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Logo of Advent HOPE Sabbath School

Prayer and How We Can Grow Closer to God

Erin Banks



  • September 14, 2019
    10:00 AM
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Heavenly Father we thank you so much for to Sabbath day and we thank you for bringing us here safely for this new day of life that you provided for us we thank you for your word we thank you for giving us truths to understand and to learn from you or to pray that. Because of your truth we will be able to. Be changed and be more like you and pray that your Holy Spirit will work to send us stored dead today as I speak that these will be words of truth and not error and that and. All the things they say will be acceptable before you asked all these things in your name pretty Amen so today I'm going to speak to you guys about prayer and I don't come to you as someone who has got it all figured out I definitely don't. But I'm figuring in south along the way and as I was preparing for today it was a blessing. To learn a little bit more about prayer that I didn't know before and so my own 1st question for you guys it's what kind of connection do you have with God or what kind of connection do you want with God as they so eloquently sung We need God every day and every hour and I think that's the kind of connection that we want with them but life gets us down we have circumstances that. Bring us down so sometimes we don't have that connection so I want to talk about how we can. And I'm going to start out with a story of my own. Many of you may know I used to work for Starbucks and I worked there for a long time like 10 and a half years and it was an interesting journey of my life but I saw God working through me and with me in many ways so there is a particular instance where a. Basically had started to take my pre-X. go to nursing school and while I was taking my I was that a different Starbucks store so you can transfer to different stores if you'd like and when a was at that store I decided I want to go back to the original store that I worked at and so I've spoken to my manager I've spoken to the district manager and he said was Ok I could transfer back and so one thing that you should know is that before before I got baptized even though I was raised Adventist I used to work on the Sabbath day I did all sorts of things and it was never an issue but after I became baptized and I started having bible studies I realized I didn't want to work on the Sabbath and more so I told my manager that I no longer wanted to work on the Sabbath and because I was going to school I needed to cut my hours so she said that was fun it was great and I went there and started working I knew all the people was buying unfortunately a few weeks later she scheduled me on the Sabbath and so I went and spoke to her and this quickly became some of the worst times of my life she reminded me that I used to work on the Sabbath so I continue to work on the Sabbath and I was trying to explain to her a little bit more about that and she didn't care it became more of a problem that I wasn't listening to her or listening to her and that I just wanted to do whatever I wanted to do and not put a store. So I mean it kind of blew up from there it became like I was in high school again and she was talking to me of a talking about me to other people that worked there even though she was my manager she had grandchildren. Is crazy. She had told the district manager that I was being insubordinate and that I would listen to her. She would spread rumors there's some of the other people that work there and it was an it was kind of crazy for me because I was trying to do the right thing but I was being met with opposition and there were people who I was told this later by a friend of mine that one of the other supervisors I was a supervisor at the time was telling other people that I stolen money out of a safe I don't know why no one else told me I still have money out of the safe but you know it was it was that kind of atmosphere people would go to the back and I would be left up front and there'd be nobody to help the customers I had to do it alone. One at one point this is like the lowest point the manager got her husband on the phone and he proceeded to yell at me about how horrible of an employee it was and when I spinal he was able to speak to the district manager she said I need to be more consistent but she'd would speak to the manager and that would be the end of it. But one thing I could go on and on about all the circumstances that happened but one thing I noticed is that I started to pray and I started to pray really hard in Syria to story even though it was so long ago because it it really has stuck with me all these years and when I prayed I was praying for the circumstance to be changed but then after a while I started praying for them I started praying for how I could show them God I started showing them started to pray about how I could help them or be kind to them and goes through that prayer journey with God He started to change my players which was an amazing thing and so at the end of it I realize too that he wanted to lead me and for me to have faith in him and I saw that in the way that he would answer my prayers and he would tell me what to do I would start to bring in gifts for them I would even though they're rude to me I would still be nice to them in any circumstance and they could i was always thinking about how I can make it through that day even though I was in the parking lot maybe half an hour before work crying about it and he would show me the thing that he asked me to do in the Sabbath school lesson a couple weeks later the very same thing and I just thought that was amazing and so. I do have to confess though even though I had such an amazing prayer journey with him at that time I do see that while I have grown in other ways and they have grown in prayer I still I'm kind of stuck in that mode where if I have a problem I run my gun pray and so that happens to a lot of us sometimes when things are going well we don't pray as much because things are great and then we're in trouble we start to go God I need you right now we have the best prayer life ever but it's really inconsistent and then sometimes there are others who have a different journey where they are praying to God when times are good they have a great prayer life and then when times are bad they have they struggle with praying and then there's everything else in between maybe who are consistent all the time but I want to talk about how we can have a consistent prayer life and how having that consistent prayer life is actually detrimental to our walk with him and how close we can go to him so I was actually planning on speaking about a different subject but the more and more I read leading me to just talk about prayer and how you can have a life with Him in prayer so let's get started. We typically use prayer to speak to God when we spill you feel like circumstances are tough and we say we speak earnestly in us talk talking about that earlier through my experience we are so earnest and fervent in our apparent prayers. But a lot of times we feel that way because we're in danger we've feel like oh I'm in temptation I'm going through a trial that something bad is happening to me but I have to stop and think and say Aren't we always in danger or a very lames always in trial and temptation. So we have an adversary who seeks to devour assume the warring lion he wants to sift as we so that's something that we should keep in mind it isn't from one hide to the next or one load to the next we really really need to be consistent in our prayers because we are always under temptation. Prayer is powerful and I think that as we are talking melt since we have that adversary it is the key to overcoming. Any temptation that he sends our way and it is key to making it through those trials and so we are severely unequipped when we go through life without prayer and we really need that and so the biggest thing that I think we have an issue is that that we feel like God did not hear us and we pray and sometimes we feel like God doesn't answer the way we should be enter the order we want to be answered and that we lose faith because of that we start to think that God isn't there we dealt him in so I would like us to go ahead and turn the problem 1529 and I think we have some answers here we're going to go through a few verses today. Proverbs 1529. And proverbs 1529 says the Lord is far from the wicked but you hear the prayer of the righteous and I started thinking when I heard that voice while he hears the voice of the right to see hear the words of the righteous but am I right just will hear my prayers and or and maybe I'm an righteous in these not human prayers that's why I'm not being answered. So I started to go through verses and we came before I could even answer whether or not I should be praying and how to get closer to God I have the answer am I right just. And God showed me something that I thought was profound maybe you guys already know this but let's go through it with with me so let's go to 1st John one. And while you guys are turning to 1st John 19 I have to ask you guys have you guys ever asked for forgiveness yet and have you repented of the wrongs before God Do you believe that God has forgiven you. So because of that we can go through 1st John 19. And we can see truth there it says here if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to Kalinda us from all unrighteousness So we believe that because the Bible tells us so and we know in that instant God had made us just and so I'm going to go through a little bit of something. But not going to go in detail so you can learn about this on your own but because God has made us just in an instant because our sins are taken away from us because of Christ's act on the cross we are made just are tender taken away from us but that's only a problem part of the problem because now we are without sin but we have no right as this and the problem is are we right just so that God can hear prayers so let's go to another verse. For Whitby and 39 and in Philippi and 39 we realize that we have a problem we don't have any right just mists of our own but we need to remain. And cries to that room of the read. So we go to for Libyans $3.00 to $9.00. Where you can read their. That and be found in Him who is crazed not having mine own righteousness which is of the law but that which is in the faith of Christ the righteousness with God of God by the him so we get our righteousness through Jesus through Christ and that is given to us by faith and is nothing that we can ever achieve on our own but we can believe that if God will give us his way just missed because he a said it you will do it and so I really was starting to think then Ok I can get righteousness from Christ what else do I need to know because it can't just be there in there right so we can turn to Romans 810. And again I know that I'm skipping through some things I mean we have to believe that we are 1st sinners to even believe that we need graciousness from Christ. And but again you can study this on your own when you have time and so in Romans 810 it states if and if Christ be a new the body is dead because of sin but the Spirit is life because of righteousness so this is a kind of innocent interesting we need Christ to be in us. And when this happens when Christ is Inus that law that we are in opposition to right now is sinners we no longer have an anything to contend with that the law requires us to be righteous and because of Christ in a seed we are ages and if prices in us we also have a spirit and we can walk in the spirit. And if you actually look up to Romans 8 for we're not going to read that you can actually see that there as well in Christ as promised before he left that he would leave us His Spirit and because he left us the spirit we can truly walk in His Spirit we know that So again this is very simplified but if we desire Christ will give us his righteousness and essentially when Christ gives us as righteousness the father will then see Christ's righteousness you won't see our own righteousness because we haven't so how can Christ be in this this is something interesting because Christ desired that we would be in the Father and he stated several times that because he was in the Father and The Father within him then therefore we could be in Father and we would be in the Father through him because we are in Him And so I think that that is a very big key there because in order for us to have. Christ in us. We need to do something in and again this is something we can't do on our own but let's go ahead and turn to 2 different text here and I really like what it says because it's it's saying the same thing but it's so complete and they are really like that we're going to go to John Chapter 10 and verse 17 through 18 John Chapter 10 verse 17 through 15. And it reads therefore adore doc my father love me because I lay down my life that I might take it again no man take it from me but I lay it down of myself I have Power To lay it down and I have power to take it again this commandment I have received of my father and one last verse will look at this for it is John 1510 and that's kind of the same thing but I would really like healthy. It was written how Jesus said it. John 1510 if you keep My commandments you shall abide in my love even as I have kept my father's commandment and abide in his love so Christ within his father and his father than him because he kept his commandments and that is something that he says we can do we walk in the spirit and so I really think this is so profound this is something that I hadn't really seen before because because of Christ's righteousness we know that we are made rages and we can go before God and He will hear our prayers God said He will answer and here to prove the righteous and I thought that was so wonderful because that gives me an answer to am I right if I am asking for forgiveness if I am asking God to be in me I want to relationship for him he is counting me as righteous because of his son and so I think that's exciting good news. And it's also kind of cool because for those of you who know we like to talk a lot. Sometimes to your detriment as you're trying to get away so right now I get to talk as much and I want. Hopefully as true. Now. One thing I would also want to say is that God is literally watching over to righteousness and we can see that when we turn to 1st Peter 312 let's go ahead and turn in 1st Peter Reith well. They have your hands moving a lot today like these verses here 1st Peter 312 says for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and its ears are open and to their prayers but the face of the Lord is against them they do evil. Literally waiting to hear from us why why do we not pray why do we not pray more earnestly. Why is it that it seems like our prayers aren't being answered and so we're going to keep going through this. But after we read some of these verses can you consider yourself to be righteous God so that you might be able to be can consider yourself righteous I think there's a couple of verses that we have to look at 1st. But also we have to understand what a righteous person a person does versus an ungracious person. I know that because we repent of our sins we accept Christ as our Savior and we keep His commandment because he works in us that he will be able to work in us so what does a righteous person do that in the unrighteous person does not arise just the person knows its condition. You have to recognize that your center you have to recognize that you're not doing the right thing you have to recognize that you want to know who God is. And that without knowing who God is you don't have a purpose you would be less we recognize that we need faith in God. That we need that feel in order to know that he will do what he's promised if we don't have feet then we won't believe in him and I think that's why some time there it seems like God not answering us because we don't have the faith to believe that he can actually interests I think that the righteous also knows that we have to seek God in His righteousness for themselves and keep the commandments of God and that's different from those who are under age is and there is actually a verse that talks about it if we turn to Psalms 6618. I think in some 6618. It says. If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me so there is a difference between the righteous and the underwriters the right just regard iniquity in their heart for that interest being different because that doesn't mean that the unrighteous cry out to God and ask when the saved them and he would totally hear them he would run to them but they want that to be saved and still want to hold on to sin they still want to hold on to the thing that they love the most they want to make sure that their needs in this world are met through their own desires and they want to make sure that God will save them too and God doesn't work that way and he's telling us that if you have a nickel to you in your heart he does not hear him us or of the people who are. Unrighteous and those people was a look in James 1628 we weren't turning there won't turn around but those people are double minded and those people are basically moved like the wind in they don't have anything to stand upon So that's truly those people are keeping themselves from coming in harmony with God And so we have to evaluate that is that something is happening in our lives and they know that and it does happen with me I sit there and I think I want these themes and I pursue them and then I I'm like Where are you God you're not listening to me and God like where you went way over here and I'm over here so you have to make a decision which one do you want and it's literally a simple of that what do you want I think God makes it very clear for us so now that we know what it takes to be considered righteous. We can have faith that God hears us when we pray and that's how we stay connected with them and so I'd like to read this quote. I really like about what prayer means to us who says. Prayer is the breath of the soul it is the secret of spiritual power no other means of grace can be substituted and the help of the soul can be preserved preserved prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the wellspring of life for Christ and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience neglect the exercise the prayer or engage in prayers Basmati quickly now and then as seems convenient and you lose your hold on God and this is found in prayer 12.4. A book on prayer the prayer is the breath of the soul and that if we breathe without even thinking we breathe every day if we don't breathe we die so that's what prayer should be to us literally a life sustaining force that is our connection with God and we won't get anywhere without it so prayer brings us this is kind of a awesome concept as well because the barrier actually brings us before the throne of God We literally have an audience before God and we don't need anybody else there to to go in between us and that's so different from you know kings today if you can imagine the king of Israel. If you can imagine even the Queen I don't know of anybody wants to go see the Queen but can you go for the queen if you're not dressed properly yet their dress or a certain way you can't even touch or do we were led into see the Queen we have to have someone lead us there we can't just walk in and say hey I'm here there where the story remember some guy was able to walk around in the palace and notice for days before they finally kicked him out so maybe you could sneak in there I'm not sure but. When you go before the queen you have to follow certain customs do you bring gifts. This is something that we don't have to worry about with God God doesn't care about those things there are some weird quire unmined where literally God wants us to come to him as we are and I really want I really love this verse it is this next verse that we're going to look a 2nd Chronicles 169 it's just amazing how much God wants us and how much God wants to hear from us if we turn the 2nd Chronicles 169. I can see what it reads for the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to shew himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him and they won't read the rest but this is talking this is talking to someone who was going to war but I love that part where it talks about the the billboard and to unfold throughout the whole earth he literally of looking for people to pray to him to to want a relationship with them he's searching for them he's not you know hiding he's not turning its face from you he's trying to find you if you would just offer up a prayer he was there you waiting to hear from you and I just I think that's amazing that we have a God a keen who on a throne in heaven saying that he want you to come to Him He wants you to be there he looking for any excuse to talk to you. I know myself I mean even though I like to talk a lot I do have a limit and sometimes I just don't want to talk to anybody and so most people are like that we have a Heavenly Father who doesn't think that way any time you want to talk to him and can he make sure that every step of the way he used provided aid and comfort for you so that you can talk to him and I really like that. So now we know for sure that are prayers are being heard we know that we can go before God he hears the prayers of the righteous and he looking for any excuse for you to come and talk to him but does God want to answer those prayers that seems like a different topic sometimes something to Seems like our request are impossible for God even though he said there is nothing impossible to hard for him. Seems late every answer that we get might be no or not yet or wait but what was the book what does the Bible to say about God and 20 prayers are for us asking So let's turn to Philip Ians 4 sticks. That I have a lot to say about how he wants to enter prayers Libyan's for 6. And I am so glad that God has put this in the Bible for us so that we have assurance and it reads be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known and to God who God is saying ask for everything what is interesting because there seems to still be a disconnect because do you really go to God and ask for everything do you ask for sinful things to us for things that only benefit yourself. That's probably not what we want to do and so we can see in other verses if you turn to 1st John 514 through 15 or Matthew 212 you can see that God is asking us to ask and he says he won't answer and give to us what we ask but why are my experiences still different Why do my prayers seem answerable I would like us to look at an example that I found in Acts chapter 10 and that this is such a great. Example a prayer can go to act chapter 10 and we can see an example through a man named Cornelius who was a Roman centurion. And this man was a very simple man and we can read that I'm going to read a few verses here I'm going to read Acts chapter thin one through 9 from now and says there was a certain man insists Urrea neat called Cornelius its interior and of the band called The Italian band a devout man and one that feared God with all his house which gave much to the people and prayed to God always he saw on a vision evidently about the 9th hour of the day in jail of God coming into him and saying and to him Cornelius and when he looked on him he was afraid and said What is it Lord and he said unto him prayers and then ohms are come up for a memorial before God Nelson Minta Hoppa and call for one Simon whose surname is Peter he logic with one Simon a tanner whose house is by I believe season and he shall tell the what to do and when the angel which spake and to Cornelius was departed he called 2 of his household servant servants and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually and when he had declared all these things antonym he went to help them and I am going to keep reading to verse 9 on the morrow and they went on their journey and drew nigh unto the city Peter went up unto the house top to pray about the 6 hour so we have a man who. With devout he prayed he gave to the poor he lived up to the little light that he did have and God heard its prayers and he actually sent an angel to him and this pretty significant I think because he didn't have anybody else to talk to kept these things as he was told but it didn't seem like there was anybody else around to give him any more knowledge so God actually sent an indoor and told them to seek out the man named Peter and Cornelius have 0 idea what's going to happen but he says by faith I'll believe that you'll want to do something with me Lord literally sent an angel and so he sends his men to Hoppa to find Peter. And there's more that you can read in the story but we're going to go ahead and get to verse 17 in him in between there Peter was also praying and he was given a vision and individual and he was told to accept Cornelius even though he was a Gentile and so in verse 17 we read now while Peter doubted in South what this vision which he had seen should mean behold the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house and stood before the gate. And will read to to verse $23.00 and called and asked whether Simon which was the surname Peter were lodged there or Peter thought on division the Spirit said unto him behold 3 men seek the Arise therefore and get the down and go with them doubting nothing for I have sent them then Peter went down to them in the which were sent to him for from Kearny ileus and said Behold I am he which he seek what is the cause wherefore you are come and they said Cornelius dysentery in a just man the one God and of good report among all the nations of the Jews would warn from God by a holy angel to send for the into his house and to hear word of the then called he them excuse me then called he been and launched them and on the morrow Peter went away with them and certain brethren from hop a acquired him so now we see also Peter say Peter when the faithful man of God He knew what God required he had an intimate relationship with Jesus and he was praying and Jesus came to him and said I need you to do this for me even though it's contrary to what you believe and while he might have protested he decided by faith I will believe in what God wants me to do and he went forth and did it and so we have these to a story where we have 2 people who believe in God and while they are praying God answering them one is asking we don't know exactly what he's asking for but God decides to give him more knowledge and Peter we know wants to spread the gospel and God is giving him an answer here goes spread the gospel to someone maybe someone you didn't expect and so we can see that because they of their free God was able to give them blessings and they were able to receive it and have their prayers answered so. That's something we have to ask ourselves Are we letting God interoperate it requires faith. And if we don't have that be. We want to ask God for things that we need we need that relationship with him and it's like this cycle is not vicious by the cycle where basically they don't have the you need you need to ask today you can have something that God giving for you but then in order to receive those things you have to have faith so it just is something that you have a cycle that you're going through and if you don't take the steps and faith in order to have your answers prayer to God can't answer those prayers and God is literally looking to answer those prayers. So how can it we talked a little bit about prayer we talked about how we can come the God God wants to hear our prayers we see in this example of course I don't go through much detail you can read the tongue your own but how you can be faithful and how God wants to answer these prayers and he can answer them in you. And you actually see in the end of the story that they're the Gentile Cornelius and those that were with him were actually baptized and they received the Holy Spirit in it that's what he was asking for him in and of specifically ask God I want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit only Even if you knew that but God gave him something that he needed and so how can we have that relationship with God How can we come to God when our prayers are for a jury and just addition that we just we have to do I have to wake up this morning and pray that the craving for eat meat. At the free you know before I go to bed I have to pray before my testily why are we doing the things is to pose to be a joyful communion with God is supposed to be something that we want to experience with them. Is shouldn't be a task who wants to have a relationship with God I know I do. In in having a relationship with God It should be like a friend should be like someone that you can talk to any time. I know in order for me to have a relationship with anybody. I have to talk to them I have to spend time with them at the enjoy my time with them I don't typically hang out with people I don't like hang your only point. I have always been shame on me but anyway. Why do we look at our relationship with God like that so if God equates our prayers to coming before him you looking and we come before him. We're not necessarily needing to always come before him in a certain way do we come before him asking complaining. And deciding that we need to be focused on ourselves and our Want to her needs and not anybody else's that's not the way to come to him I don't think I know if I had a friend like that who can point constantly and never had anything good to say and always wanted something from me I would also avoid them so so but God doesn't do that he still wants to hear from us but that's not a good relationship so how should we come to God So let us turn to 104 but give me 100 verses for through 5 Psalms 100 verses 4 to 5. They really this is a song I used to actually sing when I was a kid and I remember as an adult reading it. So cool. And it says in turn to his gates with thanksgiving and intern to us court with praise be thankful and to him in bless his name for the Lord is good his mercy is everlasting and is truth endure to all generations in so it's giving us an example 2 things here we come to him with Thanksgiving and then we remember how you good we don't know that he's good unless God shown us that it's good so we remember that his mercy is everlasting in the kind of talk about that in the last series we had about knowing God and who he was we have to know who God is how can we come to him with Thanksgiving. If we come to him with remember and what he's done before and we can see that in Psalms 6620 it says Blessed be God which hath not turned away from my prayer nor his mercy from me remember that God has not turned away from us he's always been there and there's so many different stories in the Bible about how God has helped his people and you can also look in your own experience and see how God has helped you. And I think that when we come with him with things giving in remembrance of what he's done before art or prayer life can be transformed in fact I think I read somewhere that the majority of our prayer should be that way it's something that we need to have a think on this in the remembrance of who he was. So we through our relationship with God and we can see these in several verses and all over the Bible. We need to learn who God is so that we can see what he does for us and can do for each one of us. In that way it changes our prayer changes how we look at him it changes the relationship that we have with him. We see that he never fails us he always loves us he is seeking after us he we see that he has good thoughts towards us even though we don't understand him he's always looking the maker in be expected and so with that experience with him we can see him more as a friend rather than a distant god that doesn't care and so the key to victory in this life is to spend time with God in prayer you need to have that earnest an agonizing prayer in his presence our prayers sincere are the earnest are to persevere in do you seek after God in every example in every chance that you get but before we end I just want to go through a list of reasons that we should pray and so I think this is kind of inclusive but you'll have to see for yourself and says prayers acquaint us with the father it unites us with one another and with God and that we actually saw it when we saw the example of can it Cornelius and Peter they were they were united with each other because in their prayers it enables us to resist temptation characters transformed today's needs are provided for even though we're asking for them to be provided for the Lord knows he knew already it prepares us for heaven it reinforces our convictions it supply is temporal necessities it gives us daily supplies of grace wisdom is supplied thanksgiving and praise. Can be given for Answered prayers we can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The needs of God of work is cared for and the understanding of God's word is expanded. So today I ask you what will you be praying for and that's different from every for every single person but I know through this study ultimately I prayer was to just pray differently not to go to God and to feel the vending machine and to truly have a relationship with him and so I hope that all of you can see that and understand that God is entering your prayers he is waiting to answer your prayers so pray to Him Go ahead and have a closing word of prayer Heavenly Father thank you so much for your words we thank you for this time that you have spent with us the words that you have written for us we know that you care for our every need and we know that you understand a smore than we can understand or so Lord. We come to you as sinners but you have promised that you will give us your righteousness and your promise that because of your love in your mercy you will hear us and you will make our prayers wait just as well loaders so much more that we can study about prayer. But we are so grateful for what we've learned today and we asked for that we will go forward on the Sabbath contemplating about how we can have a better relationship. We thank you and we love you may all be in. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon or leave a visit w w w dot audio verse or.


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