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How to Pray with Power - Genesis Part 59

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
August 6, 2022 7:00 am

How to Pray with Power - Genesis Part 59

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Today we're 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 couldn't move on before we had a message on how you and I can pray with power in our prayer lives. And so that's what we're going to do. You okay?

Everybody ready? All right. There is enormous power in prayer. Listen to what God said. Jeremiah 33.

He said, Call on to 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. Do we get forgiveness of sin? Yes. Do we get a secure place in heaven? Yes.

Do we get eternal life? Yes. Do 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 I hope if you're here and you've never done that, that you certainly will do it. We're going to have people down front, like we do every week, right after the service, staff members, our prayer team, 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, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Abundantly more than we can ask or think. And I love what James says. James says the prayer of a righteous man or a righteous woman, righteous because we're 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 three and a half years, it did not rain on the earth.

Now you talk 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 called the church family together and we said we're going to pray and we're going to pray and we're going to pray and we're going to fast and we're going to pray for dry weather. Well, 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 of 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 and we're done.

Here we go. Number one, principle number one, want to pray with power principle number one, then 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? Well, the Bible answers its own question. He who has clean hands and a pure heart, he will receive blessing from the Lord. You say, but Lon, we're 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 do 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 one nine says, If we what's the X word? Nah, 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, O 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. Now, going through this exercise, my friends, before we talk to God about anything else reflects the proper respect for who God is. He is an all holy God. He is an all righteous God.

He is an all pure God, the God of the universe. And even as saved 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 awe that is due his name. We have to come into God's presence like the tax collector in 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, want power in your prayer life? Then number two, we must pray with a forgiving spirit towards other people. Mark Chapter 11, Jesus said, whenever you stand praying, what's the next word?

What is it? Forgive if you have anything against anyone. That pretty well covers it. The Lord's Prayer, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed 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 done what that sentence says?

I think a lot, my friends. Look, if we want power in our prayer life, then we must come to God the way Romans 12 18 says, as much as it lies with you, be at peace with all men. Hey, we can't control what other people do if they don't want to forgive us, if they want to have malice towards us.

Hey, we can't stop that. But we can get to the place in our own heart where we hold no malice, no bitterness, no revenge, no unforgiveness 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 AD by the Romans under General Titus. And but what you may not know is that 60 years later, the Jews revolted against the Romans a second time.

And 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 and he spread a thick layer of salt over the entire city so that absolutely nothing would grow there and nothing did for centuries. And 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 there. And that may be why you're not seeing more power in your prayer life because you have those malices and 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, if we want power in prayer, then third, we must pray in faith, believing Jesus said all things, whatever you shall ask in faith, believing you shall receive it. 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. Now watch, let not that person expect that he will receive anything from the Lord. Now look here, 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 him.

No. 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, then he will answer our prayer exactly the way we prayed it. 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 him.

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 know, I've 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. Why?

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.

It's just that simple. And when we pray in unbelief, he's not going to answer it with power. You say, what does it sound to pray in unbelief, Lon?

All right. It sounds 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, if there's just too many things in the way, if you're too busy, you know, if it's just not something that you're capable of pulling off, then, Lord, I understand that.

I won't hold that against you. What kind of prayer is this? This is an insult to Almighty God to pray a 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. You say, what does it sound like to 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 putting any limits on you whatsoever except your sovereign will for my life. Lord, step in, 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, then number four, we must pray with God's glory as our motive. Maybe you remember the story of Gideon, Judges Chapter 7. He shows up for battle with 30,000 men and God says, no, no, no, no, no.

I don't want 30,000 men on your team, Gideon. And God worked them all the way down to 300. You remember how God did that? Why did God do that? Friends, 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 men. Friends, God is fanatical. God is jealous about his glory.

Listen to what he said. Isaiah 42 8, I am the Lord, that is my name and my glory I will not give, I 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've 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 a guy named Sennacherib. 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 Sennacherib's 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. No, he said so that the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are God. What did God do? God sent an angel that night and killed one hundred and eighty five thousand Assyrian soldiers.

And Sennacherib went home with his tail between his legs and never came back. How about Elijah? One of my favorite stories in the Bible up on the top of Mount Carmel, First Kings Chapter 18, facing off against the prophets of Baal and had the prophets of Baal danced around all day, tried to call fire down from heaven, cut themselves, screamed, did all kinds of stuff. Finally, at the end of the day, Elijah said, Come on over here, everybody. And here's what he prayed.

He said, O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel. Answer me, O Lord. Answer me. So they'll elect me the next king of Israel.

No, no, no. Answer me, O Lord. Answer me that this people may know that you, O Lord, are 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.

OK. But notice both of those prayers had at their core the glory of God. Friends, listen, there's nothing wrong with praying for things that we need for our own comfort or for our own needs.

God says first Peter five seven cast all of our cares on him because he cares for us. Nothing wrong with praying with that is your as 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 pray a prayer that the glory of God might be displayed in the answer.

And friend, you better buckle your seat belt because God's going to answer that prayer. You know, we talked earlier about this Tyson's building here and going through 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 was as public a fight as I've ever seen since I've been in northern Virginia. And finally, in January 1999, we won. Praise the 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. And in January 1999, when we got the approval from Fairfax County, finally.

Hallelujah. Finally, you know how much money we had in the building fund? One hundred thousand dollars.

That's it. You say, well, how much did it cost to build this thing? Well, honestly, you know, like twice as long and twice as much.

You know what I'm saying? This thing eventually cost ninety three million dollars to build this, to buy and build this facility. And we had one hundred thousand dollars in the bank.

We couldn't even get the bulldozers on site for one hundred thousand dollars. And I and now I knew we were in trouble because we've been fighting and fighting and fighting and been in the public eye and fighting. And now all of a sudden we had permission. If we couldn't build the building, if we had to walk away from the project. Oh, my gosh. No, I not only would it embarrass us, but just think how it would disgrace the name of Christ in this city.

And so I got on my knees in January 1999 and I said, all right, Lord, listen here. This is no longer about getting a bigger building from McLean Bible Church. This is no longer about getting a bigger parking lot. This is no longer about us having more room for Sunday school.

There were not being 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, we're down now to this being about your glory. You cannot let us fail. You cannot let this building be unbuilt because your name is on the line out there in this community. Lord, I'm asking now for money because I'm 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 this city. Forget about our name. The church's name doesn't care.

It's your name. I'm asking you to do this, Lord, to show the people of this city that you can meet the needs of your work. Amen. Let me tell you what happened. We went from one hundred thousand dollars in January nineteen nine in our building fund. Twelve months later, January two thousand.

I won't bore you with the details. We had forty million dollars in cash in our building fund. Amen.

That is the biggest hand that 40 million dollars can command. Come on. What's wrong with you people? Yeah. Now, now you're right. I couldn't believe it. I sat there and watched that money roll in. And I was more shocked than anybody. I'm like, oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh.

Oh, my gosh. It was the most astounding thing. Some of you all were here is the most 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 had 40 million dollars. 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 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're no longer asking it for you anymore, but you are going to ask it for him and for his glory. And it may mean that you and I can't ask the same thing for his glory that we were asking for ourselves. I mean, a yellow Ferrari is wonderful, but how can I ask for that for the glory of God? I haven't figured that out yet. I've been trying for years. How do I ask for that for the glory of God?

That's why I don't have a yellow Ferrari. That's why I don't even pray for one anymore. You can't ask for that as a pastor for the glory of God.

It's not possible. But friends, when you can get to the place that God takes you to bedrock and you can say, Lord, it's not about me anymore. It's 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, 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. If you don't know what to ask for, my friends, you just ask for God to glorify his name in your situation. And God will work.

So let's summarize. What have we learned today? How do we pray with power? Number one, we pray with clean hands and a pure heart by confessing our sins. Number two, 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 that 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 this city, if we hope to see the power of the Holy Spirit fall on our lives and on our church and on this city, then let me just tell you, 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, then just get on your knees and say, amen, amen, amen, amen. You'll learn. But friends, if we really want God to make us a church of power, then we have to first become a church of prayer. It's just that simple. Amen. You understand 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 it's by my spirit. And God's spirit only falls where God's people are on their knees praying.

So you TiVo that show, you get up a little early for breakfast, whatever you got to do. But you get in that 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. OK. God bless you. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I pray that you would forgive us for our prayerlessness.

Forgive us as individuals. Forgive me for my prayerlessness. Lord, prayerlessness is only a symptom that we're 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 more. Forgive us, Lord, as a church family for our prayerlessness. I take responsibility for that, Lord, and I ask you to forgive me by the grace of God.

We're going to change that. And, Lord, I pray that you might make us a mighty people of prayer. Because if we're a 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 and our commitment to prayer. Because we were here and we sat under the teaching of your word. Lord, if some of us have things we need to go get right with people so we can pray with a 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. And what did God's people say? Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-15 09:14:27 / 2023-03-15 09:24:34 / 10

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