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Praying to Change God’s Mind

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2022 8:00 am

Praying to Change God’s Mind

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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March 29, 2022 8:00 am

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The Bible declares that God does not change. But we see it happen in Scripture, and Dr. Tony Evans says it begins with the right kind of prayer. You don't just want to reach God's ears, you want to touch God's heart. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. If God already knows everything, why would He ever have reason to change His mind?

Well, we're about to find out as Dr. Evans takes a look at when and why the Lord chooses to be flexible. We have all observed on TV and witnessed the tearful farewell of an athlete when their playing days were over. They would weep as they were saying goodbye to the sport that they loved or grew up playing. It is a depressing, discouraging time when it looks like their career is over.

In fact, some get so discouraged after they retire, they try to come back because they miss it so very, very much. God tells Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20, it's time to say goodbye. Through the prophet Isaiah, he comes and he says, God told me to tell you, set your house in order or get your affairs settled. Make sure your will is intact. Make sure your family understands that it's terminal. There will be no coming back from this illness.

You're going to die. Nothing is more painful than to run into a terminal situation, a situation that offers no solution. Now, here it was a physical illness, but terminal situations can show up in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Maybe there's a terminal relationship. Maybe there's a terminal hope. All hope is gone.

Maybe it's the economics are terminal. You don't see any way out. And it throws you to tears, to discouragement, and to hopelessness. Nobody you know, no place you can go, and nothing that you can do can fix it. It's a terminal situation. In 2010, when the miners in Chile fell in that mine shaft and it collapsed, and they were there day after day, many of the miners turned to this one Christian man who was part of the group, and with great fear and trepidation, they looked and said, what are we going to do? The Christian among them looked at the group and said, there's nothing we can do. Only God can fix this. When a situation gets that bad, and you can't see your way out, and you look down the trenches, and you can't see your way out, and you can't see your way out, and you look down the train tracks, and the only light you see is an oncoming train, because it looks hopeless.

No way out. And you're stuck with getting your house in order because it's over. It is in this context that we read that Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. He was looking at Isaiah, but now when he heard the news from the prophet, he turned his face to the wall, and the Bible says he wept bitterly. He wept and cried like a baby to hear the bad news that there is no solution, and there really is no solution if God said you're going to die, because this came from God. God said it's over. God said it's get your affairs in order. What am I going to do if God says it? Well, the only thing you can do is go to the God who said it. It says He turned His face to the wall, and He went to God who decreed that it was over. So today, I'm talking to folk who think it's over.

Whatever over means for you, whatever over means for you, and if you're not in an over situation, keep living. You're going to hit an over situation, a situation where it appears to be terminal, hopeless, no solution, and God is right in the mix. We're told Hezekiah prayed, and when Hezekiah prayed in verses three and four, mainly verse three, he says I walked before you, I was truthful, I gave you my whole heart, and I did what was good. You know what he gave God?

A credit report. He says God, don't you remember that I hung in there when other folk quit on you, that I followed you when other folk ran away from you, that I stuck to the truth and didn't buy a lie? Don't you remember?

Look at my credit report. Now, when he asked God to remember, God does not have a memory issue. Whenever you see people asking God to remember, it's not because God forgets, it's because they want God to pay special attention to it. God, pay attention to this. I've walked with you, lived for you, followed you.

Let me ask you a question. If you were in a terminal situation and you showed God your spiritual credit report, how would it read? You know, because when you go to a bank because you want to buy a house, they're going to check your credit report. They're going to see what your history has been in paying your bills, because they're going to assume if you got bad credit back there, bad credit back there, you're going to have bad credit up here. They're not going to trust you just because you say I'm going to be different this time. They want to see your credit report.

They want to see your history. God, look at my history with you. Yes, I did have this problem, I did have this flaw, but if you'll check my credit report, how many times have we said to God, if you get me out of this one this time, I'm going to serve you for the rest of my life.

Then God pulls up the credit report. He checks out over the last 10 years. You done made that promise five times over the last 10 years. Every other year, I get a promise from you. For two weeks, you good with it. The normal promise usually comes January 1, and you for a while, you good with it. You tell me you're going to spend time with me, you tell me you're going to get to know me, you tell me you're going to feast on my word, you tell me you're going to be faithful in your giving, you tell me you're going to give some of your time for service, but I'm click, click, click, click, checking your report. And I don't see consistency here.

I know you're not perfect, but I don't even see consistency. On that day, when you're going to be in a terminal situation, what's your credit report look like? You cannot decide on that day to change your credit report.

You have to have built that up along the way, because you're going to need to cash it in on that day. Hezekiah cries out to God and says, this is my report, and he's crying for mercy. God then tells Isaiah, who had gone out into the middle of the court, the word of the Lord came to him saying, verse five, return and say to Hezekiah, the leader of my people, thus saith the Lord God, your father, I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears.

No, you didn't. I have heard your prayers and I have seen your tears. So the first thing is he prayed. He gave God something to hear.

And it included his credit report. It says, I've heard your prayer, but I've also seen your tears. I've heard what you said, prayer, but I've also seen how you feel. I've heard your words, but I've also read your heart.

I've heard your speech, heard your speech, but I've also felt the depth of your pain. Let me tell you something about God. He's emotional. Now we don't talk a lot about the emotions of God, but we see it all in scripture. We see where God gets angry.

The Bible says the joy of the Lord, so he can get joyful. The Bible talks about God being pleased or being pleasured, loving the feeling that there are all kinds of statements about God's feelings. You don't just want to reach God's ears. You want to touch God's heart because he's a feeling kind of God. And he says, I've heard your words, but I've also felt your pain.

What the Bible says about Jesus is he came to sympathize with our hurts. That's a feeling thing. That's why when we want to just throw stuff up to God without trying to connect with God, we want him to hear our words, but not feel our hearts. You know how it is with people when they talking to us, but they ain't feeling us. We're not connecting on this point. And they can repeat back what you said, but they don't feel why you said it.

We have that in human reactions and dynamics all the time. God just doesn't want to hear you. He wants to feel you. And nothing enhances the relationship like when what is said is also what is felt. Because when the words touch the heart, you got a thing going on. He said, I've heard your words and I've seen your tears. I feel you.

What happened? He says, I will heal you. On the third day, you're going to go up to the house of the Lord, meaning you will get your praise on.

You cry in the day, but I'm going to give you a reason to shout three days from now. I'm going to heal you. God, watch this now, changed his mind.

So does God change or doesn't he? Well, Dr. Evans will come back in a moment to continue sorting that out when he brings us the second part of today's lesson from his series, Igniting Kingdom Prayer. This two volume 12 message collection will teach you how to pray with the power that can move mountains, solve problems, heal relationships, and as Dr. Evans has been teaching today, even change God's mind. Contact us right away and it's yours with our thanks and appreciation for your donation to help keep Tony's teaching coming your way. Just visit or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222. We'll get back to Dr. Evans and today's lesson right after this.

Mark your calendar for August 6th to 13th so you can experience the majestic beauty of Alaska with Tony Evans and the Urban Alternative. Immerse yourself in the beauty of God's creation. Hear great teaching from Dr. Evans and others and worship God in an incredible setting.

Plus we're building in plenty of time for rest and relaxation on a cruise that will pamper you with luxurious accommodations, first class dining, and a large variety of leisure experiences to choose from. Those dates are August 6th to 13th so book your trip today because rooms are filling up quick. Reserve your spot at The Bible declares that God does not change. God says I am the Lord that changeth not. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God cannot change. He says that over and over and over again in scripture. But we just saw God change. He said you will die, thus saith the Lord. A couple of minutes later, you will not die, thus saith the Lord. So we went from a terminal situation to a 15-year reprieve.

And that was only in the center of a couple of minutes because I there just walked to the middle of the courtyard. And the only thing that happened between what God said the first time and what God said the second time was a prayer full of emotion. That's the only thing that's happened.

That's the only thing that's happened. How can a changeless God change? One of the things we need to go deeper in is our knowledge of God. God is more than a theological word. Jeremiah 9 23 and 24 says, let not the wise man boast because of his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast because of his might, let not the rich man boast because of his riches.

If any man is going to boast, let him boast in this that he understands and knows me. And the way to know God is through his attributes, his characteristics, or his perfections. God's characteristics, mercy, grace, truth, love, holiness, righteousness, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, veracity. God has character qualities. Those character qualities are unchangeable.

He will always be what he has always been. You and I go through changes. We're not the same the day as we used to be. We don't look the same. We don't act the same.

We don't smell the same. There are changes that occur in our life over time. God cannot change his essential nature, but he changed. While God cannot change his nature, he can and does change his action. Let me say that again.

Let me say that again. God's nature cannot change, but his actions may change. How then does God change his action without changing his nature, since his nature cannot change, but his action, as in this case, does change? In fact, in the book of Exodus 32, Moses is pleading in verses 7 to 14 on behalf of Israel, because God is upset with him, and God is angry with him, and he cries out to God, and the Bible says, and when God heard Moses' prayer, verse 14, he says, God changed his mind. In other words, he reversed his previous decision.

How does that happen? God is a God of wrath. Wrath is his just retribution against sin. That's who he is.

He can't help it, because it's part of his makeup. However, God is also a God of love, and he can't help that either. That is where God seeks the well-being of the object loved. He's a God of wrath, but he's a God of love. So depending on which part of his nature you you are relating to affects what he does. So he could be coming in wrath, but he's free to shift to love on the same subject matter.

See, we only have one subject here. You're going to die of an illness. He shifted on one subject from you're going to die to you're going to live without changing his basic nature.

He just had to shift which part of his nature he applied it to. So God changes his mind, and he says, you are going to live. You are not going to die. I'm going to deliver you, verse six. I'm going to give you 15 years, and when I give you 15 years and deliver you, I will deliver this city from the hand of the king of Assyria and defend the city for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.

Okay, watch this. When you're in a terminal situation and God changes his mind and reverses something and gives you a new lease on life, whatever that terminal scenario is, it's not just for you. See, it's not just for you. He says, when I give you this 15 years, it's not just so you can go out and party. I'm giving you this 15 years because I want to use you to deliver my people from the attack of the Assyrians. In other words, the only reason I've turned this around is not only to give you life, because I know that's what you're praying for, but I also want to give you purpose and I want to give you a new opportunity to do something for me. See, most of the time when we're in a terminal situation, it's only about me, myself, and I, and I want God to do something for me that is in my best interest, and that's okay, but it can't be limited to you. When God gives you a new opportunity, he wants you to be a blessing, not just be blessed, and that's the problem with a lot of this blessing stuff out here today. I want to be blessed.

I want to be rich. I want to have this. I want to have that, which in itself is not a problem unless it's by itself, unless it only involves you. See, the prayer you need to pray is, God, I'm in a terminal situation. I need to affect another part of your character.

I need you to reverse this situation so that not only can my situation be changed, but so that I can be a conduit to change somebody else's. So if it's only about you, then you're missing God's, I got a bigger plan for you than just you live in 15 years. I want to deliver, and I want to deliver the whole city from the Assyrians.

But oh, Hezekiah has a question. What shall be the sign, verse 8, that the Lord will heal me? Now, he was just told the Lord going to heal him. Signs in the Bible were designed to confirm the Word of God, to give you something you could grab. God is not against confirming signs. He is against signs that are not synced with His Word. So His Word can be confirmed by a visual.

So Isaiah says, in the last couple verses, he says, God told me to tell you, this will be the sign, and you get to choose. Do you want the sun to move forward 10 steps, or do you want the sun to go back 10 steps? Translation, this is the first Daylight Saving Times in history. Daylight Saving Times in history.

Do you want to spring forward or fall back? God offers him a Daylight Saving Time. He says, I'll speed up the time, or I'll slow down the time you choose. As Hezekiah says, well, speeding up the time, I'm not sure I'm going to buy that, because that one looks too easy. That's what he says.

He says, let me take the harder one. Let's see you back up the time. As Hezekiah said, let it roll back, and it rolled back 10 steps.

Time went backwards. God has you for a greater kingdom purpose, and He wants to use you, even if He allows a terminal situation, a situation that looks hopeless. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment to wrap up our program with a final challenge. But first, I want to let you know that the popular film Journey with Jesus, starring Dr. Evans, Crystal, Priscilla, and Anthony Evans, is available now for a limited time to stream online. Journey with Jesus, previously only shown in theaters, was filmed on location in Israel and follows the steps of Jesus through the Holy Land. Get more information on how you can stream this powerful film when you visit And that's also the place to go to get a copy of Tony's current two-volume, 12-lesson audio series, Igniting Kingdom Prayer. It's yours with our thanks when you make a donation to help continue this listener-supported ministry. Make the arrangements today at or by calling 1-800-800-3222. Again, that's, or by phone at 1-800-800-3222.

Our resource team members are available 24-7, so call any time of the day or night. Just when you think you've jumped over all the obstacles between you and spiritual victory, you come face to face with something that seems unmovable and unbeatable. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans will explain why you don't have to let a little thing like a mountain stop you.

But right now, he's back with a final thought for today. So I want to challenge you as we wind down. Change your credit report. Because when that time comes, you want to be able to say to God, God, look at my credit report. I haven't been perfect. I have failed. But Lord, I have picked up and I have decided to surrender to you, to pursue a relationship with you, to love the Lord my God with all my heart, my mind, my mind, and soul, to serve you and to serve others. God, I am yours.

I am yours. And the good thing about a credit report is that they will allow you to let it change. They'll allow bad credit to become medium credit to become awesome credit. So no matter how bad your credit report used to be, change your credit so that when terminal day comes, you can offer God something He can respond to. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 13:47:43 / 2023-05-14 13:56:14 / 9

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