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January 15, 2021 3:00 am
In the time of fear in the time of emotional distress. The formula is simple.
Just go to the Lord in persistent continual unceasing prayer and the peace of God promised, will guard your heart and why people go other sources welcome to all have those moments where you close your eyes and start to pray, but then you get distracted by family issue or that meeting tomorrow a project that's looming many things and it can sometimes be a battle to pray for more than just a few minutes. So how do you build a consistent habit of prayer. A life of prayer that will strengthen your church. Find out today as John MacArthur continues to study the Bible driven church. John we been thanking people for their financial support for the ministry and we can't say that often enough, but we also want to say thank you to the people who run this radio station.
I know these are friends who are dear to you, tell our listeners why that is. Well, there would be no radio at all if it were for the stations and they have no real relationship to grace to you. They only take us if they want us know we don't have any authority over them and so they are truly in every case, a willing partner to this ministry, we get wonderful notes with regard to how important the radio stations are and I one of them, I'll just share with you from a radio listener Colorado it says your ministry is a tremendous blessing in helping me stay grounded in the word I listen to grace to you on KR KS 990 AM in Denver. The broadcast is my companion on the way to work at 5:30 AM every morning. I appreciate your clear expository teaching that is so needed today. That's just one letter from one person listened to one station and we have thousands of radio stations and they all are the same. Very strategic partners and you might even think that with the Internet traditional radio stations are not as important, but that is not true.
They are vital and strategic because there are out there all the time just broadcasting in a very general sense and a people just going down the dial in their car in their home can come across grace to you radio and be introduced almost serendipitously by accident but we know it's not an accident, and the Lord has all that in plans so we're grateful for radio stations. They are in many ways the introductory point to grace to you that drives people back into the ministry for many resources that lie behind the.
The radio program.
So mentioning grace to you by name to your radio station staff and management is really helpful. Let them know what this radio program means to you. Believe me positive listener feedback is crucial in keeping us on this radio station and pray for the folks at the station and for grace to you as we continue to partner for the glory of the Lord and the benefit of his people. Yes friend do pray for our station partners and pray for the people here at grace to you as well. We can't thank you enough for your prayers and with prayer still in mind years John MacArthur to look at the blessing that prayer brings to you and to others.
I want to help you to get a grip on some motives for prayer will give you 10 of them just a little grocery list here 10 motives for prayer that I believe produce and unceasing prayer life number one is a desire for the Lord's glory, a desire for the Lord's glory prayer Jesus said should start this way our father who art in heaven, what, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done what you're praying when you pray there is that God will be glorified that God's purposes would be accomplished that God's name would be exalted that God's will would be done. That's what you're praying, you're not praying for yourself you're praying for him. Yes, the first motive for prayer is a desire for the Lord's glory. When your heart longs that God be glorified. You're going to find yourself praying. To that end, you're going to find yourself in an unceasing cry to God be exalted, be glorified, be lifted up, accomplish your purpose.
Build your kingdom. Do your will. Secondly, a second motive to prayer is a desire for fellowship with God, a desire for fellowship with God. The psalmist so beautifully gave words to this truth in Psalm 42 verse one. As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for the oh God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God, my tears have been my food day and night.
Now there is a longing for God. There is a heart crying out for fellowship. The feeling of being estranged from God, the feeling of being cut off the feeling of loneliness reaches out and says God I want your your fellowship. I want your company. I want your presence. Psalm 63 more magnificent words of God, thou art my God, I shall seek the earnestly my soul thirsts for the my flesh yearns for the in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have beheld the in the sanctuary to see thy power and thy glory. I just want to see you.
I just want to be with you. I just want to experience your wonder in Psalm 84 the first two verses there again. How lovely are thy dwelling place is a Lord of hosts, my soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God, blessed are those who dwell in thy house, the longing to be in the presence of God. And maybe most magnificently of all Psalm 27. Just listen to these wonderful words the Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear the Lord is the defense of my life. Whom shall I dread one thing I have asked from the Lord that I shall seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and meditate in his temple. I just want to be where he is. You have that event. Longing for fellowship sweet communion as 1/3 prompter to prayer to incessant unceasing prayer and that's a desire for needs to be met. Desire for needs to be met, not only ours but those around us. Give us this day our daily bread. Jesus taught us to say in Matthew 611 is right to pray that our needs would be met is right to ask God for the basic things of life. That's a prompter to prayer few of us, however, are prompted in that way because we have so much so much. But there are across this world. Many folks who pray to God regularly just for their daily needs to be met. We don't understand that in this affluent culture, but it is the way of life for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Fourth motive for persistent prayer is a desire for wisdom. James put it this way if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and holds back nothing. If you are under the illusion that you don't need the wisdom of God, you are really deceived, are you not when Jesus taught us to pray. He said this pray like this do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I really do believe that that is a prayer for spiritual discernment. That is a prayer for spiritual wisdom.
Lord, please by your spirit. Give me the ability to discern when I am facing a temptation give me the wisdom to discern when I am being led into something which is evil. We need to be incessantly praying that we need to be praying all the days of our lives. Lord, please deliver me from temptation and do not lead me in an evil way.
Give me the wisdom and the discernment of the insight and the scriptural sensitivity in the leading of the Spirit of God, so as not to allow me to fall into Satan's traps traps of the flesh in the world what prompts prayer, incessant prayer desire for the glory of God, a desire for fellowship with him desire for needs to be met in a desire for wisdom and walking through the minefield that is this world number five.
Prayer is prompted by a desire for deliverance from trouble. A desire for deliverance from trouble. There are so many texts in the Psalms that speak of this, let me sum them up in one that says it all.
Psalm 20 verse one. May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble and surely he will surely he will. When we come to those times of great distress. They tend to prompt our unceasing prayer don't and the greater the trouble and the greater the distress that we have found ourselves in. Very often, it's because we fail to ask for wisdom and so we fell in the trap in our ignorance, and now we need to be delivered from it and there is no human way out, we cry out to God for delivering. It's reminiscent of Jonah, who by the way, had a very specific prayer life, he found himself in the belly of a great fish and says in Jonah 21 Jonah prayed to the Lord is God from the stomach of the fish not tell you what he didn't pray for all the missionaries first, he said, get me out in so many words in the Lord did it. Lord delivered them. He said I called out of my distress to the Lord to the Lord.
Thou hast brought me up from the pit. Oh Lord my God said I was down there. I remember the Lord and I cried out and he delivered me. We come to God. In those times of tremendous trouble pressure, stress, pain, affliction, and we need is deliverance that prompts our unceasing prayer. Six. A desire for relief from fear and worry a desire for relief from fear and worry that will make us pray if we are wise and spiritually minded in Philippians chapter 4 we need so often to be reminded of this says be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. When you are in fear and anxiety and worry you are in distress, you're in depression. What should you do very simply stop being anxious and go to prayer and pray with a thankful heart. And the peace of God, which surpasses all human comprehension will protect your heart and mind was of me guarded from anxiety guarded from depression, distress, fear, worry if you want a comprehensible, humanly comprehensible solution go to a person. If you want to humanly incomprehensible solution go to God in the time of fear in the time of worry in the time of anxiety in the time of emotional distress and pain. This the formula is simple.
Just go to the Lord in persistent continual unceasing prayer with thanksgiving and the peace of God promised, will guard your heart and mind. Why do people go to other sources than that when you want that relief from fear and worry are God has promised. It is yours prayer psalmist wrote in Psalm four.
Answer me when I call God of my righteousness the hast relieved me in my distress be gracious to me and hear my prayer. You did it in the past.
Would you please relieve me again number seven. Another motive to prayer is a desire to offer thanks for past blessing desire to offer thanks for past blessing, if you have a thankful heart. If you're a thankful person and if you remember all that God has done in all his goodness. It'll make you pray, if for no other reason than just to say thanks in Psalm 44.
The psalmist says, oh God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that thou didst, in their days in the days of old, thou with thine own hand.
It's drive out the nations then doubt is plant them, then thou didst afflict the People's then thou didst spread them abroad for by their own sword. They did not possess the land and their own arm did not save them, but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy presence, for thou didst favor them, thou art my king, oh God, let's just praise and that's not praise for anything God had done for him.
That's praise for what God had done for others in the past.
Learning to be thankful to God for all that he is done throughout redemptive history. Having a grateful heart. On behalf of all the good things God has done not just for you.
The apostle Paul writes the Philippians, and he says I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. My prayers always offered with joy. In view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. I just can't help but pray all the time thanking God for what he's doing in your life. What he has done and is doing if you really are grateful to God for all that he is done.
It's going to prompt you to pray a prayer of thanksgiving number eight. There is a very important motive to prayer and that is a desire to be freed from the guilt of sin, a desire to be freed from the guilt of sin that classic penitential Psalm Psalm 32 speaks to this and I'm only giving you select Scriptures out of many that could be used in these points but listen to Psalm 32 and here this starting in verse three just to give you the flow when I kept silent about my sin. David says my body wasted away. I had psychosomatic illness as a result of guilt.
I was groaning all day long, day and night your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality my life juices were drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
I was a mess.
I was a mess. The life juices out through the blood flow system saliva system.
The nervous system which is conducted by fluid all my life juices were dried up. Saliva was dried up the flow of blood wasn't right. Therefore, I had physiological problems on my nervous system was haywire. I was a wreck. I had a fever. I was moaning. Verse five he says then I acknowledge my sin to the my iniquity. I didn't hide I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. I confess, and you forgive, then back to the beginning of the Psalm.
He says this. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom the Lord doesn't impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. The deceit is over.
You're not covering the sin you've opened it up. You confessed it and now you're forgiven and now you're blessed yes prayer incessant unceasing penitential confession is prompted by a desire to be freed from the guilt of sin number nine another motive to prayer is a desire for the salvation of the lost a desire for the salvation of the lost. You will be moved to persistent prayer when you're compassionately concerned about lost people there all around us. They're all around us.
And if you care about their salvation will be in almost unceasing commitment to pray as they cross your path and your mind. Listen to Romans 10 one brother and says Paul, my hearts desire in my prayer to God for them is for their salvation pulses on praying for their salvation. I cannot see unsafe people and not pray for their salvation. Timothy in first Timothy chapter 2 is told by Paul, the dog will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and then he says now I want men to lift up holy hands, praying always wanted a pray for the salvation of the lost people for whom God has provided a salvation desire for the salvation of the lost prompts prayer if you don't pray unceasingly. Then something is wrong with your compassion for the lost number 10 incessant ceaseless prayer is prompted by a desire for the spiritual growth of believers, a desire for the spiritual growth of believers in Ephesians. For example, chapter 1, verse 15, Paul says, for this reason I to having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which exists among you and your love for all the saints do not cease giving thanks for you while making mention of you in my prayers.
What you praying for Paul that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe. I'm praying for you will will you praying for your wisdom, your knowledge, your enlightenment, your help. I'm praying for the power of God to be releasing on praying for your spiritual growth. Chapter 3 verse 14 he says. I bow my knees before the father and I'm praying for you. What you praying verse 16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inner man praying for spiritual power were 17th. I'm praying that Christ may settle down your hearts, and that you would be rooted and grounded in love, and that you would understand that love that surpasses knowledge. Verse 19 that you would be filled with the fullness of God. In verse 20 that you would do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think. I'm praying for your spiritual growth will block the pray for the way, what moves you to pray when you desire the Lord's glory. When you desire fellowship with him when you desire needs be met by the one who alone has the resources when you desire wisdom and discernment. When you desire deliverance from the troubles of life. When you desire relief from fear and anxiety and worry when you desire to offer thanks for all his past and present blessings when you desire to be freed from guilt and sin. When you desire the salvation of others. And when you desire the development and growth of the believers. There should be in your life. Enough reminders of these things to keep you praying all the time right so do a little spiritual inventory. If you're not praying without ceasing.
It's because something is wrong with the desire level.
Something is wrong and the underlying motivational level. How do you prompt that for my own life years of experience I can only tell you that my prayer life is prompted by the word of God. It is my time in the discipline of the word of God in the study of the word of God that prompts my prayer life or there are other times when the spirit of God moves upon me as I'm living in obedience to the Lord that I'm prompted a pray. Of course, but if I want to develop a real longing for God to be glorified. Then I find that longing is developed out of the study of his word as I see his word unfold in his marvelous plan. Unlike Daniel once I read what God has planned for his own future glory, then the longing begins to rise in my heart that he be glorified is like John who, at the end of the book of Revelation has just told all the glories are going to come to Christ and he can't help but cry out, old Lord, come quickly and it's not for my sake it's for yours so as I gaze at the glorious plan of God out outlined in the word of God. I become consumed with his kingdom and his glory that prompts me to pray to that in as I study the word of God, and in it I fellowship with God as he reveals himself in the word as I learn more about his person's character in the majesty of who he is.
I have a greater desire to fellowship with him as I study my Bible and find all his promises and all the things he wants to do for his children and how he will meet all of our needs and how we will provide everything. I am therefore prompted the pray.
To that end, as I read the Scriptures study it and find his Majesty revealed in his wisdom is amazing. Discernment is perfect understanding of everything, because we long for that same wisdom to be my wisdom so that I can work my way through this difficult world. As I read the Scriptures to the Chronicle of the times he has delivered his people over and over and over in the promises that he is given that he will always do the same for his people. It prompts me to pray for deliverance from the troubles of my own life and the lives of those around me. When I look at the Scripture and find how many of his special beloved servants were delivered from fear and worry and anxiety.
How many of them sang hymns in jail and how many of them could stand on the edge of a fiery furnace and praise the God who would allow them to come there because they so completely trusted him. It allows me to be relieved from my own fear my own worries as I realize that I can test all my care on him, knowing he perfectly cares for me. I am delivered from anxiety as I study my Bible also and find a record of all his past blessings in his past deeds in the glories of all of redemptive history and all that he is done to bring redemptive history to where it is now that I might experience the glories of the gospel of Christ and the blessings of his indwelling spirit and the treasure of his word. It causes me to offer thanks for his blessings.
And as I look at the Scripture and I see the perfect forgiveness provided in Jesus Christ, the majesty of the plan of atonement and how it is worked out by grace through faith in my own life and how that I have access to complete forgiveness and cleansing every moment of my life. It leads me to confess my sins and as I see the tears of God. In Jeremiah 13 and the tears of Jesus in Matthew's gospel chapter 23 tears that are shed for those that refuse salvation and refuse the goodness of God.
It makes me desire the salvation of the lost even as God does, and as I see the longing revealed in Scripture of God's heart for his people to grow spiritually. The continual call from the beginning of the Scripture to the end to his people to live in obedience and holiness. It reminds me to pray for the spiritual growth of believers. So if I want to have a persistent consistent prayer life. I want to have to have certain desires in my heart that generate that that motivate that those desires become in my life. The fruit of my faithful intent study of God's word which reveals these things to me in fresh and new ways every time I study it and therefore prompts my own prayer life. Rarely do I ever come out of a study time in the word of God without a new kind of commitment to pray in one dimension or another more faithfully than I have, pray without ceasing pulses and saying it. He said much it is to be our way of life. Let's bow together in prayer. We thank you father for the promise of first John 322.
Whatever we ask, we receive from you because we keep your commandments and do the things that are pleasing in your sight, so we know our prayers are effective and powerful, and that if we pray out of the context of keeping your commandments and doing what is pleasing you're going to hear your own answer our prayers.
And as you do that were going to be blessed and then you're going to receive all the glory. We know that's the plan. To that end, we pray for Jesus. That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary in Southern California and his current study on grace to you is titled, the Bible driven church and out friend if I could ask a favor if grace to you has helped you, love your local church more or get through trial or better understand God's word. Would you let us know your letters.
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The web address again GT why.org now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday. Check your local listings for channeling times and then be here next week for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you