Creflo Dollar - Law Based Prayer vs. Grace Based Prayer
If you have your Bibles, go with me to the book of Saint John chapter 1 and verse 17. Saint John chapter 1, verse 17. We've been talking about "The Contrast". And tonight we're going to a contrast between the difference between law-based prayers versus grace-based prayers. So we're gonna spend tonight and this weekend, we're gonna talk about prayer and just how powerful it is and one of the things I'm definitely gonna deal with is does God hear the sinner, you know?
There's so much stuff going on with that but not if you know the nature of God. I can almost guarantee you know how to answer that based on the nature of God. But we're gonna look at the Scriptures that people use and show you some things so this is gonna be really interesting. I hope it stirs your life up, your prayer life up, and you really see what you got going on here.
So let's begin with Saint John 1:17. Let's read it out loud together. Ready? Read. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". And so we've been making the contrast between the law by Moses versus the grace by Jesus Christ. What was true under the law by Moses may not be the same truth under the grace that came by Jesus. And so we've got to compare and contrast not just the law that came by Moses versus the grace that came by Jesus Christ but there's a lot of contrasts. Contrasts between servanthood versus sonship, contrasts between, you know, spirit and flesh. Contrasts between, you know, all the things that happened before the cross versus the thing that happened after the cross, the requirements of salvation, the requirements of the blessings. Those things have to be taught in contrast so you can see what was the truth under the law and now what is the truth under the grace of God.
Now here's one thing we do know. Romans chapter 6:14, for we're no longer under the law. Sin has no dominion over you. Why? Because you're not under the law but you're under what? Under grace. So one thing we do know is that God has called us to live life under the grace that came by Jesus Christ. Under the law it was about how well you performed to deserve what you'd get from God. Under grace it was all about what Jesus has already done and you believing and having faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ.
Now, let's begin this contrast between the law-based prayers or law-based praying versus grace-based praying. And I wanna start off with, I mean, we might as well just hop right in it. What was praying like before the cross? What was true about praying before Jesus went to the cross and shared his blood? Now, 2 Chronicles, if you will, chapter 7 and verse 13 and 14. 2 Chronicles, chapter 7 and verse 13 and 14. Now, as we look at this and we challenge ourselves with what we see, now you're really gonna have to hang on to what you know about this, all right? 2 Chronicles chapter 7, verse 13, he says, "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people," verse 14, here's what you're familiar with: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins, and will heal their land".
How many of you have ever heard that mentioned before, as a Christian? I am identifying to you this, tonight, that that is a law-based prayer. Look at what it says. That is not a prayer based in the grace of God. There's a lot of things that this thing is talking about praying that Jesus has already done, all right? For example, "My people, which are called by my name, if they shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, turn from their wicked ways," all right, now watch this. He says, "I'm gonna hear from heaven". The whole thing is if you first, then he will second.
So that's a problem. That is a pattern based under the law that came by Moses. The law that came by Moses is a performance-based covenant. It is a conditional covenant. This is conditional. This is a conditional prayer. This prayer says: "If you do these things, then God will do these things". This is a conditional prayer. Under the grace of God, it's unconditional, all right? Now, I'll show you some things here. Authority's mixed in with it but now look at this. "Then will I hear from heaven," and do what? "And I'll forgive their sins".
Well, he forgave our sins already. He did it when he was on the cross 2000 years ago and his forgiveness of our sins was not based in what you did. Jesus forgave your sins. If you didn't do any of what he said at the beginning of this verse, now this is true under the law of Moses. This was a requirement under the law that came by Moses but for us today, we recognize that Jesus forgave our sins 2000 years ago, past, present, and future. For you to pray and make it conditional by saying, "Lord, I, you know, I gotta do these things first so you'll forgive me of my sins", that's not grace-based praying. First of all, you're praying and asking God to do something he's already done.
Remember I told you there are two prayers he'll never answer. Number one, he will never answer prayer where you're asking him to do something that he's already done. Number two, he will never answer a prayer when you are asking him to do what he told you to do, all right? All right, now watch this. He says, "I'll forgive their sins, and I'll heal their land". He's already done that. Healing has already been released. Now, healing has already been made available. It's up for this nation to receive the healing that's already been made available.
The chaos in our land or anybody else's land, you know, I often hear people say, "Well, if God doesn't judge America then he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology". No, no. Why? He's already judged everything. You gotta understand, he's already judged everything. And under the covenant of grace, you receive what's already been done. You're asking God to do something he's already done. Healing has not only been made available for all of us as individuals but healing has already been made available for the land. He ain't coming back to do something he's already done. This prayer is basically asking him to do what he's already done.
For you as New Testament saints to pray that prayer today is for you to fall back to the law thinking that "if my people," you meet the condition, then God will do that, uh-uh. No, God's already done that and now we need to believe by faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ. This is how they prayed before the cross. This is a law-based prayer, wow, amen. Oh, man, should I say this, Lord? So is the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Forgive us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Thine is the kingdom, power".
That is a law-based prayer that Jesus gave, actually it was an outline, to his disciples when he asked them, "Lord, how should we pray"? And we came years ago and me included and took the Lord's Prayer and tried to teach it and make it a New Testament prayer. It is not. And you can say it before every basketball game, every football game, and every special event. I used to do it at funerals. "Everybody bow your heads and repeat the Lord's Prayer".
I don't do that anymore. In fact, I'm trying to rewrite everything. We just released a new wedding ceremony. We releasing new funeral stuff. I don't even hardly care about, 'cause I'm not doing that, all right? Now, so it's a law-based prayer and I'm sure people online are freaking out, like... just hang on in here, honey. It's gonna be a great time. Now, look at this, Ezekiel 22 and 30. Look at this. This is before the cross as well.
Now, remember 2 Chronicles 7:14, that is a "before the cross" prayer. That was before Jesus died, shed his blood. Here's something else that happened before the cross. Look what he says: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none". So right here, before the cross, notice he was saying, "We were looking for somebody to stand in the gap". And now, y'all know, going to church, that you've heard good old Christian people saying, "Well, let's stand in the gap. Tonight, we're gonna stand in the gap".
All right, there are two things wrong. When he needed somebody to stand in the gap, he couldn't find nobody. Now everybody wanna stand in the gap. But there ain't no gap no more because Jesus is now the one that stands in the gap so don't be praying no prayers where y'all looking, "Lord, we decided we gonna stand in the gap. We here, praying for such and such and so, standing in the gap". That is old covenant, law-based, before-the-cross praying. Don't do it. Standing in the gap was something similar. It was a mediator. There was no mediator.
Let me show you something that was just really good to know as a Christian. There was, in the book of Job chapter 9 and verse 32 and 33, there was a phrase that was used and, you know, these people were frustrated because they was, like, "Man, if we had somebody that could stand between us and God, then maybe they could speak God's Word to us, lay hands on us, but we have nobody to stand before us and God". And Job referred to this mediator as a daysman. Look at this in verse 32 and 33: "For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment". Verse 33: "Neither is there any daysman".
Now, translated, that word: "mediator". "Neither is there any daysman between us, that might lay his hand upon us both". So he says before the cross there was no mediator between God and man and they used the term "daysman" or no mediator between God and man. So before the cross, there was no mediator but was it always like that? Well, no. Look at what he says here in 1 Timothy chapter 2:15. I'm gonna show you four Scriptures 'cause I never want this to be a question.
1 Timothy 2:15. No, let's look at 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 9:15, excuse me, and then John 14 and 6, and then Hebrews 8 and 6. All right, 1 Timothy 2 and 5, he says, "For there is one God, and," how many? "One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". How many of you know after the cross Jesus is in the gap? I said Jesus is in the gap. Jesus is our mediator that stands between God and man. Look at Hebrews chapter 9 and 15. Jesus is the mediator that stands between God and men.
Now, this is so very, very important and Hebrews 9:15, check this out: "And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament". So there's our mediator between God and men in this New Testament, "that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament," the first testament being the law, "they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance". So we see Jesus as the mediator or the daysman that stands between God and man. He's the mediator of the New Testament.
Look at John 14 and 16. John 14 and 16. If you'll start noticing in traditional churches, you hear all of this stuff and you think, "Where did that come from"? And most likely, it came from before the cross-type of praying. John 14 and 6, I apologize. John 14 and 6, and he says here, he says, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me," the mediator. That's awesome. There is no other religious personality that can say what was just said here. No man can come to the Father except by me, Jesus, not by Buddha, not by Muhammad. Jesus is the only one.
"Well, what makes you think Jesus is the", 'Cause he's the only way to the Father. He's the only way to the Father. If you gonna get to God you've got to go through Jesus. Ho-ho-ho-ho, hallelujah. Muhammad don't even have the directions. Buddha don't even know if it's north, south, east or west. But Jesus said, "If you gonna get him, I am the mediator. I am your daysman. I stand between God and you".
Boy, that's exciting to me. And then one more: Hebrews 8 and 6. Hebrews 8 and 6, I stand between God and man. I have filled the gap. Hebrews 8 and 6: "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises".
So Jesus now is the mediator not only between God and man, glory be to God, but he stands between that old covenant and the new one. I like this. You can't get from the old to the new except you go through Jesus, amen, amen. Somebody just say that name for me. Jesus. That's what our whole lives are about. It's not about a whole bunch of principles and thank God for principles. Don't get me wrong. It is about a man and his name is Jesus. Hey, join me in making Jesus famous 'cause we have forgotten about what this is all about. We keep trying to make it about us. It's about Jesus.
Now, if it was Sunday morning, I would have to preach that thing like a Baptist church. "Jesus, my sweet rose of Sharon, Jesus, my lily of the valley, Jesus," I have to spell it for you. "J-E-S-U-S". I did it one time and forgot a "S". All right, now, what about then New Testament prayers? Now, I'm gonna make just a comment on this. My intention in this series is not to show you all of the promises of the New Testament but I wanna hit something so very, very important.
In New Testament prayers, we are not praying to try to get God to do something. Let me give you a very general definition of a prayer that my father, my spiritual father, and I, way back, talk about. He said something that just struck my spirit. He said, "Prayer is really saying to God what he's already said through his Word". And then over the years and as I began to understand the grace of God, I wanna put this to it: Prayer is saying to God what Jesus has already accomplished through this covenant of grace.
So here's the difference. New Testament praying is all about praying what has already been finished. It's praying finished works. It is not trying to get God to do something that he's already done. It is praying in line with the finished works of Jesus. It's praying in line with the promises and the guarantees of this new covenant. So here's what it sounds like. Let's say you're praying for healing. Old covenant will say, you know: "Lord, I'm gonna be good and I'm gonna do this and I'm gonna do that and I'm gonna do that and if I do that, Lord, please heal me". New covenant says: "Father, you healed me 2000 years ago and I give you praise that I am healed".
I don't know what these people be talking about who be praying in English for, like, a long, long time, using words over and over again and trying to use the Elizabethan language and stuff like that. It is real simple. I was praying for somebody one time and it went by so quick they opened their eye, like, "Is that it"? I'm, like, "Yeah, that's it".
In the name of Jesus, Father, I thank you that healing was made ready 2000 years ago. Now we appropriate and take hold of it in Jesus's name and thank you for it.
Father, I thank you that on that cross everything we'll ever need pertaining to life and godliness, we already have it and, Lord, I thank you that you are our provider and we receive it now in Jesus's name.
The whole covenant is about belief in what Jesus has already done.
Father, I thank you in Jesus's name that I walk in the favor of God and I believe I receive the job that you want me to have and the one that'll cause me to be happy and I give you praise for that right now.
Your prayer is wrapped in thanksgiving and praise about what Jesus has already done. We have been praying New Testament prayer. If you find yourself begging God, trying to get him to do something right now, "O Lord, my kind, heavenly Father, here we are once more again, a few of your humble servants gathered here in your name". It's like we're trying to grease his palm up or something. "And Lord, I ain't got a mother in that land". Your mama's sitting right there by you and yet you, "Lord, I got a father in that land". Just trying to grease him up. "But if you can stop by just a little while longer, then we know everything will be all right. Lord, everything will be all right. Stop by. Stop by. Stop by. Stop by. Stop by". See, my question is, is Jesus a visitor or a permanent resident? Okay, that's wrong. It may look and feel good but it accomplishes nothing.