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August 13, 2020 8:00 am
Today were going to move on to the final part of our series, and in part three of this series since we were talking so much last week about prayer.
I thought I could move on before we have a message on how you and I can pray with power in our prayer lives and so that's what were going to do your okay thereby ready all right now when we go to the Bible, we find the that there is enormous power in prayer. Listen to what God said to Jeremiah 33 three he said call unto me and I will answer and I will show you great and mighty things that you know not. Folks, if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus as your personal savior. Let me just say that this is one of the things that comes along with doing that we get forgiveness of sin, yes, do we get a secure place in heaven. Yes, do we get eternal life. Yes, we get a renewed relationship with God, yes. But one of the other things we get is we get God's promise that when we pray God will hear us and that he will answer us now that is an amazing promise from Almighty God himself and yet this is the promisee makes to every person who surrenders their heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ and I hope if you're here and you've never done that that you certainly will do it. Were going to have people down front like we do every week right after the service staff members are prayer teams you come on down and talk to them and they can help you with coming to Christ.
Now another verse Ephesians 320 says that when we pray God will do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think, and I love what James says James says the prayer of a righteous man, a righteous woman righteous because were in Christ.
Now you understand not righteous in ourselves, but the prayer of that man or woman has great power.
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for 3 1/2 years. It did not rain on the earth are you talking about power in prayer and some of you may remember that back in the year 2000. We were building this facility. The Tysons facility and we had to occupy it by January 2001. This was the fall of 2000 and in order to make that deadline, we needed a long stretch of some really dry weather and if you remember we call the church family together and we said were to pray in order to pray in order to pray in a fast and working to pray for dry weather will friends. Let me just tell you we had the driest September and October in Washington in 50 years.
Can you believe that not only that it didn't rain in Washington for 14 straight weeks. Not a drop.
Tell me about the power prayer. Amen. All right now this is all great but the question we really need to answer is what is the formula God gives us in the Bible for unlocking this power in our prayer life. There are four principles that God gives us and I want to share them with you when were done here we go number one principle number one want to pray with power principle number one that we must approach God in prayer with clean hands and a pure heart.
Psalm 24 says who may ascend the hill of the Lord and who may stand in his holy place.
While the Bible answers his own question.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart. He will receive blessing from the Lord, you say belong were sinners. I mean none of us can achieve this standing with God. Clean hands and a pure heart by our own human effort by our own human performance. So what we do. Well, you're right. We can't buy our own human performance, which is why God's given us an alternative way to get this status before him by confession of our sin. First John 19 says if we what sweats word now that was weak.
What's the next word.
If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The first step to praying with power is to do what David did in Psalm 139, he prayed search me oh God, and know my heart try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and when God does this, and shows us our daily and our weekly sin, then we must confess it to the Lord not going through this exercise, my friends, before we talk to God about anything else reflects the proper respect for who God is, he is in all holy God. He is an all righteous God. He is an all pure God, the God of the universe and even as save the sinners, even as his own children in Christ. We dare not waltz into his presence in a cavalier manner, but we must come in humbly with the reverence and the fear and the all that is due to his name. We have to come in God's presence like the tax collector, Luke chapter 18. If you remember he beat on his breast, and all he could say was God have mercy on me, be merciful to me a sinner and the reason for this is because he understood what the Bible says that our God is a consuming fire. And even as his children. We dare not trifle with Almighty God, we need to come in and give him the proper respect and humility on our part before we start praying about anything. Number two, one power in your prayer life. The number two we must pray with a forgiving spirit towards other people. Mark chapter 11 Jesus said whenever you stand praying, what's next word. What is it, forgive, if you have anything against anyone word he well covers it. The Lord's prayer. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespass against us. How many people do you think every single week. Maybe every single day.
Pray the Lord's prayer. Pray that sentence and have not gone what that sentence says I think a lot of my friends look if we want power in our prayer life, then we must come to God the way. Romans 1218 says, as much as it lies with you. Be at peace with all men pay. We can't control what other people do. If they don't want to forgive us if they want to have malice towards us pay. We can stop that. But we can get to the place in our own heart, were we hold no malice, no bitterness, no revenge. No one forgiveness to anybody else around us and God says that's where he wants us to be when we come to him in prayer. You know many of us, I believe, know that the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans under Gen. Titus and the what you may not know is that 60 years later, the Jews revolted against the Romans, a second time and at this time, the Emperor's name was Hadrian and Hadrian. When they finally put down the revolt was so angry at these Jews for doing this twice that he tore the whole city of Jerusalem down any spread at thick layer of salt over the entire city so that absolutely nothing would grow there and nothing did for centuries what I'm telling you is that as a follower of Christ. When you and I pray with unforgiveness with grudges, with malice with bitterness in our hearts.
It is like praying with a layer of salt on top of our prayers friends. The power of God is simply not going to grow their and that may be why you're not seeing more power in your prayer life because you have bills malice is that you have those grudges against others friends as much as it lies with you.
Go get them right make it right or you're not going to see God's power in prayer.
It's just not going to happen. Number three. We want power in prayer than third, we must pray in faith believing Jesus said all things. Whatever you shall ask in faith believing, you shall receive a James chapter 1 James said. But if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and it will be given to him but let him ask in faith without doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. I watch let not that person expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.
Look here. Praying with faith does not mean that we pray and expect God to do every single thing we ask him exactly the way we ask you know, praying in faith means that we approach God with the absolute certainty that he can do anything and everything we ask him and that he will do what is best for you and me. If our prayer happens to line up with the will of God for our life that he will answer our prayer, exactly the way we prayed and if our prayer doesn't line up with the will of God for our life, then he will answer the need, but he'll do it even better than what you and I ask you, but either way, praying in faith means never doubting God's ability to do whatever he pleases whenever he pleases, and however he pleases. Regardless of the obstacles you donned always been intrigued by the verse in Matthew chapter 13 verse 58 where it says that Jesus was in Nazareth and the Bible says and Jesus did not do many mighty miracles there while I say the next four words because of their unbelief right the Bible. Please notice doesn't say Jesus couldn't do many mighty miracles there. It said Jesus wouldn't do it. Why not because God's not going to answer unbelief with blessing just that simple.
And we pray in unbelief. He's not going to answer with power. Is it what is it sound praying unbelief lawn ourselves like this. Dear Lord, I got this terrible problem and oh God, please, I need you to do this for me.
But you know what Lord if you can't do it for me. If the obstacles are too big. It it if there's just too many things in the way.
If you're too busy, AIA. You know it it it if it's just not something you're capable of pulling off the Lord. I understand that I won't hold that against you. What will come to prayers this guy, this is an insult to Almighty God. The prayer prayer like this. You think God's going to answer that prayer with power. I'm not even God and I wouldn't answer that prayer with power is there was a sound like the pray with belief listen.
It sounds like this Lord Jesus, I'm coming before you today because you are the mighty God of the universe and there is nothing you can't do. There is no obstacle you can't remove and Lord Jesus, I got this problem and I know you can fix it. You can either fix it the way I'm asking. Or you can fix it in a better way.
But, Lord Jesus, I'm not put in any limits on you whatsoever except your sovereign will for my life Lord step in and intervene show your mighty power bear your mighty arm and God. I know you can handle this and I'm going to trust you to do it. Amen. Now that prayer will see some power principle number four is if we want God to answer our prayers in power than number four.
We must pray with God's glory is our motive. Maybe you remember the story of Gideon Judges chapter 7. He shows up to for battle with 30,000 men and God says no no no no no I want 30,000 men on your team. Gideon and God work them all away down the 300 remember how God did that wanted God do that Prince God did that because when God gave the victory to Gideon. He wanted to make sure that he, God got the glory not Gideon's man friends. God is fanatical God is jealous about his glory.
Listen to what he said. Isaiah 42, eight I am the Lord.
That is my name and my glory. I will not, hereby will not share with another. What this means is that prayer that brings the power of God, down-to-earth is prayer that has God's glory.
At its core, and the mighty men and women of prayer down through the centuries have learned this lesson early and they learned it well when I think of this. I think of King Hezekiah.
He was the king of Israel, Judah, actually, and Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army under guy names the macro and there was no hope.
So Hezekiah got on his knees, and here's what he prayed. Listen, he said. Now therefore, O Lord our God deliver us out of his back ribs hand. Why why are you asking this Hezekiah that the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are God.
He didn't say so that we can be happy and live forever. You know, in a nice city and no descent so that the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are God wouldn't God do not send an angel that night and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, and son Zachary went home with his tail between his legs and never came back about Elijah. One of my favorite stories in the Bible upon the top of Mount Carmel first Kings chapter 18 facing off against the prophets of bail and have the prophets of bail danced around all day. Tried to call fire down Bevan cut themselves screamed it all const up finally at the end of the day. Elijah said come on over your body and here's what he prayed he said, oh Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let it be known this day that you are God in Israel answer me oh Lord, answer me, so they'll elect me the next king of Israel will know no answer me oh Lord, answer me that this people may know that you own, Lord our God and we all know what happened. I think the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed the offering, the altar, the rocks around the altar and even licked up all the water in the trench.
Now that's praying with power.
Yeah okay but notice both of those prayers had at their core, the glory of God. Friends listen to something wrong with praying for things that we need for our own comfort or for our own needs of God says. First Peter 57 cast all of our cares on him because he cares for us something wrong with praying for the with that is or is your motive, but friends it's just not the highest motive for prayer, the glory of God is God may or may not answer a prayer. You and I pray for our own comfort.
But you prayer. Prayer that the glory of God might be displayed in the answer and friend you better buckle your seatbelt because God can answer that prayer. You know we talked earlier about this Tysons building here and going to the building process of this building was an amazing experience. We fought with Fairfax County for two years to get approval with the neighbors with the neighborhood associations from 1997 to 1999 we fought it was a public fight. We were on television. We were on the radio.
We were in the newspapers. I mean it.
It was as public a fight as I've ever seen since I've been in northern Virginia and finally in January 1999. We want praise Lord yeah but you know all during those two years I've been praying and asking God for money we needed money to build the building in January 1999 when we got the approval from Fairfax County. Finally, you of finally you how much money we had the building fund $100,000 deficit. So how much did it cost to build this thing will honestly you know like twice as long and twice as much. You know I'm saying this thing eventually cost $93 million to build this by build this facility and we had $100,000 in the bank. We could need to get the bulldozers on site for hundred thousand dollars and I and and now I knew we were in trouble because we been fighting and fighting and fighting and been in the public infighting and now all of a sudden we have permission if we couldn't build the building if we had to walk away from the project. Oh my gosh I said not only would it embarrass us, but just think what how it would disgrace the name of Christ in the city so I got on my knees in January 1999, my son, our Lord listed there is no longer about get a bigger building for McLean Bible Church is no longer about get a bigger parking lot. This is no longer about us having more room for Sunday school there women not be like the old woman in the shoe anymore.
This is no longer about us having a building that we can reach Washington better with all of that is gone.
Lord were down now to this being about your glory. You cannot let us fail.
You cannot let this building be on Bill because your name is on the line out there in this community Lord I'm asking now for money because I am asking that you preserve your glory. I'm asking that you preserve your name. I'm asking that you not let your name get tarnished in the city. Forget about our name the church's name doesn't care if your name on asking you to do this, Lord to show the people of this city that you can meet the needs of your work in them say what happened. We went from $100,000 in January 19 nine in our building fund.
12 months later, January 2000 I will bore you with the details we had $40 million in cash in our building fund. A man half. That is the biggest hand of $40 million can command, I was wrong with you people.
Yeah, now now you're right. I couldn't believe it. I sat there watching that money role in and I was more shocked than anybody out what I'm like oh my God, oh my gosh all my God it was the most astounding thing some of y'all were here.
It was astounding thing you ever saw in your life, and we built the whole first phase of this building and paid for it in cash.
We have $40 million man.
I learned a lesson I learned when you pray something for God's glory. You better step back because God is going to answer and you know what I didn't just start off praying for this building for God's glory. I started off praying for it for the comfort and the needs of this church, but you know what I'm convinced that's one of the reasons God didn't answer my prayer. Sooner because I had to go through an evolution and get finally down to where I could really pray for it not for us but for the glory of Christ you know God may not be answering some of your prayers right now because he's trying to take you through that same evolution where you no longer ask you to pray for you anymore but you were to ask you for him and for his glory and it may mean that you and I can ask the same thing for his glory that we were asking for ourselves.
I mean, a yellow Ferrari's wonderful but how can I ask for that for the glory of God and figured that out yet.
I been trying for years.
How do I ask for that for the glory of God. That's why don't have a yellow Ferrari. That's why we pray for what anymore.
You can ask for. That is a pastor for the glory of God is not possible, but friends when you can get to the place that God takes you the bedrock you can say Lord is not about me anymore is not about me it's not about anything. But you and your glory Lord answer me answer me so people will know who you are now. Jesus said in John chapter 12. Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say, and here's what he said. He said father glorify your name. You don't know what to ask for my friend. You just asked for God to glorify his name in your situation and God will work so let's summarize what we learned today how do we pray with power number once we pray with clean hands and a pure heart by confessing our sins.
We pray with the forgiving spirit towards other people.
Number three. We pray in faith believing, never placing any limits on God except his own sovereign will and number four. We pray with God's glory as our motive and friends. Let me just say in closing in my heart is to see us become more of a praying people more of a praying church family. If we hope to see revival fall on our church and on the city if we hope to see the power of the Holy Spirit. Following our lives and on our church on this city, then let me just tell your prayer is not optional prayer like this is mandatory. It is something we must do and this is why we have prayer meetings before every service at every campus and I'm in every one of them. Whatever campus I happen to be at that week, on my knees with you and I want more of you there. We got room in the prayer room and every single one of our church facilities and I want you to get there and I want you to get on your knees and I want you to join us in prayer. If you're uncomfortable, praying out loud at first and just blows get on your knees and say amen amen amen amen. You'll learn but friends if we are really want God to make us a church of power that we have to first become a church prayer. It's just that simple. Amen. Yes, that what I'm saying it's not the programs don't think it is because it's not by might nor by power nor by program, says the Lord, but is by my spirit and God spirit only falls were God's people are on their knees. So you TiVo that show you get up a little early for breakfast.
Whatever you gotta do what you get in the prayer meeting with the rest of us and let's call the power of God down. Hopefully on our church on our city on our lives. Amen. Okay. God bless you whispering heavenly father I pray that you would forgive us for our prayer list. This forgive us as individuals. Forgive me for my prayer… Lord carelessness is only a symptom that were relying too much on ourselves because if we really understood our desperation and our impotence to do anything.
As you said in John 15 without me you can do nothing. If we really understood that we would be on our knees forgive us Lord as a church family for paralysis. I take responsibility for that Lord and I ask you to forgive me. By the grace of God were going to change that. Lord I pray that you might make us a mighty people of prayer because of where mighty people of prayer. You will make us into a mighty people of everything.
And so, Lord Jesus, speak to our hearts deeply today change our very lives in our commitment to prayer because we were here and we sat under the teaching of your word Lord of some of us have things we need to go get right with people so we can pray with the forgiving heart.
Help us to do that father whatever we need to do Lord whatever we need to do to pray with power make that. So in our lives and we pray this in Jesus name. What are God's people say amen