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Doing Our Part For Answered Prayer

 

The United States and actually the rest of the non-Muslim world is heading into very difficult times. Very difficult times will motivate many to desperately ask their Creator to intervene in their lives.

It has been more than a year since I have given a sermon about prayer. It's such an important subject, we should probably hear a sermon on prayer at least once a year. As we shall see, prayer is one of the basics of Judea-Christianity.

Today I want to talk to you about four aspects of prayer: Why we pray, where and when we pray, and how to pray effectively. That's a big order so let's get started.

Why should we pray? In 1 Sam 12:23, Samuel says it is a sin not to pray. That seems like a good enough reason. To not pray is to die spiritually.

Most of us pray for several specific reasons:

1. We know we must pray to please God.

2. We feel a need to talk with our Father frequently.

3. We feel a need to be close to God, and prayer provides that closeness.

4. We want to be continually praising God.

5. We are concerned about someone else's needs.

6. We are concerned about the conditions of the world around us and yearn for God's Kingdom to come.

7. We have personal or spiritual or physical needs which only God can provide.

These reasons are all valid but not all our prayers seem to be answered. Why not? Are we doing our part?

Let's look FIRST at our prayer environment.

Exo 33:7 (NKJV) Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass <that> everyone who sought the LORD went out to the tabernacle of meeting which <was> outside the camp.

verse 11 (NKJV) So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.

Both Moses and Joshua went out of the camp to pray and God communed with them there.

God's own people seem to separate themselves into two categories when it comes to the subject of prayer: Those who seek Him and those who do not. To seek Him is to be whole hearted in that pursuit. Some of those who do not seek Him may go through the motions of prayer, but without giving attention to their relationship with God.

Acts 4:31 (NKJV) And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

When the disciples prayed, the place where they prayed was shaken. Heard about any buildings being shaken as a result of prayer recently? Yet 2 Timothy 3:5 says that in the last days some will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. Doesn't that describe our world today? These are people who believe there is a God but who do not accept His total word as applicable to their lives.

There are still two categories: The great falling away group, and the ones who press in with the result that the Holy spirit is poured out upon them continuously.

Jesus also made it clear that there were two categories of people who pray.

Mat 6:5-6 (NKJV) "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. {6} "But you, when you pray, go to your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who <is> in the secret <place>; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Jesus teaches us how to become genuine seekers after God. An important key to being one who seeks after God is "entering into your secret place."

When Jesus speaks of going into the inner room, the closet, that "secret place" to seek God, He is speaking of a principle more than identifying a place. A secret place speaks of quality. It speaks of a personal contact with our Father.

God deserves the first, the best, and the most valuable that we can bring to Him. Malachi says we despise Him when we bring Him less than the unblemished and the perfect.

Mal 1:6-14 (NKJV) "A son honors <his> father, And a servant <his> master. If then I am the Father, Where <is> My honor? And if I <am> a Master, Where <is> My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?' {7} "<You> offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.' {8} And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, <Is it> not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, <Is it> not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. {9} "But now entreat God's favor, That He may be gracious to us. <While> this is being <done> by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. {10} "Who <is there> even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire <on> My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you," Says the LORD of hosts, "Nor will I accept an offering from your hands. {11} For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name <shall be> great among the Gentiles; In every place incense <shall be> offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations," Says the LORD of hosts. {12} "But you profane it, In that you say, 'The table of the LORD is defiled; And its fruit, its food, <is> contemptible.' {13} You also say, 'Oh, what a weariness!' And you sneer at it," Says the LORD of hosts. "And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?" Says the LORD. {14} "But cursed <be> the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished; For I <am> a great King," Says the LORD of hosts, "And My name <is to be> feared [respected] among the nations.

Time must be set aside; not just any time, but the best time, priority time, most importantly morning time because your mind is not encumbered with the day's events, enough time, time to be thoughtful, time to listen. David and Daniel prayed not just in the morning but three times a day.

Psa 55:17 (NKJV) Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. [Notice that the day started at evening.]

Dan 6:10 (NKJV) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

The secret place must be searched out. It is a place hidden from the eyes of others, a place of sanctuary and solitude.

Mark 1:35 (NKJV) Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

Those who frequent the secret place agree that without time faithfully set aside, they have not enough time for the rest of life. In short, the rest of the day is a waste too.

Prayer, the work of the secret place, must become our "magnificent obsession." Blessed are they that seek Him with a whole heart.

Deu 4:29 (NKJV) "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find <Him> if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Do you have a place where you go to really be alone with God? Have you made a place away from distractions where you can have quality time with the Lord? Is there a priority time that is set aside for you to go to that place?

Is to discipline ones self to enter into the secret place legalism or ritualism? Not at all! It is as important as breathing. Someone said that if there is a true desire to pursue God, then there will be a discipline to pursue God, and what will follow is the delight of His presence.

The secret place speaks of privacy.

Luke 6:12 (NIV) One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

We can do no less.

We know that mountains are moved through fasting. Some things only happen by prayer and fasting

Mark 9:29 (NKJV) So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."

Fasting is to be private and done secretly. When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that privacy is maintained between you and your Heavenly Father, who is in the secret place waiting to commune with you.

Mat 6:17-18 (NKJV) "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, {18} "so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who <is> in the secret <place>; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

One person said, "In the presence of God, the Pharisee had a good eye on himself, a critical eye on his neighbor, and no eye on God." The secret place affords a privacy free from distractions and free from the temptation to perform for the sake of men. The secret place takes away the temptations of judgmental comparisons, and frees a person to be truly humbled in private audience before the throne. Privacy contributes wonderfully to humility. This is a place free from the distractions that divert attention. In the private place there are no expectations to measure up to, no one to perform for.

The secret place speaks of intimacy.

Psa 91:1 (NKJV) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Moses, who may have written this Psalm, understood not only the desire to be alone in the quiet place, but to reside in that intimate place where there is silence enough to listen, and to speak freely, face to face, as a man speaks to a friend. The world is shut out of the secret place and in the quietness the still small voice of the Lord is clearly discernable, and understandable. "Be still and know that I am God" is a call to the person who frequents the secret place. "Joshua, the young man, did not depart from the tabernacle", as we can read in Exodus 33:11.

The secret place speaks of an authority that brings blessing and provision.

We read Mat 6:6 (NKJV) before "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who <is> in the secret <place>; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Hosea 10:12 (NKJV) Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For <it is> time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

These promises are to provide for the spiritual needs of man first, while including the physical needs of man as well.

Luke 11:10 (NKJV) "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.

Isa 65:10 (NKJV) Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, And the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, For My people who have sought Me.

Isaiah speaks of the two categories of people: those who are genuine seekers and who enter into the secret place, and those who do not seek God, who will be "hungry, thirsty, ashamed, sorrowful, grieved of spirit and cursed". Let's continue with verse 13:

Isa 65:13-15 (NKJV) Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, My servants shall eat, But you shall be hungry; Behold, My servants shall drink, But you shall be thirsty; Behold, My servants shall rejoice, But you shall be ashamed; {14} Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, But you shall cry for sorrow of heart, And wail for grief of spirit. {15} You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; For the Lord GOD will slay you, And call His servants by another name;

Why? Not because God wants this for them, but because they have not sought Him to allow Him to reign supreme in their need. Those who seek the Lord "eat, drink, rejoice, and sing for joy, and will be called by a name of honor", probably by a derivative of God's own name.

Jer 29:13 (NKJV) And you will seek Me and find <Me>, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Come into the secret place. Pitch your tent outside the camp. God will meet you in the manner you yearn for.

We read Exo 33:11 (NKJV) earlier. So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.

Acts 17:26-27 (NKJV) "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, {27} "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Go soon, and often, to the secret place. The Lord will meet you there.

Does this mean we can not call for Godís help anywhere in emergencies. Of course not.

[Pause]

In Matthew 6, Jesus gave us some rules to follow when praying. We've covered some of them already.

verse 7 (NKJV) "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen <do>. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Are our prayers vain repetitions? When we pray at meals or at our secret prayer place, do we always say the same thing? I know this is not what we want and we are not just taking a few laps around the beads. But if our prayers are too repetitious, try writing down things you want to pray about before you go in to pray.

verse 8 (NKJV) "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Obviously God wants to hear from us. He knows what we need to pray about. But He wants to hear us ask. He can then speak back to us. He likes conversation and so should we. Most of us have no problem yakking it up on the telephone. Why then can't we yak it up with God in prayer? Perhaps we do not know Him well enough or have enough in common to carry on a meaningful conversation.

In verses 9-13 of Matthew 6, Jesus gives us a prayer outline to follow when praying. Let's go through it and discuss some things we can and should pray for.

1. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name: Acknowledge His greatness - He is the God of Heaven - Ruler of the universe - Give glory to God - read the Psalms - meditate on His Holiness - spend up to 1/4 of your time praising God as David did in Ps 95, 100, and 104. Let's read them. Hold your place in Matthew 6.

Psa 95:1-7 (NKJV) Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. {2} Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. {3} For the LORD <is> the great God, And the great King above all gods. {4} In His hand <are> the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills <are> His also. {5} The sea <is> His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry <land>. {6} Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. {7} For He <is> our God, And we <are> the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand....

Psa 100 (NKJV) Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! {2} Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. {3} Know that the LORD, He <is> God; <It is> He <who> has made us, and not we ourselves; <We are> His people and the sheep of His pasture. {4} Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, <And> into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, <and> bless His name. {5} For the LORD <is> good; His mercy <is> everlasting, And His truth <endures> to all generations.

You think you don't know how to praise God? I suggest you read Psalm 104 later:

Back to Matt 6: 9-13 of our outline prayer.

2. Thy Kingdom Come: Pray that His kingdom is soon established - that this worldís system is soon put down - remember the poor nations. (Be aware of the news.)

3. Thy Will Be Done: Here is our opportunity to pray for others. We should pray that the Gospel can be preached in all the world. We should pray for those who are afflicted or who have special problems; our own family; the effectiveness of our web site; those with responsibility in the church; our enemies; persecutors; brethren; other churches; relatives; that God will guide our government leaders; that God will give us the gift of repentance; about scriptures we don't understand; to comprehend sermons and put them to use; widows and orphans; for God to show me what to pray for. The more we pray the more we will understand how to pray. Prayer is our ministry - lack of it can keep us out of the Kingdom of God. Never be in a hurry. Pray with love -- the law of love is a living law.

Do you want to prosper? Then pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray for her residents. Psalm 122:6 (NKJV) states, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you." Isaiah 40:1-2 (NKJV) states, "Comfort, yes comfort my people, says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins." But of course, you have to mean it genuinely. You can't just say the words.

4. Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread: (now we can pray for ourselves) John 6:35 "I am the bread of life. He that comes to me shall never hunger." Pray for spiritual as well as physical food. Pray for our own requests: our job, our health, etc.

5. Forgive us Our debts as we forgive our Debtors: Psa 51:4 says "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned & done evil in Thy sight." Ask God to forgive our sins - shortcomings - weakness - stumbling, and those of others. Forgive ALL who trespass against us. Remember that we cannot be forgiven by God until we forgive our fellow man (Mat 6:14-15). Forgiving includes forgetting. Pray that we are not drawn away by our lusts or hatred or lack of love or our love of materialism.

6. Lead Us Not into Temptation but deliver us from the evil one: Pray that we may escape the evil things to come. The following three scriptures give us an idea where temptations come from:

James 1:13 (NKJV) Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

1 Pet 5:8 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Jer 10:24 (NKJV) O LORD, correct me, but with justice; Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing.

Temptation comes from our own carnal self and Satan, not from God.

7. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever. Amen: We start by praising God and we end by praising God - by having Him in mind, not ourselves. Now that we have talked with God first, we can go about our daily life.

[Pause]

Now let's talk about seven basic methods of obtaining an answer to our prayers...seven different ways of pleasing God while praying:

1. Seek God's will, not your own.

(James 4:1-3) What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? {2} You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. {3} When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your [own] pleasures.

What are our motives when we pray? Personal aggrandizement? Image? Pride? Or is it a deep concern for others and a desire to please God?

In John 5:30, Jesus said: "By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me."

Christ did not strive for His own self satisfaction. He strove to please His Father. Who do we strive to please - our own self-satisfaction for having prayed?

(Eph 5:17 NIV) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

Pray for things which comply with God's will.

(2 Tim 2:15 NIV) Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

When we pray we are presenting ourselves before God. Do our attitudes and actions assure us that we are approved by God? Or are we ashamed of what we think and do or don't do? How confident are we?

2. Believe God will do what he says. We're talking about faith or trust.

(1 John 5:14-15 NASB) And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. {15} And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

(James 5:14-18 NIV) Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. {15} And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. {16} Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. {17} Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. {18} Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Do we have that kind of faith? Judging from the number of requests for anointing I receive, I don't think many of us do.

(Rom 4:16-24 NIV) Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. {17} As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. [Abraham had to depend upon God's power to surmount physical incapacity.] {18} Against all hope [i.e. no grounds for hope could be seen], Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." {19} Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead. {20} Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, {21} being fully persuaded (faith) that God had power to do what he had promised. {22} This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." {23} The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, {24} but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

When we pray for something that we just wouldn't expect to naturally occur, do we have the faith of Abraham that God can and will provide it?

(James 1:5-8 NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault (or laughing at us), and it will be given to him. {6} But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. {7} That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; {8} he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

How confident are we that we will receive what we ask for when we ask for something which seems utterly impossible?

But faith is not blind faith. We must have the works [obedience] to back it up. Remember what we just read in James 5:16 - "The prayer of a righteous man avails much."

(Mat 7:7-11 NIV) "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. {8} For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. {9} "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? {10} Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? {11} If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

3. Be Fervent. What does fervent mean? - being hot, burning, having great intensity.

(Hosea 7:14 NIV) They do not cry out to Me from their hearts when they wail upon their beds. They gather together for grain and new wine but turn away from Me.

Does this suggest false repentance or hypocrisy? Do we ask for ourselves but then refuse to follow God's instructions and ways?

Are our prayers hollow? Do we just say the words but without deep feeling and zeal?

(Luke 22:41-46 NIV) He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, {42} "Father , if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." {43} An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. {44} And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. {45} When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. {46} "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

I want to repeat a verse we just read in point #2 because it also fits here:

(James 5:16 NIV) Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

4. Have Fear and Humility toward God

(Psa 111:10 NIV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

(Psa 19:9 NIV) The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

(Eccl 12:13 KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Some read this as: for this produces the whole man. Notice that the words 'is' and 'duty' are in italics in the KJV. Reading the verse without these words gives us from the Tanakh: "For this applies to all mankind."

(Isa 66:2 NIV)....."This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

5. Be Persistent - We're talking about perseverance.

(Luke 18:1-8 NIV) Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. {2} He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. {3} And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' {4} "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, {5} yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'" {6} And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. {7} And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? {8} I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" [Do we in the end time have sufficient faith?]

You who do not think your prayer requests get answered by God: Have you tried to wear Him down by constant prayers? If you are close to God, if you are doing what you know is right in God's eyes, He won't ignore you.

(James 1:2-4 NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, {3} because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. {4} Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

(Eph 6:18 NIV) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Pray for each other. Do we always include our individual fellow saints in our prayers?

6. Be Obedient. We've touched on this before but let's look at some specific scriptures. God's word is replete with scriptures comparing obedience with fulfilled prayer.

(1 Pet 3:12 NIV) For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

This is contrary to the Protestant doctrine that "because Christ died for our sins, we donít have to obey the law" but if your prayers aren't being answered, maybe this is the reason. Letís look at some more examples:

(Isa 59:1-2 NIV) Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. {2} But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

(1 John 3:21-22 NIV) Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God {22} and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

(Psa 66:18-20 NIV) If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; {19} but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. {20} Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

(John 15:7 NIV) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

(1 John 2:3-6 NIV) We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. {4} The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. {5} But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: {6} Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

And Jesus kept the Fatherís commands.

(1 Pet 3:7 NIV) Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

7. Ask in Christ's name.

(John 16:23-24 NIV) In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. {24} Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

But, how does God's Spirit enter into the equation? Let's look at the following scriptures:

(Rom 8:26-32 [Part of the Holy Spirit Chapter]) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself [itself] intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. {27} And he (Christ) who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. {28} And we know that in all things work together for good to them who love God (and obey him), who have been called according to his purpose. {29} For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. {30} And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. {31} What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? {32} He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things?

(Luke 11:5-13 NIV) Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, {6} because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' {7} "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' {8} I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. {9} "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. {10} For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. {11} "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? {12} Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? {13} If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

(1 Pet 3:12 NIV) For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

That pretty much says it all.

 

In conclusion, let's make our prayers truly effective by using the points weíve discussed in this sermon.

 

 

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell

22 September 2012

 

 

Copyright 2012, Wayne Bedwell

 

 

 

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