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June 3, 2022 10:00 am
You know Jesus. John 1624. Ask and you will receive an in saying these words. Jesus makes it clear that prayer is intended to get results. Prayer is much more.
The Bible says, than just some psychological exercise.
That's intended to make us feel better when things are going wrong for these are tension when were under undergoing of tough times. On the other hand, for the Bible is clear that prayer is all about a living, powerful, supernatural God who hears prayer and who answers prayer. Now prayer you know is a lot like fishing.
What I mean by that is that we've all seen it.
Two fishermen go out to the same lake and at the end of the day one fishermen comes back with maybe one or two fish and the other guy comes back with a whole bucket load of fish. And so you wonder, how can two people fishing the same lake at the same time with such different results. Well I'm not a very good fisherman, but I'll tell you what I've learned I learned that the difference is that the effective fishermen has taken some time to study and learn about efficient outlay.
He learns how the fish runs or what time of the day they run them what kind of bait to use that what section of the lake at a certain time. Another way to put this is that the effective fishermen has learned how to catch fish on the fishes terms now friends an effective prayer is just like this and effective prayer is a person who is taken the time to learn about God's conditions for answered prayer to be a student of how God answers prayer, and why God answers prayer. To put it another way, in effective prayer is a person who is learn how to pray on God's terms. And that's what we want to talk about today in part nine of our series, how firm a foundation we want to talk about the what and the why and the how of effective praying of praying with power. Now you know it's interesting that when we look in the Bible, we find the word pray, or prayer in the Bible use more than 500 times so it's pretty obvious to me that is a follower of Jesus Christ prayer is something God wants me to be doing, but let's not assume anything. Let's start at the very beginning by asking the question, what exactly is prayer. Well prayer to put it simply, is communicating with Almighty God. Prayer is like a direct hotline that we have as followers of Christ to Almighty God, except that this hotline is intended to be for more than just emergencies.
Actually prayer has some very everyday uses that are great and powerful in our live number one prayer is meant to be a way of building intimacy between us and Almighty God every day. Number two. Prayer is a means of us getting wisdom and direction from God. The Bible says if you lack wisdom, asking word, we ask we ask in prayer, number three.
Prayer is meant to be a means for God to comfort and fortify us when were going through difficult times we get on our knees and pray there is a comforting mortifying ministry of the Holy Spirit that takes place in her heart.
Prayer is a means of readjusting our attitude and our perspective to being in line with the will of God. Every day we get out of tune in prayer is the tuning fork. God uses to get us back into number five prayer as a conduit for confessing our sin and receiving God's cleansing and forgiveness every single day and finally number six prayer is a forum where God searches our hearts and shows us things in our heart that need to be corrected and need to be surrendered and need to be brought into line with the will of God.
The point of all this is that one of the major purposes of prayer, my friends, is to change you and me as followers of Jesus Christ, you, I love the story of Gethsemane were the Lord of course goes in just before is going to be arrested and taken to the cross and the Bible says that Jesus came with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane and he said to them, my soul is deeply troubled, even to the point of death, verse 39 Matthew 26 then Jesus went a little beyond them and fell on his face and did what what did he do any pray you know it's interesting that Jesus went into the garden of Gethsemane distressed.
He went in trouble.
He went into the garden and agony of soul.
And yet when Jesus comes out of the garden.
He is strong he is determined he is resolute and the only thing that Jesus did in the garden that made that change is what any do right. That's it. You know I have to tell you the greatest problem in my life right now. Spiritually is the gap problem GAP and by this. What I mean is the gap that exists between what I know on one hand the Lord Jesus wants me to be and on the other hand, what I really am see I been a follower of Christ almost 39 years. I know what the Lord Jesus Christ wants me to be. My problem is when I look and see what I am. There's an enormous gap in between those two things so as a follower of Christ how to walk close that gap.
How do I change my heart and my behavior and my values and bring them all into alignment with the will of God for my life.
Well, how did Jesus do it in the garden of Gethsemane. He did it by means of prayer and God's given you and me that same mechanism to use to close the gap problem in our lives.
I love what started Kennedy said he said and I quote prayer is not an easy way of getting what we want. It's the only way of becoming what God wants us to be." Well, this then is the first great purpose of prayer, namely to change us as followers of Christ.
But there's a second great purpose of prayer and that is the second great purpose of prayer is not just to change me, but also to change the situations around me.
Jeremiah 33 three God says: the movie I love this verse and I will answer you and I will show you great and mighty things that you know not in Ephesians chapter 3 verse 20 the apostle Paul says that when we call out to God, God will do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or even imagine. I can imagine I will not. And God says he can exceeded God's as you pray, and I will move the world in response to your prayers. James chapter 5 says the prayer of a believer in Jesus Christ is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us.
He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain in Israel for 3 1/2 years he changed his world to prayer back in April 2005 I was leading the footsteps of Paul to her that that I do. And though we landed in northern Greece of the first day we came in in the evening and we went to the hotel and the next day we were scheduled to go to Philippi were Paul spent time into Neapolis where Paul first landed on European soil and the next day is all outside the whole day. Nothing in undercover and they were calling for terrible rain the next day on the news and I was like no no no no no no note note note. Note this is just not good Lord so at dinner we had the whole group together. I said that.
Here's what we need to do friends rain tomorrow would not be good. We need to pray and ask God to take that rain and move it someplace else. I mean I don't care where he moves it and and I looked on the plane over the little map you all of the study those maps in the airplane booklet and I knew Bulgaria was up above Greece somewhere. So I said let's all pray that God take the rain and move it to Bulgaria. I just picked the country were luckier than I thought, well, you know there no Torsten Bulgaria was received. Bulgaria's I thought of moving to Bulgaria. They probably need the rain so I said let's do it, and ask God to show his power. Let's ask God to show that he's in charge of the weather. Let's pray that so I did. I got on my face that night and I pray Lord please move that Ray will we woke up the next morning and it was the most gorgeous, beautiful sunny day you've ever seen in your life. I mean it was Chris we went. We had a wonderful day. We never got rained on a bit. The weather was absolutely picture-perfect.
We got back to the hotel at the end of the day ended just before dinner. I flipped on the television to the only English-speaking channel where was which was CNN and I'm watching CNN get ready for dinner and suddenly they have this special report on CNN and the special report was about all the torrential rain and all the flash floods guess where Bulgaria started laughing out loud as the Lord Jesus yourself and I'll tell you something now if you're from Bulgaria. Don't write me a letter all right. I have nothing against Bulgaria.
The point is friends. Does God answer prayer.
Does God move the world in response to prayer. Yes he does yes he does. The bottom line is God tells us in the Bible that if we will pray he will answer now. That's as far as we want to go theologically in our treatment of this subject because I want to stop now and have assessed the most important question so are we ready all right here we go. 123 yeah you say lawn. So what you say actually lawn you need to know.
I pray all the time but I do not see God answering my prayers with the kind of power that you're talking about. Well, what we just say a few minutes ago didn't we say that the pray with power.
We first have to do what a good fisherman those we first have to become students of why God answers prayer with power and how God answers prayer with power and then we have to adjust our praying accordingly so in the time I have left. I'd like to give you four biblical principles about how to pray with power ready. Here we go. Principle number one want to pray with power.
Number one, and we need to pray with clean hands and a pure heart. David said Psalm 24, three who may ascend the hill of the Lord and who may stand in his holy place.
Here's the answer.
The person who has clean hands and a pure heart.
That person, that person will receive blessing from the Lord. This is why David said in Psalm 66.
If I regard sin in my heart if I cherish sin in my heart.
The Lord will not hear me what the Bible is telling us your friends as if you and I come to God in prayer with known sin in our heart with deliberate disobedience to God that we are harboring in our life. It will hinder the power and the effectiveness of our prayers.
This is this is why David prayed that this prayer in Psalm 139. This is the first step to praying with power what he prayed here. He said 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 if anything comes up when I'm praying this prayer than what we need to do is take it right to the Lord and confess it and make it right before we ever ask God for anything at all. We gotta make sure the channels cleaned out of all the gunk before we expect God to send anything through it. Number 21. Pray with power, the number two we need to pray with a forgiving spirit. Jesus said, Mark 11 and when you stand praying, if you have anything against someone, forgive them, Jesus said, as part of the Lord's prayer, Matthew chapter 6. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us friends. One of the most common hindrances to praying with power. One of the greatest roadblocks to praying with power is an unforgiving, bitter spirit, and if you and I want to see the power of God unlocked in our lives and our prayer lives. We must come to God with a heart that is free of a heart that is free of bitterness and free of hatred and free of unforgiveness and free of malice towards all of the people God has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to unforgiveness and grudges and malice and bitterness in our heart and this may be why you're not seeing more power in your prayer life. And if you don't think you can forgive that person who hurt you and friends. My advice to you is get on your knees and tell God that it ask him to give you the power to do what he's commanded you to do and I promise you, God will answer that prayer. If you want to forgive somebody I don't care how badly they virtue God will give you the power to do it number 31. Pray with power than we need to pray in faith believing Jesus said, and all things. Whatever you shall ask in faith believing you shall receive. And I love what Matthew 13 says about the city of Nazareth. It says, and Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. He didn't say Jesus could do many miracles, just that he chose it not to because of their unbelief. One of the greatest obstacles to answer prayer folks is our unbelief. You know how it goes. We pray Lord I'm asking you to do this that or the other thing but the Lord if obstacles are too big Lord if the roadblocks are just too many low Lord. It is just too much trouble.
Lord, it is not your will and that's okay don't worry, you don't have to do it and I won't be upset now that Connor prayer is an insult to Almighty God that Connor prayer is an affront to Almighty God. This, unbelief and prayer will quench God's power in prayer so quick it'll make your head swim a matter of fact, this was a big issue that God had with the Israelites when they were out in the wilderness with Moses.
God says that it is Psalm 78 verse 41 that they limited in their hearts and their minds and their spirits and their unbelief they limited the holy one of Israel disable all white a minute, wait a minute timeout. What about that scripture that says that God answers prayer according to his will.
Will that scriptures in the Bible. First John 514 and this is the confidence we have before God that if we ask anything according to his will.
We will have the request which we've asked for him you say right right there.
It is so for a while. Maybe I'm asking something of prayer. That's not his will and that's why walk around all the time in prayer going well, if it's not, you will don't do it if is not you will don't do well. Ho ho ho women it's true. God promises to only answer prayer according to, in keeping with his will. But look right here but God never intended that to be an excuse for unbelief. My friends never intended that you say I would have these two principles work together praying in faith in God answering. According to his will. I'm glad you asked because I'm going to tell you the way they work together is praying in faith means we come to God's and we ask for the moon friends with the owner confidence that there is no human obstacle in the world that is a problem for God. We pray prayers with no boundaries on them at all, that are imposed by us and then we leave the slate open for God to actually answer that prayer according to his will in any way he wants to.
But here's the key.
Don't miss this. The key is our posture in prayer needs to be that the only person listen to me, but only person who should ever place limits on what God's going to do is God himself, not you, not me, not our unbelief. Never our human logic. Let God just turning loose friends don't run interference for God.
God doesn't need you to run interference for don't make excuses for God. Don't apologize for God. Don't give God a way out. He does need all your help. You just turn God loose in prayer telling you will accept his answer, but don't you decide for them what he's going to do and not do because you'll never think big enough that will be a problem. Trust number four and finally one frame power, and we, you and I need to pray with God's glory as our motive.
Jesus said in John 1413 and whatever you ask in my name, watch for the purpose of the father receiving glory facts. I will do listen prayer that brings the power of God to earth is prayer that has God's glory.
At its center and not man's welfare, mighty men and women of prayer learn this lesson and they learn this lesson well and if you look at some of the greatest prayers ever recorded in the Bible.
Prayers that exploded God's power on this earth, you will discover that every one of these prayers had this as its core motive nonhuman convenience and nonhuman comfort, but the glory of God. I love the story of Elijah and the prophets available Mount Carmel.
We visit this every year we go to Israel for my very favorite places in the country and you don't know what happened up there first Kings 18.
Let me give you a quick rundown of the story, the King of the northern kingdom, a fellow named Ahab married a girl named Jezebel she was actually a Phoenician princess. She wasn't even an Israelite, and this girl Jezebel. She was a bad Oreo young say what I'm saying to you and she decided to wipe out the worship of the true God from the whole northern kingdom of Israel that was her agenda. Was she almost succeeded and finally it got down to Elijah standing for God and that was about it.
And so Elijah challenged all of her prophets and prophetesses of these idols to a showdown on top of Mount Carmel number 850 of them versus Elijah and the people of Israel came to watch and Elijah says here's what I propose is let's have a contest and the contest is all these profits they can take the ball and build an altar and put the wood on it and build stones and everything's and and I'll take a bullet all build an altar in the name of the Lord God, and will both pray to our gods and will see which God answers with fire from heaven, and whoever answers with fire from heaven. That's the real God. The people said hey that's great idea. So he said of the prophet to bail you go first so they took his bowl and they built this alternate put the wood around and everything in a dance around and cut themselves and did backward flips and all this, nonsense all day long and he came up to him in the middle of the day, and he taught Adam he said will maybe you God's out-of-town babies are trapped. Maybe slept in. Read the story because shout louder and so they did this went on all day. Finally, lodges that are enough dull people come on over here and gather the Israelites around him and he said no. He built his altar.
He put this baloney so I want to douse it with water slip or were always to do it a second time before to do it 1/3 time.
Finally, there was this huge ditch full of water. They poured so much water on the altar and then here's what Elijah prays for 36 then Elijah prayed. Oh Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob today. Let it be known that you are God in Israel you hear anything there about personal comfort or convenience. No, no, he went on to say answer me oh Lord, answer me so that these people will know that you alone. Oh Lord our God. Now here is a prayer with the glory of God. At the heart of that prayer. Here's a prayer that has as its purpose to bring down God's power and display God's reality to people on this earth brings you pray a prayer like that you better buckle your seatbelt. Watch what happens next. And then the fire of the Lord fell from heaven. That is, and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up all the water in the trench, I'd call that an answered prayer. When you you bet. While this is pray with power friends listen.
Is there anything wrong with praying things for personal convenience or personal comfort no nothing. Anything wrong with praying for a new car or new house or or new job or physical healing or additional income for God to bless your children and grandchildren.
And you know sometimes God answers those prayers where you prayer him sometimes God doesn't.
That's his call friends is nothing wrong with that motive in prayer. It's just not the highest motive in prayer the highest motive in prayer is for us to pray that God would do something with the sincere desire that God would do it to put himself on display to put his glory on display to put his power on display for the world to see it in the world to understand that he is God.
Now if you can get to the point in your prayer where you can honestly say that that's why you're asking for it. Menu better Batna hatches down because that prayers going to get answered. God is obsessive about displaying his glory to man and you prayer prayer that provides them a platform to do that you can take it to the bank. God's good answer that prayer. And so it may be my friends than the reason you're not seeing more power in prayer is because you're asking for things not with bad motive, but just not with the highest motive and if you would just take a little time to press through and ask yourself the question, why am I asking for this. Why am I asking for this and to see if the Lord can get you to the place where your motive changes so you're no longer asking for it for your own comfort or convenience which now all of a sudden you really begin to honestly ask for God to put his power and his glory on display by answering that prayer. I promise you, you will see more powerful answers to your prayers. Well, it's conclude what we learned today we learned that when we pray we need to expect results God intended us to pray with and expect in spirit. God answers prayer, and he answers a powerfully if we pray according to his conditions and they are number one we have to pray with clean hands and a pure heart.
We got a call unclog the channel before God's going to send anything through it. Number two. We need to pray with a forgiving spirit towards other people. Number three. We need to pray in faith believing we need to never limit God in the way we pray, and finally number four. We need to pray with God's glory and God's honor as our motive and I will promise you something friends if you will take these four biblical principles and you will make them the cornerstone of how you pray I promise you well far more important than that God promises you that you will see your prayer life become something that is effective and powerful that will change you and will change the circumstances around you. God is waiting to answer prayer. We got pray on his terms is pretty Lord Jesus, thank you for talking to us today about prayer.
Without a doubt one of the most powerful weapons in our entire spiritual arsenal and yet sadly, probably the most underused weapon we have and so father I pray today that you would challenge us to become men and women. Prayer the Lord, not just men and women of prayer, but men and women of effective prayer, powerful prayer because we have taken the time to study the conditions upon which you answer prayer and power and then we have adapted our prayers to your conditions or change the very way we think about prayer in the very way we do it because we were here change our our very relationship to you in prayer because we sat under the teaching of God's word today. And Lord, we pray and ask all of these things in Jesus name. And what are God's people say amen