up off of you. That's the way our flesh operates.

We're not here for ourselves. We are ambassadors of another kingdom. Which means I got to represent my king.

And so I got to be nice. If you lift your hand at all, just wave at people. Let them see all five fingers. You got to pray everywhere you go, everything you do. See, I'm going to teach you along the way. You got to have a time that you designate to pray. Saints, when we were growing up, they called it have your devotion. Have your private devotion.

That's what I heard all my life growing up. You got to learn to have private devotion. And I came to learn what they meant. That means set aside some time.

Get away from the busyness in the house or whatever and just you and God and the word. And you're communicating with God. It is valuable. It's very important. And the saints taught us to do it.

And we'll talk about all those kinds of things. But the fact of the matter is, yes, in addition to having a time when you pray and when you read the word and when you meditate, let the word speak to you and let the Holy Spirit speak to you, you need to develop that in your life as a habit. But don't think your prayer is over because you've had your little 10, 15, 20 minutes of devotion. The fact of the matter is you better be praying while you're driving to work, driving to school.

You better pray. If you're on the bus, pray on the bus. If you're on BART, pray on the BART. If you've ever been on BART, you better pray on there. For you listening around the country, that's our Bay Area rapid transportation.

You got your version where you are. You need to pray on that too. And you who ain't been on public transportation a long time because God gave you a car and all, fine, talk to him in the car he gave you. Amen. Jesus said, when you pray, not if you pray, not if you pray.

Prayer should not be an option for a child of God. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, Prayer Matters. But before we leave you today, Pastor Paul has joined us from his studio in California.

Pastor, thank you for your time. We started this year with a couple of messages that look toward the future. In fact, the book we're offering everyone who gives such a generous gift right now is called It Pays to Serve Jesus. Let's talk about the booklet and what's in it.

How is this going to be helpful to us? Yeah, I'm glad to talk about this booklet. It's based on a series that I did entitled It Will Be So Worth It. And it's a series where I look at the encounter Jesus had with a man we call the rich young ruler. And he came to Jesus really eager to find out what it would take to receive and enjoy eternal life. And when Jesus told him what it would take, he walked away sad because he was unwilling to part with his many possessions in order to gain eternal life. After that encounter, the disciples said, well, we've given up everything and it kind of made them rethink, OK, what are we getting out of this deal?

We gave up everything and what do we have to look forward to? And Jesus response is what the series is based on. Jesus said, no one gives up everything.

And he listed a number of things. He said, who doesn't receive in this life with persecution one hundred fold and then they'll receive eternal life thereafter. And I'm helping people understand that an eternal perspective must always be in focus. The fact is, it pays. It really does pay both in this life and in the life to come. It pays to serve Jesus, but it calls us to sacrifice and to surrender. And those of us that are willing to do it, we're going to see God bless us in wonderful ways. That is a great word of encouragement, Pastor, and now is a great time for all of us to begin thinking that way as we kick off a brand new year, still facing some of the challenges from 2020. Those challenges and the need to reach so many more with the hope that can only be found in Jesus is the reason we so appreciate your financial support of this ministry. Keep in mind, when you give your generous donation this month, we'll be happy to send you Pastor Paul's booklet, It Pays to Serve Jesus. This booklet expounds on what Pastor Paul just shared with us, and I know it will be an encouragement to you in this new year. Again, the booklet is called It Pays to Serve Jesus, and it's our gift to you by request for your generous gift to Destin for Victory. So call us at 855-339-5500 to give over the phone, or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online.

And as always, you can mail your gift to Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Do you know that the military doesn't just drop a bomb anywhere and hope it hits the enemy? They've done surveillance.

They've been watching the movements of the enemy. Don't you know that's what we have to do in spiritual warfare? So you have to learn how to target your prayers, how to aim your weapon where the enemy is and where the enemy of your soul is. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Prayer Matters. Until then, remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-05 17:54:05 / 2024-01-05 18:03:39 / 10

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