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November 4, 2021 7:00 am
Well as you know I take a trip to Israel every year and one of the places we always go is the Wailing Wall.
The Wailing Wall is the last remaining part of the Jerusalem temple complex that was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman army not find it.
Most Christians when they go to the Wailing Wall for the very first time are totally unprepared for what they see their what they see your scores of Jewish men draped in long roads standing in the open air rhythmically rocking back and forth and praying and not praying quietly, mind you, but praying out loud vocally for everyone to see and for everyone to hear that which is not used to that it touches people off guard unit was interesting when we dial the clock back 2000 years to the time of Jesus, we find that the Jewish leaders in his they were doing the very same thing in the Jesus actually made a comment about this practice if the comment that were going to look at today because today were going to talk about prayer and were to talk about how as followers of Christ we can pray with greater power in our prayer lives and so, remember, we're in a series entitled Jesus is most outrageous things were going to the gospel accounts and were looking at the most radical things Jesus ever said and taught and were spending a week on each one of them asking the question well.
So once we've already done seven and today were ready for number eight and hope you brought a Bible I want to ask you to open your Bible to the first book in the New Testament. The gospel according to Matthew Matthew chapter 6 now while you're turning. Let me remind you that Jesus here. Matthew six is in the middle of the sermon on the Mount. He is already addressed a number of different topics and now he is ready to address the topic of prayer. And that's where we pick up verse five Matthew chapter 6 and when you pray, Jesus said do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. But when you pray, verse six, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who was on scene. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Now let's talk before we go on and let's define prayer based on what Jesus says right here in these verses.
He tells us in these verses that prayer is a one on the worn activity between a human being an Almighty God himself.
You don't need any other people involved. You don't even need any other people to see what's going on. It is a one on one activity between you and Almighty God. It is an activity in which you are communicating directly with the living God of the universe. I think we all know that somewhere in the White House. There is a red telephone that when the president picks it up. He is immediately connected to Moscow to the president of Russia. There are no intervening switchboards or secretaries. There were no intervening operators is a direct line and what Jesus is telling us here in Matthew chapter 6 is that prayer is like a red telephone to heaven. It's a direct line that gives us immediate access to Almighty God himself.
When we call heaven in prayer Almighty God himself always picks up the telephone when we call heaven. In prayer we never get an answer like this. Hello you have reached seven all of our customer service agents are currently busy. Please remain on the line and your call will be answered by the next available angel. We never get a message like that friends when we bring heaven we never get a busy signal.
We never get placed on hold. We never get lost in voicemail prison when we bring heaven in prayer we get God himself. On the other end of the line mass often say that you're here today and you never trusted Jesus Christ as real and personal Savior there. One of the things that comes along with a commitment to Christ is this kind of access to Almighty God.
Yes, you get eternal life. When you trust Christ. Yes, you get a ticket to heaven. When you trust Christ, but you also get access to God exactly as we described. I mean think about it for a moment if someone were to come up to you and tell you that they were going to give you a direct and immediate access to the President of the United States why most of us would be so honored.
We wouldn't even know what to do. We actually get his cell phone, you can give me his cell phone number is going to pick up when I call my God will friends were not talking about access to some ruler of the country here on puny little earth were talking about access to the creator, sustainer and orchestrator of the universe and how cool is that. And that's what comes as part of the package deal when you embraced Jesus Christ as your personal savior here today and you never done that. I hope not only what you think about it, but I hope you'll do that. Jesus goes on in the sermon on the mall to make an unbelievably outrageous problem us about prayer in Matthew chapter 7 and outrageous statement and that's where we want to focus the rest of our time here in Matthew Matthew chapter 7 verse seven Jesus says, ask, and it will be given you seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened unto you. For which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone orifice on asks Morpheus will give him a snake.
If used in even though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to his children, who asked him not notice the promise here in Matthew chapter 7 is not for every human being alive is a promise for those human beings who have become God's adopted children by means of their faith in Jesus Christ.
But if you are one of these people look at the outrageous problem that you are made here by the Lord Jesus. He says here's the deal you ask in the God who created the universe. The God who runs the universe. The God who orchestrates every event in the universe you last and that God will and he will intervene in the world on your behalf. He will inject himself into the circumstances of your life on your behalf when outrageous promise. You know the rest of the Bible reiterates this promise Jeremiah 33, three: the me God says, and I will answer and I will show you great and mighty things that you don't even know God says you pray and I will move the world in response to your prayers.
James chapter 5 verse 16. The prayer of a righteous man or woman is powerful.
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain in Israel for 3 1/2 years. Man, I would call that pray with power. When you when you are I think you I just came back from leading Explorer called in the footsteps of St. Paul. What we do on this tour is we trace the omission or journeys of the apostle Paul from acts chapter 16 when he first crosses into Europe all the way through the end of the book, and so we start right up in the northern part of Greece going to the cities. Paul first went to in acts 16 we go to Philippi and Thessalonica and Berea and then we swing south and come down to go to Athens and Corinth. Just like folded.
Anyway, we were getting ready to do this trip and I was watching the weather on the uniform on the Internet you'll come over here and it called for rain rain rain. The first two days we were there we were going to be in northern Greece. And I said Lord know you know this is not good. I mean every place we go is outside the role archaeological sites on the rain is no good.
So we actually got there that afternoon we landed, there were still calling for rain the next two days and so I got the Holter group together nicely. Here's what I want you to do gang I want every single person praying that God would take that rain and send it north to Bulgaria. That's what I want to pray and I phenomena pray same thing and I did that night I went my room and I said, Lord, you know, a lot of people are waiting for this and in their people or the don't even know Christ and this is gotta go well and for your sake and for their spiritual sake. I'm just seven you please Lord, said that Reina Bulgaria save London you feel bad sending it to Bulgaria. No, no, I don't think there were any tour groups in Bulgaria that I knew of, and they probably needed the rain so that's what I pray do you know we had the two most gorgeous beautiful days you've ever seen in your life. The next two days and guess where friends guess where it rained cats and all you won't believe it, ready for Bulgaria. Mr. was in the paper.
They had these huge brainstorms in Bulgaria and that happened after anybody on the tour that happened now.
What's the point. The point is that I believe is Christians prayer is the most underutilized weapon in our spiritual arsenal. I believe that prayer is the greatest untapped source of power in the universe as followers of Christ. Here in Matthew chapter 7 the Lord Jesus tells us we need to use this power he tells us that if we will ask.
He will answer unbelievable how outrageous is a statement like this. I can't even get an appliance repair man to answer her call me back for four days but I can get the living God of the universe to agree to answer any prayer I made how outrageous is that now that's the end of our passage for today, but what I asked our most important question and you know what that question is, so are we ready all I nice allowed to go one to pray is they want someone I know will be interior was and frankly I could care less if it rained in Bulgaria.
What difference is any of this make in my life. Well, let's try to make that connect for your right you guys here like fishing Ray Jahan okay why don't let me tell you why I don't. There are three reasons why don't like fishing. Number one, if Melanie number two it's messy and number three is incredibly boring and that's why I'm not a fisherman but I married into a family of fishermen and so a few times I've been one time a few years ago, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law took me up to a lake in Pennsylvania.
We were sitting there trout fishing and we through these lines, and I don't know. We had seven or eight lines in from the store and we hadn't caught want we been there all day and caught a thing, but there were these two guys sit now to the boat about 100 yards offshore from us who were pulling interest like it was going out of style, and they had this unbelievably annoying habit. Every time they would hook up this they would yell loud enough for the whole lake to hear boom and so they were sitting out there just going: the and we hadn't boomed all day. Not one move all day that they are not going there catching fish and were not kept in for monthly allotment that's worth know when I come there catching fish in your work tension for when you know what I say with the answer. The answer is they were local, they knew that lake they have studied the fishing that lake they knew everything about how they ran when they ran where they ran, what kind of bait they ate at what time of the day and what locations and they had adapted their fishing habit to the habits of the fish you understand what I'm saying we hadn't known that we just walked up there as complete strangers.based on the envelope through the thing in the water and that's what they were Convinced we were not running to Christians all the time was say to me Lala I pray I will never see God answer my prayers with the kind of power that he talks about in the Bible of the kind of power I hear you talk about will wait a minute, let me tell you why that may be it may be because you haven't realized yet that praying with powers a lot like fishing friends and were going to pray with power. We need to be like those guys out that fishing boat. We need to be students of how God answers prayer. Why God answers prayer.
In What Way, God answers prayer. What kind of prayers.
God answers and then like the guys out in that boat we need to adapt our praying and bring it in line with God and his habits. That's what they had done they had adapted their fishing and brought it in line with the habits of the fish and that while they were catching and you see I think. As followers of Christ. We don't do that we don't study and then adapt we just throw our lot in the water and when someone invites we go will see their no no no I'm sorry God answers prayer, but he answers prayer.
That is pray to certain way with a certain set of conditions that he tells us about in the Bible and that's what I want to talk to about in the little bit of time I got left. I want to talk to you about how we can pray on God's terms how we can adapt our praying so that we are positioned perfectly for God to answer our prayers with power therefore principles I want to share with you. Principle number one is this one. Pray with power. Number one, you and I need to pray with clean hands and a pure heart. Psalm 24 verse three who may ascend the hill of the Lord who may stand in his holy place.
Answer the person who has clean hands and a pure heart. That person will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Psalm 66 verse 18 if I regard if I cherish if I embrace you in my heart.
The Lord will not hear and respond to me what God is telling us here is that, as followers of Christ.
You and I will we come to him harboring sin in our heart, no wrongdoing, deliberate disobedience of God were clearly out of step with God that that will hinder the power and the effectiveness of our prayer.
You know I am walked in my kitchen. This was a few months ago and the house looked in the kitchen sink and in the kitchen sink was half filled up with water. Ugly Warner Brown Warner Nancy water cycle. What is the world turn on the garbage disposal. Turn on the water. And guess what, it didn't go anywhere just went around and around and around and I said all time for me to call my good friend that I called at least once or twice a year at my house and here they are.
You know them Roto router see in my house. We put all kinds of interesting things down the garbage disposal, but that's a matter for another discussion understand what I'm saying but we have a visit from Roto-Rooter once a year or so, or more often and so what they do, they come out they take a snake they put it in the pipe they route that pipe out to get all the junk all the don't all the trash out of the pipeline because water cannot flow through a pipe that is all clogged up with gunk were friends, listen God's power cannot flow through you spiritually when you are all clogged up. Don't either spiritually, gunk. You and I pick up every single day just living in this world.
All of us as human beings every day do things they think think things that are offensive to God that are like spiritual goldfinches clogged up the pipe and before we go into pray and ask God to do something in power in our life. We got to clean the pipes out of respect the power of God to flow through them. Most of us rush into the presence of God start asking for us without ever Roto-Rooter and relevant work that way, we first need to go and ask the Holy Spirit to examine our heart and show us where we've done things that have offended God show us where were harboring sin in our life.
Show us where we are deliberately disobeying God.
So we can confess those things and get them right before Christ so we can approach him with clean hands and a pure heart then were in a position God can really do something, we skip the Roto-Rooter stood up were not ready for God to move in power in our lives. Number two. Principle number two is we need to pray with a forgiving spirit. Mark chapter 11 verse 25 and when you stand praying, if you have anything against someone.
Jesus said, forgive them, nothing ever strike you. Interesting that Jesus would discuss forgiveness when he was standing here with the disciples talking about prayer. I mean, did I ever strike you as unusual will it shouldn't because friends one of the most frequent hindrances and roadblocks to praying with power is an unforgiving bidder spirit.
When you and I approached God with unforgiveness and malice and hard feelings and hatred in our hearts towards other people and refusing to forgive them.
God is not going to honor our prayers and move until we dealt with it than what the Lord's prayer says forgive us our trespasses as what is.
We forgive others. Jesus said after that, you know, if you don't forgive God's not going to forgive you. Gotta forgive, if you want to see prayer make a difference in Israel. There's a place called Masada. It's a big mountain down by the Dead Sea were the last Jewish revolutionaries faced the Roman army between 70 and 73 A.D. now Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D. they burned the temple to the ground but 960 revolutionaries escaped to Masada lasted three more years. Eventually they all die.
A lot of people think that was the end of Jewish nationalism. It was the end of Jewish revolting against the Roman Empire, but not true. There was one more Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire that happened 60 years later, led by a fellow named bar cocoa lasted three years and though the end of those three years. Emperor Hadrian had gone to Israel and taking command of the troops himself of the Roman army and he finally put down this rebellion when he Emperor Hadrian did a very interesting thing he decided that he had enough Jewish nationalism that was never going to be a problem again and so he took the city of Jerusalem and completely burned it to the ground. He completely plow the city under and then he spread a thick layer of salt all over the city of Jerusalem, so that nothing would ever grow their for years and you know what nothing ever did their friends what I'm here to tell you and what Jesus says in the Bible is that when we come to God in prayer with unforgiveness and malice and bitterness and hard feelings and grudges in our hearts towards other people is like trying to pray with a thick layer of salt on top of our prayers and God says the power of Christ cannot grow in that environment. The power of Christ cannot prosper in that environment.
You will never see God answer prayer and power in the Klonopin environment and for many of us here. The secret to having God answer our prayers with more power is a Jew and I got some things we got a cleanup in our hearts towards other people.
You gotta come in with a clean slate towards other people. If you want to see God do something in your prayer life principle number three once he got to something powerful in your prayer life. The principle number three.
We need to pray in faith believing. Matthew 21 Jesus said in all things. Whatever you shall ask in faith believing, you shall receive it in Psalms 98 God is the thing. He had against the Israelites back in Moses's day is that they limited in their unbelief, the holy one of Israel is one of the greatest obstacles to powerful answered prayer is unbelief is limiting God in our own human logic in our own human unbelief.
You know how it goes. We come to God and we go all Lord I really want to do this but you know there's so many obstacles in there so many things in the way they look so impossible that you know what God asked you for it.
But I know you're not going to do it not going to do it. It's okay I forgive you. I won't hold it against you. Amen. Know what you answer prayer like that I wouldn't answer prayer like that that kind of a prayer is an insult to Almighty God that kind of a prayer is an affront to Almighty God, or sometimes we come in.
We do it this way, Lord, I really want you to do this for me and I know there's a lot of things and I know you always answer according to your will, and I'm sure it's according to your will, not to answer this prayer so if you want to do it that way. It's okay. Amen, prayer is that is that when I went in along with the Bible says doesn't it.
First John five verse 14 that this is the confidence we have in approaching God that if we ask anything according to his will.
We will have what we ask of him. Doesn't the Bible say that yes it does friends. It is true. God promises to answer every prayer that we pray according to his will. But look here. Look here right now but God never intended that to be in use for unbelief never in the Bible that is not an excuse for unbelief is filled alongside of the balance work for well I'll tell you it works like this praying in faith means we come to God and we ask for the moon friends. We ask for the moon, knowing that we're praying to the God who opens the Red Sea for living where praying to the God from whom no human obstacle is the lightest problem where praying to a God who can do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or ever even imagine.
We, after the moon and then once we bask we leave the slate open for God to actually answer our prayer according to his will, according to what he knows is best, but don't miss this, but we don't make that decision for we don't decide and I do human logic what his will may be we leave it wide open and we say Lord the only person that we ever want to limit what you do is you where not going to limit you deciding ahead of time what you will do what you won't do what you can do and what you can't know what is going to ask you Lord for the moon and you limit yourself, but I'm not going to limit to you understand what I'm saying. Friends don't run interference for God to lead you to don't make excuses for God. He doesn't need you to apologize ahead of time for God. He doesn't need you to do that. All he needs you to do is take your puny human logic and limitations off of him and let him be God. That's all you need.
You're sitting in an actual example of this, prayer and action. Back in 1997 when we enter this new campus project. Everybody was telling us why couldn't be done. Why was humanly impossible. Why could never happen. They said you never get the money they said even if you get the money you'll never get to the Fairfax County zoning process.
You know you'll never be able to operator one church in two locations for 3 1/2 years in Oakville until the claim Bible Church of it until McLean Bible Church of no one you can't know it will. We knew the obstacles were real. We knew they were going, but friends when we prayed about this. We sense Lord telling us to step out doing anyway and so we did in my prayer to God. In those days was Lord you know what I want you to show the world what can happen when a group of Christians get together and don't limit God. I want to show the world what can happen when we turn you loose and just allow you to be God.you decide Lord that you don't want us to have this this new campus.
I'm okay with that but I'm not deciding that for you. I'm not going to come to you and tell you what all problems are and all the hindrances are all reasons why can't work our and decide in my mind ahead of time why you're not going to do this.
I'm not doing that. I'm coming insane God. We want that campus God.
We can use that campus for the glory of Christ God, we can use that place to make a difference in the city.
I want that campus. Now you don't want us to have a five but that's the only reason we shouldn't get not the county, not the money you Lord. And if you think we ought to have it. I'm not going to put anything in a way to stop well the rest. Like they say is history friends here you sit today in that campus that God gave us and you know what, let me tell you something else. I also pray that as we were going through this would work. All of this out, at least in part to show every single one of you would McLean Bible church.
What can happen in your life when you don't limit God. God just doesn't do great things like this for churches friends.
He does great things like this for people.
People were willing not to limit him in their puny human unbelief in their puny human logic. Now God will still answer according to his will, he will still do what he knows is best, but you let him decide that not you letting me God. Principle number four if you want to see God answer your prayers with power than you need to pray and I do to with the glory of God is our motive member.
Isaiah 42, eight I am the Lord.
That is my name and my glory.
I will not give to another. They listen God is passionate about sharing his glory with no one. He is passionate about revealing his glory to mankind. That's why Jesus said, John 1413 and whatever you ask in my name for the purpose of the father receiving glory that I will do friends prayer that brings the power of God down to earth is prayer that has God's glory not man's welfare.
Your welfare my welfare.
At its core and its motive because above everything in this world. God wants to reveal his glory to the human race. And when you pray a prayer that asks him to do that in sincerity, he's going to take you up on that prayer. Remember what I pray for this building. I pray Lord I want you to show the world what can happen when a group of Christians don't limit you. I want you to bear your arm and show what you can do when everybody saying you can't do it.
I want to show you can do. I wasn't asking for this property for the glory of Lon Solomon. I wasn't asking for this property for the glory of McLean Bible church I wanted Jesus Christ to get the glory for what happened in this project and I believe that's in part why did it and you know every great prayer in the Bible that is brought the power of God down and exploded onto the human stage. You look carefully has had this motive at its core member Elijah up on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Vail first Kings chapter 18 he's up there and he builds a psaltery douses it with water three times and he says of the prophets available. I fell as if Vail is really God call down fire from heaven. Improvement.
They dance around all day. Do all these monies for things and nothing happens.
Finally at the end of the day a lot just design. Are you guys about to come over here and here's the prayer that he prays verse 36 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let it be known today. Elijah says that you are God in Israel answer me oh Lord, answer me so that these people will know that you alone are God now that is a prayer. Pray for the glory of God and you know what happened. Fire fell from heaven to not only consume that entire altar, but he licked up all the water in the tramps. I call that power in prayer. When you talk yeah I say so and friends. How did he call down power from heaven like that good. Elijah mentioned himself at all talking about himself. He's talking about God's glory being revealed. And you know what my friend when you pray a prayer that has truly the revealing of God's glory as its motive, you better buckle your seatbelts friend because God can answer that prayer now is anything wrong with praying a prayer about our own issues know anything wrong with praying for new car new house and physical healing a new job a child more income, no. But the problem is. Look at your prayer life. How much of your prayer life is that and how much of your prayer life is focused on things that bring God glory better. Most of us will find our prayer life is almost 100% focused on meaning me me me me me that that's wrong but where do we ever break and go for a higher purpose of prayer, a higher motive in prayer and say Lord. These are things I want you to do, not for my comfort my welfare. My convenience, but I want people to see who you are. Boy you prepare like that in you mean it. I'm telling you guys can answer that prayer. And that's why you gotta building the data interested will it summarize showing how you pray with power will therefore principle number one pray with clean hands and a pure heart. Roto-Rooter before you pray number two. Pray with a forgiving spirit towards other people get the salt off your prayers. Pray with a clean slate number three pray in faith believing, don't limit God in your puny human logic in your puny human unbelief. Don't do that. Just let God be God asked for the moon and letting go and finally number four. Pray with the glory of God the honor of God as you motive friends.
This was the fishermen out there. Did they figured out how to fish were running and they adapted their fishing to fish we've done today is figure out how God answers prayer with power and now I challenge you adapt your praying to God and if you do I'm telling you, you will see God moving your prayer life.
I close with a quote from SD Gordon famous British preacher. Here's what he said and I quote he said the great people of the earth are those who take time and pray they don't have the time, it must be taken from something else. This something else is important very important and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer. May God make you a prayer warrior and maybe make you powerful in prayer. It's pretty Lord Jesus, thanks for teaching us today. How to fish so to speak with power. Thanks for teaching us the how and the why the way in which you answer prayers with power and thank you that you are a God who delights in answering prayer who delights in giving us as your children responses that go beyond anything we ask or even imagine the Lord we have to pray in such a way that we qualify for that and so thanks for teaching us today. How that is. I pray that you would challenge everyone of us here that there is power in prayer that we have not tapped that this is an underutilized weapon in our arsenal and that we need to become men and women. Prayer men and women were powerful in prayer to do that we need to follow these principles so use these principles to change our life Lord to change our prayer life make us men and women like Elijah who, through our prayers shape and shake and impact this world for Christ.
Thanks for talking to us today change our life as we were here. We pray these things in Jesus name God's people said Amen. Thanks for being here today