God s Word on Prayer Powerful Prayer Part II

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1 God s Word on Prayer Powerful Prayer Part II There was a Christian lady who lived next door to an atheist. Everyday, when the lady prayed, the atheist guy could hear her. He thought to himself, "She sure is crazy, praying all the time like that. Doesn't she know there isn't a God?" Many times while she was praying, he would go to her house and harass her, saying "Lady, why do you pray all the time? Don't you know there is no God?" But she kept on praying. One day, she ran out of groceries. As usual, she was praying to the Lord explaining her situation and thanking Him for what He was gonna do. AS USUAL, the atheist heard her praying and thought to himself. "Hmph...I'll fix her." He went to the grocery store, bought a whole bunch of groceries, took them to her house, dropped them off on the front porch, rang the doorbell and then hid in the bushes to see what she would do. When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she began to praise the Lord with all her heart, jumping, singing and shoutin' everywhere! The atheist then jumped out of the bushes and told her, "You ol'crazy lady, God didn't buy you those groceries, I bought those groceries!" Well, she broke out and started running down the street, shouting and praising the Lord. When he finally caught her, he asked what her problem was... She said, "I knew the Lord would provide me with some groceries, but I didn't know he was gonna make the devil pay for them!" There s just nothing like a praying woman! Last week we started a series, God s Word on Prayer. We took a look at powerful prayer. One thing God s Word is very clear about is the fact that godly people have very powerful and effective prayers. We are told that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. It doesn t mean that they are perfect people, but by and large they do what is right and they live their life allowing God s Spirit to lead. Now often times we just don t see ourselves capable of having the prayer life that we have seen some people have. Our text last week used Elijah as an illustration. He prayed that it wouldn t rain and it didn t rain for three years until he prayed for rain again. But the scripture was very clear, it said, Elijah was a man just like us. Other words; being a superhero is not a requirement for your prayers to accomplish powerful things. It s not about being a superhero, it s about your hunger and thirst for righteousness, your hunger to be the person God wants you to be. If you are that type of person God will be all ears when you pray. But our text also talked about the power of praying for each other and the healing that is in it. Sometimes it can bring physical healing and sometimes it can be a spiritual healing, but there is power in praying for each other.

2 Today I want to continue to look at powerful prayer as we look at some things that Jesus says that in a way can be mind-blowing if you think about it. Jesus words are found in the gospel of John. John 14:12-14 What Jesus said here would certainly get your attention if you had seen the things that He did during His ministry up to this point. Let s go back and look at what He said once more in verse 12. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Now we know that Jesus healed the sick, the dead were raised to life and all kinds of incredible things, so how in the world would the disciples do even greater things. I don t think that Jesus meant that they would necessarily do greater miracles. I mean after all how do you top raising someone from the dead? Now don t get me wrong the disciples did some great miracles themselves. Those things really became evident in their life when they received the power of the Spirit. This is why Jesus said, He will do greater things than these because I am going to the Father. Once Jesus went to the Father the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and that changed everything. Peter preached to a large crowd that day and about 3,000 believers were added to the church that day. Never in Jesus ministry was 3,000 believers added to the church in one day. With the power of the Holy Spirit incredible things were happening in the life of the church. The disciples under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit reached into areas that had been previously untouched by the gospel. Jesus traveled to a point, but the gospel never started going global so to speak until after Jesus was gone. So Jesus wasn t kidding, in essence they were doing greater things. Jesus made it clear that anyone who had faith could do greater things. Faith is an important key. God honor s our faith. When we have faith we aren t afraid to pray boldly. We aren t afraid to pray for God to do big things. It doesn t mean that we just make up big things to pray for. We learn to pray as God s Spirit directs. But when you have faith there is a boldness that develops in your prayer life. Jesus also said in Mark 11:22-24 Have faith in God, Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Now it doesn t mean you can ask for crazy stuff and as long as you believe it, it will happen, but we will talk about that a little more in detail later. But the point that Jesus makes here is that faith is a huge part of prayer that accomplishes powerful things. A lot of people lack faith

3 that their prayers can really accomplish powerful things and they pray very generically. Their faith is lacking enough to really step out on faith and ask that mountain to be moved. When we are talking about powerful prayer we need to remember this: You have to have faith enough to ask. Powerful prayer doesn t come from someone who lacks faith to truly pray boldly. Sometimes the lack of faith in asking comes from not a lack of faith in God, but a lack of faith that God would respond to their prayers. They know God can do anything that He chooses to do but they have these feelings of insecurity. They feel like they aren t worth God hearing their prayers so why would I pray boldly? Why would I pray asking for God to move mountains in my life or the life of the church? This lack of confidence doesn t come from God, but it comes from Satan who doesn t want believers to know how powerful their prayers of faith can be. Now when we go back to our text this morning Jesus says something else that grabs the attention. In the first part of verse 13 He says, And I will do whatever you ask in my name Then again Jesus seems to state it for emphasis again in verse 14. He says, You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. So this is the next thing you need to know about powerful prayer: You must ask in the name of Jesus. Now, that is probably one of the most misused Bible verses there are. People have taken that verse and used to it to support the prosperity gospel. God wants you to have that Mercedes. He wants you to live in a million dollar house. Pray in the name of Jesus and it is yours. Now maybe some people do not take it quite that far. But they pray for things that they want and they think if they throw the name of Jesus in there that it s going to happen or that it should happen. After all I m just claiming one of the promises in God s Word. God is supposed to be true to all His promises. But you have to realize that when Jesus was saying this He wasn t talking about using His name like a genie. To pray in the name of Jesus means that you are praying within His character and purpose. Is all you have to do is to look at the life of Jesus when He was here on earth. Was He about riches or anything like that? Of course He was not. Is all you have to do is to look at the circumstances that He was born in to. Then if you look how He lived as a child and when He began His ministry. There were nights that Jesus slept out in the open fields. Jesus had the power to have whatever He wanted but He chose to have very little. The reason is, Jesus was not concerned with material wealth He was concerned about doing the will of His Father. So to pray for great riches in the name of Jesus is using His name out of character and it misrepresents who He is. Praying in the name of Jesus means that the things you are praying for are the things that mean something to Christ. If you are praying

4 for your own will to be done, if you are praying selfishly, don t expect your prayers to answered no matter how many times you throw the name of Jesus in. In the book of James we are told the reason why you don t get what you ask for is that you ask with the wrong motives. But this is what we are told in I John 5:14. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. If we are praying and really wanting God s will we will learn to pray with confidence. Then the question you might have is how to do we learn to pray God s will. The Holy Spirit helps us to know how to pray. I think of Jesus prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed for this cup to be taken from Him, yet not my will be done but your will be done. Jesus knew for Himself personally He didn t want to face the pain of the cross. But He also knew that the Father s will was what needed to be done above all else. So He prays, If there is any other way we can do this let s do it, but if not, it s not about my will but your will be done. Jesus was devoted to wanting the will of His Father done. So for our prayers to be powerful we need to learn to pray in the Father s will and for the Father s will to be done. What we need to realize, if you want to see great things, then trust God to let His will be done. Pray for His will to be done. If you are committed to seeing God s will be done like Jesus was, then your prayers will be the kind of prayers where great things happen. If you are the kind of person who is devoted to seeing the will of God done then pray in the name of Jesus! Ask anything in my name and it will be done Jesus said. If you are committed to wanting what Jesus wants, Jesus said use my name and it will happen. Now let s go back and look at our text one more time this morning. This time let s look at all of verse 13. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You see the answer is promised, I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that I can bring glory to my Father. Jesus goal was to bring glory to the Father in whatever He did. Our prayers, what we want to see accomplished should be about bringing glory to God. Powerful prayer, it must bring glory to God. Jesus was all about doing the will of His Father so that He could bring glory to God. In John chapter 17 is a prayer of Jesus that was recorded. Listen to what is said in John 17:1. After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you. Jesus request for His Father to glorify Him was not a selfish request. Jesus knew in order for the plan to go the way the Father wanted that He would need to be glorified, and in doing so, with He being returned to the glory that He had before the world began, His Father would receive glory from it. Everything Jesus did was to bring glory to the Father. We get that picture again in

5 John 17:4 where Jesus says in His prayer, I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. If we are going to pray in the character of Jesus, if we are going to pray in His name then our prayers, and everything we do needs to be about bringing glory to God. Once again, God will not honor prayers if our motives are to bring glory to ourselves. What if I pray for our church to grow and grow and do great things! Lord I want you to turn this church into a powerful force to turn this city upside down for you. I want people to drive from miles around to come. If those prayers are really because I want the reputation of being a pastor of a church that is growing like crazy then do you think that God is going to honor that prayer? It s not about this church, it s not about me, it s about bringing glory to God. We should all be praying that this church does great things for the kingdom and that we grow, but not so we can pat ourselves on the back, but so that we can bring glory to God. Our purpose in this life should be based on what Jesus purpose was when He walked the earth. His purpose was to bring glory to His Father by doing everything that God had called Him to do. When you truly live like that, when you truly live with that purpose, it will guide your prayers and your prayers will be powerful. Your prayers will be the prayers that move mountains because you are all about bringing glory to God. This morning is a great opportunity to really examine your prayer life. Are you a person who prays boldly, you truly believe that God can do all things and your prayer life shows your faith. When you do pray is it in the name of Jesus and does your prayers reflect the His character and purpose? Jesus was all about doing His Father s will and bringing glory to God. Is that a reflection of your life and your prayer life? If you want to have a prayer life that moves mountains, if you want your prayers to be powerful then their focus needs to be on those things. There is a scripture in Psalms that says delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. The key to that is to delight yourself in the Lord and when we really do that He changes our hearts to where it s beneficial to give us the desires of our hearts. If He gave us the desires of our hearts when they are less than pure He certainly wouldn t be doing us any favors. He wants to change our hearts and then give us the desires of our hearts. Our hearts will be about bringing glory to our Lord and Savior. Does that describe your heart this morning? Does that describe your prayer life? Let s pray.

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