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Watch 2022 online sermons » Creflo Dollar » Creflo Dollar - Prayer: The Believer's Dependence Upon God

Creflo Dollar - Prayer: The Believer's Dependence Upon God

Creflo Dollar - Prayer. The Believer's Dependence Upon God
TOPICS: Prayer, Dependence on God

Tonight we're gonna talk about prayer, the believer's dependence upon God. Prayer is the believer's dependence upon God. You're praying because you're obviously depending on God to do something that you can't do. And so, 1 Thessalonians, we're gonna focus in on this really short Scripture that is pregnant with revelation. And in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5:17 he says this: "Pray without ceasing". Pray without ceasing. And I did not have a chance to dig into this. I don't think I've ever had a chance to dig into this. But we need to dig in it 'cause it's so short, you think, "Well, there's nothing to it". Well, the first thing I want you to recognize is that praying without ceasing has to do more with attitude than the number of hours spent in prayer.

Think about it again. "Pray without ceasing" has more to do with the attitude versus trying to keep up with the amount of minutes or hours that you pray. Now, notice what he said and what he didn't say. He said, "Pray without ceasing". He's talking about praying without ceasing; he didn't say "Praying constantly". You see the difference there? Not pray, he was saying "Praying without ceasing", 'cause he's focused more on the attitude. He didn't say, "Pray constantly". In fact, he had a little something to say about people who try to pray constantly. Look at Matthew chapter 6 in the NLT. Matthew chapter 6, verses 5 through 7. So we're not trying to keep up with the minutes and the hours that we pray. That's not what he's talking about.

Matthew 6, verse 5 and 7 warns us. He says, "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them". He says, "I tell you the truth, that that is all the reward they will ever get". And verse 6 says, "But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you". 7: "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do", okay? "They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again". So this is not talking about praying constantly and somebody would think, you know, well, when I first saw it, I thought it was meant praying constantly. I'm like, well, you gotta sleep, you know? You gotta eat, so you know he wasn't talking about that.

So what we wanna look at here tonight, is what does prayer without ceasing mean? What does prayer without ceasing mean? I wanna look at it from five different perspectives. The first perspective is prayer without ceasing means the understanding and belief that God is right here with me and he is with me all the time. It's the attitude of understanding and believing that God is right here with me. The "praying without ceasing," here's the attitude I have: "God is right here with me and God will be with me all the time. All the time". That's the attitude you have to have in order to see that Scripture fulfilled.

In fact, here's some evidence of that: Hebrews chapter 13, verse 5, in the Amplified Bible. Hebrews 13 and 5. Begin to practice this as I give you these five ones, I want you to practice, "Wait a minute, God is with me all the time. God is with me all the time". That's gonna really build your confidence up. I believe that God is right here with me. I believe he's with me right now. I believe he's with me all the time. Hebrews 13 and 5 says: "Let your character or your moral disposition be free from the love of money".

All right, when you have a love for money, that means you are valuing it more than you value God, amen? He says, "Including greed and avarice and lust and cravings for earthly possessions". He said, "Be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (nor relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]"

That's powerful, isn't it? In other words, God is not ever gonna leave you by yourself. He's with you right now. Say that out loud: "God is with me right now". Say this out loud: "God is with me all the time". So from this first perspective, praying without ceasing, this attitude right here, has gotta be an attitude that God is always going to be with me and he's with me right now, all right? Let's look at the second one: Praying without ceasing means that our lives are constantly turned towards God. That my life, your life, is constantly turned towards God. We recognize that everything in life involves God. That's powerful right there. We recognize that everything in life involves God. That's that praying without ceasing.

My attitude that everything in life, in my life, in your life, involves God. In other words, it involves God because you get him involved in everything that's going on in your life. That we can't do life apart from him. This is us as Christian people saying, "We can't do life apart from God". Say out loud, "I can't do life apart from God". That's that attitude you have to have: I can't do life apart from God. When you wake up in the morning and you begin to recognize: I can't do life apart from God. When you go to work: I can't do life apart from God, for without him I'm nothing. I can't do life apart from God. See, we majored on the mechanics and we forgot about the essence of the relationship. And praying without ceasing is this attitude that God is here, he'll never leave me, I can't do anything without him, I've made my mind up to make sure that he's involved in everything that I do.

That's what he's talking about here, don't cease to do those things. Here's the third perspective right here: Praying without ceasing means that we put everything in God's hand. We put everything in God's hand. Therefore, we must seek him out and seek to pray about everything in our life. Everything in our life, everything is in his hands. Baby need a pair of shoes, that's in his hands. How you gonna pay your bill, your money, your relationship, your children, everything is in God's hand. That's that attitude that you gotta have when you talk about praying without ceasing. It's in God's hand. And you have to initiate that, that everything is in God's hand.

I like in the NLT in Philippians chapter 4 and 6, watch this, in the NLT, Philippians chapter 4 and 6. Everything is in God's hand. And I don't know what you may be going through, what you have gone through, everything is in God's hand, amen? Look what he said. He said, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything". He just knows what to do. He says everybody's gonna have the potential to worry about a lot of stuff, but he says, "Don't worry about anything; instead," or in replace of worrying, "pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done". Tell him what you need, and thank him for all that he's done, praise the Lord. This is the attitude of someone who begins to live the life of praying without ceasing. It's an attitude. Not the timing of your praying; your attitude.

Let's look at the fourth perspective here: Praying without ceasing, it means that one expresses a need that he himself is unable to satisfy. You express a need, you know you're not able to meet that need on your own, and then you acknowledge your dependence upon God to supply that which is needed. So you express the need, knowing you can't meet it on your own, and then you acknowledge, "I depend upon God to supply what is needed". It's the attitude there. See, that attitude there is always gonna keep you consciously aware and thinking about God. It's like practicing the presence of God is a constant awareness of him all the time. All the time that you're constantly aware. And when you're aware of God, you may find yourself talking to him or meditating on things or having conversations with him because you have the right attitude that represents praying without ceasing.

You know, the essence of prayer is, first of all, acknowledging your helplessness and, at the same time, having confidence in God to supply the need. I go before God and I acknowledge the essence of saying, "I'm helpless. I can't do this without you," okay? I acknowledge my helplessness and, at the same time, I also acknowledge the confidence that I have in him. I don't know what it's like or maybe I don't wanna remember what it's like to carry this attitude of "I don't need you, Lord. I'm good. Unless something really horrific takes place, I'm good". God's not saying that things have to be going bad before you, you know, acknowledge that you need his help. He's like, "I want you to need me, even when everything's going good. I wanna know that you have a daily need for me in your life".

Don't cease that, okay? You have a daily need for God in your life. Come, say that with me: "I have a daily need for God in my life every day". What I'm trying to do as a pastor, is over the last, especially couple of months, trying to sow things into your life and you begin the journey in this and disciplining yourself in this and practicing these things, and these things begin to work automatic on the inside of you. The Bible calls it renewing the spirit of your mind, okay? And I'm telling you, man, when you begin to, every day, acknowledge, "I have need for you today, Lord, and I have, confident that you are well able and equipped to meet my need," that's praying without ceasing. Don't stop doing that. Don't let that attitude disappear.

And then all of a sudden, now, because you're a Christian, been saved a little bit, had some experiences, that stops. And that should not stop. Your relationship with God and as a Christian should not be the sum total of a prayer, a song, a sermon, and home. That's boring. I don't want that. That's like a play or something. That's like... no, no, no, no. Your experience with God should be as unique as you want it to be 'cause he's your God, hallelujah. Let me stop. He's my God, and my conversations are unique and private with him. It's not cookie-cutter, praise the Lord. "This is the way we go to church, go to church, go to church, sing our songs and clap our hands".

I ain't doing that. I won't do that no mo'. I want the unique experience of praying without ceasing and maintaining an attitude where I can go to God, say I'm helpless, and be confident that he'll help me and then continue in my dependence and leaning and depending on God. That's what this is about, amen? And then the fifth perspective of praying without ceasing, this is pretty good. This is, like, this sums it all up and you take everything we just said and here's what it means. It's taking us right back to what we've been talking about the last few weeks. To pray without ceasing is to maintain a constant attitude of dependence upon God.

That's it. Pray without, listen, this whole dependence upon God thing, it started in the Garden, it's the issue of the whole Bible. It's the issue of the whole, I don't know what people be doing with what happened in the Garden of Eden, and they be picking these little things out and it ain't none of that happened. I mean, it's just like, and you have to kind of back up a little bit from your religion and your way of other stuff, and you've gotta kind of go at it with a fresh pair of eyes. I've had to just really, even the stuff I've taught in my past, I've had to back up on all of it and just get a whole fresh, and tell myself, "Now, Lord, help me. I wanna see this with a pair of fresh eyes".

And when I look at that whole deal in the Garden of Eden, that's absolutely what it was. Jesus, God told him exactly what was going to happen. He says, "You may eat of all the trees of the Garden freely. So I'm not holding nothin' back. It's free to you. You may eat of all the trees of the Garden freely, but this one right here, you can't eat of it because if you do, you're gonna die". And then Satan creeps in the Garden, "Hath God said", trying to create some doubt. "Hath God said", and then talking to the lady and it wasn't like Adam was on vacation out of town somewhere. He right there. And you know, "Hath God said", and she said, "Well, we may eat of all the trees of the Garden but for this one right here we may not eat it or the Bible says that we'll die".

And here's what the dude said: "You shall not surely die". "Well, God said you gonna die". "You shall not surely die". He said, and watch him set 'em up to declare independence from God. "You shall not surely die for God knoweth the day that you eat of this, you will be just like him, knowing good from evil". And you know what they said? "Oh, well, if we gonna be just like God, we don't need to depend on God". And they declared their independence by eating the fruit off the tree and declaring, "We are independent from God. We don't need him". And when they did that, the knowledge that the didn't have before, like, "We naked". Ain't nobody taught, nobody trained them to make clothes.

So their's lightning-fast mind says, "I wanna make some clothes out of some fig leaves," which are sticky, if you've ever gotten some fig leaves. And the whole thing was going into the Garden, a spirit of independence, that's what Satan did in heaven. "Let's deceive a third of the angels". Well, deceive 'em to what? "Declare your independence from God. We don't need you". That's what it was. And God was like, "You all got a wrong phone number. Do you all know where you are"? There were millions of angels kicked out, millions, because they declared their independence from God, and hell was created for the devil and his angels and anybody else who wanna try to declare their independence from God. That's the whole thing.

And now, God is saying, "Now what do I need to do to get these people to see that they need me," because before what happened in the Garden of Eden, they absolutely trusted and depended on God for everything. They naked. "What we gonna eat? What we gonna do? The weather gonna be right? Is it gonna be too", they depended on, and all of a sudden, independence came and those who had a free moral agent decided that they did not need God. And this prayer without ceasing is totally about maintaining the attitude of complete dependence upon God. And that's what prayer...I pray because I need God and I depend on him. I am not, listen. Yes, I'm praying about some needs that I have. I do that because I'm dependent on him.

Somebody say, "Well, I don't believe in prayer". Well, you just told me you ain't depending on God. You're depending on something else to try to get stuff met. But I believe in prayer is the attitude that you maintain because you depend on him. And when you depend on him, you're gonna talk to him. When you depend on him, you're gonna pray. When you depend on him, you wanna know how to pray. When you depend on him, you wanna know how to communicate with the one you depend on. You wanna talk to him about where you feel helpless. You wanna talk to him about your attitude, your character, what you said, what you shouldn't have said, how you said what you said. You wanna talk to him all the time. And you're dependent on him to grow you up, to train you, to reprove you, to love you, to rebuke you. When it looks impossible in this world, because you depend on God, God will constantly cause you to rise above your impossibilities and to hope against hope because that's the one you depend on. This is the life of prayer. It's not the mechanics. It's not the mechanics. It's the attitude, amen.

Now let's look at Ephesians chapter 5 and 20. Ephesians chapter 5 and 20. Let's get a little picky here. He says, "Giving thanks always". I'm thinking, "Always"? Yeah, always. For what? "For all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ". Now, we need to dig into this because there is no better expression of dependence upon God than in giving thanks. No better way of expressing your dependence upon God than when you give God thanks. Now, I don't know what we thought about thanksgiving but it's huge, man. Don't let a day go by where you're not giving God thanks.

Now, I'm getting ready to show you why. Don't let a day go by without you giving God thanks. Why? Well, on Sunday I mentioned this and I really went by it real fast and that's why I'm kind of doing this little brief review. Prayer acknowledges your dependence upon God when you have a need. Prayer acknowledges, so when you go to God when you have a need, you're acknowledging, "I'm depending on God because I have a need". But now, thanksgiving is, it acknowledges your depending on God once that need has been met. You hear what I'm saying? So prayer, it demonstrates and acknowledges, "I depend on God when I have a need". All right, so when God meets that need, thanksgiving acknowledges, "I still depend on God even when the need is met".

The whole issue is about depending on God. But there are people who are depending on God until they get what they want. That's not cool. You're depending on God to meet your need and then when he meets it, does it mean you no longer depend on him? Well, if you're not in thanksgiving that's exactly what it means. Let me show you this in Luke chapter 17, verse 11 through 18, dealing with the ten lepers. They prayed to Jesus to have mercy on 'em. All right, check this out. He said, "And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee". Next, "And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and they said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us".

Do for us what we don't deserve. "And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourself unto the priest". Man, they're dependent on him. "And it came to pass, that, as they went," as they went. They didn't even arrive to show themselves to the priest. As they turned and started going, "they were cleansed". All right, now, watch this. "And one of them," how many? "One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God," or began to thank God. "And he fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: he was a Samaritan".

Now this is interesting because the Jews and Samaritans, there were some racial tensions here. And this guy just got healed by a Jewish man and he is now declaring that he is gonna have complete dependence for this man called Jesus who is a Jewish man. All right now, watch this. "And Jesus answering said," hold on, let me holler at you for a moment, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this one". Oh, so they acknowledged that they depended on him until they got what they wanted. You know, we know church people like that. When it's bad, "O God, help me. I'm coming to church. I ain't missing nothing. I'm gonna pray. I'm coming to everything. I'm even in departmental meetings. I just wants to be about the presence of the Lord". And as soon as the Lord meet that need, you don't see them people no mo'.
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