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Effective Prayer

Eric Walsh

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Using the sanctuary as a blueprint for prayer this message walks you through a sanctuary inspired order and content for effective prayer.

Presenter

Eric Walsh

Pastor and Physician

Recorded

  • September 10, 2017
    9:00 AM
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This message was presented at the AMEN Missions 2017 Bible Conference: “Shaken but not forsaken” in Capetown, South Africa. For more resources like this, visit us at www.amen-mission.co.za. AMEN – Advent Message to Every Nation.

 

Let’s start with a word of prayer. Father God, we thank you Lord for this opportunity to interact this morning and have worship through study. We ask Father God that Your presence would fill this place and that You would speak through me and the Lord would have an amazing interactive time going through these presentations. Bless the rest of this conference, Lord; we still have three sessions of it left. And so continue Lord to just pout out Your Spirit. This is our prayer, in Jesus' name. Amen.

 

So, a few years back I really wanted to learn how to pray better. And I realized that my prayers are really designed on what I just heard from others, just hearing people pray, which isn't bad. I had a incredibly praying grandmother and we went to church where people really prayed; but I never really thought about having a structure to prayer or an analysis of what a structure.

 

So that when I pray, I pray with a certain amount of intention. And so as I began to look at it, I found that there is a system and it's the word PRAISE. And then in the word praise, it gives you the different sections of a good prayer. Now every morning, when I pray especially when I pray at my prayer partner, this is what I go through.

 

So number one is praise. Number two is repentance. Number three is affirmations.  Number four is intercession. Number five is supplication. And then you enter and be still. So those are the phrases.

 

Now, what I like about this model that my pastor had introduced us to is that it's based on the sanctuary. So it ties in two big aspects of being a Christian, an Adventist Christian. One of them is understanding prayer itself and the power, what it means to really pray. And secondly, using the truth of the sanctuary as a way to help with the structure and understanding what it means.

 

So you all know what a sanctuary looks like. There’s an outer court. This is where you entered in. This is where the first offerings were done and then you went into the holy place and further on into the most holy place. This is literally like the kinda Shekinah glory of God would come up. There was actually significance to which tribes sat around which side of the sanctuary - Very, very intentional detailed model of worship.

 

What was the real purpose of the sanctuary for the children of Israel? What’s the purpose of God in setting this up? So that God could dwell among them. In fact, the word tabernacle is that God could dwell among them. What you find as you start to study the Bible and you start to look at prayer is that God wants to tabernacle with you. He wants to dwell among you so much so that in the New Testament a new word pops up, a name and that word is Emmanuel which means God with us. Every time you pray, you want to pray from the perspective that God wants to tabernacle with you; that God is Emmanuel, He is with us. It changes the way you pray when you enter into prayer understanding that God really wants to be connected to you in prayer.

 

So the first aspect of any good prayer is praise and I will talk about why in a second. So here's what the Bible says in Psalm 100:4, Psalm 22:3, it says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts (with what?) with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless HIs name.”  “But You are holy, enthroned in (what?) the praises of Israel.”

 

So, why this is relevant is because it says that when we go to God, we are to enter in praise. Here's how deep that is - you praise Him regardless of the reason you need to approach Him. So it doesn't matter that there was a death in the family; it doesn't matter that you just lost your job; it doesn't matter that you have problems at home, when your child is gone astray; what matters is if I'm going to approach God, I will praise God as I approach Him. Because when I do that certain things happen. One of the things that happens of course is by giving Him Thanksgiving, I am telling Him before I ask anything that what? I recognize who gives all things, right? When I praise Him, I recognize that I am beneath Him. It also says that He is worthy of my praise. I am unworthy of approaching Him; but He is worthy of my praise.

 

And then it says, “You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” What happens when you praise God? You forget about things. He inhabits you. It's literally how we tabernacle with God. Praise is how you tabernacle with God.

 

Do you notice? Yesterday, it was very profound. And I said, I mentioned it last night we’re having our debriefing. We went up onto the clearing out here outside and before we went out to do evangelism, we sang a song. Do you guys remember what song? I think it was Marching To Zion. I was way back, I was all the way back down below stairs, just listening, just observing. Let me tell you something. The campus transformed. This university campus transformed when the praises went up. You could feel it, you could see it. The students who could hear it responded. In fact, based on that, I decided not to do evangelism by going out into the neighborhoods, Grant and I, one other gentleman, we stayed on campus and actually began to just reach out to students on campus. And the students, most of whom were incredibly receptive. And I believe that once the praise went up, the spirit of God came down. And we were able to do the work on the campus. We would have not been able to do, had we not praise God.

 

There is power in praising God no matter how terrible the circumstances. That's the first stage of any prayer. So I start my prayers – “Lord, I thank you and I just I thank you for this, Lord. I praise you for this. I praise you because you deserve to be praised.” And I stay there in my prayer for a little while making sure I acknowledge God's greatness.

 

The second thing is repentance. So, the second phase is repentance. And this comes because when you go in / enter into the gate and you go in, what is this here? You go in and there is a laver. The laver is actually back here. Here it is actually an area where the first sacrifices are made. So let's read about it, Micah 7:18 – 19 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins (where will He cast them?) into the depths of the sea.”

 

So, when you go in, the first thing is that there is an area here for there to be a sacrifice made and what are the reasons, when you think about the sanctuary message is that it is a constant - the whole way through, it is a reminder of the price of sin. So when you go in, imagine, you have to take now, you need sacrifice for your sin and you got to take one of your best lambs. One of your best animals, without spot, without blemish, and it is a bloody and gory process to sacrifice that animal as you come in. Every time you think to sin, you think, “oh, how high a price it is every time I sin.” And you know what messes us up sometimes and why Ellen White talks about our need to constantly focus on the cross, to constantly study it? She says, “It should be us the theme of our studies.” Because if we constantly think about the price Christ paid for our sins, we view sin differently. It's not as easy to sin when you think about that every time we sin, we crucified Christ afresh. And it was a gory bloody terrible death that Christ suffered.

 

So one of the reasons, you repent, one of the reasons you do this, is you want to be reminded of the high price of sin. But then Michael really tell us, “Listen, God is a god who pardons us.” He forgives us and then He takes our sin and He cast it into the depths of the sea. And I mention this earlier in the week; man has been to the moon. Man has never been to the bottom of the ocean. The deepest points of the ocean, man has never visited. And I believe that at least allegorical to tell you that when God does away with your sin, it's gone. Nobody can go back and get it. And in fact, often the main person trying to go back and get our sins, revisit our sins, or feel guilty about us in this who? It’s actually us. But God forgets. You know that's something, that will liberate you. As we just heard in the devotional this morning about Jacob, when you ask God to forgive you your sins, you don't need to struggle with God about them anymore. In fact, you know those who argue that if you stay there and struggle with your sin, you invite in the enemy into your life. Because you're saying you don't trust the blood of Jesus. And if you're not trusting the blood of Jesus, by default, you're giving power to the enemy. So, repentance is one of the major and most important things.

 

You go into the holy place and you find the table of shewbread, the altar of incense, the menorah lamp stand, and of course, there's the veil with the angels on it. The smoke from the incense is the only thing that would go up and over the veil into the most holy place all year until the Day of Atonement when the priest would actually go into the most holy place. Do you remember what they'd have to do to the priest when he would go to the most holy place? They'd have to tie him. I don’t know if want that job. That's a tough job. Imagine your job is to go to the most holy place and every year before you go in there's a lesson, hold on just in case, tie a little rope around because we can't. It's so holy in there; we can't go in after you. So his going to—“pull you back out.”

 

Again speaking to the high priest, you see, it tells you are how sinful sin really is. A terrible sin is even that does. So the next step. So, praises is the step number one. You enter into the courts of praise. Every time you pray, you praise God first. The second thing you do is you ask God for repentance. Why? Before you go any further closer to God, You want your sins removed from you. You want to stand before God having repented your sins and why? It's not just that you want your sins washed away even though that is incredibly important. You wanna be honest with God. God already knows what you did. He already knows where you failed. He even knows where your weaknesses are in your character. By repenting to God and being honest with God, you develop a relationship of trust with God. And you know what happens to lots of us. Literally we have secret sin that we think we can hide from God and you can't hide the sin from God and the problem with hiding sin from God is like hiding a symptom from a doctor, right? A lot of people go, I'm a doctor, people come to me and they have a terrible problem and they don't want to tell me because what they did not want me to tell them? They're scared I would tell him they got cancer or they got some terrible illness or some weird thing. So, a lot they'll come to you and literally not say something and usually its men. And usually the men doesn't want to tell me what's wrong and guess who tells me? His wife. “Tell him. Tell him.” You know. And the guy says, “Well, you know, sometimes when I do this, you know, that happens or when I'm coughing or when I cough and then there's blood thin, I spew it.” “Yeah, that's important; you want to tell me that.” But watch this, when you repent, it's not simply sort of God knows what you did wrong, He already knows. He was there. He's knows everything. It's so that you recognize your inability and your failures and what you're saying when you repent is “Lord, I trust You to help me deal with it.” And that relationship, that’s why the Bible says, “Just men fall seven times and rise seven times.” There’s something about, even every time you fall, saying, “Lord, I trust You to not destroy me, to not condemn me.”  Grant talked about his favorite verse John 3:16. I like 3:16 and 17. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Seventeen is deep. “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might (what?) be saved.”

 

So many Christians think really the experience with God is one of condemnation. In fact, one of the biggest problems the church has is we’re often looking to condemn each other. Listen, I give people all the benefit of the doubt. And the Spirit of Prophecy says, “if we’re ever going to make a mistake, if we gonna err, we should err on the side of  mercy.” We should not err on the side judgment because we are not capable of judging like God is. God sees about people what we can’t see. So, as we repent, we’re building a trust relationship with God. And I like to follow always this all the way through. You build trust with God, trust builds faith. Faith is what justifies you. Without faith, the Bible says, it is impossible to please God. If you don’t trust God with your failures, you won’t trust God with your victories. You’ve gotta trust Him with your sin in exposing your sin, in opening yourself up to Him so that You can gain victory over your sin. So that’s repentance.

 

‘Affirmations’ is the next thing. And I like this phase. I like this part of the prayer. It’s one of the things that was new to me when I studied the sanctuary message and prayer together. And this is the table of shewbread. Right? And let me go backward? What does the bread represent?  A couple of things. One of them is God’s word. Right? The bread represents God’s word. And it is by consuming that bread every day that we are sustained. But Jesus is also the bread of life. In the sanctuary, most things also points back to Jesus. The Lamb when you first walk in points back to Jesus. All the way through, it points back to Jesus. And repentance has kept the step. In repentance, you wash your hands in the golden laver before you go in. It’s almost like a mini baptism. You wash before you can go into the holy place. The priest would have to wash. So before you inside the temple to start, before the holy place and asking for anything, you sacrifice, you praise, you sacrifice, you wash, then you go in. And your prayer is the same way- praise, you sacrifice by telling God what’s going on, you wash asking for repentance by washing in the blood of the lamb, and then you go inside.

 

And then when you get inside, you meet the table of shewbread. And why is that relevant? So then Jesus declares, I am the bread of life whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whosoever believes in me will never go thirsty. I am the bread of life.

 

Now, let’s discuss digestion for a second. What happens when you eat something? What is the whole purpose of eating things? She said to be full. She said nutrients. I like her answer better because that’s probably how I eat; but what she said was actually right. You eat to get nutrients. So, if you eat a piece of whole grain, do you guys have Ezekiel 4:9 bread here? Ok, I think its Adventist in California invented a bread, a type of bread called Ezekiel 4:9. If you read Ezekiel 4:9, what you get is the actual ingredients of sprouted grains that you should make bread. It’s a tougher bread; it’s a thicker bread, but it is a healthier bread.

 

So let’s talk to what happen. This is important if you would understand affirmations. You take the bread. You take some food in the morning; you put some peanut butter on it. Maybe, you put some fruit on top and you eat it. When it gets into your mouth, the first thing you have to do, you have to chew it – mastication. If you chew the food, your body then releases saliva, right, which has enzymes in your mouth to begin the process of watch this - breaking the food down. And you can’t digest it in its whole form, and then it passes down your esophagus were really no digested should happen. But if you eat unhealthy food (don't miss this) and simplified sugars that are not substantive like Snickers bars and Twinkies, you have those here? Oh, shame, shame, shame, right? Or dough nut, the simple sugar begins; it gets absorbed in your esophagus. Your body starts to absorb the sugar right away. That's not the way you're supposed to work though. Because you really want to sugar being digested and absorbed in your small intestine, way deeper down so it has smoother release of energy, smoother release of sugar that gives your brain (your brain only functions on one energy source and that's simple glucose, simple sugar). So if you get the rush of sugar too fast, your brain is overloaded. You got a sugar high and a sugar crash. That's what happens; but if you eat a whole grain bread, the sugar is released, or brown rice or quinoa, these whole grains slow nice release of sugar all day or for hours that keeps your brain in a steady state so that you have better ability to focus. I’m off the subject a little bit but this is part of the reason why children are diagnosed with A.D.D. and A.D.H., all these Attention Deficit Disorders when in fact, what is happening is that they’re over stimulated by television and then their diet is too simple, they’re getting too many processed refined sugars in their diet. And so they’re not being able to study state.

 

So how does that relate back to this? Your body has to break down God's word. Your spirit has to break down God's word. You've got to be able to incorporate God's word into your life the same way you have to incorporate the nutrients from the bread into your body. So when you take the iron out of the wheat and iron molecule goes into your blood that iron molecule and passes through your liver and that iron molecule passes around and your body packages it in such a way that it can go into your bone marrow and when your body needs to make a red blood cell that hemoglobin was made because iron was consumed in the bread. Some of us, our spiritual diet is such that it's too sugary. So we get this emotional high when we go to church. If you know for those who go to church, we get as emotional high sometimes; but it's too quick up and down. During the week, we're not studying God's Word; we don't have the slow steady release of energy from the Word of God because during the week we ignore God's word. In fact, many of us are on a starvation spiritual diet and we come to church to try and binge to catch up for what we didn't consume spiritually all week.

 

The Affirmations are placed in your prayer because the Affirmations are a product of what you've consumed in your bible study, in your devotional time, you're putting back into your prayer like that your body puts the iron into the hemoglobin, into your red blood cell, you're putting into your prayer now the components of your study. So what you're studying is strengthening how you talk to God and now you are not spiritually anemic because the Word of God is filtering into every aspect of your spiritual life. So affirmations are important and Jesus is that bread.

 

Affirmations. Here a verse. “Your words were found and I ate them and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by your name Lord God of hosts.” The Bible says you want to His Word. We should be on a steady diet of God's word. And I challenge people all the time. In your office, you know, if you have cubicles,  they told me that you're call them cubicles like we do in the States, I have a little words of affirmation, a little Bible verses that you put up. I like that they have little Bible verses they placed I've noticed all over the place. Just as a reminder. I have them in my heart. Little card you get. Let it be that so that even when it's not intentional, you're getting hit by the Word of God. I'm telling you the Word of God will transform. And there’s times when trial is coming and what you need is a Word. And sometimes that little thing you've got sitting on your desk is the Word. Second Timothy 1:7 is one of my favorite - “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  And I guess what? Many times when I pray, that's my affirmation.

 

So while I'm praying, I go through praise, I go to repentance, I get to affirmations, so before asking God for anything, I say, “Lord, you said in your word that you would never leave me nor forsake me. Lord, you said in your word, you said it Lord that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. You said in your word that I ought not be afraid, that I ought not to be dismayed. You said all of these things Lord. I am trusting your word, Lord.” You want to be in dialogue with God like that when you pray. And so you can’t have a dialogue if you don't have God's Word because God's Word is Him speaking to you. So that's the fourth one.

 

Praise, Repentance, Affirmations and then the fourth one is Intercession. Haah! Before you pray for yourself, you should be praying for others. That's why this is before Supplication.

 

Intercession. So, how many of you have folks that you regularly pray for? Good. So, actually, there's a lot of ways to do this. So let me add something into these that are shared first. One of the things I do have, and have Kindred Willbarel, as she's mentioned as she does, I think she's a whole lot better at this than I am though, and that is I have a prayer journal.

 

And I learned to have a prayer journal when I was at Oakland University at the Adventist School there. And they told us, I never forget that sermon. E.C. Wood, one of the greatest preachers of the world ever of the modern era, let me say it that way. He had a sermon and he talked about how God answers prayer. And one of things he mentions that you should keep a prayer journal. And by keeping a prayer journal, what happens is, a month later, a year later, six years later, you go back and look at your prayer journal, and you will find that He has never not answered a prayer, even when you thought He didn't answer it. You give it enough time, you look back, “actually, that was the wrong person for me I was begging Him to give me.” You understand what I’m saying? You go back and He actually did answer that – “that would have been the worst job I could have ever gotten had He given me what I wanted.”

 

So you keep a prayer journal so that you can see that; but here's where it gets even deeper and it's something I need to do myself, some of the folks here praying for, they should be listed in your prayer journal. You should keep a list and therefore if you have a list and… I have people come up to me all the time like, “Dr. Walsh, how’s everything?” I say, “Well.” And they say, “Good because, look, I'm trying to get you checked off of my prayer list.” They say, “I hope everything's back to normal,” I say, “wait a minute, hold on; don’t you check me off your prayer list, you leave me on that prayer list till Jesus comes. I want to be on a prayer list. I wanna folk are praying for me every day.”

 

So I want to be praying for other people and that's what intercession is all about. It is praying for other people and this is represented by the incense that rises up. The smoke of the incense that rises up is what is represented as.

So intercession, the Greek word for intercessions is ‘enteuxis.’ It is a technical term for approaching a king, to meet and converse with him by bringing a petition before him, watch this - to plead on someone else's behalf. Intercession is to go before the king and say, “Listen, King, this isn't really fair but my neighbor needs help.” You understand what I’m saying? You intercede for your neighbor by stepping in front of a king and interceding on someone else's behalf.

 

Intercession, as we are pressing more closely to His presence, this portion of prayer represents acting as a spokesman or woman for others in a hearing with the King of kings. Why is that relevant? I have learned, dealing with things that are around spiritual warfare that sometimes people don't know enough to pray for themselves.

 

Sometimes folk get caught up in drugs, bad relationships, they can get caught up in fame and fortune, and they don't know enough to pray for themselves. If you go back to the story of Job, the way I understand it, if you go back to the story of Job, the devil then can say, “Listen, Lord you can't work on this person's behalf. They've not asked for your help. You have no permission to intercede in this person's life. They are carrying out their own free will, leave them alone.” But here's what happens, if I on the other side of the world call on the name of the Lord and I lift that person up in prayer, I say, “Father God, I am asking right now that you intercede on Brother X's behalf. I know he is struggling with this, this and this or you need to make a decision about this. I am asking Father God that you would go in and work on that person's behalf. Now when the enemy comes and says, “This person has not asked for your help.” God can say, “No; but one of my faithful servants has interceded on his behalf and I now have permission to work for that individual.” I’m saying it a way that's very black and white; but you get my point.

 

When you pray for your relative that has not accepted Jesus Christ who wants nothing to do, that maybe as an atheist, you give God space to work. That's why when you pray, you've got to have folk that you lift up. I've got relatives that I lift up. I have one in prison that I lift up. I have some on drugs that I lift up and I lift them up and I lift them up and I lift them up. And I lifted up my brother for years and my brother came back into the church on his own volition. He was working, doing stuff in the nightclubs in Miami, making a lot of money, beating all of the rappers, you know. He knew all of the athletes, all of the pro athletes. He was in a fast world, making good money, nice stuff, chunk jewelry, you know, all the stuff, everybody on the street and neighborhood wants. Now my mother died. He didn't come right back to church. It was her plea to him to come home to God, you know, as she was dying. He had two big diamond stud earrings that he wore and she said, “Just don't wear them to my funeral.” I mean, that’s the last thing, she told him. And when I saw him after, he still wearing it; but I didn't get, no judgment, just prayer. Just mention the word of God, prayer, mention the word of God. And eventually my brother, on his own, he’s of out of country, began to listen to Audioverse. He said he listened to all of my sermons.

 

My own brother listens to my sermons and he called me and he says, “Why you talk about me so much in your sermons?” That’s because you make a good point. And that young man is now in his church. He is involved. He's in law enforcement now. He is training to be a teacher; but up to prayer. You've got to intercede on behalf of the folk you're concerned with. If you don't intercede on them, it’s like you're saying, “God, you have no chance to work for this person.” If you're married, you definitely got to be praying for the other person. That’s a given. If you are a parent, you definitely got to be praying for your children; but even outside of your nuclear family, your extended family.

 

Have you, how many times have you prayed for people you don't even know? Well, like the person two or three… I don’t how it is here but in America, you don’t know your neighbors anymore, most neighborhoods, you know. Everybody pulls into the driveway; the door shuts down the garage. We go into our garage, it shuts, we go upstairs. But do you pray for the people down the street? You do prayer walk? Somebody, it sounds crazy as Adventist we don’t like doing it; but there’s nothing wrong walking through the neighborhood and looking, and saying, “Father God, I ask blessing on that house. Ask Lord that you would bring them into our knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

 

In fact, sometimes we want to work with folks because we want to get in their face, we want to talk them, we want to convince them of stuff, I challenge you to take time first just to pray for them before you even approach them. Prime the engine with intercessory prayer for the folks. So when you do, when the church’s going to do a crusade, a lot of time we would strategize on how we will talk to the people, how will get them to church, sometimes but you take a few weeks and just walk the neighborhood and pray with folk. And as you meet folks, as you randomly meet folk, say, “is there anything you want? We just want to pray for you. We don't, we're not asking for anything. You don't have to come to a program. You don't to show up to anything. We are friends. If you need something, let us know, we can bring you back groceries. We can do stuff; but just let us know, we just want you to know we are praying for you.” And a whole lot of folk want to listen to everything else you've got to say what I know why this person has a vested interest in my well being.

 

The altar of incense let my prayer be set before You as incense. The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Let my prayer be set before You as incense. That incense was what would carry up over the top of that curtain that could only be breached once a year. So that prayer, in other words, allegorically, the prayer still reached to the mercy seat, when even the High Priest couldn't go in.

 

Isaiah 62:6 and 7 says, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem. They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

 

You my friends are the watchmen. When we pray, we pray like watchmen pray. What is the job of the watchman? The watchman is set up on a wall and as they see trouble coming to the city, they cry out that trouble is coming. We are to pray as watchmen. So that folk are warned of the trouble that is coming upon the earth.

 

So, number one is praise. You enter into His courts of praise. Every time you say a prayer, you start out by thanking God, by talking to God, by telling him how much you love Him, by telling Him how worthy He is.

 

The second thing you do: as you repent, you ask God to forgive your sins, not just your sins but of your iniquities. You are open with God about a secret sin. And I remember hearing in Oakwood, one of the things they said was even the stuff you like doing, you still need to give to God. You got a secret sin, you really like, you need to make sure God, you tell God about it, and tell Him you even like doing it. He already knows; but in telling Him, you want a change and by bringing this to Him, you can do that.

 

‘Affirmations.’ We talked about the Word of God, the Bible promises; so, I like Bible promise. I put Bible promises all over the place. And if you Google Bible promises, there are whole different types of lists of Bible promises that can come up.

 

Intercession for someone else. And then here, we are far down into the prayer process, it is before you start asking for God to do anything for you.

 

Supplication - And that is the menorah; the light from this represents Jesus Christ. Supplication is defined to make an entreaty, a cry from the heart and stresses a sense of what? Have you ever been in a place where you just lay down on your feet and you just agonize with God? I did that when my mother was sick. I’ve done it many times, over many circumstances; when our mother died; when my cousin Sean Taylor, a famous football player in the United States was shot and killed; and when I went through my own stuff over the last few years, I would just lay out on my face and cry out to God. And tears come and as you get deeper into it, you really connect with God and you just agonizing with Him. And He, what happens to me is as I'm asking God for things; I begin to realize how unworthy I am of any good thing from God. So usually, I start asking for stuff and end by just declaring “Lord, I'm unworthy. I'm asking for this but I'm unworthy.” So supplication is to make an entreaty, a cry from the heart and stress the sense of need.

 

The Bible says of Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for (what?) nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” This is telling you that prayer and supplication are not the same thing. Supplication is to cry from the heart. It is a deep resonating call to God. It's not just a prayer where you say you say a grace of your food as a prayer, that's not supplication. There's a difference.

 

“Be anxious for nothing” because you have this ability to go before God in supplication. You don’t have to be worried about it. His desires become your desires if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. This is my Father's glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

As we pray, as we draw close to God, our prayers, your prayer has become more effective as you draw closer to God. And let me tell you why - because you begin to pray for what God wants for you instead of praying for what you want for yourself. Your prayers become far more effective. That's one reason why when my grandmother would pray, it was like heaven would move for her.

 

Once, talking about prayer, my grandfather was dying, he had actually had a massive heart attack and then a stroke on top of it. My grandfather was a reprobate. This is a classic British Jamaican like, from that old era, you know, he smoked a pipe. He drank rum. He was caught classic, I wouldn’t get into it. In fact, he was so bad. My grandfather would line us up and make us and pass the pipe little kids and pass the pipe to us. I have some sense not to breathe it in because my mother would kill me; but when he would do stuff like that. And you know, he would you know drink. He had a lot of issues honestly; but my grandmother was a Christian woman, Seventh Day Adventist, amen. Not only was she Seventh Day Adventist, her mother was Seventh Day Adventist. They had been brought into the church, many, many moons earlier, they say in early 1900s in Jamaica, when the first missionaries went to Jamaica. And she stayed with him, (1) even though he did all kind of terrible things; but (2) she stayed faithful to God. Somebody asked me at this conference, what do you do if you're in a situation where you're trying to keep the Sabbath but your parents, you know, want you to do something else, something to do like wash a car? I said, “Well, you obey your parents.” You tell your parents, “Look, listen, I don't want to do this on a Sabbath. You ask them if you can have one out. You say, I wanna obey you, but it's still my Sabbath.” My grandmother would do stuff like cook for him when he came home late on a Friday night. She didn't, she wanted to be keeping her Sabbath; but she would have to start from scratch and do stuff for him because she was trying to be a faithful wife. Terrible conflict, I mean obviously, and I don't know that I have the right answer; but I can tell you that all those years later when he had that heart attack and that stroke, we flew in from Connecticut, which is up north in the U.S. down in Miami, and all of us children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, everybody was in a room. My grandmother made us all kneel down and from the smallest one who could barely say a word, all the way up to her in age, everyone had to pray for my grandfather. We never got to her. By the time we would have gotten her, the phone rang and the hospital called us and we don't know what happened; but we thought he would not make it because that's what we flew to Florida, we thought he was going to die. He's going to be fine. The doctors could not explain what happened. We went back to the hospital and there he was sitting up joking and carrying on like his normal self.

 

Prayer, supplication, intercession - that man who ridiculed my grandmother's religion all those years, that man who when he would pull up to pick her up in his big long Cadillac would be on purpose we play in Michael Jackson’s Beat It just to frustrate he, that man was baptized into the Seventh Day Adventist Church and died a devoted Seventh Day Adventist seven years later.

 

There's power, power in prayer and the reason I gotta say that my grandmother prayer seem to be answered the way that they were is because when she prayed, it's a mi… it was almost as if she could pray inside God's will. I can’t explain it. And God would move mountains on her behalf.

 

So the last stage of this is to Enter and be still. Enter and be still. Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth!” Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they will be still praising Thee.

 

So you're supposed to spend some time dwelling with God. So what a lot of us do when we finish praying is we jump up, you know. Get ready for breakfast or throw in our clothes to go to work and we run out of the house. You aren't really praying if you don't give God time to communicate back to you. Now, I'm not saying you’re gonna hear God speak literally to you every morning; but it gives God a chance. It gives you the chance, just in the quietness of your prayer, time to listen for God's impression on your life, to listen to what God is trying to do with you in your life. And the reason a lot of us can’t hear God's voice now is because we have too much noise, too much television, Internet, we’re always checking our phone, Facebook, Instagram, you know, text messages, sometimes you gotta put all of that away and allow God to speak.

 

So then this happens in the most holy place. So we walked all the way to the sanctuary. Be still and know that I am God is in the most holy place. The only piece of furniture in the most holy place was the Ark of the Covenant, an incredible, incredible structure. This was the most sacred of all sanctuary objects. To demonstrate its preeminence, the Ark was the first article God commanded Moses to make. The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of God on Earth. The sacred chest contained the two tables of stone which God wrote His ten commandments with His own finger, right? It also contained, as a memorial for God’s supernatural provision, a golden pot of manna was placed inside the Ark. And the third thing, the Ark also contains Aaron's rod that budded that is a sign given to verify Aaron had the right to serve as high priest. So there’s three things inside.

 

When we pray, when we’re sitting in quietness, there are three things that you can contemplate. Three things that you can allow God to impress upon you” (1) His law doesn't change. And the law, you know, what I've learned? The more I study God's laws as a Seventh Day Adventist, the more I realize the law is a powerful tool. There are a lot of people who say the law is done away with. There are folks now that are adding to the laws and saying, “you gotta keep the feasts.” The Ten Commandments, when you hold them up to yourself, make an incredible mirror and shows you the things in your life and in your character that need to be changed. That's one of the  most powerful roles of the Ten Commandments. It's there because in your quiet time you can reflect on who you are in God.

 

But the second thing is the manna. It's the pot of what? The word that we use there is provision. One, we contemplate, remember when I talked about stress equals demands minus resources, the pot of manna is that God always has resources. I don't need to get up from my prayer worrying because the pot of manna says that when the children of Israel needed food and they could not find food in the wilderness desert that they were in, God caused food to rain from heaven. The manna also represents God's Word like the bread again, but I like to think of it in this in this particular instance as God reminding you He has everything you need.

 

But the budding rod is also interesting, isn’t it? It speaks to the fact that Aaron was, it was to remind them that this sign that was given there, was to remind them that Aaron was the high, was to be chosen as priest. For us, it reminds us that Christ is our High Priest. And what that tells me is I've got a shot at salvation because I've got a high priest who knows what it's like to be tempted; I've got a high priest who knows our difficult life is, I’ve got a high priest who knows that human flesh is genetically flawed, that I'm predisposed to sin, I've got a high priest that when He goes before the Father on my behalf, He's not just the high priest, He's also the Lamb. The rod represented Christ our branch who is dead and resurrected with new life to serve as our only High Priest in heaven.

 

The ark was covered by the mercy seat which had two Cherubim on at each of opposite ends. There are the two Cherubim covering the Ark. It was there that the visible presence, the shekinah glory of God filled the space between the Cherubim. Here God commune with people and heard their prayers. In between the angels, the shekinah glory of God sat. Tat's how holy that process was. And I want you to get this from the sanctuary system of prayer. As you go through it and as you sit and you contemplate in silence at the end of the prayer, the shekinah glory of God still sits between the angels. There is still a mercy seat. There's still an advocate on your behalf and you've got to remember that because the devil will tell you you've done too much wrong. Your sin is too thick. Your past is too terrible. God can't possibly love you. He can't possibly save you. He can't possibly want you. But everything about the sanctuary says God went through an incredible process to make sure you had access to the throne.

 

Hebrews 4:14 says, Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast (our what?) our profession.”  Our profession of what? Our profession of faith. People actually asks what’s your profession? I'm a physician; but my real profession is my profession of faith. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” I like 16. Sixteen says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. “

 

Why the sanctuary message? Why the sanctuary applied to prayer? Because it directs you all the way to the throne. And when you get to the throne, its the throne of grace. And what do we get there? Mercy. And we find grace to help in time of need. That is a very potent passage of Scripture.  One of the ones, if you want to put one up in your cubicle, that's a good one. And here's why? It speaks to the throne, being of grace. What does grace mean? Unmerited favor, you usually say it, right? Grace means you get something you didn't earn. That's what grace means. Grace says, that's why there’s that song that it is amazing grace, because I could never earn what God is going to give me. So grace says that the throne itself is a throne of grace which means the way you see God should be different. Because many people think God's throne as the throne of destruction and of judgment. The throne is a throne of grace. He wants to give you what you didn't earn; but that is not just that you go to the throne of grace and guess what the first thing He gives you? Mercy. What is mercy? There’s a lot of differences between grace and mercy. Mercy says you're not going to get what you did deserve. Grace gives you what you didn't deserve. Mercy keep you from getting what you did deserve. So, mercy says, although you sin and the wages of sin is death and you should die not just the first death, you should die the second death, the lake of fire should be your final resting place. Mercy says nope, nope, nope, nope. Mercy says Jesus on the cross paid that price. And mercy says Eric Walsh does not get what he deserves. Eric Walsh gets what Christ deserves and find grace to help in time of need, in time of need.

 

In times of need, sometimes, you forget the whole process allows you to connect with God so that when the whole world is falling apart, you follow back to your prayer, you follow the pattern and you get back to the throne of grace and in time of need, God answers you.

 

 That's that talk, I don't know what time it is. Aren’t we over time? OK. In about ten minutes. OK. Any questions on this one before we switch over to the other one. The other one's a lot more complex than this one in my opinion and you guys if you need to go, use the restroom and come back.

 

I think you could do it anyway you wanna do it. I think the most important is you have the components; but I do think there's something about the sequential process, just as there was something about the sequential process of when you came… That priest was to come to go through the whole process. The High Priest was to start at beginning, go all the way through, each step added something for the next step.

 

Praise in the beginning says, “I'm recognizing You as God. Everything else I'm about to do is based on the fact that You are God. So before I ask You for something, I wanna recognize You’re the One who gives everything. I'm praising You.” Your repentance stage is so that you are dealing with sin before you approach a holy God, right? And in the Supplication is before I ask for anything, I'm going to claim your promises, right? So it's all bills. And then I'm not gonna ask for anything for myself first, I'm gonna ask for something for someone else first, so I'm going to intercede on someone else's behalf; then I'm going to supplicate because Lord, I am in need. And the last phase really is just stay there. Just relax in the most holy place of your prayer and consider God's goodness, His mercy, His grace, all of the things that are represented in the most holy place.

 

So you can of course you can pull apart you know and say, “Listen, you know, I’m gonna spend the next 20 minutes and I'm just going to pray for the people of my prayer list,” right? Or “I'm gonna spend this next half hour just dealing with God around my sin and asking for repentance,” of course, you can do that. But I just think sometimes when you're looking, you know, you really are trying to focus.

 

Some people say the problem is they say, “I don't have a way to pray.” And so this is just one way. There are probably a million other models or many other models, I like this model because it just reminds me of what it took, what they had to go through in order to. They had a deal, it was all one process in dealing with sin, asking for mercy and grace, it was all one process that really reminds us of how intentional God is in saving us. So I like the process because I like the fact that it reminds with so many things. And every time I pray in the morning, this is the model I use.

 

Now during the day, you’re right. I’m going to a patient, you don't need, you’re dying on the table, I'm not a little bit “well, let me go through the steps, you know”. “Save him, Lord.” So, you understand what you’re saying? So this is a model that you can use to help you pray.

 

Oh yes, I know that's very true. And again that can totally happen. I mean, you know, you get a call that someone in your family passed away, I mean you go you know you go you go to you go deal with that issue. I’m saying in your normal mourning pattern, this is a nice pattern of prayer to follow so that you really are intentional about your prayer. You know, it makes you less clumsy about your prayers. This isn't necessary for you to do it in front of the church even though obviously this works if you do it in front of the church. You know, if you have a call to do pastoral prayer one Sabbath, this is a nice way to make sure you go to kind of all of the steps and stages of a prayer to make sure you do a very well rounded complete prayer, but I don't say that you have to do this. I mean, just I like this model, it help my prayer life because one of the thing, you know, that really help me do it was the first one. I don't think I was praising God enough when I prayed. And I definitely was not calling on Bible promises and my prayer before this at least not intentionally. I mean, I would but not yet. And what it does is it make you have to go find Bible promises. Sometimes, you know, I need a good Bible promise that I interject into my prayer today. As I go and find Bible promises so.

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This message was presented at the AMEN Missions 2017 Bible Conference: “Shaken but not forsaken” in Capetown, South Africa. AMEN Missions, a supporting ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is a youth-led ministry seeking to inspire young people to be Bible-based, mission-focused, and Christ-centered Christians.  Our aim is to assist in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world in this generation starting in South Africa. For more resources like this or to find out how to support this work, visit us at www.amen-mission.co.za. AMEN – Advent Message to Every Nation. This recording was produced by the Preparation Ministry.

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