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Prayer and a Forgotten Pair of Air Jordans

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2022 9:00 am

Prayer and a Forgotten Pair of Air Jordans

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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March 23, 2022 9:00 am

In Daniel 9, we not only see five principles that make for effective prayer; we also get a one-of-a-kind glimpse into what happens in heaven as we pray.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Prayerlessness at its root is the result of failing to grasp how much God loves you, how tender he is towards you, and how much he wants to hear from you. Many of you think prayer is the way to get close to God.

No, prayer is the result of knowing how close God has made himself to you. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today on the program, Pastor J.D. highlights the most undervalued resource of the church. It's prayer.

Would you agree? Discarded by many and not tried by more, prayer is actually the vehicle through which the blessings of God are released and the promises of God are enacted. In Daniel chapter 9, we not only see five principles that make for effective prayer, we also get a one-of-a-kind glimpse into what happens in heaven as we pray.

That sounds exciting, yeah? So let's join Pastor J.D. right now with a message he creatively titled, Prayer and a Forgotten Pair of Air Jordans. I hope that you have your Bible or turn it on and scroll down to Daniel 9, if that's where you are.

I want to talk with you today about what I believe is the most undervalued resource in the church. Larry Awe, who was a maintenance worker at Milwaukee's Capitol Court Mall, was cleaning up a storage facility in that mall right before the mall was set to be demolished when Larry found in a trash pile a pair of sneakers that were buried underneath some old boxes. They were obviously used, they showed obvious signs of wear, but as Larry looked more closely at them, he recognized on the side Michael Jordan's signature on the side of one of the size 13 shoes with the inscription below it written in hand, my very best. It turns out they were authentic. They were a pair of the original Air Jordans, Air Jordan 1s that Michael Jordan himself had worn for a while. Nike had then loaned them to this store in Milwaukee to display in the store window as a way of attracting people in to buy Air Jordans. I guess everybody eventually forgot about them and so for 20 years they'd been sitting in a storage closet and now they were discarded on a trash heap ready to be thrown away.

They were valued at over twenty thousand dollars. Prayer. Prayer is the most undervalued resource of the church.

It is neglected by many, it is completely discarded by a lot of others. Scripture tells us however that many, I might even say most of the blessings that God wants to give us are activated in our lives through prayer. You find a promise and then you pray it into existence in your life.

It is always true as a promise but it's not true for you until you embrace it. So I've heard it said that rather than just read your way through the Bible in the course of a year you should pray your way through the Bible because the Bible is a book of promises. It contains more than three thousand of them if you're counting, many of them sitting dormant until we claim them personally by prayer until we appropriate them. So my question as we begin is how many blessings are there for your life or for your family that remain simply unactivated because you've never asked for them in prayer? You know it seems that whenever I hear older saints, older Christians talking about what they would do differently in life if they could go backwards.

These are people whose lives you would already want to emulate. Most of them say looking back that if the one thing they could do more of or differently is they would pray more. Billy Graham for example he said and I quote prayer is the most important thing that we could ever do and if I could do my ministry over again I would pray more than I preached. Y'all isn't it significant that the most successful preacher of I would say Christian history in terms of just number of people that heard him and responded to him the most significant and successful preacher of Christian history at the end of his remarkable life is convinced that prayer is the place where real power resides. All that to say it is not surprising to me that at the end of Daniel's book Daniel circles around one more time back to the power of prayer. This has been a running theme of his life we've seen it already in the book of Daniel and so in the midst of all these final prophecies which we're going to finish up next time Daniel gives us four action steps that we should build our prayer lives around. Let me just warn you this passage is amazing.

I mean it is a one of a kind passage because it pulls back the curtains and shows us the inner workings of prayer. You better buckle up especially if you're not you're new to church and not familiar with the bible this passage is just I mean you're about to jump into the deep end of the pool. Okay chapter 9 verse 1 Daniel says in the first year of king Darius about 538 bc I Daniel understood from the books according to the word of the lord to the prophet Jeremiah that the number of years for the desolation of Jerusalem would be 70. Okay get this Daniel's reading the bible and he comes to the book of Jeremiah which was written right before him and Jeremiah had said that the number of years that God would send Israel into captivity for sin was going to be 70. Well Daniel and his friends were taken into captivity around 605 bc the first year of king Darius that he refers to was 538 bc and so if you do the math real quick in your head that means that he's been there for around 70 years. So Daniel is like hey God I promise in fact God you said in Jeremiah that 70 years of desolation were appointed for Israel only 70.

So I'm here to ask you to take us home like you promised I'm asking you to make good on your word. Verse three so I turned my attention to the lord God to seek him by prayer and petitions and with fasting and sackcloth and ashes I prayed to the lord my God and I confessed hi lord the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps his gracious covenant with those who love him and keep his commands. God we have sinned we have done wrong we've acted wickedly rebelled and turned away from your commands and ordinances we have not listened to your prophets who spoke in your name to our kings and our leaders and our ancestors and all the people of the land. Now really quickly because this is not the main point for today but I want you to notice something about Daniel as a leader because it shapes the attitude he brings into prayer. Daniel confesses all of those things but let me ask you having been now in Daniel for several weeks based on what you know about Daniel's life is that how you would describe Daniel's life? Verse five again look at it I've sinned we've done wrong I've acted wickedly I have rebelled I have turned away from your commands and ordinances I've not listened to your prophets who spoke in your name to our kings and leaders and ancestors.

Honestly that seems a little bit out of sync from what we read about Daniel especially since the prophet Ezekiel describes Daniel as one of the three most righteous people ever to live. Furthermore in verse six Daniel confesses the sin of his ancestors which clearly he could not have been guilty of since he was not even born yet. Now let me be clear on one level we cannot inherit guilt from our ancestors the prophet Ezekiel makes that clear that the sons will not be held guilty of the sins of the fathers but here's the thing listen a leader makes a problem their responsibility even when it's not their fault. Now let me say that again a leader makes a problem their responsibility even when it's not their fault my kids mistakes may not be my fault but as their leader I take responsibility to help them correct them.

Men do you sit around blaming your wife for all your marital issues? Yo listen I'm sure some of y'all's issues are her fault I mean she's a sinner too after all but a real leader does not deflect blame he or she takes responsibility isn't that what Jesus did? Our sin was clearly not his fault but he took responsibility and he entered our world to fix it that's what Daniel's doing that's what leaders always do. Listen this church has got problems and some of those problems may not be your fault but only a Pharisee sits around and talks about how bad everybody is well those people do this and they are like that. A leader owns the problem even if it's not their fault and brings the problem personally to God with we language not they language.

The same thing is true with how we see our community and how we sing our nation. We got enough self-righteous Pharisees talking about problems with those people and we need to have a lot of leaders talking about the problems with us people all right all right back to Daniel's prayer verse 7. Lord righteousness belongs to you and this day public shame belongs to us all Israel has broken your law and turned away refusing to obey you and so just as it is written in the law of Moses all this disaster has come on us yet we still have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquities and paying attention to your truth which again was probably more true of the rest of Israel than it was of Daniel. Now Lord our God who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand made your name renowned as it is this day in keeping with all your righteous acts may your anger and wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem your holy mountain again because you promised that would happen verse 17 therefore our God hear the prayer and the petitions of your servant make your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary for the Lord's sake for your sake by the way that's a direct quote from number six Daniel is praying God's promises back to him in his own words do it for your sake God verse 18 listen closely my God and hear open your eyes and see our desolations in the city that bears your name in other words God your reputation is at stake you said God that that that when your children called on you that you would hear them and you would forgive them and you would come to their help and God that's me right now I'm doing it like you said I should do and I'm asking you to do what you said you would do when I did what I was supposed to do for we are not presenting our petitions before you based on our righteous acts but based on your abundant compassion by the way that's one of the most important things you could ever learn about prayer I'm going to come back to that 19 verse 19 Lord hear Lord forgive Lord listen and act by the way that's a direct quote from Deuteronomy 30 where God promised to respond to his people if in the midst of judgment they prayed to him for help and forgiveness again Daniel is taking these words from God and praying them back to God my God for your own sake because now this is about your reputation for your own sake do not delay because your city and your people bear your name verse 20 while I was speaking praying confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel Gabriel the man that I had seen in my first vision he reached me in my extreme weariness and he gave me this explanation Daniel at the beginning of your petitions an answer went out and I have come to give that answer when Daniel began his prayer God issued an answer and Gabriel was sent to deliver it while Daniel was praying Gabriel was flying and he showed up right as Daniel finished up y'all I have so many questions how fast does an angel fly why didn't God just beam him straight there right I mean what kind of equipment do they use to fly do they fly on their own but sadly we're not given any of those answers so let's instead focus on what we do now notice how Gabriel starts the answer from God Daniel you are greatly loved by God some translations say treasured by God now how amazing is that first think about Daniel's life he has been kidnapped enslaved castrated he's lived under oppression he's been betrayed by his co-workers he has lived under constant danger he has survived several regime changes how many of you looking at his life would say that's a man who's been loved by God yet that is exactly how Gabriel started this you are greatly loved do you understand that God's love for you is not measured by your life's ease Daniel's life was by no stretch easy yet he was greatly loved and treasured by God because what God gave to Daniel is greater than earthly ease you see just because you go through hard times does not mean that God has abandoned you or forgotten you in fact God might allow you to go through those things so that he can teach you about the things that are truly valuable some of you come in here interpreting God's love for you based on your circumstances I would tell you the cross and resurrection of Jesus is a better basis for how you understand God's thoughts about you so don't think God has abandoned you if you were to look at Daniel you'd say well I think God might have abandoned you but Gabriel says you're loved by God and before I jump into Daniel's four prayer principles I want you to understand this is very important that this confidence this confidence that he was greatly loved that he was treasured by God that confidence was the secret to Daniel's consistency in prayer you see sometimes we think our failure to pray is a failure of self-discipline and that today what you're going to do is you're going to learn four magical principles and you're going to go home and master them like some action list but prayerlessness at its root is the result of failing to grasp how much God loves you how tender he is towards you and how much he wants to hear from you many of you think prayer is the way to get close to God no prayer is the result of knowing how close God has made himself to you Jen Wilkin one of her favorite bible teachers around here explained that for her learning to pray was a little bit like her losing her desire to eat Cheetos Cheetos she says has always been her favorite snack as a young woman she said I would eat them non-stop every day until a chill in her words they got sharp and started cutting into my tongue but that was okay with me she said a small sacrifice for a great reward she said then one day I made the mistake of looking at the Cheetos label she said two problems she said one I literally could not even pronounce one of the chemicals that went into my favorite food second she said I realized that my Cheetos were missing well geez she said that knowledge created a change in me prior to this revelation it would have taken she says a navy seal to quell my yearning for Cheetos but after I understood what Cheetos actually were or weren't my heart stopped craving them as much a change in belief is what changed the desire in the same way she said when we learn the truth about God when we believe that God listens to us that he loves us and desires to work through our prayers we instinctively begin to do what all the self-discipline in the world hadn't been able to coerce us to do we pray when we know we are greatly loved when we know we are treasured by God we will pray when we're happy we will pray when we're anxious we will pray when we see God at work and we will pray when we don't see God at work see I want this is very important as we work through this message the point is not pray more or pray like Daniel or do these four things and you're going to be fine the point of this is that is that if you understand that you're greatly loved like Daniel was and you learn to trust him like Daniel trusted him then you'll pray naturally and instinctively like Daniel did so before we go any farther I just need your promise that you're going to interpret these four prayer principles not as a to-do list of getting close to God but as the reflection of somebody who understands how close God has made himself to you deal okay deal here we go number one Daniel's four prayer principles number one root your prayers in God's promises Daniel would say first and foremost most importantly root your prayers and God's promises like I noted Daniel's prayer was inspired by discovering a promise of God in Jeremiah and some other promises that were embedded in Deuteronomy in the book of Numbers and Daniel was praying these promises of God back to God I love Martin Luther the great reformer I love his definition of powerful prayer ready here it is he explained it to his barber he wrote a famous book to his barber on prayer puts all the cookies on the bottom shelf this is one of them power in prayer he said is simply catching God in his words you want power in prayer you're just catching God in his words parents your kids do this with you not the kids do this with me all the time my 11 year old son aden never lets me forget a promise no matter when or how offhandedly it was made shoot it doesn't even need to be a promise just a casual implication but we drove by Frankie's Fun Park a couple months ago and he said dad we should go back there sometime and apparently I don't even remember but apparently I said sure son we'll do that one day now you parents know exactly what that means that doesn't mean anything it means I don't really want to talk about that right now I promise you that kid brings that up every week on the week and I feel like I got to do it now because I don't want him to lose confidence in me Veronica my wife has been redecorating our girls's room or one of our girls's rooms and and he said hey mom are you ever gonna you're ever gonna redecorate my room and she said again like I'm sure we'll do that sometime now it's like every time we go in there to tuck him in for the night he says hey have you ordered that that new furniture yet that you promised to me now of course we parents sometimes right all parents make casual statements they don't really mean but the point is God never does he means everything he's ever said and he wants us to find every promise that he's ever made and claim it for our own this book is your book it is a book of promises given to you you have to read it and you have to find them and you have to pray them into existence in your life notice specifically how Daniel ties God's own glory to his faithfulness to his promises he's like God you're the one you're the one who said this you said you would be merciful to us when we prayed and restore us when we called so now it's your reputation that's on the line so here's my question what has God said to you that you can pray back to him and put his reputation on the line I give you just a few as an example that I'm praying right now in my own life here's one Jesus said I'm praying this for this church Jesus said all authority is given to me in heaven and on earth so go and make disciples of all the nations Psalm 280 says ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance so when I pray for this church I'm like God this is this is what you said so I'm here asking and all the craziness that is going on with COVID and lockdown and all the confusion and we're trying to figure out what in the world is next I'm asking you to build your church like you promised you would you promised that you would make your name known in our generation if we ask so I'm here asking you to do what you said you would do your reputation's on the line God make your name known in this generation as we think about the triangle and the nations God do it now because you said you wanted to do it here's another one that I read in the summit bible reading plan recently and I wrote it down Psalm 112 blessed is the man who fears the Lord who finds great delight in his commands his children will be mighty in the land the generation of the upright will be blessed and then Psalm 11 verse 21 the children of the righteous will be delivered and I'm like Lord I want you to do this with my kids I need you to make them I want you to make them mighty in the word in the land let your faithfulness extend to them as my children I pray that they would be delivered and God do this with all the kids in our church may this generation who is delighting and feared in your word God save our kids now these are a couple very personal promises to me right now that I'm praying and some of you you're looking at me going well those don't know exactly apply to my situation and where I'm at right now I want to say this as nicely to you as possible but read the bible for yourself I cannot mind all of these promises for you I love teaching you the bible every weekend but I cannot spoonfeed all this to you this book is here for you and you've got to search it like a for a pair of twenty thousand dollar air Jordans in your closet there are promises about forgiveness and restoration after sin about joy and suffering putting purpose in your life having healed bodies and godly marriages and parenting and provision in time of need read it for yourself I can't do it all I can just guide you to it that's it okay let me give you another great definition of prayer while we're talking about this effective prayer perceives the gap between where something is where god wants it to be effective prayer perceives the gap between where something is and where god wants it to be and where do you learn how god wants something to be the bible again the bible is a book of promises it's our job to find them and claim them in the model prayer that people often sometimes refer to as the lord's prayer the second phrase jesus taught us to say right as we pray your will be done on earth like it is in heaven I want to know what heaven wants here because I know it's going to be good and when I pray god let your will be done in heaven here I know that it's going to get the power of heaven behind it so I pray for example let it be in the summit church like it's desired in heaven let it be in the Greer family as you want it in heaven let it be in my marriage as it is in heaven now of course that's got to be said with humility because we don't always know exactly what the full will of god is but see his word tells us a lot of it effective prayer perceives the gap between where something is and what god says he wants it to be what this means practically is that the quality of your prayer life will be directly related to the quality of your knowledge of the bible because the prayers that start in heaven are the ones that are heard by heaven so listening to a sermon on prayer can be so helpful reading about it is great but it's nothing until we actually do it prayer is an essential part of the christian life you're listening to summit life with jd greer you're joining us today in a teaching series through the book of daniel called shining in babylon and we're learning how to shine how to thrive in yes a very dark and hostile world so pastor jd our new bible study resource working through the book of daniel follows the here method of studying the bible can you explain that in a little bit more detail and what is that exactly so we believe the bible is god's actual words which means we want to read them we want to want to know everything that's in them and the here method is a is basically an instinct you want to develop that will teach you the principles of inductive bible study because it's showing you how to observe things how to press into them and how to apply them to your life and then and then what to do about it here stands for highlight you just highlight the things that stand out to you e is examine you're pressing in with the help of tools like the one we're going to give you to study through the book of daniel or a study bible then you're going to apply bridge the context to to your life and then respond in prayer and obedience so we're going to give you we want to give you a new bible study that helps work through the book of daniel along with these messages so go to right now to help participate in this ministry we would love to put one of these in your hands just as our way of saying thank you in a way that will help you read and study the bible better ask for the book of daniel shining in babylon nine part inductive bible study when you give a suggested donation of 35 or more today by calling 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or go online and request your copy at i'm molly vinovich inviting you to join us again thursday we won't ever have all the details of how prayer works but as we continue through the book of daniel pastor jd will give us a behind the scenes look at how prayer works and demonstrate why prayer is so important join us thursday on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-18 21:00:31 / 2023-05-18 21:10:33 / 10

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