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March 9, 2021 3:00 am
Next time you pray be bold. Next time you pray be shameless. Go into the presence of God, eager to pour out your heart. Ask God to listen and to see and not turn away, and to hear the cry of your heart. And as you pray and God unfolds his purpose, enjoying the experience of having been a part of what compositions and the secret to successful prayer is importunity we must press our prayers on God.
In other words, your prayers will accomplish much if you ask boldly, ask often and expect God to answer. Does that surprise you at all. Maybe you're thinking I'm just a sinner saved by grace. I'm thankful for the privilege of going to God in prayer. But how can I come to the Lord boldly with expectation that he will or even should do what I want. Those are important questions, bring them to today's lesson because this is part of John MacArthur's current study on prayer both what it is and how to do it. The title of this series here on grace to you. Don't be afraid to ask. And now here's John a mature believer who has been shaped by Scripture. And that's the only way to be mature understands the nature of God, your view of God is really the benchmark of your spiritual maturity. Understanding the nature of God is critical to spiritual maturity because in the end, you rest in the reality of your God superficial knowledge of God, a shallow knowledge of God. A limited knowledge of God contributes to limited understanding and limited faith and limited trust and so when we talk about spiritual maturity were really talking about understanding the nature of God that is essential. That is to say you understand that God is eternal, that he is powerful that he is holy, that he is unchangeable, that he is mission that he is omnipresent that he is purposeful that he is sovereign, that he has imperfect control of everything he has created all the time. You understand that God is above and beyond and outside all of the contingencies that go on in the created universe. He is transcendent he is high and lofty Majestic and lifted up, and he is working to perfection his plan for the universe and for mankind. He has everything under control all the time and is in perfect knowledge in bringing to pass the plan which he ordained from the very beginning. So are you telling us all this because all these realities about God raises the question of how our prayers mattered all day we get in there concerns. They will know while about a pray all that seems to squelch my prayer life and my little requests in a course that's the that's one of the accusations is been made by people who reject the reformed theology that if you have a strong view of God.
If you have the biblical view of God. It just takes all the hard out of your praying I mean that if you know God is sovereign and if you know God is all wise and all-powerful and all-knowing and has purposed everything from the beginning to the end and all the way through the middle. What in the world is the point of praying and the answer is because God is not only ordained the end.
He has ordained the means to the end and on about you, but I'd rather be a part of God's means than anything else. I suppose I could be a spiritual couch potato and not care whether I participated as the means which God uses to reaches and but I'd much rather be engaged and involved in being the means because the residual impact to me is wonderful.
It is his goodness and blessing in this life and eternal reward in the life to come. It's not about changing God's mind. It's not about changing God's plans is not about giving him information he doesn't have. It's not about a tweaking of the circumstances, he might not have anticipated simply about being used by God. I can think of anything more wonderful than God allowing me to be a means to his ends, credible. I want to change God I retire right now I want to change and you can't ridiculous to think of it, but that would be to assume that I had a better idea and that's absolute idiocy, but to think that God could use me totally ignorant of the future. Totally inept to be a means by which he achieves his eternal ends and then not only bless me for that, but reward me forever beyond belief is for the Bible tells us to pray prayers a means by which God's infinite wisdom, infinite power and perfect purpose are brought together to accomplish his will can't be saved without believing he can't be sanctified without obeying and you can't enjoy the goodness of God in this life without participating in his unfolding purpose through your prayers and through your service to him. That's what were going to see in this story drop down to verse eight.
You notice in verse eight, the word persistence that's in the NAS on a what other versions have some Bible say importunity there's a were nobody ever uses importunity that's a good word for ever get a chance to look at in the dictionary is what you find.
Importunity is different than opportunity. We all use opportunity all the time because that kinda works for us and in our everyday language opportunity is a word. The dictionary says it means a circumstance favorable to us. You see, what appears to be a circumstance favorable to you to take advantage of you move into that circumstance to achieve in that in that opportunity what it is that you think is available for you there.
That's opportunity importunity is not that all is something different opportunity simply means you move into a favorable circumstance. Importunity is far stronger. It is a word that has a urgency and persistence in it, but it's bigger than the word persistence some dictionaries translated this white trouble, simile, urgent, overly persistent. It's a hyper word or even annoyingly relentless.
What happened here was this guy finally got out of bed and gave the man what he wanted because he was an annoyingly persistent. He was overly persistent.
He was trouble, simile, urgent.
It's the word in the Greek on night day on its it's hypoxia, that is, once said, in that it is the only place it ever appears and really what it means and you might see this in your marginal reading in the NAS is shamelessness. Somebody who just sets aside all sense of shame it's one Alexa considered overly bold. Another one said her shamelessness. Somebody was just brash and bold somebody who has a lot of nerve. I wish it was a pray like that. That's what Jesus can teach us here pray like that, and thus to participate in the means by which God achieves his ends. Verse five. Jesus just jumps right in the subject's prayer. He just taught him how to pray. Still on the same subject, probably in the same location at the same time and he said to them, because he knew this question would come up if God has his kingdom and God has his will, and God has his purpose in all of this. What you know there's this nagging wonder about.
Why do we pray and maybe we just praise know these little for keep it brief.
Quick in and out prayers not to interrupt God at all. He tells a story. Suppose one of you shall have a friend and you go to him at midnight and said him friend, lend me three loaves now the teaching on prayer raises the question, should we be reluctant or little ashamed to bother God with our trouble since you know he's going to do it is going to do and so here's the illustration Jesus jumps back into this daily life very simple unforgettable story.
Suppose you have a philosopher and somebody that's you have an affection for means a neighbor now in Israel. As in other parts of the world. In ancient times in Third World countries. Today people in no places where they don't have a lot are dependent upon their neighbors are dependent upon each other. They serve to survive together you. You make enough for you bread for the day you eat the bread that day and then it's gone. The next day you make bread again you might have a supply of of grain and you might have a supply of oil like the widow in the Old Testament, but but you don't have preservatives.
They don't have a stockpile of food you don't have a ampm story you don't have food shops that are certainly open at night you don't have access to that. So you know it's the battle for bread every day and that's the way it was and so here's a man who has a neighbor and goes to him at midnight.
This is the worst time for a visit. I hate when people come to see me at midnight. I don't care what they want. That's not a good time to come. And by the way, and there was no TV in those days, so there was no late-night anything you know when the on the door when darkness came.
You basically stayed around a little bit the light of a candle and then you went to sleep because you had to start work at 6 AM in the morning. It's when the workday began and so nobody's awake at midnight. It says here this man goes to his friend at midnight and says to me comes to it with his house, probably in a close little community and he starts yelling as they hang me he's waking him up. Obviously friend friend. It's always good to say that when you've done that, just a rehearsed hopefully that you can make them feel some sense of well-being that you consider him a friend sensible reading. If you just arrived uninvited at midnight and are becoming a nuisance in somebody's life. I'm still pretty convinced it would only slightly ease the irritation, if at all, lend me three loaves and I doesn't mean three great big bakery looks like we're used to. A low Ford would be basically one piece of flatbread he wants three pieces of flatbread which would be a normal meal dipped in perhaps some kind of olive oil or spread with some kind of fruit or whatever. This would be sufficient for an evening meal. Now this is not an emergency. He's saying my wife is having a baby. My wife is dying.
My kids broke his leg. We had a robber in the house. He's in the middle of the night. Then he says I want these three loaves and the guys are we thinking what in the world. He is waking me up for a midnight snack. This is ridiculous, but actually it's a very generous and unselfish act on his part because he's been awakened himself because verse six says for a friend of mine has, just passing on the joy here friend of mine has come to me from the journey and I have nothing to set before him.
People often traveled at night and in that hot part of the world and the Sprint came midnight he had to get up and host him. He arrived unexpectedly.
Hospitality by what was expected in the ancient world very much expected among the Jewish people. They majored in hospitality was part of their social duty more part of their religious duty. Part of their duty to God. The care for the stranger right that's Old Testament stop. They knew what they had to do and so this poor man who had this just arrived at midnight, at his house. We had sort of a difficult dilemma. I can be a poor host or a poor neighbor right being a poor host was not an option because hospitality was at the high level of priorities and cultural considerations, and he knew his neighbor knew it as well.
So both of them would really be doing what was right even knows a bit inconvenient for both of them so he says since it's really not for me. I don't want to midnight snack. It's a friend of mine is come to me from a journey and have nothing to set before and he's obviously hungry as Nettie to eat no shops, restaurants, no stockpile food. Nothing very different. By the way, from our world is in it when you just make it every day with the bread you have and is a rather predictable response verse seven and from inside. He shall answer this conversation is going onto the wall or do not bother me. The door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything and this is exactly what you would expect. I know it's hard for me to do it would be hard for me to do with the man did II don't know. I think I would might be end of a poor host because you would tell you, you know that I don't like to bother people you know and if I was in the situation. She was saying that you got this guest go to the neighbor and get some food I'd say you go. I don't want to go. I don't know what it is but I don't either.
Like the bother people.
This she was. That's the one I would expect you to say, but he went and did the guy has a predictable response. Don't bother me.
Causing me trouble. What are you doing the door is already been shut if it was in the door like we have been shut it easily.
Sometimes doors Rex. He dropped the rings combination of metal and iron removing. It was not just a simple thing to do in opening it would make a lot of racket and the whole family there and he says my children and I are in bed. Usually the same bed had a big mat. One room houses right 1000 kitchen one: living space over here in bed room in the same places role at the mat and everybody goes down on the mat with some pillows or whatever and that the colder it got. The closer they all got together. That's how they kept themselves warm so if he gets out. Everybody's up all the kids are up everybody's out and probably by now the people living close next door are up because they're listening to the conversation as well whole thing seems very presumptuous, very bothersome and it really isn't a big emergency me, couldn't we die as he waited for breakfast this in the art, usually over doing this hospitality thing. Tell the guy go to bed you'll forget it when you fall asleep no I give a speech, even on a long journey are probably tired just lay down you fall asleep in your forget the masses are knocking to get up and give you anything.
This is too much trouble. And then Jesus skipping any prolonged narrative jumps to the point of the story in verse eight I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, his importunity, his brashness, his boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs this really no sense in not getting up because he's not going away and you've already awakened me and you've already awakened the kids I tell you he's going to get what he asked for because of his shamelessness.
That's the work on I day on because of his shamelessness is brashness's gall.
The emphasis here is on this boldness isn't so much on persistence and much asking is just the boldness of asking at such an inopportune time. This took a lot of gold to do this was a perfect illustration. This is perfect illustration of us going to God, and saying I know it's an appropriate interrupt you because you're running the universe, and you got all these things going, but I just need you to sit down and listen to me and look at this and don't be distracted, I got some things I need to assist that's over the top but it isn't the picture here is of shameless nerve boldness importunity things that seem almost ludicrous to us going into the presence of the God of the universe, but our Lord is teaching us how to be invasive.
How to be bold in our prayers.
This man responded, not for friendship but for irritation.
He is in contrast to God, who by the way the Old Testament says never sleeps and never what slumbers so you're not waking them up and if this man would give this man what he wanted, not for friendship but just because of his shameless boldness. What will God who loves you perfectly give you when you come into his presence. And so, the parable leads to this incredible promise in verses nine and 10 and this is over the top. Listen to this and I say to you, I love that Eggo is in the emphatic position and I say to you. This is in somebody's opinion, folks, this is the incarnate God speaking K, I say to you, this is the voice of absolute divine authority I say to you on here this what you saying he doesn't say don't you dare come and bang around in God's presence demanding things I would expect him to say that you better back off don't you be like that guy don't you come interrupting God.
He knows you need he knows what's going on does need information from you.
You can read your heart he can see her concerned. He didn't say that all he says the opposite.
Feel free verse nine I say to you, ask and it shall be given to you seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and who knocks it shall be opened. That is unbelievable is not three imperative verbs present. Keep on asking keep on pursuing.
Keep on knocking, don't hesitate at all to be bold.
Don't be embarrassed ask is The first level God's me seek that's the second level they tell it means to strive after or to demand God until you got listen to me now got a watch what's going on or don't be distracted not now you're storming the gates of heaven. Don't be reluctant to ask and get aggressive and bang on heavens door. Did you ever think about her like that. Just on how that simple little story.
James is you have not because what you ask or you have to consume it on your own lust or you ask double minded.
Not really believing or you ask out of the disobedient heart and you have forgotten the God hears the prayers of those who obey his commandments or you say wait a minute, is this a blank check. Come on, you can just ask, seek, knock, and you receive well this a blank check. No, sorry, been qualified by verses two through four.
Here's a freight father, hallowed be what your name, your kingdom come in and we had of course from Matthew six, you will be done, so it's always according to God's name according to God's kingdom and according to God's will that we ask some blank check the generosity of the statement in verses nine and 10 is absolutely amazing and because verse nine is so shocking. Verse 10 repeats the same thing. It's not necessary to say it the same thing twice. Especially when you don't really change anything, but he does because of the first verse, verse nine discarded leaves you stunned.
Come on goddesses. You can start whispering. If you want through the wall and you can raise your voice and begin to make demands and you can even bang on the door if you want and I'll tell you this, when you ask you receive and when you seek your find and when you knock you will receive what you desire. I will open the door. What a great statement. Jeremiah 29 Andrew just verses 12 and 13, and will cut close with those two Jeremiah 29 verses 12 and 13.
This is so good for I know the plans that I have for you is negative that sovereignty is not. I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare, not for calamity to give your future. Nope, I know what I have planned for you. There is an affirmation of God's perfect knowledge. Perfect sovereignty and working out his purpose but verse 12. He then says then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you and you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart in a sense, the two seem like they contradict. I know my plans.
There sat there fixed their good but I'm telling you come and pray and I'll make you a part of the means of fulfillment of those plans when you seek me with all your heart and what comes out of this table comes out of this and experience of the goodness of God and experience of communion with God. This is the richness of what we enjoy in this life and in the life to come, the eternal reward for being eager participants in the purposes of God. Next time you pray be bold. Next time you pray, which should be at all times praying without ceasing. Be shameless. Next time you pray, go into the presence of God, eager to pour out your heart. Next time you pray, ask God to listen in to see and not turn away, and to hear the cry of your heart. And as you pray and God unfolds his purpose. You will be enjoying the experience of having been a part of what he accomplishes and enjoy his goodness join me in prayer.
Father, we thank you. This day for such incredible generosity.
What can we say it is just beyond comprehension. We thank you that we can come into your glorious presence like Nehemiah fully understanding who you are.
And yet, praying, fasting, weeping pleading that we might be a part of the means by which you achieve your ends. What a privilege that we can enjoy such an experience. In such blessing firsthand, both now and forever. Thank you in the name of Christ. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is the pastor of Grace Community Church and Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary and his current study on prayer is titled don't be afraid to ask you know John a young child just naturally wants to talk to his parents and yet obviously talking is something young children have to learn it.
Similar is that with young Christians. We feel the need to pray to the Lord and yet for new Christians, especially sometimes praying, talking with her heavenly father is something they need to learn. They even struggle with it then.
I think that's why the Bible teaches us so much about prayer meeting. We are taught about prayer by our Lord himself in the teaching of the disciples for the Lord's prayer as it's called in the apostles in writing the epistles have filled those epistles with prayers, particularly the apostle Paul and all of that instructs us how to pray, we don't know how to pray as we should. Paul says in Romans eight we know how to pray as we should. But the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. So prayer is a struggle we don't know what God wants. We feel a little bit reluctant to push him on things were learning not to do that in this series we don't want to know.
Pray to consume it on our lusts as the Bible says that's wrong.
We don't want to pray repetitious Lee like the Pharisees who just thought the repetitious prayers were some kind of magic force that moved God so trying to figure out how to pray the right way, boldly asking what we desire and trusting that God will hear and answer those prayers is like any other part of spiritual life. You have to learn how to pray and I think it starts with mastering the disciples prayer when they said, teach us to pray, he gave them a prayer and it was basically an outline of how to pray I were familiar with what he said but I'm not sure we are all familiar with what each of those lines means our father, you can stop and talk about that, who art in heaven, stop and talk about that three was given an outline all of that by putting a book called Lord, teach me to pray the Lord will will come alongside you through this book and teach you how to pray.
It answers questions like why should I pray one of the conditions for prayer when and how often, what do I pray about. Just amazing truths taught by our Lord would love to get one of these books in your hand.
Lord, teach me to pray rekindle your passion for prayer very reasonably priced and if you desire to pray with more discipline and more consistency you want to see greater joy. As a result, let me encourage you to ask for John's book, Lord, teach me to pray, do it when you contact us today. The book is available for $14 and shipping is free. This beautiful little hardcover book makes a great gift. It's concise and practical help for new believers and for veteran saints alike.
You can order the book Lord, teach me to pray by calling 855 grace or you can firstname.lastname@example.org and when you visit TTY.org. Make sure to take advantage of the thousands of free Bible study tools that we have available and read helpful articles on the grace to you blog from John and the staff. You can follow along with the reading plan of the MacArthur daily Bible and you can download more than 3500 sermons.
All of them free of charge in MP3 or transcript format that web address again TTY.org also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our newest resources and our latest free offers now for John MacArthur and the entire staff.
I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and be here tomorrow when John looks at why you can have assurance that God will hear your prayers and send help in your time of its another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on recent