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A Life of Prayer

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 18, 2024 12:00 am

A Life of Prayer

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 18, 2024 12:00 am

How do we keep the door of intimacy with God open?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, January eighteenth. When you face problems, do you run to the Internet, popular opinion or friends before you seek God? Let's break that cycle by learning the importance of a life of prayer and living the extraordinary life. So what I want to talk about in this message is simply this. I want to answer this question. And that is, why should prayer be the priority in your life and mine?

Why should it be? We've talked about the fact that the extraordinary life is a masterpiece of God's creation. That's what we are. That it is a life of faith, of discipline, of intimacy, of service. It is a life also of prayer. And I want you to turn, if you will, to Mark chapter one. And I just want to read a few verses here. Jesus had been very, very busy all during the day, preaching and teaching and talking to people about different things, I'm sure. And if you'll notice, beginning in verse thirty-two. When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed.

And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases and cast out many demons. And He was not permitting the demons to speak because they knew who He was. That's what He'd been doing all day long, dealing with people and all kinds of sickness and disease.

Look at this next verse. In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companion searched for Him, couldn't find Him anywhere. They found Him and said to Him, Everyone's looking for You. He said to them, Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also, for that's what I came for. So here He was getting the Father's instruction for the day, God's energy for the day, His wisdom and direction, and seeking the Father's mind and heart. And they came looking for Him, couldn't find Him, which said that Jesus knew that in order for Him to spend time with the Father as He desired, He had to get far enough away, they couldn't just find Him right quick.

They went searching for Him and found Him. And so, what I want us to see in this message is simply this. Prayer is opening the door of our life in order to give Jesus access to our needs and permitting Him to exercise His own power in dealing with them, which is simply saying that we come to Him, open our heart to Him, show Him, tell Him what our needs are, and then allowing Him to exercise His own power in dealing with them, that is dealing with them His way in His timing. So that we're not coming to God making demands. We're not coming to God with our ideas of when and where it ought to happen a certain way, which oftentimes is part of our problem, that we want to tell Him not only what we need, but we want to tell Him how to meet that need, and usually we're telling Him we need it now.

So let's answer the question. The question we want to answer is simply this. Why should you and I make prayer the priority of our life?

And the first reason is simply this. Prayer to God through His Son, not just prayer. Prayer to God through His Son is the most powerful force in creation.

It's the most powerful force in creation. Our Heavenly Father is the eternal God, the sovereign of the universe. He says He's established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all. That is, when you think about who He is and what He can and cannot do.

Listen, our Heavenly Father can do anything we ever need Him to do. Because you see, His power is infinite. His knowledge is infinite.

His love is infinite. Which simply means He always knows every single thing we need, past, present, and future. He has the power to do anything and all things about anything and all things. And He has this awesome love toward us that makes it possible for us to believe and to accept and to expect and to anticipate that He's going to hear and answer our prayers. And so, if you'll think about it, He has rights which no one can dispute. He has power which no one can control. This awesome God. And when I think about this, I think about it in this light.

This is the great connection. You and I have an awesome connection with the sovereignty of the universe. This God who loves us unconditionally.

Who loves us enough to give His only begotten Son to die in our behalf. You and I have an avenue to do what? Go right to the throne room of the living God. Straight to the sovereign throne of God and know that He is willing to listen. Willing to listen. Willing to answer the petitions of our prayers. Willing to give heed to what we say. Willing to feel what we feel.

One who understands, acknowledges, and you and I have the privilege of talking to Him. Why do you want to fret over things? Why do you want to worry about something? Why do you want to struggle with things that God is willing and ready to settle for you if you'll bring it to Him?

But you see, sometimes I think it's, sometimes it's ignorance I guess, but oftentimes it's just pure pride. Well, I can handle it. Let me ask you a question. What can you really handle?

There's so much in life we can't handle. And you know what? If we knew how many things and how much God does through us that we take credit for, all I did so and so. Well, I thought about this.

I did thus and so. We don't even realize that God is the one who's doing it. And if you'll think about who you are. We started this whole series in the second message about talking about that you are now the created masterpieces of God.

That doesn't mean that we are pious and prideful. It means that God created you. Listen. And then He made you one of His children. And then He gave you access to Himself. And He says, I have a will and a purpose and a plan for your life. And I'm going to be with you in this plan, in this purpose.

I'm going to be with you every step of the way. All you have to do is live, listen, live and keep the connection. And so, we have that awesome privilege.

Likewise, think about it. It is through prayer that He can change and exchange our natural weakness, poor strength, into His supernatural strength. Listen carefully. Here's what He does. When you, are you listening? Say amen.

Here's what He does. When you are willing to get alone with Him, lay before Him your burden, your weakness, your frailty, or whatever it might be. You need strength and energy for tomorrow. You need to be alert for tomorrow. You need to be right on the front of it tomorrow.

Here's what happens. When you spend time with Him alone, listening to Him, it is in His presence. God has this awesome, miraculous, but listen, undeniable way of energizing your body, strengthening your mind, your emotions, your will, your passion for whatever God's called you to do. He's ready to do it.

And I can think of so many times when He has energized me, just physical energized me. And the only thing I did was get before Him and say, God, I'm tired and I'm weary. You know what lies before me? I need You. I need the power of the Spirit of God, which You said would be mine if I came to You.

I'm trusting You. And then just be quiet. Don't dare get up.

Just be quiet. And you know the smartest thing you can do is go to sleep. It may be ten minutes or twenty minutes or half an hour.

It may be all night. But God has the most miraculous way in a matter of minutes, transforming your weakness into this awesome, supernatural power and energy if you will let Him. Likewise, think about it. Because of the clear promises God gives us that He'll answer our prayer. Clear promises that God gives us that He'll answer our prayer.

For example, He says in John fourteen, John fourteen fourteen, John fifteen sixteen, John sixteen twenty-three, here's what He says. If we ask anything in His name, when you and I say in Jesus' name, what we're saying is this. We agree that what we're asking is befitting the character of Jesus. It is in keeping with the will of Jesus. And it is by the grace of Jesus. So, think about it. This is why He can say, if ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Wait a minute. Anything, anything. Then, in My will, has to be very clear. That is, it's in keeping with the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is under His and by His authority that we come. We have the right and the privilege.

There's some things you and I do not have the privilege to ask. We don't have the privilege to ask Him to do something that is, that is destructive in someone else's life. We don't even have the right and the privilege to ask Him for something that is destructive to our life.

That is, some indulgence that He knows will destroy our life. Then turn, if you will, to Mark chapter eleven. And I want you to look at the verse here. Mark chapter eleven, and notice what He says in this passage. Now here's the passage that people think about sometimes. They think, well, you know what, I'll read that verse. I just skip right over that one for sure. Because I know that God doesn't want me thinking that way.

But now watch this. Look, if you will, beginning in verse twenty-two. And Jesus answers, saying to them, Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted to him. Now, do you think that Jesus, do you think that He meant that, look at Mount Zion.

If you'll pray for God to move that and throw it and throw it in the Mediterranean Sea, He'll do it. That's not what He's talking about. What is He talking about? Simply this. When you come up against something that is impossible to you, something that is immovable in your life, it just won't move.

It just seems to be there's nothing you can do about it. Here's what He says. He says when that happens, have faith in God. He says, but if you and I believe that what He says is going to happen, it will be granted to us. Now, watch the next verse. Therefore I say to you, all things, how many? All things, for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they will be granted to you. You say, well, man, I mean, that just opens a door wide open to anything in the world I want.

Well, there's something you forget. Listen carefully. The Holy Spirit is not going to allow you to genuinely, fully, completely trust in the Lord for something that is not His will for your life. He's not going to do it. There have been things that I said, all right, Lord, here's what I believe is your will and let's go at it. And I could quote you verses of Scripture and get you a verse to prove this and prove that. Deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, down inside of me, there'd be this little something, that little something that does not allow me to have absolute total peace about it.

You know why? God's not going to let it happen. That's why He can make this statement. Listen, He says, Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them. Now, He didn't say believe it and it'll happen. He says, believe that you have. That is, listen, when you ask God for something that's His will, He is going to support your faith. And here's what He says.

Believe that it's a done deal. And God says here granted to you. You can't believe a done deal about something that's not the will of God. You can't do it. He's not going to let you do it. You know why He's not going to let you do it?

Because He loves you too much to allow you to be deceived by some indulgent desire that you have. And what I want you to notice here is this. He said to Him, Have faith in God. And He said, If when your faith is right, listen, when your faith is truly in Him and you know the will of the Father, you can ask for impossible, things that seem impossible, they'll change.

Things that seem immovable will move because the Father gets involved. Listen, the sovereign of the universe becomes involved in what you are seeking and what God is working in your life. Somebody says, Well, but suppose it's not His will. Then you might as well stop asking. Well, suppose it's not by His authority.

Well, then stop wasting your time. You see, what He says to us is find out what His will is. Somebody says, I don't know how to find the will of God.

Yes, you do. Here's how to find the will of God. You get on your face before Him or sit, whatever you choose to do, and you ask Him to show you His will. Now, here's what you do.

We all, well listen, we want something, we all start over here of all the reasons we think we ought to have it. And here's what God does. As we pray, watch this, as we pray and God begins to show us why it fits and why it doesn't fit and so forth, He finally gets us to a state of neutrality, watch this, where we say, God, that's what I really desire, but Lord, I want Your will.

That may have taken you six months to get over here or fifteen minutes or five minutes to get here. That's why He can make these awesome promises. And they're not ridiculous promises. And somebody says, well, God says, if I pray, He'll give me all things, all things that fit His will that we can ask by His authority.

Listen, watch this. Anything that's going to destroy you is not a gift of grace. So therefore, He's not going to give you something that's not good for you. You say, well, I've gotten some things in my life that wasn't good for me.

You know who gave them to you? The devil. He is more than happy to help you manipulate and reign circumstances if He can get your mind off God, your focus off God and thinking and believing something else. Well, prayer should be a priority in life because listen, it is essential to living a godly life. You cannot live a godly life without spending time with the Father.

It's just not going to happen. You wake up every morning, you've got three enemies looking at you. The world, the flesh and the devil.

You're going to walk out into your business, into your school, at your home or whatever it might be. You've got enemies. How are you going to live a godly life when Satan's got all kinds of tricks and snares? How are you going to live a godly life when your own propensities, that is your own naturalness is there? How are you going to do that when Satan will do anything he can to trip you up?

And you live in a world, you live in a world the system is so up, is so much against who we are. It is only through prayer that you and I can live a godly life. So, as you think about that, how are you strengthened? How are you strengthened in times of temptation? That's the Lord answering your prayer. God, strengthen me in this.

Give me the ability to say no to this particular situation. How do you get forgiveness of sin in prayer? You ask Him to do it. How, for example, do you receive divine guidance in your life? You ask Him. You're praying.

You're seeking. This is how you live a godly life. You keep going to Him over and over and over again. How do you discover God's call on your life? Through prayer. How do you understand the Word of God through prayer? And how, listen, how do you have a relationship to the Holy Spirit for Him to release His power in your life to do a certain work He's called you to do? It's all through prayer.

I would just say one last thing. Here is to me the greatest reward of coming to Him in prayer. It is not things, not things. It is not experiences.

It is not places. What is the richest reward when you get alone with the heavenly Father and it's just the two of you? You're not asking Him for anything. It's just being alone with Him. And you sense His presence. You are aware that He is so present with you that nothing else in the world matters. It's like being absolutely and totally consumed in this loving relationship that satisfies every single desire of your life. And I promise you this is the truth. If you will major on spending time with Him and ask Him to do whatever is necessary in your life to let you feel His presence and to sense His love, mark this down. God will provide for you more than you ever ask, more than you ever expect, more than you ever deserved. And you'll know where it came from.

If you don't learn to love Him and just be satisfied with Him, you're going to miss out on the most awesome experience of life. Let me ask you a question. How many cars does it take to take the place of love? How many houses do you have to own to take the place of love? How many trips do you have to take? How much notoriety do you have to have? How many honors have to be heaped upon you?

How many positions do you have to climb to? None of that will take the place of this awesome, genuine, loving relationship that you have with Almighty God. That's why prayer needs to be a priority. Thank you for listening to A Life of Prayer. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-18 02:34:08 / 2024-01-18 02:42:13 / 8

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