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Prayer And Fear

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2021 12:00 pm

Prayer And Fear

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. at any time about anything.

On Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the best-selling Prayers for Prodigals, and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James. Well, I'm a little scared to talk about where we're going today. Very funny, Robbie. Robbie started that way because he knows that today we're going to be talking about prayer and fear. And I really like the way you led into this, because honestly, there's a lot of fear around us right now, and a little humor is a good thing. Oh, that's so true. Ever since COVID came on the scene, a lot of folks have dealt with fear on a daily basis.

I mean, even now, some are reluctant to leave their homes. And so, as we head into this, let's begin by saying we're not going to take anyone to task for what their perspective is. We just want to encourage you today and to share some thoughts about praying, you know, when you have fear.

And we believe this is going to help. So, James, go ahead and start. Okay, well, let's begin by touching on something we looked at before, and that's the 23rd Psalm. David says in verse 4, Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Or, of course, the valley of the shadow of death, as King James says, and I love that translation. The thing that I love about this verse is it's the first place in the Psalm where it really gets personal. Before, every verse talks about the Lord and what he does. You know, he's my shepherd. He makes me lie down.

He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. But when you get to this verse, David stops talking about the Lord and starts talking to him, you know, as if he's right there.

And, of course, he is. And that's really key because, again, where is David in this? Where is he walking in his mind? In the valley of the shadow of death. That's right.

That's right. And he's saying that because he's been there before. He knows that God has been with him and always been faithful when he was in that place, no matter what danger he went through.

And the thing that's so important here is, again, how personal this is. Notice he's talking to the Lord. He's not talking about him. He's talking to him, indicating he's right there with him, right there beside him in that dangerous place.

Oh, I like that. It's a helpful reminder of how he really is with us. I mean, he really is close to us, even in the most difficult circumstances.

It doesn't say that we won't go through them, but that when we do, we can trust him to take care of us. Yeah, yeah. And, Robert, we were talking beforehand about how you had a story about that in your own life that had to do with prayer and fear. Do you want to share that for a moment?

Oh, I'd love to. Actually, I used to be terrified of the dark. And if you know me, I'm six foot five.

My wife is five feet tall, but used to be when I heard a noise, I was like, Tammy, did you hear that? And, you know, it was just horrible. And I was just petrified laying in bed.

And one time she was out of town and I'd just become a Christian maybe about a year. And there was lightning and thunder and I was laying in bed just absolutely horrified. And I looked up in prayer and said, God, I know that somehow sin for me to be this scared. I don't know how I'm supposed to do this, but can I give you this fear? And I felt in my spirit Jesus say this to me. Well, Robbie, what's the worst thing that could happen? And when that flipped into my mind, I thought, oh, you're threatening me with Jesus.

And little did I know that actually I would be diagnosed with cancer within a year of that. And what Jesus told me about my fear of the dark, I can't even begin to tell anybody how valuable that little insight was that he gave me that night when I talked to him like that. Well, I mean, that's exactly it. You know, again, they're in the valley of the shadow. Wherever he is, there's peace, come what may. And this is why the early church was so indomitable. You know, when you know that God is going to raise you from the dead because you've seen Jesus raised from the dead, nothing's going to stop you. And the same Spirit was at work in them that is at work in us.

That's awesome. And it is important to keep that in mind because Scripture reminds us in 2 Timothy 1-7 that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control. And that means as we turn to him, we don't have to be overcome by everything that's going on around us. I think about the way you prayed when you said, Lord, please take this fear.

And I think that's a great place to start. Or think about what David does in Psalm 23, where he's just talking to God in a personal way. That's, again, what you were doing there. But God isn't some abstract concept. You know, he's a friend. This is the very thing that Jesus said he would be to us, a friend when we trust him and follow him. So the best way to handle those times when we're afraid is to prepare for them beforehand by cultivating this loving, open, you know, prayer-filled relationship with him as we live. And then that's just the beginning. Wow, that's so true. Because if you know that he's right there, if you're assured of that, because you've been going there and more and more in your heart and mind, I mean, you're more open to receiving his peace, right? Right.

And we have to look not only at how David prays in this personal way, but also what he prays. You're on their staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

That's describing this victory banquet. You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me. That is, will pursue me all the days of my life. I'll dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

So here's David. He's looking at all of these attributes of God and what God does, and not only reminding himself of them, but praising for them. And the point is, when we pray like that, Lord, you've never forsaken me. You've always been kind to me.

You'll be with me in the future. You know, it lifts our eyes above the source of our fears, and it puts them in the place where our comfort comes. Yeah, that makes me think of Psalm 46, where it says, God is our refuge and strength and ever-present help and trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.

Yeah, that's the very same truth at work here. And if you think about it, these thoughts are from the Psalms before this came. But just imagine the hope that we have because of him, and all the more because of him, and how much more we can praise God for it. Yeah, and really the best antidote to fear is praise, right? Praise and remembering who God is as we stay close to him in prayer. Yeah, I think so because it helps us to run to him, and when our lives are caught up in that hope, we know that come what may, he will get us through.

Wow, thanks, James. I mean, let me wrap things up with a prayer. Lord, I know how much this means to me personally, and I pray that as we've talked about it, people that are struggling with so many different things right now, that they would feel free to really get personal, to really let you in and ask you to take and help and reason. I pray that you would help us to do that, help us to lean on you as you really, really know where that peace is. Help us to get there. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray. May God bring you a Bible, and that's exactly the way it is for literally millions of Christians around the world. They're part of our spiritual family. They're new to the faith. They want to know what it means to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, but God has them planted where it's very difficult to access a Bible, and that's why the Truth Network and Bible League have teamed up to send God's word to 3,500 Bible-less believers around the globe. Our campaign is called The World Needs the Word. $5 sends a Bible, $100 sends 20 every gift matched. Make your most generous gift by calling 800-Yes-Word. 800-Y-E-S-W-O-R-D. Call 800-Yes-Word or give at truthnetwork.com
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-12 18:42:25 / 2023-08-12 18:46:43 / 4

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