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Prayer to God, Your Sovereign Father, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2023 9:00 am

Prayer to God, Your Sovereign Father, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 13, 2023 9:00 am

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been through seasons when you felt like your prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling and wasting your time. But get ready for a perspective shift!

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Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D.

Greer teaches us how to think about our relationship to God. So yes, I call him creator because that's what he is. I call him ruler because that's what he is. I call him savior because he saved me. I call him glorious. I call him holy.

I call him wonderful. But there is nothing that thrills my heart like when I call him daddy. Because when I understand that, I don't need to be moved to pray.

I don't need to be compelled to pray. My heart runs to the presence of the Father. Welcome back to Summit Life with pastor, author, and teacher J.D.

Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today we're in a series called Start, taking a fresh look at the foundations of our faith. And if you've missed any of the previous messages, you can get caught up at But right now we're diving back into a message about prayer. If you're like most people, you've probably been through seasons when you felt like your prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling and honestly just wasting your time.

Well, get ready for a perspective shift. Here's Pastor J.D. continuing our message that we began yesterday, a message titled Prayer to God, Your Sovereign Father. We're going to look at the model prayer that Jesus gave. It's in Matthew 6. If you have a Bible, we'd invite you to open there.

Matthew 6. There are so many things in this prayer. We call the Lord's Prayer that we could focus on.

We could preach a hundred sermons on it probably. We're only going to look at the first two phrases. Because in the first two phrases, God, Jesus reveals two attributes or character qualities of God that if you got these qualities, it would transform prayer from being something that you have to do to being something that you get to do. And they're in the first phrases of Matthew 6. But before we get to that, Jesus sets all this up by explaining to you the wrong way to pray, which is how most people who do pray, pray.

Chapter 6, verse 5. When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. You see, they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others.

Truly, I say to you, they have already received their reward. Jesus is here describing a person who loves to pray a lot because he or she has figured out a way, that prayer is a way that they can gain respect from other people. But when you pray, Jesus said, you should go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. What's He going to reward you with? The Heavenly Father is the reward. His presence is the primary, ought to be the primary reward of your prayer in secret. In secret, you see, it's not praying in front of other people because a lot of people love to pray in front of other people because you're just like, I love to use the phrases and I love that, you know, He's like, no, it's how much you pray when it's just you and God. And you just, you don't use Him for anything as much as you're just finding Him beautiful. It's the joy of being in His presence.

Is God useful to you or is He beautiful? Because Jesus said the way you can know how beautiful you find God is whether you love to pray. Verse seven, when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do. Read Gentiles as people who don't know God as Father.

I'll get to that in a minute. But when they think that they'll be heard for their many words, do not be like them for your Heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you even ask Him. Here He's talking about people who think God's going to hear them because they pray long enough or shout loud enough or because they use some magical phrase that God just really likes to hear that loosens Him up. The real problem, Jesus says, with this approach is the assumption among the Gentiles or people that don't know God is that God is naturally hostile toward us. And so these techniques in prayer are necessary to make Him feel more disposed to us.

These are the combination of the lock that unlocks His affection. But Jesus, the gospel that He is preaching is not that you will finally, if you are good enough, become somebody that God will approve of. The gospel is that Christ gives you His righteousness as a gift and you're accepted on His behalf, on His merits. You're adopted as a son in Him. So that's why Jesus says in verse eight, your Father knows what you need of before you even ask Him. So you should pray like this. Start with our Father. He's pointing to the closest possible relationship with God. The word Jesus uses literally means Daddy.

He says when you pray, you come to Him like a Daddy. I think about my own kids. They don't have to change my heart toward them.

They don't have to repeat phrases. They don't have to earn my affection. They have it, even when they haven't been perfect and even when they failed. You say, well, what about our sin? What about the places where we haven't lived up to what God wants us to live up to? The gospel is that God has adopted us into His family as sons and daughters on the basis of the finished work of Christ. I have been given in Jesus Christ's status as a son. From the very beginning, God revealed Himself to the Bible as a Father. So when Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to pray, Daddy, Daddy, would that not change how you pray? If you understand, He's not a tyrant to appease.

He is not a policeman to negotiate with. He is a Father who cherishes you, who watches over you, who says He is so in touch with your life that He knows when even one hair falls from your head, a Father who feels every pain before you feel it and as much as you feel it, if not more. Let me take you to a place where God talks about His fatherly relationship to His children. I love this passage, Isaiah 43.

Now says, thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel, fear not. See, I've redeemed you. I've called you by your name individually. I called your name.

You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I'm going to go with you into the rivers that won't overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned and the flame will not consume you.

Why? Because I am walking with you every step of the way. I am right by your side and I'm feeling everything that you feel.

When you go through the worst things on earth, I'm going through them with you and I'm feeling them with you. Isn't that what a father does? Didn't a father, when his child is in pain, isn't that father with the child hurting with that child? I think here of when Jesus was by the tomb of Lazarus.

It's really a strange scene. Jesus by the tomb of Lazarus, remember what He does? Shortest verse in the Bible, John 11, 35. Jesus wept. My question is, why is He weeping? Doesn't He know that like in 10 minutes He's going to raise Lazarus from the dead? So why is He weeping now? I would have been like, hey, hey, quit your crying.

I'm going to fix it. Why is He standing by the tomb weeping if He knows He's about to resolve the situation? It's because that's what a father does.

A father stands by his child in pain and weeps with them. He doesn't beat them up with theological answers. He just shoulders their pain and he cries with them. The reason He does that is because He is showing you that in your darkest hour, in your deepest moment, in your point of loneliness and brokenness, how would it change you if you understood that there was a God who stood right beside you in that hour, who wept with you, who felt the pain, who felt the rejection, who felt the sting, and literally wept with you in your hour of brokenness? He said, don't be afraid.

I say, I'm with you. I'm the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior, because you are precious in my eyes and you were honored and I love you. I give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life. When something's precious to you, you're willing to give up stuff to get it back.

He's using a metaphor there of a ransom. I give up men for you. To put it in our terms, think of it like a professional coach who is willing to trade several players off his team to get this one other player.

In fact, I know of at least one NBA coach who traded his entire starting lineup for one guy. How valuable is that one guy when you give up your five men, your starting lineup, to get that one guy? How valuable Isaiah is asking are you and I to God when we think that he gave up not men, but he gave up himself for us? He is pointing us not to giving up men. He's pointing us beyond that to when he gave himself up and he says, you understand that what I'm going to do is I'm going to be tortured on a cross for you. I'm going to have my flesh ripped open by a cat of nine tails so that I'm going to be disemboweled in front of people and I'm going to have nails in my hands and feet and a crown of thorns in my head and they're going to spit in my face and they're going to mock me and they're going to humiliate me and I'm going to go through it with joy because I'm possessing you.

I'm going to be rejected. I'm going to give it all up for you because I love you because you are precious to me. See, when something is precious to you, you can tell how precious it is by how much you're willing to give up to get that one thing, right? I mean, there are not many things in my life that I give up everything else in my life to obtain, but I can tell you if one of my kids were in danger and I had to give up the rest of my life to save that one kid, I would do it because they're precious to me. And what Isaiah is saying, the heavenly father looked at you and said, you are precious to me and I will give it all up for you.

No wonder the apostle John says, behold what manner of love the father has given to us that we should be called the sons and the daughters of God. I don't want to be sacrilegious here and I even debated whether or not to use this, but I think here of Liam Neeson. Remember the movie Taken? You've seen it? The basic gist is Liam's daughter gets kidnapped. By the way, this is the plot for Taken 1, Taken 2, and will be the plot for Taken 3, just so you know.

But there's that scene in the first one where he's on the phone with the people who kidnapped his daughter. You remember this? I worked all week long on my Liam Neeson accent. And the answer is, nope, I am not doing it right now. I don't know who you are.

I don't know what you want. If you're looking for a ransom, I can tell you that I don't have any money, but what I do have is a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. I'm sitting in the movie theater and I'm watching that and I'm thinking about God and I'm like, that's my dad! And everybody looks around, no, no, no, I mean like not literally my dad, but that's like God. And Liam Neeson is not my God, but he's like God because that's what my Heavenly Father said about me. I'll go anywhere, I'll give up anything because I'm going to get you back. So he says, fear not, I am with you.

I will bring my sons from afar and I'll go to the ends of the earth to get my daughter back. This is the God that you pray to. This is the God that you say, my daddy. So yes, I call him creator because that's what he is. I call him ruler because that's what he is. I call him savior because he saved me. I call him glorious. I call him holy.

I call him wonderful, but there is nothing that thrills my heart like when I call him daddy. Because when I understand that, I don't need to be moved to pray. I don't need to be compelled to pray. My heart runs to the presence of the father. When I have a need, when I'm hurting, where else would I go than into the presence of that one whom I call daddy? And when you get that, I don't need to stand up here and yell at you about it.

I don't need to teach you to discipline yourself. You're just going to do it naturally because you're going to start to say with the hymn writer, what a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer that calls me from a world of care and bids me air my father's throne makes all my wants and wishes known. If you get the fatherhood of God, prayer becomes something you don't have to do. It becomes something you want to do and get to do. This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. We'll return for the conclusion of our message in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you to come to remind you to contact us right away for our latest resource. Since the beginning of the year, we've focused heavily on ways to create a solid start, a firm beginning to the year that applies to all areas of our faith. So once again, we've put together a pack of 52 scripture memory verse cards just for you. If you want to carry God's promises in your heart, this new resource makes it easy to memorize scripture.

Take them with you, post them in everyday locations, give them to friends, basically make this discipline a regular part of your everyday life. Reserve your seat right now by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Thanks for being with us today. Now let's get back to the final moments of our teaching here on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Jesus points to a second attribute that teaches us to pray and that is his sovereignty. His sovereignty, you see it there in the second phrase in verse 10. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You see heaven or God has a will and prayer is asking God to accomplish that will on earth. In prayer, you are supposed to discern what God in heaven wants and then ask for it. You want a really tight definition of prayer, that's it. You discern what God in heaven wants and then you ask for it. Now a lot of people struggle to pray because they figure well if God has a will and God knows everything and God only changes his mind, what good is prayer?

Is prayer actually changing anything? And just so we're clear, I read the same Bible you do. It is true, God does know everything.

In fact there's lots of verses I could share with you but probably the clearest one, Isaiah 46 10. I make known the end from the beginning. In other words, from the very beginning I already knew the end.

There's nothing that surprises me, there's nothing like, oh I didn't see that one coming. From ancient times I make known what is still to come. I say my purpose will stand and I will do all that I please. My eternal purposes will be accomplished.

There is not a thing in my heart that I have planned on doing that I'm not going to do. Numbers 23 19, Moses said God's not a man that he would change his mind. God doesn't learn new information that changes the scenario. God knew it all from the beginning so God's not a man that he changes his mind. So what good is prayer you ask? What good is asking God to do things? Let me answer that question with a story. In Exodus 32 Moses is pleading with God to not destroy the children of Israel.

You see here's the story, here's what happened. Moses has gone up into Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments. He's gone for a little bit longer than the children of Israel thought he should have been gone. So because Moses, who was like their parent, is away they throw a party. They make a gold statue, they drink, they get drunk, they dance around the statue and have sex with each other. This is a frat party in the Bible. It's called Franklin Street, that's what's you know over Exodus 32 in my Bible. All right, so God says to Moses, Exodus 32 7, get off this mountain, go down, watch this, for your people, whose people? Your people Moses, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, Moses, your people corrupted themselves, let me alone that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them and Moses I will make of you a great nation. Verse 11, but Moses implored the Lord his God and said, oh Lord why does your wrath burn hot against your people? Whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, who brought him up? Moses or God?

There seems to be a little argument going on here. You brought him up God with great power with a mighty hand. Why would the Egyptians say with evil intent that you bring them out just to kill them in the mountains? God turned from your burning anger. That's an imperative and that's a bold statement they made to God. And relent, by the way the actual Hebrew word there means repent.

You relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants to whom you swore by your own self and you said to them, God I didn't say it you said it I will multiply your offspring like the stars of heaven and all this land that I promised I'll give your offspring and they will inherit it forever. Verse 14 and the Lord relented again the translation literally says repented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

This has got to be one of the hardest passages to understand is it not? Moses's persuasion leads God to repent? God changed his mind? Did Moses point out something to God that God had forgotten? It wasn't you know had God had a bad day? Did he not get a good night sleep? Had he not done his quiet time that morning?

Well what's going on here? What about all that I know the end from the beginning I'm the Lord I change not stuff? You want to know the irony? The irony is that think about this God's the one who told Moses to go down. Moses had no idea this was going on God Moses are there Moses God says Moses go down. Watch this God puts Moses in a place that he would see the problem perceive God's anger remember the promise and petition God to change and it's not is it not ironic that the very thing that Moses uses to change God's mind is God's own promise.

Moses said God this is what you said you can't go back on it. My friend David Platt says that it is true that the purposes of God are unchanging but it is also true that the plan of God from our perspective is unfolding and we know that God puts us in places to claim his unchanging promises so that we can change the destiny of situations because God has hard-wired the universe to run on prayer. So my friend David says when we pray we take our God-given place and use our God-ordained privilege to participate with him and the accomplishment of his purposes on the planet. So I want you to think long and deeply about this just like Moses you and I are sovereignly put into places by the design of God to claim the promises of God on behalf of other people just like Moses he sends you down into a situation he puts you into that family he puts you into that dorm room he puts you into that community he puts you into that workplace he puts you in that dysfunctional circle that you're in he puts you there and said I put you there to see the situation to perceive my promise and then believe me on behalf of it and thereby release my healing into this situation.

Is that not empowering? You are where you are by the design of God to call for the promises of God. You're there because God intended for you to be there to ask him to release his power. So that's why we pray when we pray we say Lord your kingdom come your will be done on earth like I perceive it to be desired in heaven. We perceive what God wants just like Moses did and we ask and where and where do we learn what heaven wants? Where do you learn what heaven wants? Just like Moses you learn it from God's word. You see there are three thousand promises of God in scripture three thousand that's why I've told you don't just read your way through scripture pray your way through it. The Bible is not a collection of facts about God he wants you to learn the Bible is a book of promises he wants you to believe because the prayers that are most effective before the throne of God are the ones that start in the word of God which is why I want to know the Bible not so I can beat somebody else at Bible trivia I want to know it because I don't want there to be one of those three thousand promises that I don't believe and release in the place that God has given me to live and serve. So as a father I say God you sent me down into this family so Proverbs 20 verse 7 the children of the righteous will be blessed like their father. God I believe you said that and I believe you are going to bless my children with the blessing you've given to me which is to know you and to love you God I'm believing that promise for my four kids. 2 Peter 3 9 the Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance God I want that to be true in Riley Durham so God I'm going to believe and ask that you'll save a lot of people in our community because that's what you promised Psalm 2 8 ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance you want to know why our church has a vision of planting a thousand churches it's not because we're ambitious and we want to do a franchise it's because we believe Psalm 2 8 and we say God why don't you do it through us why don't you do it through us if this is who you are and this is why we're here maybe you put us here just so you could ask we could ask that I've told you before that one of the saddest verses in all the New Testament to me is Matthew 13 58 many mighty works Jesus did not do in Nazareth because of their unbelief Jesus was there the miracle worker was there he wanted to do something but he didn't do anything because there was nobody there to believe him and I read that and I said God let that not be true of my family let that not be true of my church let that not be true of our community let that not be true of my generation that many mighty works Jesus wanted to do but there was just nobody there to stand there in the place that Moses stood and said God I'm sovereignly placed here to believe you and release your promise into this situation do not get all messed up in the sovereignty of God you think about that stuff long enough it's gonna it's gonna explode your mind think about the promises of God in fact here's I've told you before this is the way I always think about it does God know does God know the day that you die you're gonna die yes he does according to psalm 139 he already knows has he appointed that day yes he has can all right can anything you do change that nope all right then why do you wear your seat belt why do you not text when you drive why do you not grab a hold of electric currents why do you eat to live what happens if you don't eat you die if you don't eat and then you die is that the day that God is preordained for you to die quit asking stupid questions and just eat right because eating is the preordained way that God is determined for living prayer is the preordained way that God has appointed for the execution of his will and his power on earth so quit asking stupid questions and just pray because prayer is the means the conduit by which God releases his power into your life your family your community so rise up and pray you're listening to summit life with pastor jd greer to listen again or to catch up on previous messages in this series called start visit us online at jd i know personally that i want to be able to recall scripture more easily but i gotta admit to you i'm a little rusty on some of the memory verses i learned as a kid well molly i find that hard to believe because i've heard you talk i heard you lead worship and i've seen how easily and quickly the scripture just flows out of your heart but yeah i understand that especially for me when it feels like it was so long ago that i was a kid there's a lot of things you've learned and forgotten and that's why i'm excited to actually provide our listeners with this tool a pack of 52 scripture memory cards one for every week of this year that can be a way of learning new verses but also reminding yourself and re-familiarizing yourself with with some of these beautiful promises of god your life will change and your life will be filled with power to the extent that you know the word of god and so what better way to get it into your heart than to memorize it to have one promise one one one beautiful attribute of god a week that you are thinking about and putting deep in your heart we're so grateful that you listen here to the word of god taught on summit life now use this tool to help get it into your heart you can get a set of these cards specifically designed for our listening audience when you support summit life at if you want to carry god's promises in your heart in a fresh way this new year our new scripture memory cards make it easy and convenient to memorize scripture commit god's word to your heart and mind and apply it in your life through prayer and actions be sure to ask for your set of the scripture memory cards when you give a financial gift of thirty five dollars or more call 866-335-5220 that telephone number again is 866-335-5220 or go online and request your cards at i'm your host molly vidovich be sure to come back next time for more gospel-centered bible teaching here on summit life today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-13 10:37:15 / 2023-01-13 10:48:04 / 11

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