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God Drawing Near

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2020 3:00 pm

God Drawing Near

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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You don't have to know exactly what to pray or how to pray in order to start praying.

Just praying welcome to living in the life with and Graham Lutz. There's so much we can learn from the life of Abraham and today's message is all about prayer gears and is in Genesis 1821 God told Abraham he was going to go down and see Sodom and Gomorrah to give those cities is undivided attention. Don't misunderstand God knew exactly the evil that was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah that he wanted Abraham and Lot and you and me to look over his shoulder to go down Sodom and Gomorrah to see you know that he went down, I think so. In the light of who he is, we would see what Sodom and Gomorrah was like. Otherwise we might thought his judgment was too severe, but it says those angels walk through and we see the way the town reacted that were somewhat close as the contrast between their purity and holiness and the wickedness of the city that it is in the contrast we see the wickedness and the sin and it's like Isaiah, the year that King Uzziah died when in a sense God came down into his life. He saw the Lord, high and lifted up in the light of his holiness. Isaiah who I think it been in ministry at least two years saw himself a woe is me said I'm ruling them a man of unclean lips.

I live amongst the people of unclean, as he saw his sin. Listen to me. God is come down to 70 and he's moved in our midst and is pinning his word within walking with him as he revealed sin in your life you know before we point the finger at the world and all these abominable things. What is there and lives that we need to confess and from which we need to repentance. But I think after the Lord is Matt's one appropriate response is to get down before him and asking him what do you see in my life that I need to confess and get right with you. The Lord comes down to see and it's a personal coming down and see and we need to see what he sees, that we might confess that that we might get right before and isn't that what Jesus did when he left his throne in heaven he came down and he dwelt amongst us and he walked in our midst. In the light of who use the whole world could see it in and when he died on the cross.

We know that sin must be exceedingly grievous to God exceedingly sinful.

If it cost him the life of his own son and it's who Jesus is, that reveals the wickedness of our sin. We went down the Sodom and Gomorrah to see the sin that was there. So when we pray for the lost and those who are coming under judgments. Our prayer should start with her own personal walk with God every day reading his word asking what does it say what does it mean what does it mean to me. Some days God will speak to you personally. Some days he won't seem to do that, but he will give you insights and understanding because he's chosen you and he doesn't want to hide things from you. Jesus said, I no longer call you servants. I call you my friend, because what God has revealed to me. I'm going to reveal to you and then he said I'm going to send you the Holy Spirit, who will guide you into all truth and give you an understanding of the things that you read he wants to reveal himself to you through the word, but you've got to be walking with them and you got to be in the word. In order for him to reveal it to you.

How will you and I know how to pray.

If we don't start their so prayer starts with our walk and it starts with his word and then prayer stays in his presence. Verse 22. The men turned away and went toward Sodom. But Abraham remained standing before the Lord and he is just lingering in God's presence just attaining God for a few minutes and reminds her of the disciples on the Emmaus Road you member after the resurrection, and Jesus appeared to the maiden.

It was Jesus. He talked of them along the way and our hearts burned within them and there's just something about. They just didn't want him to leave his Alyssa. Please come and have dinner with us and he came in and it was when he broke the bread they realized who it was but they just wanted him to stay a few more minutes. How long is it been since you just lingered in your prayer time. How long is it been since you just wanted to stay on your knees and I'll tell you something up and so convicted about this because in my business. I got so many things to do and I give so much time in my.

I'm not gonna get up and do something else and then out to do something else and I've been so bad about just finishing what I was up to and jumping up and going on to the next thing and just be quiet before and read the word.

Be quiet. See if you bring something to my mind.

Pray back to him and just stay in this present this week to see if you can carve out some quiet time like that we don't have an agenda you can start with your walk in his word and then just linger there for little while and see if God will show you something you wouldn't have seen if you just move through it quickly when we pray, don't quickly closure Babel jump up off your knees, wait for a few minutes always take a pencil and paper and my prayer time. In the event he has something to say to me, and you would think of God spoke to could never forget it. But you know with my mom the way it is I need to write it down or I may forget and I don't ever want to forget the personal things he says. And so prayer stays in his presence and prayer then approaches this person says in verse 23 then Abraham approached him and Hebrews 1023 says let us draw near to the Lord in full assurance of faith.

First John five says this is the assurance we have in approaching God.

If we ask anything to his will he hears us. Hebrews 11 six.

Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. When you pray, are you consciously aware that you are approaching a living person. He is not a figment of your imagination. He is not empty space. He's not gross. He's not an icon in a church is not a figure in a stained-glass window. He's not a statue.

He is a loving person with ears to hear and eyes to see in our heart to love you and when you approaching your approaching a living person who bends down his ear and he wants to hear every word you have to say to only can just so change your attitude toward your prayer time when you go on your prayer time not because you have to pray, you know, which is part of the Christian life, but because he's it's a divine appointment, a living person is waiting for you maybe want to set up you another chair. If you're sitting in your living will pull up another chair. If you're sitting on your porch put up another chair just you're here and he's there and he's invisible but he's perhaps in your approaching living person like he stops the universe. Nothing more important than sitting there to hear what you have to say labrum approached him staying in his presence approaching his person and then he began to speak, and I think Abraham at this point is God is expressed and what's on his heart. What's on his mind.

He's going to come down and see and give his very life to the lost I think Abraham is beginning to feel very burdened for his family and for his friends for his neighbors for the people who are lost and getting ready to come under judgments and I believe that burden come straight from the heart of God and I believe God also was burdened for Abraham's neighbors and for his family and for the lost to her getting ready to come under his judgment because I think if he won the wouldn't of saved when Abram stayed in his presence. God stayed with him and he allowed himself to be detained because this was a burden on his heart also. And so we see Abram speaking very respectfully and in verse 23 from says he approached him and said will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked, and in the last part of verse 25 pieces far be it from you will not the judge of all the earth do right. In other words, God, this just doesn't seem right to me understand if you're the judge. He does everything right and you're going to sweep the righteous way the wicked.

That just doesn't job that doesn't match what I know about you now what does God seem to be doing that you think doesn't seem right. And we need to be very careful when we say something like that to God because you understand we get our sense of rightness from God our sense of righteousness in our sense of justice and when we say God that's not fair. Listen to me what you think you got your sense of fairness from and so we need to be very careful not set ourselves up as somebody who is more fair, more just, more right than God. So when we come to him. We can say God that doesn't seem right.

Help me understand but do it respectfully made from comes from.

Respectfully, Lord, that just doesn't seem right. And then he begins this prayer and prayer is not a monologue. You do know that prayer is not just getting on your knees and going on your shopping list prayer is a conversation where we talk with God and he talks with us and so you see them praying responsively in verse 23 to 25 Abraham speaks verse 26 God answers them. 27 to 28 Abraham praise 28 the Lord speaks back verse 29. The first part, Abraham speaks verse 29. The last part of the Lord sweep back and forth, back and forth, back and forth near if you're talking with your best friends and you break out in the monologue that goes for 60 minutes you think she would stay there and maybe she would last five minutes but even then she started to roll her eyes and she want to get a word in edge wise and we'll have to have a monologue with God you say something, let him say something.

That's why you always take your Bible into your prayer time and you can speak to him and you let him speak to you and me share with you from the daily lights how I prayed for you and this was just the morning's reading of the daily light just the Scripture and the lead verse was Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word and asked the Lord this mean you love the church, the body of Christ is come together this weekend at the coven that you're going to sanctify them and cleanse them with the washing of the water by the word and all weekend would been washed with the water of the word, and he says and yes I'm going to sanctify them by my truth and my word is truth they Lord, your word is given me life in the Lord is Anton know because the law of the Lord is perfect. It converts the soul. And as they Lord is there anybody here who needs to be converted. Anybody here who needs to be changed when your perspective and is the word goes out.

Would you convert the soul and he says and the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple answer is a God is some people who think they're so simple. Would you give them wisdom. Help them to understand your word and the statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.

God is a study were give them joy. I could hear that you are sharing it with each other and the joy you had discussing the Scriptures with each other and the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes and as they Lord please open their eyes that they would understand your word and you take God's word and you spring off of it. Doesn't that help you have to come up scratch your prayer life. You can read the word and use that the spring off of an Abraham was talking to God and God was talking to him and he was talking to God and God was talking to him. It was a conversation he spoke respectfully. Responsively he spoke repeatedly. Abram asked again and again and again what he wanted. And as he prayed his prayer just sort of got narrowed down. He got more and more focused to me because I think as he was praying God was teaching them how to pray and what to pray for, and it reminds of Daniel in chapter 9 bowed with another fabulous prayer. If you want to pray for the nation. That's a fabulous prayer in Daniel spring for his nation but says at the end of that prayer while he was still praying while he was still speaking to God, the angel Gabriel came to him and gave him insight and understanding, and often it's while we pray God gives us insight and understanding. This happens for me.

Most often I have to admit when I pray with others, and when I pray with my prayer team not as often as we need to but Helen and another member of our printing will pray over the schedule and opportunities God's given me an and as we get on our knees were praying together even while we pray God gives me insight and Abraham as he was praying I believe was given insight and how to pray and he was starting out with a 5045 until he came right down to the 10 and I'm wondering was he praying for the 10 because he knew and we know from chapter 19. There were at least 10 members of lots family and you can count them up and you know there at least 10 members of his family living in Sodom what he was really praying for.

I wonder is Lord save my loved ones and if they can stand in the gap for all of wicked Sodom, so be it. Just I want you to save Sodom and save Gemara save the righteous in there does sweep the righteous away with the wicked and Lord, I know Sodom deserves judgment, but Lot lives there. Would you say all of Sodom in order to spare Lot and his family so I really think bottom line he was praying for his nephew and his family and God.

It just taken him and while he pray just narrowed his prayer down until it became very specific and he was praying exactly for what was on his hearts. So while you pray while you're speaking respectfully and responsively and repeatedly God will show you how to pray and give you insight and understanding and and we need to come in believe that he's going to hear us and Abraham stopped praying with the assurance that God had heard.

And I think he knew that when God became quiet because in verse 33 God had responded in a step-by-step 5045 4035 and got a Responding Abram got the 10 God was quiet.

He was silent. No longer did he quicken Abraham to pray anymore. And when God stopped Abraham stopped and I think at that point Abraham quits and returned home because he had no more faith to believe for 987 and I want to be careful with that but I believe God can put a burden on her heart and give us faith to believe that he's going to hear and answer our prayer the way were praying and basing our prayer on his word.

Listen, don't base your prayer on a wish runner hope so. Ronald wants that's why you don't have faith to believe he's going to give it to you base your prayer on God's word and you pray God's word hold them to God's word and that's where the faith comes in because you can believe God's word and God said yes for 10. I will spare the righteous, but he didn't go past that surpassed that Abram had nothing on which the rest is faith as we had no more faith to believe that God would do it for nine or eight or seven to see it is very important when you and I pray that we believe that God is not only listening but they don't answer our prayer.

James says if you pray in your doubting that you like the wave of the sea and you'll receive nothing that you ask for. So we need to pray in faith believing that God will listen and that God will answer any and you and I know he doesn't always answer exactly the way we pray, but he does answer and we can have the assurance that he has heard our prayer and when we pray and we basing on his word.

We want to be careful not to go outside and start presuming the just base our prayer on a wish and I won't know we can tell them what we wish for. We can tell them what we want and ask him to give us a promise on which to base that.

But if you have God's word. If you have a promise from him to claim then your prayer is going to be so weak and foundation listen wishy-washy is not going to hold up the challenge and so you can tell God what you want you can tell them what you really wish asking to give you a promise.

When you are in his word, the promise comes up off the page you claimant say God is this a promise you giving me for my child, are you giving this promise to me from a job or from a church and when you feel affirmed or not this is a promise you can claim then you just pray it back to God and you hold him to his word, but be careful not to go outside of that, I think prayer that goes past faith is presumptive is not persistent anymore and so when God left Abraham quits. He no longer had the encouragement from God.

There is no longer that quickening his heart no longer had a word on which to base his prayer and so we went back home and prayer stops with the assurance that God is her in prayer stops with anticipation that God will answer and I want you to look at is anticipation or first of all, the me quote Habakkuk Habakkuk is a fabulous book by the way wonderful prayer Habakkuk starts out praying for his nation and his nation is wicked and so we sang God when you going to judge this wicked nation. So God is all right. Habakkuk I want to tell you what I'm going to do I'm going to send in the Assyrians and the Babylonians are going to take everybody To the going to wipe out Jerusalem and Habakkuk Sizwe. Oh, wait a minute I wanted you to do something, but not that, and Habakkuk says in chapter 2, he says I will stand at my watch and I'll station myself on the ramparts, and I will look to see what he will say to me, and he was. He stopped his prayer, but with anticipation that God will answer him. Enter Abraham in chapter 19 turnover verse 27. This is after the angel said walk through Sodom and this is after Lottie gone to his sons Alana gone to his friends know that you can talk anybody into leaving any hesitation.

Angels drag Lot and his wife and his daughters out of the city. His wife looked back.

She turned into a pillar of salt. When she came under God's judgment and then the Angels drag Lot and his two daughters far enough away. They didn't come under judgment. This is that morning after.

When all that happened to Sodom. Verse 27. Early that morning, Abraham got up and he returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord, and he looked down towards Sodom and Gomorrah toward all the land of the plane you see is anticipation.

He's watching he's looking how is God going to answer my prayer and he saw dense smoke rising from the land like smoke from a furnace, and then he didn't know this. I don't think at the moment.

Verse 29. So when God destroyed the cities of the plain God remembered Abraham one man who stood in the gap for his family and God brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities were allotted. He couldn't spare Sodom because they were not 10 righteous but he spared lot. He understood the bottom line prayer that Abraham was praying and for Abraham's sake.

He saved Lot and his family who would be saved from judgments. If you would pray could be somebody in your family. Could it be somebody in your neighborhood, somebody in your office. Could it be you and I could stand in the gap for our entire nation and Fritos effective intercessory prayer start. It starts with your wall and it starts with his word. As you discover what's on the mind of God and in the heart of God and that his ears are open to your cry and he's going to come down and involve himself in what you're praying about prayer stays in God's presence and approaches a living person who cares desperately about the things you care about listening to your prayer and prayer speaks responsively back and forth, respectfully repeatedly and then prayer knows when to stop that we stop with that assurance that he's heard in anticipation these going to answer and so this is my challenge to you as you embrace the magnificent Obsession, would you lift everything up in prayer, especially the law were coming under judgment and especially the church also may come under judgment, because the Bible says judgment begins with the house of God. So would you pray would you pray would you pray effective.

Intercessory prayer for those who are in for the church to pray with his father just in the quietness of this moments we want to thank you for this passage we want to thank you for speaking through it to us and just the challenge to each office to pray for a lost world that is dying and going to hell.

And in that world are some of her own loved ones and friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, all God's would you impart the burden on your heart to our hearts break our hearts for the lost.

We pray and so we asked now that you would come down with been walking with you, Lord, and with been in your words, and we want to just stay in your presence. Now, in the approach you is a living person you're intermixed now bending down your ear to hear what we have to say and so Lord, we just want to speak to you now. We want to pray collectively corporately as a body, and we ask that you would hear our prayer as we offered to you. Amen. Now here's and with this final word. Praise God our entrance into his presence is not based on our own worthiness but on the worthiness of Jesus Christ. When we enter God's presence in Jesus name or is accepted by God as Jesus is because God counts us as his own dear children for child there's no place quite so safe and secure as within the father's arms. Jesus invites you and me in his name to come into his father's presence through prayer, crawl up into his lap by faith, but her head on his shoulder of strength feel his loving arms of protection around us: but daddy and pour out our hearts to him. You've been listening to a message but and Graham Lutz in her series from the life of Abraham go to and Graham to learn even more how you can make prayer in the study of God's word part of your everyday life, then join us again next week for living in the light

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