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1. Why Prayer Matters

Dee Casper
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This message covers a handful of miracle stories and answers to prayer that convinced me of the great necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

Presenter

Dee Casper

Evangelism Director for UnScene Media Group

Sponsor

Recorded

  • March 18, 2017
    10:00 AM
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God in Heaven think you that we can indeed come to you in prayer that you delight to hear from us and I'm just asking that you would abide here a while that you would bless us with inspiration and encouragement and I pray that these testimonies would strengthen our desire and our phase when we begin to pray more earnestly I pray Father that after divine service and Sabbath school that this of best prepare us for we're going to share this and how to stand at the end of time so I just pray that would remember the lessons learned now to apply them then we ask these things in Jesus name. In. OK. The topic again for this morning is why prayer matters and I'm just going to come to give some testimonies of the power of prayer and what happens when we take this seriously the first is a form Bible study friend of mine I don't like calling them contacts it makes it sound like you're using them by the way a Bible study for the mind is in this room right now her name is Selena Paige It's a beautiful woman sitting behind a baker very sweet lady and so we were I was studying with this guy when I got is the first Bible sais I gave after a rise and the man had a severe problem with a nigger with bitterness in with unforgiveness it was so bad that every time I would give this guy Bible studies that while I was studying with him something would trigger a memory in his mind of how so many religion or in his family hurt him and then he would just rant on it and he was angry he was really angry and I would leave every Bible study from having the time with this guy I would leave every Bible study being angry myself just because it was coming out of him and into me. And eventually I was getting kind of worn out with this and I realize like I'm not just to be a doormat or. It's pride at the most appropriate way to say this only really let me fix it in my mind before it comes out of my mouth. I'm not to be. The thing that he takes his rage out of this phrase or that way that's not my purpose my purpose is to bless him and they help him to point him to Jesus who can set him free so finally I got I draw a line in the saying this had brother got to talk about this man I'm really concerned for you and I wrestled with Jesus I said Lord what do I do with this guy and the answer that God gave me was kind of led me some different texts and of doing a Bible study on the topic of forgiveness OK and the importance of forgiveness kind of starting with David because this guy use the excuse that in Matthew chapter five there are several things Matthew chapter five where Jesus says and anyone who is angry with someone without a cause will be in danger of judgment of hellfire and he said I have a cause Jesus says if you're anger without a cause it's bad but he says I have a cause these people have hurt me they've abused me and he was saying some Psalms that David has you know where he talks about asking God enough the teeth out of his enemies and that certainly feels like a good prayer to pray when you're upset and so this guy is trying to justify his anger as we walk through the life of David and how God intervene in his life and then we walk through New Testament text talk about the topic of forgiveness and at the end of this Bible study I could tell that this guy's really convicted and he realized as a brother I just had to tell you this is killing you you're going to be lost if you don't ask Jesus to give him the ability to give you the ability to forgive these people and every time you go back there you're reliving the hurt that they put you through by the way they've proven that neurologically that when you walk through in your mind either addiction experiences that you had or abuse experiences that you had it's literally like going through it again in your mind and it's just making those pathways deeper and deeper in your minds are harder to get out of so anyway I get to the end of the studies this guy and I tell Mike look this this isn't good he's convicted but he started to get a little upset with me because I'm kind of stepping on his toes in dealing with the thing. Makes him happy which is anger it's kind of weird but anyway that's that's his thing so I end up leaving Illinois I had had this difficult conversation with the guy I leave Illinois to come work at a school called Heritage Academy probably never heard of it and some living it five nine five filled with Lane where I'm sleeping right now is House and which was previously my house. And I was reminded on a Wednesday that I forgot to pray for so instill that I have prayed for so and so in quite a while and so I kneel down and I pray for this guy disabled I really wish that you would set this guy free I don't know where he is I don't know what's going on his life right now but I'm asking that you set him free this is a series of months after I had this Bible studies with him and after I left. Sabbath morning I get a phone call and the caller ID says the guy's name and I have one of those moments of it's Sabbath I really don't want to deal with someone who's baggage right now and so I did answer the phone now repented of that later I need Jesus I'm just letting you know that's not a good thing to do I need Jesus and I repented later but his didn't want to deal with that so the guy leaves a voicemail and on the voicemail I can tell he superconductors this is three days after I prayed for him he's super convicted he's talking very calmly very subdued and reflective and he says hey. I had. Early need to talk if you can call me when you get this I listen to the voicemail of Sabbath but I still don't want to deal with this guy's baggage and so I don't call him until Sunday again that's not recommended It's sin it's selfishness but that's what I did so I call him on Sunday and he ends up talking to me he says man. Like I've just been thinking about it recently and you know I you showed me that what I was doing was wrong and it was hurting me it was even hurting you and he said it when you showed me that I got mad at you is I'm sorry so I've listened I've done that Bible study like ten times I've read it and I've read it and I've read it and I've read it I didn't like ten times. What you know I'm sorry man like I should have done things that way I was hurting you I was hurting other people I'm really sorry everything changed for this guy and that since here I am thinking it's a fruitless venture Oh man. Fifty look at Dorval his suit handsome young man right there. Starts my neighbor Bubba. Of a whole train of thought it was worth it morning of a happy seven thirty. So as I am anyway I was super convicted that I just needed to get distance from the situation I end up moving anyway but I forget about the guy but then I pray for him and within three days of that. The guy's super convicted and realizes he did something he should have done and he repented he asked for my forgiveness and realizing he needed it forgive the people would hurt him that was just one example that's kind of the the the least exciting of the bunch even though it was pretty powerful for me it reminded me that I one can't stop praying for people and to that when we do pray God actually does stuff we may not see the results immediately but God does respond in a divine service we're going to cover some practical principles on a prayer and communing with God but I worry the next one. So a friend of mine that was in need of revival is someone that I want to Bible college with and I was in contact with one of their parents we were praying together for their family and some other things that are going on in their life and I just had a burden for their family what they were going through and my friend is really wrestling all the plans of their making for their life just don't work out I'm going to go do this and then that didn't work and I'm going to go to a mission trip here then they didn't go do mission work there than I'm going to and that can be really discouraging when you're telling people that you feel that this is where God is leading you and they keep not happening that can be really discouraging I've actually been through that once and so this particular individual We've been praying for them along with their siblings and for the rest of the family for a while the mother and I and the time comes that guy convince me on a Wednesday that I need to pray bigger. God God just told. To swing for the fences pray big or you're not praying big enough. OK And so the most big thing that I could think of to pray for this individual was that they would have a life course altering encounter with Jesus Christ himself like Saul on the road to Damascus that they would just have such a profound encounter with Jesus that the entire course of their life would be radically changed so we pray on a Wednesday and this person is singing for an evangelist series in the local area not to too far from their church but you know within like an hours or something so we pray on a Wednesday and the mother's at the end of the prayers as you know what I want to join you in this this is encourage me I want to join you in this because I want to see them really be able to get to the next level their experience so we pray earnestly in fervently wins day Thursday Friday Friday night is Halloween Friday is Helen but Friday night they're singing at this evangelist series I'm giving a Bible study so I don't know all what's going on but on Friday I just keep wrestling with God and I even asked him I said God would you do it on Halloween on a day that's renowned for darkness right on the day that is known for darkness and bad things would you do something awesome would you reclaim this individual in make them more years than they have ever been and that was my plea with him. Friday evening this individual at the evangelistic series they sing and they're listening to the message and something about the message it's like God just stepped into their brain and spoke to them and the thing that God told them was the way that you want your life to look in the way that I want it to look are not the same. And that you have one foot in the world or one foot in the kingdom they had a vision you know that their life is going to look like this that they're going to you know get married to a wonderful person there to live in a beautiful house and beautiful town and they're kind of making their own plans and how life will work now. God obviously desires your happiness don't misunderstand me here but what we think will make us happy and what will actually make us happy may not be the same we seem to be able to what God wants so this person is sober convicted they text their mother who was on the other side of the country with their husband for a class reunion and all they text their mother is conviction Central. And so the mother text me and says God's answered I don't know what it is by I know that God has answered. I don't find out until the next day but I wake up the next morning and there's snow all over the ground this is right after Thanksgiving right after Halloween which is really early for this but God convicted me that he has made this situation as white as snow that what seemed like a day of darkness is an amazing contrast a day that's right now in for darkness and then the symbol that God says though your sins be as scarlet they should be as white as snow will in that moment from one to the other God assured me that he had heard our prayers and that he had made this situation a white brand new. I find that the next night what happened this evangelist experience and I could not believe what God did could not believe it now on I should have because that's what I ask God to do I pray that they would have a life course altering encounter with Jesus but I didn't know that he would give them a life course altering encounter with Jesus and he did. And he did something very similar that mother and I were praying again later in March a few months later and they've gone through all the darkness Reggio I see so we prayed for them on that in the darkness started to dissipate and then we get to March and the mother just had this strong burden that this we need to be praying that they would think for themselves and it's about a lot of us face that we start believing the lies we cover that this week about ourselves about God running from the will of God and so on and the mother just prayed so earnestly I wish you could have heard the tone of their voice but they said I pray that they would. I think for themselves and we prayed earnestly the very next morning I get a phone call from this friend of mine and they are absolutely hysterical they're breathing really heavily they're super nervous and they're crying I can hear that they're crying and they said I have this I need you to pray for me and they talked about they were going through this is I don't really know if praying together is but really the best thing right now but just I just need someone to pray and then they said like you prayed I need you to pray to can't talk to my family about it but I did so want to pray like you prayed would you pray for me this whole hour Nothing is more important to me unless this gets fixed the relationship with their mother they get frustrated and they were being impatient with their mother and causing hardship in their mother's love language is words of affirmation and so whenever they're tearing their mother down because they're frustrated about stuff it's hurting their mother and they hate that and they want nothing is more important to them than this being fixed Would you please pray shirt and for thirty days you got it. Thirty days later I text of them and asked them what happened and they said we're closer than we've ever been it's like we fell in love all over again and we're closer than we've ever been and this person the relationship with their mother their relationship with God is dramatically better now than it was in October of two thousand and fourteen why because of prayer. Prayer truly does move the hand of God It's a real thing you know just saying stuff and placing an order a burger king and hoping they get it right this is real prayer actually gives God permission to do things that he could not do if we didn't pray when I read a next one now or go through the next one. I don't think I'll have time to do that I'll come back to defend camp so I had a friend of mine who I met right before I went to Iraq and they're actually one of the reasons why I went to arise and I got to see them again and you I see I think in two thousand and thirteen in Orlando and I could tell that something wasn't right them in there why. They were together they were they were doing their thing but just something seemed different to me I didn't fully know why I had met the wife before but that was all that I knew some time goes by like a year later we're talking off and on but a year later this individual confides in me and tells me what happened in their marriage situation and it's awful. I cannot envision a worse thing happening to a married couple I literally can't. The spouse the wife had committed an affair and when the person finally told me what was going on he said I because I asked him like what's going on man he says Do you have time to talk later I said yes and he said My wife had an affair in my response was Oh no and then he said with who and I'm not going to mention that it was a family member of theirs and my response was just while. That's all they could come out of my mouth at that stage and I felt so helpless I knew now I did not know what to tell this individual Now they had a history of having suicidal thoughts of burning of doing self harm and I was really really worried for them and what they were going through is a complete spiral it tore his family apart he and both of his siblings in a moment left God. Like his sister was get ready be a medical missionary and left got in a moment when they heard what happened. He just was wrestling with trying to make sense of this it was just wrestling to stay with God and the other brother thing was wrestling to stay with God But this cause severe damage to this household and to the whole family know what's going on just an awful devastating situation and. I just felt so helpless. And all I knew to do was pray was to listen and to share with him some things and I mentioned to them how God is able to sustain its limits of suffering he said you know I used to believe that and I used to believe that there was virtue and suffering but I do. I think I want to believe that anymore I just I just can't. I've been sticking things out for principle for far too long the affair they confessed that they were that the family member and the wife they talked about it and then it happens again later. And he just can't go on any more. And so some months go by any to and I'm still wrestling with how to best invest in this guy and tell him about the truth as it is and Jesus and the point of back to Jesus that Jesus is not for sake of him even if his wife has Jesus hasn't. And so I pray and I get a text message from him trying to help him and what he's since me in response is a picture of his forearm where he's burned himself. And he says I don't think I want to make it make it much longer. And as I didn't even sin anything in response I didn't know what to sin in response to this whole situation and I just feel completely helpless I have no answers for them I don't know what to do and the other thing I know to do is just wait. The international festival or national food fair whatever you guys have here that was coming up the next day is on on a Friday I think and so Sunday I'm supposed to leave from there to come back here but something just told me that I'm not to come back just yet and so I end up having the same meal. My roommate teach my Bible class Monday morning and I stayed where I was but I don't know why my friend of the stage I was visiting another friend of mine from arise he he got his wife is this amazing like wheeler and dealer on on Craig's list and count on it and they just like they find stuff they can flip stuff and it's like this industry in and of itself so she had bought this bedroom suite for a super good deal and so my buddy Henry works for O.C.I. he has like one hundred units apartment units in the greater Chattanooga area and my friend Henry does the maintenance for all these buildings he used to flip houses and stuff and being ever back in. Bible workers a great person to be in people's homes and fixing stuff and investing in them so Henry borrows O.C.I. his truck and we go over to pick up this furniture somewhere on the other side of Chattanooga and. We get there and I notice that there's a book on the dashboard and it's a book by Roger Moore know who was a big deal to me in fact Jason's dad and pointed me to the incredible answers to prayer book that Roger Moore No book wrote and that's actually really started to to really turn into something that was actually real as my started walking as tough as that summer and when he turned me into a man appreciate that this building here will never forget that he enters both and so in that situation I see the book by Roger Moore nil but I didn't read it but something kept telling me there's something there for me and again the context of this is I'm wrestling with this into this friend whose wife has committed an affair who's thinking of killing themselves not knowing what to do so we load the furniture into the back of the truck and it was like a game of Tetris we put in we had to pull out rearrange them put in again then pull out we eventually got it to work we closed the tailgate and it's now dark outside but God This really convicts me pick up that book it's a paperback sharing book is called the incredible power of prayer so it's a shorter book by Roger Moore nil and it's split in half right just cheap glue the covers off the book and the book is torn in half and they even have like an address written on their on like someone's door they need to fix right it's whoever the other O.C.I. maintenance guy is they've got addresses written in the borders of the book it's completely. Split in half and so I don't know what to do but God has convinced me read this I want to read to you this small section here Roger Moore his book remember the context is I don't know what to tell this person because they think their marriage is as good as dead they might as well be dead and there is trying to make sense of life. This is from a section called Lost and Found this is page one zero eight of the incredible power of prayer to sharing. Looking at the caller's deal here is an outstanding illustration of how the stabilizing influence of the Holy Spirit can restore spiritually wayward individuals shortly after my first prayer book came off the press I received a letter from a woman whose husband had left her almost four years before she was particularly impressed by the fact that before I pray for a person who does not serve God I first asked of the Father will appropriate the merits of Christ's blood to the person in need always conscious of the individual's redemption has already been paid for what I read in your book they said that we can pray for the Lord to forgive another sins I was astounded and begin praying for my husband with new faith and hope she said that she and her husband were both in their thirty's had good jobs in health and look forward to a bright future employed by a multinational corporation the man spoke three languages which quickly propelled him up the corporate ladder before long the demands of the job began to take him away from home days at a time and it wasn't long before the lavish lifestyle the corporate world began having its mark on him even as character was changing that he became quite critical of me and seemed to be looking for occasions to do so agree on most everything I said he began to criticize the Church and its people and the time came that I felt myself going to church alone as time passed he began wearing expensive jewelry and not long after I became aware of that he was smoking and he was brought home drunk from a Christmas party he added to my disappointment by stating that he was also having an affair with his secretary now God has my attention so the book is torn in half sitting on the dashboard and I just pick up the half that's in front of me I just start reading I don't know where to start in this book that's just where the book was torn in a truck that I shouldn't be in on the day that I shouldn't be there reading a book that doesn't belong to me wrestling with what to say to this friend of mine whose wife had an affair and is thinking of killing themselves our whole became a place of contention and unrest at the time I think the Lord that we didn't have any chilled. And to be torn apart by the terrible discord I did all that I could to have a seek the help of a Christian counselor but to no avail in fact he moved out and blamed me for breaking up our home and a telephone conversation she told me that she didn't hear about him or hear about him for most two years then she found out that he was in deep trouble with his employer he had made several decisions and it cost the corporation to lose vast amounts of money before long the company terminated him and he left the area so that she lost track of him his experience at the multinational corporation now made it impossible to obtain similar employment which drove him to heavy drinking. Later she found out that he tried gambling and was successful at it for a time Next he got involved in drugs causing him to lose control of his life and everything he possessed he thought of killing himself again God's got my attention but discovered that he didn't have what it took to carry on the discovered plan. With which made him even more embarrassed that was the most shocking to his manhood to realize he was some kind of coward his wife told me meanwhile she acquired a copy of my book and read it and was especially just especially impressed with a chapter praying for the Godly in the wicked she wrote to ask if I would join her in praying for her husband who she hoped was still alive I wrote back to assure her that the Holy Spirit would surely minister the graces of redemption to the man as she and I saw God's help knowing that both demons and Christ were determined to do in this man's life or knowing what both the demons and Christ were determined to do in this man's life I became bolder in my determination that Satan would not have his way but that Christ would with this man as with everyone else I pray for I relied on the mighty power of the Holy Spirit to overpower and render non-operative the enemies of Jesus Christ in all he is determined to save I assured the woman that would put both her and her husband's name on my perpetual prayer list daily without fail I would present them before Jesus I asked only that she keep me posted on. Was happening in their lives about a year went by this is amazing about a year with by then one evening she had on the national television news as it interviewed a group of homeless people in a distant city the people were living in the back of an abandoned factory under a highway overpass the state wanted to demolish their shacks and move the mills where as she was cooking she heard a familiar voice. Turning around she saw her husband on the screen if he had not spoken she would have never recognized him he wore a beard and had long hair down his back and she said looked like a tramp and was a pitiful sight when she stated that he obtained most of his or when he stated The attained most of his food from garbage cans behind restaurants she burst into tears it broke her heart despite her sorrow she was thankful that he was still alive and that fact gave her hope of better things to come check this out the next day she contacted the news network and learned where the interview had been done arranging to have some time off from work she began her search for her husband she was looking for homeless people in a distant city trying to find her husband. But some time later she steered her car between shacks and old broken down machinery to reach a group of men warming themselves by a fire in a steel barrel she began to worry about her safety and made sure that her car was carefully locked one of them in told her what shack to go to adding that it had no doors she would have to wedge her way between a large piece of heavy canvas and the shack to reach the opening the woman found her husband in his eight by ten foot Shack lying on a pile of broken down cardboard boxes about twenty inches in height that he used to insulate himself from the cold of the pavement as he got up to let some more light as she as he got up to let of some more light in the place she threw herself into his arms saying I will never let you go stone by her action he kept repeating please let me go I'm filthy I'm disc. Rusting Li filthy it was late autumn in the distant eastern city and the white snow was falling getting cold she invited him to sit with her in the car refusing to enter the car Listy dirty it he stood by the door while she kept the window partly down as the snow continued to fall he soon resembled a snowman would he sit in the car she covered the seat with the blanket she asked when he said he would she drove off to return forty five minutes later with a car blanket with a car blanket and an abundance of hot food from a fast food restaurant the sight of him feasting on what he considered food fit for a king brought joy to her heart silently she's in the military of praise a sin to God for bringing your husband back into rule if she believed that God was marvelously answering her prayers it took a whole week of talking before he agreed to resume living with her she discovered that once a person's life has deteriorated to the degree his head only special divine grace can transform it back again one of the in of the first day she had not succeeded in getting him out of the shack she returned to her motel that evening she did much praying and sought special guidance on how to handle the situation she desperately wanted him to resume a normal life again before retiring for the night she opened her Bible for something to meditate upon and glancing down at the right hand page her eyes fell upon the following words if the Spirit of God that raised up Jesus from the dead will in you He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you Romans eleven that's it she said to herself My husband's my needs to be recreated by the power of the Spirit of God to what it once was to the degree of sanity that he wants possessed and down on her knees she went pouring out her heart to God five days passed and everything seemed at a standstill Then an idea in her mind what my husband needs is a hear of God's power and love operating in people's behalf in these modern times all read them portions of more no's book. That she did and God began. To work through those feeble words slowly he began to respond to the spirit in her suggestions that she and he could still have a bright future together if they would make God first in their lives I couldn't stop the tears running down from my face as I listened to him talk and realize that the Holy Spirit was bringing my husband back from the dead. He had died spiritually and now he was alive again telling me of the joy that he wants had when serving God Then she received the shock of her life when he said OK Linda not her real name I accept your invitation for us to live once again as husband and wife that is if you can get transferred by your company to a city where no one knows this I couldn't face people who knew me in the past Meanwhile you had me stay a few miles out of town on my right again she reassured him that she would do all that she had promised earlier it took a couple of days to persuade him to go to a barber shop to clothing stores and clean himself up so he could live like a normal person once more so it was by the mighty out workings of the Holy Spirit that Linda did obtain a transfer to another city and to a great surprise it was a promotion that involved a substantial increase in pay both are now living happily together in the Lord both are Christian walks have she says maturity under the nurturing of the Spirit of God private people Linda had once asked me that I never tell anyone about her husband's experience I had promised to abide by her wishes However more recently I began to feel that I should ask permission to include it in this book as a means of exulting our Saviour's love and power they agreed as long as I didn't mention their names or where the events of taken place and I believe their experiences give glory to God in the highest Isn't that amazing. So imagine being me sitting in a truck that I shouldn't be I'm in a tell him that I shouldn't be in on the day that I shouldn't be there reading a book that doesn't belong to me that's been torn in half and is sitting at that very section of the book while the rest. In with what to tell this friend whose wife had an affair twice and is thinking of killing themselves. So I text them and said we need to talk. And I had this conversation with them and I told them the whole story of what I just told you. And I said Now you tell me why I was in a town that I should have been in on a day that I shouldn't be there in a truck that I doesn't belong to me reading this book you tell me why that happened. And the other side of the phone was silent. And then the only thing he can mumble is. Some would say it's a sign. Suggest what I was thinking this is what he going to do about it. He says well I guess I need to pray. It sounds like a good idea. Can we pray and we did. This story does not have a happy ending at this stage the choice is theirs I have no idea what God is going to do with this I don't know that marriage ended in divorce and of all days today is actually their anniversary. And my heart hurts for this brother. Because I know that this is not an easy day for them. I know what God told me what God is going to do from this I don't know but I do know that God cares and I do know that God hears and answers prayer and I do know that the choice is still going to be ours in the end that's what I know from the story at this stage. But it gives me hope to know that if we bring our earnest petitions before God we're going to see answers if we mean it if we want these people say we will see God move what they do with what God does that's their call but we will see the hand of God move a man. Cry out to God in a text message if I won't be able to read this from back there but I'm actually go back one. So a few with. Go. Our ministry has been fighting some tenacious battles ever since Ryan and the co-founder the ministry started this ministry unseen media group they've gone through severe hardship it's cost them a lot how Ryan is still alive is a miracle to me to be honest with you. And. Through the grace of God Ryan had the courage and the faith to take a step forward to hire people which we didn't have money to pay and to begin doing the work that God laid upon their heart to do to train young people to be filmmakers and to do evangelism there are three people sitting in the pews behind you there who are in turns and that training program that never should have existed if the enemy had his way they're sitting right there amazing beautiful young women who want to serve God with the gifts and talents they have but Side them is another amazing beautiful young woman who's our director of development who's been a great blessing to our ministry and I work here too but God in His mercy has opened doors for this ministry to do something that it wasn't able to do when Ryan was fighting by himself with seemingly no hope and yet God open the door for us but the battle has still been real we've wrestled with finances we wrestle with other things but yet somehow people's lives are being changed the work is still going forward people believe in what we're doing and the General Conference Department of the General Conference church supporting ministries academies and others hope channel three of the and they all love what we're doing with what little that we have and want to work with us. And it's vindicated the fact that God wanted this thing to start and wants it to work. But we've gone through severe hardship and it's been very very difficult as of late and I've had some some personal financial battles in the midst of this god convicted me to to go through a process of getting a vehicle I begged him to make me get a loan I have a loan and the reason why I didn't want God to have me get a loan is because I didn't want to trust God every month. I didn't want to have to be terrified of whether I could meet my car loan payment or not. And yet somehow God has continued to provide along the way. Sometimes it doesn't come on time but it always comes before the next month's payment is due. And so with the miracles that we've been seeing it's been encouraging but we get those moments of discouragement Don't worry faith work is difficult my buddy Neville Peter and we were talking in Philadelphia and he says we were sitting in the car is driving to go change clothes in the house before a concert we had that night has made I want to run something by I've been kind of thinking about this and I just want to know what you think he says I think faith is messy. And. He said What do you think about that and I said Neville I think you're right I never thought about it that way that's probably the best definition I think I could hear though because it's not promising you know that the living a lifestyle that's based upon faith is easy it's awesome we get to see stuff that other people don't get to see because we're risking our necks on the battle lines but it's also really scary it's really difficult and it can be really discouraging in times. So yeah I would say that faith is missing I think Neville is right but somehow God continues to keep the thing going and we're still doing the work but I was having one of those moments of deep deep discouragement right I'm walking through the aisles of a store I supposed to go meet a guy that used to hang out with a study with but he got called into work so I started I started driving around it is walking through stores and I just had this heavy heart ache because my financial situation is such a mess i can't even buy like little things you know and I just I just let out a cry to God of all places in the food aisle of big lots in Carbondale Illinois. And I just let out a cry to God I don't know if you ever had this where you just gave God every ounce of pain in your heart and you just let him have it now I didn't yell in the middle of a big lot said it want to make a scene but in my heart I just gave Jesus everything. And in the back of my mind all I really want to do is drown my misery in a cinema encourage bagel from Panera across the street. I want to run to comfort food and I just want to escape the for a stray. In the hardship I'm going through right now but I let out a cry to God and I just asked him to do I say God is this really what this is going to look like is this really going to be this way continually. And but I say I'm willing to trust you if this is what it has to look like fine but is this is it always going to be this way. So I get in my car and I drive over to panera across the street and I did it and I sit and I sit and I sit by the way cinnamon crunch bagels from Panera are not sin that's not my point here just so I make that clear I don't want to buy the freaking out about this and this guy he thinks bagels are sin. I'm not saying that but I knew that the moment that I set foot in that place and bite into that bagel I'm telling God that He's not enough for me and that since I knew it could be anything it could've been a cigarette it could have an alcohol it could have been anything but in that moment the lowest hanging fruit in the easiest impatient for me to fulfill was to go do that and I'm sitting in the parking lot wrestling because I know what the truth is I know God loves me I know God cares for me and I know that God has provided for me and I know that doing this is going to break God's heart. It's not even the bagels what even the bagel represents. And I just come to terms of the fact that I'm not going to fulfill this dire desire even though everything in my heart wants to and I said something is going to make you laugh and I don't care. I said God. I want you to be my cinnamon crunch bagel. And then I said and I want you to be in everything that I wanted to run to and that moment freedom from financial difficulty and I just listed the whole thing off I want you to be this this this this and this I want you to be enough for me today I want you and choosing to have you be everything that I'm looking for and I started my car and I drove away from that place knowing good and well that there's another. An error on my way home or at least we've made a half the way there. I go and visit my grandmother who is absolutely miserable without Jesus. Her wife is miserable. And she won't accept that. Then I walk out to my car and there's a text message waiting for me that says this. A good friend of mine who have known for years said God put you in my heart today for special prayer it was a stronger urgency the normal not for sure why Hope you're doing well and my immediate thought was when. When did God tell you you need to be praying for me. Because I'm so I'm sure of it it's in the Isle of big lots in Carbondale two hours ago I just know it. And so I asked him bless you how long ago was that he says well I've been thinking about you since yesterday because I was wrestling the day before with some of the financial stuff that we were going through and he says I've been saying short prayers for you since but just a little while ago I had the impression that I need to pray with importunate prayer for your ministry for your struggles your companion in your overall happiness and I hope all is well so I said I've got a story for you miss it if you got time let's talk and he says is it OK if I could be called a moralist something is wrong so I said nothing wrong with the Ministry of myself or wrestling pretty heavily with finances and discouragement and I said that's why you are impressed to pray and he says I'll call you shortly tomorrow then have to get up early tomorrow then I had to get up pretty early on asleep that was my first impression yesterday was finances and stress and then he says me three bible verses First Corinthians fifteen fifty eight Psalm fifty five twenty two and first Peter five seven First Corinthians fifteen fifty eight says Therefore my beloved brother in be steadfast immovable always a balancing in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain that word. Has that for relevancy. The next almost on fifty five verse twenty two cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain. You he shall never permit the righteous to be moved. In the third first Peter five seven casting all your care upon him for he cares for you. Young people to God hear my prayer two hours before that. Absolutely. So that I text him and say yeah it's weighing on us my personal bills are overdue in the ministry is the same we believe that God is on our side the breakthroughs just before us but the battles been pretty fierce and I said your impression encourages me that God is still working and hearing a couple hours ago I let other cry to God about my personal situation and I think your text was to let me know that he heard and this is what he says he says Man my prayers were totally overrun with it he was praying for one thing and he says God just barged into my mind interrupted I was thinking about I couldn't pray for those praying for any more and he told me he told the change I was praying about and God let me know that I had to not only pray for you but I also needed to let you know to be encouraged. Is there a God in heaven who loves this skinny kid up here. Who hears and answers prayer for this skinny kid up here that's what I took from this. God does care God does hear and that we give him the deepest desires of our heart stuff happens God moves God hears and he says Be strong brother good night and I said Praise God things pal good night. These experiences have shown me that prayer is absolutely and the city because the people who aren't praying and aren't praying for other people are not seeing the miracles that can sustain their faith in the midst of hardship difficulty and Baroness and famine in their spiritual experience moments like this remind me that there is a God in heaven who cares who hears and answers prayer in wants to provide for me. And you. But for me to even have the courage and the willingness to pray in moments of darkness I need to remember what God has done in my life. This did that for me this is one of those things that was a shock for me to realize he had this thing is real and he does here in care so when you're praying and if you like I just don't know if God hears me I don't know if God cares but you're pouring out your heart to God He wants you to know today that he hears I don't know how it's going to look I don't know how God's going to respond but I do know that he hears and that he does not leave his people to suffer at infinitum. And I know that from experience these are just a handful of the miracles I've seen the last three and a half nearly four years once I learned to actually pray now what I want to cover in divine service. Is the practical way in which we can engage in a relationship with God How to commune with God and how to pray and both of these are going to be used as the preface for this evening's message on how to be ready for the end of time. Many of us are scared to death for what's about to come upon this earth that we don't know how to get ready we don't know what to do everyone is saying get ready get ready get ready but I don't know how I don't know what to do and I'm terrified and there's a really practical way in which God always intended for us to get ready and we're in a cover that the seeding must be kind of based but we cover this morning but I want to know Has this made sense. Has this been practical inspirational Yeah. Well I want to close with prayer then in the have a brief break before we go into divine service and then we'll close the morning session after that. God in heaven I think you that you care that you do hear an answer prayer but even when we see huge miracles we still have a choice to make. And someone I love with all of my heart is wrestling with that truth right now a few people are. I think you that you've brought me through the hardship and the difficulty and that you've never left me nor for sake of me and I pray that the testimony of your faithfulness and my life and there's a reason regardless of how they responded I prayed that you would use that to minister to these young people to the staff and to our visitors and to I was watching or listening I pray that you would use this to remind them that there's a God in heaven who indeed hears and cares. We love you though not as much as we should we ask that you would change that by giving each of us a life course altering encounter which. Give us that gift I pray and I ask this in Jesus' name in this media was brought to you by audio from a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. It you would like to listen to more sermon. Visit W.W.W. audio verse or.

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