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7. How to Pray

Stephen Bohr

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Stephen Bohr

President/Speaker of Secrets Unsealed

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  • May 23, 2015
    2:30 PM

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Well have you had a good week so far. It sure is a blessing being alive isn't it. When you really think about it it's the greatest blessing that we can have is to be alive and the Lord is so good. He provides everything that we need not only for our physical life but also for spiritual life and tonight we want to talk about our spiritual life. One of the aspects of our spiritual life. And so let's get right into our subject our subject of study is how to pray. Now I have read many books on prayer and I have read many definitions on prayer and I'd like to share with you. Four of my favorite definitions of prayer based on my own prayer experience. The first one the one I like the best is that prayer is the breath of the soul. Prayer is the breath of the soul. What that means is that as you cannot live without breathing physically you cannot live without breathing spiritually. And prayer is that you know we said in a previous lecture that food is God's word. As we study it you know you can live several days without food but you can only live a few minutes without breathing. And so Prayer is one of the indispensable elements perhaps the indispensable element of spiritual life. Another definition which I like of prayer is that prayer is when the weak arm of man grabbed onto the omnipotent hand and arm of God when our limited resources are combined with God's limitless resources when the weakness of man. Take hold of the strength of God another one which I like is Prayer is the key in the hand of fate that opens Heaven's storehouse. Now the words heaven is like a star house and with the key of faith through prayer we open that storehouse and God is able to pour out His blessings abundantly upon this and then there's probably my second most favorite after the breath of the soul and that is prayer is like speaking with God as you would speak with a prayer. Now how did Jesus look at prayer. What were the habits of Jesus in connection with prayer. What conditions that Jesus laid down that we need to meet in order for our prayers to be answered. I'd like to share with you this evening several principles that our Lord Jesus gave and which are also found in other portions of Scripture on how to get our prayers answered. The first thing that I would like to deal with is the best time and place to pray. Now obviously we can pray anywhere. You know some of the best prayer experiences that I have are when I'm riding my bike in the morning. I ride my bike for about a half an hour. I used to do ten miles five days a week. Now I do five miles seven days a week and I have my little loop there. It's a mile long. I go around five times and during the times that I'm going around I'm able to reflect on spiritual things. I'm able to pray to the Lord. Another of my favorite times to pray is when I'm studying God's word and I do quite a bit of that. Some of you come to the office here and you'll see me in the fellowship hall with books all over the table and at certain times when I get to a place where I cannot go any further I can. Then when I'm studying or I'm at a point where I can't understand a certain issue I raise a little prayer to God and it's amazing how frequently God is right there ready to give me a clear way and to explain what I am not able to understand at that particular moment. Now let's take a look at the best moments that Jesus chose for prayer. Go with me to the Gospel of Mark chapter one and verse thirty five. Mark chapter one in verse thirty five Bill. The best time to pray is not in a public service. It's not when you're surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life. Jesus chose a particular time and place to pray. Now notice Mark Chapter one Verse thirty five. If there is now in the morning having risen a long while before daylight he went out and departed to a solitary place and there he prayed. And this isn't the only time that we find this concept in the Gospels not to see that it tells us the two favorite things or that they were placed at the favorite time that Jesus chose to pray what was the favorite place. It's a solitary place and what was his favorite time early in the morning. It says in fact in verse thirty five there was a long while before daylight. Now why do you suppose Jesus chose this particular time and this particular place to pray. Because at this time everything is quiet. Everything is tranquil. You can concentrate on what you're saying and you can also hear the voice of God more clearly speaking to you. And so the best prayer life that we can have is not the prayers that we utter in church or the prayers that are uttered in public. The best prayers are the best. Variance in prayer is in a solitary place early in the morning and by the way the Lord Jesus also prayed in the evening after everybody had gone to bed. So his favorite times were early in the morning before everybody got up and also in the evening after everyone had gone to bed in fact let's read Matthew Chapter fourteen and verse twenty three which refers to this experience of Jesus in the evening service there. In Matthew Chapter fourteen and verse twenty three it says and when he had sent the multitudes away he went up on the mountain by himself to pray and when evening had come he was what he was alone there. Let's also notice what Jesus said in Matthew chapter six and verse six. Here he's giving counsel to us we've already noticed two verses where it refers to Jesus's favorite time and favorite place to pray. But now let's notice his counsel to us. Matthew chapter six and verse six Jesus says but you when you pray go into your room and when you have shut your door pray to your father who is in the secret place and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. In other words the best prayer that we can have is in our room by ourselves when we speak to our Heavenly Father. This brings us to our second point. Whenever we pray according to Jesus we need to pray to God as our Father. You remember the Lord's Prayer Jesus when he taught his disciples to pray he said you will pray like this our Father who art in heaven. And as you walk out of the Gospels you will find that time and time and time again the Lord Jesus addresses God. As his father. Now let me qualify something. Unfortunately in this world many of us and I'm not speaking up of myself but I'm speaking corporately because I had a very very good father. Praise the Lord I have a wonderful mother. But some fathers have abused their children and mistreated their children. And unfortunately the image that we have our of our earthly father is usually the image that we also have of our heavenly Father because as we see our earthly father we see in him a reflection of our Heavenly Father. That's the reason why if we have a father who is very stern a father who was abusive we will have the same concept basically of our Heavenly Father. But when we address our heavenly Father as Father we need to remember that he is the perfect father he is not like our earthly fathers who are prone to mistakes who are prone to sin who are prone to not be perfect and their fatherhood God is the perfect father. Notice what it says in Matthew Chapter sixteen and that's read several verses here regarding our prayers to God as our Father. You'll notice the number of times that Jesus tells us that we're supposed to pray to the Father. Notice verse. Six But you know when you pray go into your room. And when you have shut your door pray to your father notice who is in the secret place and your Father who sees in the secret place who will reward you openly not us verse eight. Therefore do not be like them for your father knows the things you have need of before you ask. And then verse nine in this manner therefore pray Our Father who art in heaven verse fourteen. For if you forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Verse fifteen but if you do not forgive men. There trespassers neither will your father forgive your trespasses. These are only just a few verses in Matthew chapter six but if you go through the rest of the Gospels you will find that the Lord Jesus constantly taught us to call God our Heavenly Father. In fact he not only taught us to do it but he practiced it himself. For example if you go to John Chapter seventeen several verses there you'll find you'll find that the Lord Jesus addresses God as Father. Sometimes he calls them in his prayer Holy Father and sometimes he refers to him as a righteous father. In fact the Bible tells us that we are supposed to call on earth. No man our father speaking of religious leaders because one is your father. Jesus says your father who is in heaven there is no evidence in the Bible that we are supposed to pray to Jesus. It's very common today for people to say Dear Jesus there. No evidence in the Bible that we are supposed to pray to the Holy Spirit the Bible uniformly tells us that we are supposed to address God as Father. We have to begin our prayers by saying Father in heaven or our father because our prayers are directed to him. Now it doesn't mean that we exclude Jesus from our prayers. We're going to notice towards the end of our study tonight that we always pray in Jesus' name. But we're not going to come to that point yet. Now another condition that we need to meet in order for our prayers to be answered besides addressing God is our Father. Is that when we pray we need to pray with full realisation of our great me. You know Psalm one hundred thirty nine of verses one to four tell us that God knows everything about us before we were even born. He knows when we're going to get up. He knows where we are. Going he's going. He knows when we're going to lie down. He knows everything. Before we were even born. And so you say if he knows everything why do we pray. The reason why we pray is because we want to show our absolute dependence upon God as our Father we want to show our humility the recognition that we are creatures that we have a great need. That's the main purpose for prayer. It's not to manipulate God into doing something for us. The purpose of prayer is to show our absolute and complete dependence upon God as our father as a little child depend on his father. Now notice that beautiful parable that we have illustrated this point maybe it's not so beautiful in a certain sense as the parable of the fairest in the publican but it's beautiful because it teaches a beautiful truth no absolute chapter eighteen and verse nine. Here Jesus gives a famous parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Let's start at verse ten. Two man went up to the temple to pray one up Barassi and the other a tax collector. If you remember we studied last time. What were the Pharisees like. Outside with a pretty good outside Well they had a wonderful external religion. How were they inside. Serious problems and I heard the word yes. Now notice verse eleven where she stood and prayed. Thus with himself. You see when you don't feel your need. Who are you praying with yourself. Because prayer basically means you're praying to God as Father because you feel a great need something that only your heavenly Father can supply and so it says the parish which didn't break thus with himself I think you know that I am not like other men. Extortioners unjust adulterers or even as this tax collector this man we only need he had failed to get it out so why would he pray to God he's not praying to God he's praying to Him So now what about the tax collector. Verse thirteen and the tax collector standing up on our own would not so much as raising his eyes to heaven but beat his breast saying God be merciful to me a sinner. Then the publican recognized the tax collector recognized his infinite need of God and of God's righteousness. Yes And when we pray we must come in humility to God to show our dependence upon him. And verse fourteen I tell you this man went down to his house justified which means forgiven rather than the other for everyone who exalts himself will be abased and he who humbles himself will be exalted. You know this makes me remember also Isaiah and Isaiah Chapter six although it's not in the Gospels. You know you had this wonderful view of a Holy God. He saw the heavenly sanctuary in the heavenly sanctuary was shaking and the voices of the angels were heard singing Holy Holy Holy. And the Bible tells us that Isaiah reacted by saying I am God. If I am I'm clinging lips and I do well in the midst of a people with unclean lips I am nothing. And God says When you recognize that you're nothing then I can make you something. And so God sends an angel from the heavenly altar the altar of incense with a piece of coal and touches the lips of Isaiah and through cleansing his lips He cleanses Isaiah in his totality from sin because I say I recognized that he himself was absolutely nothing. So we must come with a sense of absolute dependence upon our Heavenly Father. If we would want our prayers answered. Now another point that we need to recognize is that the purpose of prayer is not to exhibit our magnificent oratorical talent because some people tell you a little meal down and they'll pray up a star. They'll use such complex phrases and words that the congregation can't even understand and I'm not even sure that the Lord can understand them. I'm just giving you the purpose of public prayer is not examining our great oratorical skills. The purpose of public prayer is not to exhibit our tremendous consecration and spirituality. There's the idea that a person who who is always bent over and appears very humble in public and who is always praying and use beautiful words in prayer that that person is much more pious than other people. Now let's notice what Jesus had to say about that. I'm not saying that it's not necessarily so but I'm saying that it's not absolute proof because the Pharisees were very pious externally not as what it says in Matthew chapter six A Let's read verse five and also verse seven. Seven verse five and when you pray you shall not be like the hypocrites for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets that they may be seen by a man. Assuredly I say to you they have their reward. And what is their reward. The praise of men and how much is that worth in terms of salvation. Absolutely nothing there and the reward and the reward is what to be exalted by men so it says here public prayer to examine yourself is worthless. The Pharisees loved to pray that way. Notice verse seven. But when you pray do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do for they think that they will be heard for their many words. This is the danger of formular prayers prayers that have been prepared and written and repeated and repeated many times we repeat them and we don't even realize what we're saying is that true. And so prayer should be spontaneous. It should come from the heart. It should be natural. We should not use vain repetitions and sometimes I hear people pray in public and they'll repeat the name of God time after time after time. Inadvertently. Have you ever noticed that they'll say Lord this and god that and Lord this and Lord and they'll mention his name over and over again. You know that Exodus Chapter twenty and verse seven says Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. That means to not pick the name of the Lord our God and use it unnecessarily. In the Lord's Prayer the Lord Jesus said hallowed be thy name. Do you know what the word hallowed means. It means holy. It means sanctified being your name. We need to be careful about undue family arity with God Some people call him daddy. Some people call him pop. I've heard some young people call them high pop are you doing. We need to recognize that God yes he's our father but God needs to be respected because besides being our father he is the king of the universe. His name is only he must be recognized as holy in the way that we use his name. Now another very important point that we need to remember when we pray is that we always pray. That God's will will take place. You know some people say God never answers my prayers. Let me ask you this if your kids ask you for some cookies and you say yes. Is that an answer. Sure what if you say no that in answer to one of you say maybe that an answer. Yeah. The trouble is when God doesn't say yes we think demand but the fact is that God can also answer no because he knows that it's not the best for us. That's why in the Lord's Prayer the Lord Jesus said that we're supposed to pray that my will be done and that's so hard for us because we know what we want. They're not really felt needs they're filled once and we want to manipulate God into giving us what we want instead of what we need. But only God really knows what we need. Now let me read Matthew chapter twenty six and you can follow along Matthew chapter twenty six and verse thirty nine to illustrate this point. Matthew twenty six and verse thirty nine. Here Jesus is in the Garden of Good seventy and he prays this prayer three times. Agonizing. Remember at this point in the garden yet so many this is on Thursday night before on the next day he is going to be taken and you've got to be crucified the Lord Jesus is gonna get so many the Lord of the sin of the world has been placed upon him at that very moment and he has in his hand the cut of the wrath of God you say how do we know that he has the Cup We're going to notice it in a minute. He has in his hand the cup of the wrath of God and he has to drink that cup the same cup in Revelation. You remember the plagues are in cups or in vials and there poured out upon the earth. The wrath of God. Jesus is there in the wrath of God in your place or mine. He's drinking the cup of God's wrath. He's about to experience the punishment for the sins of the whole world and he shrank away from it he didn't know whether he could do it. Notice verse thirty nine he went a little further and fell on his face and prayed saying in the Gospel of Luke that he actually sweated drops of blood. He said all my father. You can just hear him saying this. Oh my father if it is possible let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will but as what. But as you will in other words Jesus was not going to ask the Father for something which was not convenient for him. And you know something interesting if we could see the end from the beginning. We would have had things exactly the way that God allowed them in our life. The trouble is that we can't see the end from the beginning. We can only see the present moment. So we think we know what's best right now. I can give you a biblical example Joseph. Remember Joseph. How do you think Joseph fail when he felt when he was taken prisoner to Egypt. Do you think that many thought he'd gotten a raw deal. Oh I think so do you think he was homesick or his father or his brothers. Sure you think he was wondering why God would allow him a young boy who was consecrated to God to be taken as a slave unjustly to Egypt. I imagine he had all kinds of misgivings in his mind. Do you think that you also have to look differently at his experience after it happened then when he was taken to Egypt for the first time. You see after all of his experience has gone by he remembers when he was in jail the dream. That the baker hand of the dream or that the cup bearer had and he remembers all of the experiences he has in Egypt and he looks back he says by I would not have it any other way than the way that got us there. You see if we could see the end from the beginning we would always pray you know it will be done because God you know better than I do. Well that's what it says in the Gospel in first John first John Chapter five and verse fourteen. Remember this is the same author as the individual who wrote the gospel of John. First John Chapter five and verse fourteen still on this point that we need to pray that God's will be done. It says and verse fourteen. Now this is the confidence that we have in hand. If we ask anything according to you we will hear what he hears us. Let me share with you an experience that just amazing I have two pastor friends who. Well they're both dead now. When I was a kid I knew them. Pastors in the country of Venezuela. They're very they were very good friends of my dad's I grew up in Venezuela. I started all my primary education there Spanish and then came back to the U.S. then went back and lived in Colombia for several years as a worker and then I came back to the United States but anyway these two pastors had to go to a convention on an island state in Venezuela called Margarita and they had to catch the plane about seven o'clock in the morning. It's about an hour and fifteen minute drive from the city of Caracas down to sea level where the airport is. They left plenty early and on the way they had a flat tire. And when they went and looked in the trunk there was no jack in the truck. And so as they tell told the story too. Yes they were constantly looking at the clock and they saw that the time for the departure of the plane was coming and they didn't have a jack and they were trying to wave down traffic and nobody would stop. They were praying to the Lord that the Lord would delay the flight or somehow allow them to fix the tire so that they could get there in time because they have to speak at this very important convention. Well it just so happens that when somebody finally stopped and they fixed the tire they drove down to the airport. When they arrived there the airplane was just taking off and I was one of these pastors tells it he said. At that moment I felt that God had not answered our prayer. But do you know what. Ten minutes later that airplane had crashed into a mountain. And every single person in that plane was killed. Sometimes God answers according to His Will Not according to our will. Praise the Lord because the Lord knew exactly what was going to happen and so God knows the end from the beginning let's trust him you know when somebody gets sick we pray that we want that person healed right now Lord we want the personnel we need to pray if it be your will kill that person because God might not might know something that we do not know. Now the next point that I would like us to notice regarding prayer in the concept of Jesus is that we should pray without ceasing. With perseverance without giving up. Notice in the Gospel of Luke the Gospel of Luke Chapter eighteen and verses one through eight a while back I preached a full sermon on this. So huge. I'm not going to study the whole passage with you but I want you to notice the lesson that Jesus wanted to teach in this parable the Gospel of Luke Chapter eighteen and will quickly read versus one through eight. Here it says the following. Then he spoke a parable to them that men always ought to pray and not lose heart saying there was a certain in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city and she came to him saying avenge me of my adversary and he would not for a while. But afterward he said with that himself though I do not fear God nor regard man yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her lest by her continual combing she weary me. But you can imagine this widow coming to this judge by the way the judge is a symbol of God You say How can this unjust judge who's who said I'm going to finally answer her because I'm going to get off my back. How could that represent God Well it's very simple. What Jesus is saying is if a judge answers a widow's plea after she continually comes to him to get her off his back. How much more will God who is a father and loves us. I answer when we come to him. Now notice what it continues to say. Verse six then the Lord said here what the unjust judge said and shall not God shall not God avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to him though he bears along with them. In other words though he doesn't answer their prayers immediately and then Jesus asks the question. Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes. Will he really find faith on the earth. In other words is he going to find anybody like his widow. When he comes. Who have such great faith that she comes and comes and comes and does not give up. The apostle Paul says that we are supposed to pray without work for us as alone as five seventeen we're supposed to pray without ceasing. Now I would like us to go to the book of Hebrews Hebrews Chapter five and verse the seven eight and let's notice the perseverant prayer of our Lord Jesus. Interestingly enough here in the book of Hebrews we had something very interesting about the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. It says there Hebrews Chapter five and verse seven regarding Jesus who in the days of his flesh when he had offered up Herrera's and supplications told us this when he meant cries and hears to him who was able to save him from death by the way that the Father save him immediately from there. In fact if you compare Psalm twenty two no verses one can wait. You'll find that there we have the property where Jesus is saying My God my God why I have forsaken me I cry to you day and night. Oh and you don't hear me but I want you to notice that even though Jesus according to this offered prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to him was able to save him from death. He was not saved from there but it does say he was heard because of his word of his godly fear though he was a son. Yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Now as even our Lord Jesus learned obedience by the delay. Is it good sometimes for God to delay his answer yes because it teaches us to depend upon God and to trust God and to not release his hand you know it reminds me of the experience of Jacob. You remember Jacob the supplanted by the way the name Jacob means the supplant or one who who tries to take the place of someone else a legitimate place of someone else that he was as a planter from the time he was born because the Bible says that he had latched onto his brother's ankle trying to be born first trying to supplant his brother even though God said biddies I was going to be born first and then Jacob was going to be born after that so he wanted to be this a planter and then of course later on Bible tells us that Jacob stole the birthright from his brother and his brother got angry and so Jacob had to flee from home. Now Jacob felt that not only was his brother against him but that God had forsaken him. After a couple of days of traveling he laid down with his head on a few rocks at a place that later became called the house of God. Here's where he had this beautiful dream of the latter the latter that was planted on the earth and reached into the highest heaven. And there were angels ascending and descending upon that letter which we're going to notice in a few moments is a symbol or representation of Jesus know as God was telling Jake I'm not Dick up even though you've blown it. You've sinned against your brother. You've lied to your father I am not per se can you. There are still communication between heaven and earth. I am still your intercessor But you know that for twenty years Jacob was not willing to forgive himself. Finally twenty years later after working for laymen who by the way was a real nasty character one of the most nasty people in the whole Bible. Leave it be. He was he did to Jacob what Jacob had done whatsoever a man so that surely also reap. There you have a lesson Jacob Reese rate D.C. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Jacob. You know do you think he's going to get this beautiful woman Rachel. You know on the wedding takes place in the play the wedding march and dramatising for effect of course and we marched down the aisle you know and the minister says you may kiss the bride. It's on a Jacob left and instead of Rachel there's we don't have mercy. The deceiver had been deceived because whatsoever a man so aware that Shelly also reap. But anyway twenty years later when he was back going back to his home. His brother was coming after him with four hundred men to destroy him and Jacob goes to a solitary place by the brook J. Buck and he pours out his heart to God and suddenly someone comes and latches onto him and starts struggling with him even to an enemy. He doesn't realize that this is an angel actually more than an angel. It's Jesus Christ. If you leave the read the passage carefully because Jacob later says I'm sorry. I still in my struggle and so I struggled with this being all night and he notices that this being has far too much right to be a common ordinary man and in fact when it's coming to the morning the angel Jesus just basically touches his hip and it's dislocated and then he knows really that he's there he's in above his head and the angel by the way when we say the angel talking about Michael the I. Change will see the Bible does not teach that Jesus is an angel created by God Like many people believe Jesus is eternal God Michael is simply one of the names which is applied to Jesus because the name Michael means who is like God His name is a challenge when one is like God it's a trick of the struggling and Michael the Archangel says let me know. And Jacob hangs on he says I'm not going to let you go let me go where the sun rises I will not let you go and tell you bless me you know this is a symbol of what our prayer life should be. I will not let you go until you bless another condition according to Jesus for answered prayer is to be willing to forgive other people this is going to heart isn't it certain people that we don't want to forgive. You know at the Lord's prayer says forgive us our debts as we forgive our dinners our slumbers and say forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Now I notice that God does not forgive us because we forgive others God forgives us as we forgive others. Is there a difference as you leave for good. God forgives if we do not forgive then God does not forgive you remember the story of the two debtors. There is a man who told a huge amount of money he couldn't pay its father Matthew Chapter eighteen saw the individual that he owed this to actually and had embezzled all that money so had thrown into prison until he pays it all but he cried out he he took to this man he said please give me time I'll pay you you could never pay. Is it possible. So the individual he owed the money to said OK I'll even do better. Your debt is forgiven. Well you can imagine he goes away. Jumping for joy. His hero's step which he could have never paid had been forgiven. And as he goes out into the street he finds somebody that owes him a little bit of money a very payable debt. And he says Come to think about your recent money don't you. And this person says yes I do. Well pay me well I don't have the money right now give me time but I will say as a grab him by the throat and he started choking him and saying maybe when you're only yes him thrown into prison. Now the first individual who were given the large debt heard about this and what did he do. He took this man to whom he had forgiven a large debt and he threw him in prison until he paid to hold it. Now notice what it says in Matthew Chapter eighteen. The lesson that Jesus wants to teach Matthew Chapter eighteen and verse thirty five at the conclusion of this parable of Matthew eighteen verse thirty five. Saul my Heavenly Father also will do to you know if each of you for only his part does not forgive him his brother. Here's what his trespasses. So we are forgiven we are to forgive others trespasses as God forgive us. Another condition for answered prayer is to pray with faith. You see prayer and faith go hand in hand. Pray without a doubt. For example in John Chapter eleven. Let. Go there for a moment. John Chapter eleven and this is speaking about the resurrection of Lazarus We'll talk more about this a little bit later on Matthew excuse me John Chapter eleven. And let's read verse forty one here Jesus is praying to His Father Jesus Himself the Lord. It's as then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said Father I thank you that you have heard me. Now wait a minute Jesus hadn't even resurrected Lazarus yet and what does he say Father I thank you that what that you have heard me. No more Jesus was so certain that God was going to answer his prayer that he considered Lazarus already resurrected even before he had resurrected. In other words prayer has to be linked with faith. Now let me say that there's a very big difference between faith and presumption. They're very different but they also live very close together. I'm sure you've stood on train tracks as you look into the distance the train tracks look like they become what one. Well the fact is that the track plate and the track the presumption there are two separate tracks but as you look at the distance they appear to be one. Let me give you some examples. Have you ever seen these documentaries where they show these Christian churches where people handle poisonous snakes. Quite amazing isn't it. There are church service recent revolves around grabbing poisonous snakes because the Bible says you will pick up a poisonous snake and it will bite you. And many of them have died. There are other churches where they take cups of poison. Laterally and they drink poison because Jesus said in Mark sixteen you will drink something doesn't mean it will not hurt you. There are people who refuse medical treatment. You know read about this you heard about this children who are refused medical treatment and they die because I say I have faith I have trust in God. Let me tell you folks faith is claiming God's promises in obedience whereas presumption is claiming God's promises in this will be. You remember the Lord Jesus when he was on the monoplane patient the devil comes to Jesus and he says if you're the sort of the jump and then he quotes a promise he says God I'm going to try to find all of that will pick you up in their arms before you hit the ground. Then for the devil was reading a bible promise from Psalm ninety one and was a real probation from Psalm ninety what. The only problem is God did not ask Jesus to jump the rigs to jump would mean it means to place himself in danger and to manipulate God into saving him unnecessarily. In other words it would be claiming God's promises of protection while jumping up or disobeying the will of God The same happens many times to us when we pray that God will help us laugh at that's what we haven't studied. The same happens to us when we develop lung cancer because he smoked all our lives and we blame God for it. And so it happens every day of our lives where we presume upon the promises of God We claim the promises of God in disobedience and we expect God to answer our pleas. The fact is that faith means claiming God's promises and O.B.D.. It's worth presumption means claiming God's promises. God will not fulfill its promises with us but we disobeyed and so when we pray to God we have to pray in faith not doubting that God God has promised if we meet that condition. Now another characteristic of prayers that are answered according to Jesus is that we should not ask for the wrong thing. Jesus has asked me for anything you want and I'll give it to you. So suppose I want a brand new Cadillac. So I said Lord Lord you know I drive this old nineteen eighty eight G.M.C. van I'm afraid is going to break down one of these days you know how much I need a new car. Lord help me to win the lottery. Of course I don't play the lottery. Let me give you a better illustration. Help me win the Publisher's Clearinghouse. That way you don't have to. You don't have to gamble. See. You think God is going to answer a prayer such as that you know because we're praying for things that are not necessary that are not needful to us we need to be careful about asking for the wrong things. Kind of reminds me of Hezekiah and the Old Testament God said to him it's time for you to die. We all really want to die. The Lord says Believe me it's the moment. No way I'm going to have any Bangalore or any Bangalore and he just went at the Lord so much that the Lord would not allow him to die that the Lord find it OK I want to let you live and let in the thirteen years of war and in those thirteen years Hezekiah had more evil than in the rest of the time that he knew and he blew everything he did them because he insisted that God do things according to his. Well he was asking for the wrong thing. Notice what it says in James chapter four and verse three and by the way James was a brother of our Lord Jesus and so I think he would know the heart of Jesus James chapter four and verse three. Here James says you ask and do not receive because you ask what Miss that you may spend it on you by the way you remember when Jesus was in the garden of that ceremony and the soldiers came to arrest him and Peter took out his sword. Peter kind of Malcolm the servant. Believe me he wasn't trying to cut off his ear it was he was aiming at is good but he missed because Peter was a fisherman he wasn't a soldier. So anyway he cuts out me here and what of the Lord Jesus say to be he says Peter don't you know that if I wanted to I could ask my father for twelve legions of angels and we would be here right at this minute to deliver but did Jesus ask of the twelve legions of a you know because he knew that it was the wrong thing to ask for because he had the supper he had to die for sin so that all of us could be safe. Another characteristic of prayers that are answered according to Jesus and also all the rest of Scripture is that prayers should be mingled with Thanksgiving. You know God doesn't get tired of us asking but we will go out of heart with joy when we thank him for what he does when we rejoice and praise him for what he does. Let me just refer to some of these verses that we have on our list very quickly. John eleven verse forty one it says that Jesus thanked his father that he is heard him even before he resurrects life. Now if you pick the verse thirty six before Jesus feeding the five thousand it says he raises his eyes to heaven and he thanks for the daily bread. In fact the Lord's prayer says give us this day our daily bread. And Jesus always thanked his father for the daily bread back in the last supper. According to Luke twenty two when Jesus was about to break the bread he raised his hands and he gave thanks. Have you ever heard the word Eucharist. That's the word that some churches use to speak about the Lord's Supper you know what the word Eucharist means it actually comes from happy topic why six. It means to give thanks and so when Jesus broke the bread to get things and then when he served the fruit of the vine once again he gave thanks to God In other words we should not only ask God but we should also thank god the apostle Paul says that our prayers should be mingled with Thanksgiving. Another condition or answered prayer according to Jesus is to abide in his will NOT to John Chapter fifteen and verse seven. John Chapter fifteen and verse seven and now we come to a very very important point in our study tonight. John fifteen in verse seven. Here Jesus is speaking he's talking about the vine and the branches. These words say if you are by in me and my words abide in you you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you what is the condition for God doing what we have to we must abide in Him and have his what his word abiding in us. Let's notice the testimony of first John chapter three and verse twenty two. This same point. First John chapter three and verse twenty two this is a wonderful for a beloved disciple of Jesus says the following. And what ever we yes we receive from him. Why. Because we keep His commandments and do those things that are placing him again this site so whatever and asks whatever we ask we receive from him because of what. Because we keep His commandments and do those things which are pleasing in his sight and sound sixty six and verse eighteen the Psalmist says that if we err in it with the in our heart if we regard a mic with the in our heart God would not listen to it. Now what that means is that if I cherish singing my art if I say sin in my heart if I try to hide sin in my heart the Bible says that God cannot hear my prayer if I refuse to keep its commands. I don't like the fact that we just read it says that we will not receive what we are in fact in Proverbs Chapter twenty eight in verse nine it says that whatever turns a year away from here in the law even his prayer will be an abomination. So one of the conditions for answered prayer is to be willing to receive God's Word to do what's pleasing in the sight of God to not same iniquity in the heart but to confess our sins and to receive a clean heart from God This reminds me of the book of Acts if you go with me it's not on your list but that's going to act Chapter ten verses one through four there was a very pious man the name of this man was Cornelius. It was a Gentile. It was not a believer and yet he was sincere you know hungry heart hungry soul and he was praying that God would show him the light that God would show him the true not as what it sends an axe Shepparton in verses one to four there was a certain man assess aria called Cornelius a centurion of what was called the i Pad Alyan regiment a devout man and none who feared God with all his house or who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always you know what he was praying for he was praying for someone to come and show him the verse three about the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him. Cornelius and when he observed him he was afraid and said What is it Lord. So he said to him your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God And while God is doing this with Cornelius and giving this vision to Cornelius. God is giving Peter another vision because Peter now is going to show Cornelius. The point that I want to notice here is that when you're hungry and thirsty for God's truth when you are sincere of heart God will prepare the way for you to discover the truth. And given the opportunity of knowing the truth and accepting the truth into your heart. But we must be willing to please God we must be willing to accept His will to have his word abide in my heart to have him cast out sin from my heart and then God will listen and he will accept the last condition that I would like to deal with as we speak of our prayer is that in order for prayer to be heard we must pray in the name of the you know something that disturbed me today is that many people begin their prayer prayer by prayer. Jesus or by praying to the Holy Spirit. When the Bible says that we should address our prayers to God the Father and then when the end of prayer many times the end abruptly they simply say amen. And Jesus isn't even mentioned. The fact is that Jesus made it very clear that in our prayers we should always conclude our prayer in the name of Jesus. And the reason for this is that we are sinners. We cannot even come to the throne of God because not of a just bodies a holy God is a perfect God and we're sinners. If we tried to go to the throne of God ourselves represented ourselves God would have to destroy us. There is no greater fool than a person who represents himself in a court of law. That's why we need Jesus All right. Look at first John to once as we have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ. So when we pray we hand our prayer that we address to the Father. By same in Jesus' name. And when the father hears Jesus' name he says oh there's merit in that name there. Then there's some that name but then I've said has been paid on that name and has also as an atheist as one verse states we are accepted in the beloved and so we don't have to worry about what God thinks of us. We need to be concerned about what God thinks of Jesus who is our star. In other words Jesus is represented before but he's our ladder by the way do you know the Bible teaches that the angels take our prayers to God and the angels bring answers back from God You remember the dream of the latter at the bottom of the ladder was planted on earth the top of a ladder reach to the highest heavens and the Bible says that upon the ladder going up and down the world. At angels the angels I mean any gents which Jesus Harrison and answers prayer. That's why Hebrew says that they are ministry. Isn't that marvelous that there are millions and millions of angels doing God's bidding. And incidentally this is the reason why also in the Hebrew sanctuary there were two apartments the holy and the most holy place between the holy and the most holy place the most holy place was where the ark of the Covenant was where God manifested His presence that was a symbol of God's throne and the veil that divided the holy from the most holy had angels and broidery angels going up and angels going down right in front of the curtain before you went into the most holy place there was what was known as the altar of incense. What the high priest would do he would go in and morning and evening he would offer incense on that altar burned sweet smelling incense and as he took the fire from the altar of sacrifice in the court and mixed in the incense and took it and placed it on that altar. The Bible says that the incense went up as a rightward odor and went over the veil into the presence of God. They represented the prayers of the saints mingled with the intent of the merits of Jesus as a sweet odor where heavily for the reason why there are eighteen year olds going up and down on the male is because as the smoke went up what we can sense it symbolizing the fact that the angels there are prayers to God's presence in Jesus all the impressiveness and so we don't have to be concerned about what God the Father feels of us we need to be concerned about what the father feels about Jesus and the father accept Jesus fully completely because Jesus has paid the debt of sin. If you know that the name of Jesus is not only powerful for us to come before God's presence the name of Jesus is also powerful for us to be able to represent him before men. Now we don't have time to read all of the verses that we have in the last section here. But the name of Jesus is very powerful not only for us to approach the father but also for us to approach our fellow man for example you remember when David came against the law to lie they would say as you come to me with a sword and you come to me with a spear and you come to me with a gentleman but I can't tell you in the name of the LORD of hosts whom you have watched me and when to use the name of the Law The liable to be beat is the name of the Lord is serious it's good. When your life is right with Jesus. It not only has passed for you to go before the other and be accepted. When you go boldly through Jesus to the father but he also has power when it comes to representing Jesus among men. Another example from the Old Testament you remember Elijah Bible says that Elijah had gone to heaven. Lyta told everybody hey Elijah going to heaven and some of the parents that were there they started telling their kids can you believe that preposterous idea of Elijah going to heaven come. And they're said to Elijah come on where did you hide what the idea of God taking into heaven so I doubted the protocol I mean I'm sure one day like I was walking down the road and there's forty two children who had been taught by their parents to this honor the prophetic gift that God had given to them and they're crying out God that may lead you to go up. Bible says that he likes to turn and he cursed them in the name of the Lord who then are to be blessed. In the name of the Lord the Bible says it to C.B.S. came out of the woods and pour into the field and really the ones who were to blame with the parents because they had taught the children to dishonor God's power. There is power in the name of G.-D.. There was a big bull like the courses of course were too weak for him you know the Lord didn't left me with a brother and I love my resists but you know I was going to disadvantage when I was in the school yard when I was growing up and I have been a swimmer because you know there were some cute little kids about my same size but they had brothers who were big school and when a bully came and pushed them around they would say look I'm too small for you I can't do anything but unless you leave me alone I'll get my brother and he'll take it and they would leave him alone. So that's what we say hey I'm waiting on you and you can push me around but if you continue pushing me around I'll sit my brother and you and my brothers who you see the name of Jesus give us power of attorney if they're Jesus. That's why when we use the name of Jesus say we because at the name of Jesus the devil always believes so when temptation comes not only say it is written but also say in the name of James just who overcame you who conquered you the part of me and he will actually because when you use Jesus' name it's as if Jesus were here personally because we have power of attorney in his name. I'd like to read one last text. Acts Chapter four. I would like to read verse seven Acts chapter four and verse seven out of the question that the rulers asked Peter and when they had sat them in the midst they asked by what power or by what name have you done this they just healed apparently what was the name represented by you know what name I don't know what the name is power you know the name of Jesus you can be more than overcome. So let's learn to pray more heavily in the name of Jesus and we will gain victory after victory after victory and we will see from end to spiritual growth. You know what would you like me to pray now that the Lord will give you the courage remembrance they use the powerful name of Jesus and to meet the conditions of God can answer your prayers that your desire tonight let's pray Father we thank you that you have given us this powerful weapon of prayer. But nor do we realize that there are certain conditions that must be met according to Jesus in order for our prayers to be received in your sight. We ask Lord that you will help us to meet these conditions because in our sinful condition we can do with who we are the enemy is too strong but that's why we ask that you will give us Jesus because he is more powerful than the enemy. Lord there might be somebody here this evening that is struggling with simple habits simple for those with problems so great that they can't see a way out. I have more but you will come close to them at this very moment and you will help them to learn to pray and to cry out to you and to persevere. I asked Lord that you will answer their prayer. They might be able to form a personal relationship with Jesus. We know that Jesus is coming very very soon and we want to be ready. And so Lord through the power of your spirit make us human and help us to have that day in and day out commune with our beloved saint. We thank you lord that you do take the time in your busy schedule upholding the universe who incline your ear to your ass puny little human beings. What an awesome privilege to speak with the room holding whoever this Jesus' most precious to you the website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermons and much more if you would like to know if you'd like W W W.

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