Creflo Dollar - The Essence of Prayer - Part 2
I want to start off with something that just really talks about the character of God. You know, when you think of God, you think, well, you know, he should show up in a big chariot, showing up in a comet coming down. But in the Book of Matthew chapter 11:29, pay very close attention to this lesson today. The Lord delights in using subtle ways to reveal himself. Subtle ways to reveal himself. And he could have manifest it in a much more glorious manner when he came to the earth. I mean think about it, coming to the earth and lying in a manger.
I mean, listen, it could have been a huge dramatic event. You know, he could have ridden in on a comet and landed on the top of the temple at midnight. The earth could have shook. It could have been lightning would have flashed, thunder woulda, you know, turned into like a rap music, but he's subtle. Realize this about God, it's not like some of the movies we see. You know remember when I said, "God does things secretly and quietly"? He's subtle, he's secret, he's quietly.
Not a secret from you but look at this Scripture. I believe this defines his character. He says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me," Matthew 11:29, "take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly," there it is. He said it for himself. He says, "I'm meek and I'm lowly. I think we need to agree with that. Lord, help us to be meek and lowly like you". He says, "I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls. Take my yoke upon you, learn of me," and here's what you learn of him, "I am meek and lowly".
God is not as dramatic as some preachers are. He is meek and he is lowly. He is subtle, God is subtle. And so, the Lord delights in using subtle ways to reveal himself. You know, I can remember I had an injury in my back, and you know, had already thanked God for it and believed I received it. And the pain was still there but I was spending more time paying attention to what God said versus the pain. And right along, you know, the ending of that week or something like that, he had to remind me, "You noticed your back isn't hurting"? And I'm like, "Wow, sure did".
See, it wasn't some gigantic lightning bolt that hit and said, "Now your back is healed". He did it subtly 'cause he's meek and he's lowly. It's the same way when you begin to look at your needs in your life. Okay, so it wasn't that you went to the mailbox and there in the mailbox, and the trumpets were playing, and you opened the envelope up and bam, there was a million-dollar check. But you know what God does, just bit by bit, everything's taken care of. Just at the end of the day, everything's taken care of. And before you know it, several months has gone by and that whole dilemma is no longer there. Why? Because he is meek and lowly. He is subtle in revealing himself.
And that really ministers to me because I'm not looking for the big drama in the heavens for God. I'm looking for a meek and subtle God, a God who is meek and subtle. And I don't want to miss that. I don't want to miss that meek and subtle God showing up in my life, doing something so magnificent in my life. And so, the Lord is not, you know spectacular in just a lot of things he does. He is spectacular. Don't get me wrong. But he's meek and he's lowly, and that's what this Scripture says to me. So we need to learn how to fellowship with God in the midst of our everyday life. And that's the key, how do I fellowship with God, how do I commune with God in the midst of my everyday life? In the midst of a job that I have to go to? In the midst of people that I have to deal with that may not be saved people? In the midst of situations that are not very comfortable situations at home or in relationship?
We've got to learn how to fellowship with God in the midst of everyday life. See, that's the key to it. Not going away for 30 days and go on a fast and in prayer, and there's nothing wrong with that. But how do I relate with him in the midst, in the midst of my everyday life? He's subtle but in the midst of my everyday life. That's the goal. That's the objective that we want to achieve is how to relate with him in the midst of my everyday life.
Now, you think of other things you have going on every day in your life, how do I relate with it? How do I pay attention to that subtle God in my everyday life? So at the end of the day, and I talked to him. He's talking to me about my day, I'm talking to him about my day. And even while talking to him, I realize, "Oh wow, you were there, you did that. Oh, I didn't even realize, yeah, that didn't happen". "Well, you notice that person that was treating you real bad, they were treating you nice"? I didn't notice that God. Started saying, "I ain't even notice that. I didn't notice that God". But that's how he is and it's time for us to learn how to fellowship with him.
Now, I want to show you something because I've seen this in churches and even in my own life, where I thought I had to really beg God, and I had to bombard heaven in order to get God to do something for me. Is that true? Do I have to knock the gates of heaven down, and go in there and holler and scream and bombard heaven in order for God to do something? Is that the truth? I just told you his character and that's why I started off with this because this is so important. We're going to study out of Luke chapter 11. Luke chapter 11, let me turn there. And we're going to look at how this subtle God shows up, and is it true that we have to bombard heaven?
And I'm telling you, I don't have to beg God, I don't have to plead with God, and I thought at one time, you did. And I'm telling you right now, I'mma start right now, you don't have to beg God, you don't have to plead with God. And a lot of times, that's just showing something else different. It's like why are you begging and pleading with God? And I've seen that, come on, I used to do that. We only do what we know to do until we know better, all right? And so let's look at this story here in Luke chapter 11. And when you get to Luke chapter 11, let's look at verse 1, and we're going to study all the way through this.
Verse 1, he says, "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples'". Verse 2, "And he said unto them, 'When ye pray, say, our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.' And he said unto them, 'Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight,'" he's your friend, "and say unto him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves. For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?'"
And so you go to a friend, right? "And he from within shall answer and say," so he didn't say it out loud but, on the inside, that's what he was thinking. "Trouble me not, the door is now shut, my children are with me in bed, and I cannot rise and give thee". Verse 8. He said, "I say unto you, 'Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity," what is that? Importunity. It means when you beg someone to do something. That's basically what it is. Importunity, it's the persistence in solicitation. It's when you beg someone to do something. You're persistent at asking and asking and begging and pleading. Importunity.
So he says, "Yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth". All right, now notice what he says. He says, "You showed up and you asked a friend to do it but said he didn't want to do it on the inside". And he said, "You had to beg him. You had to plead with him to do this thing, all right"?
Now, let's pause here just for a moment. Now, this passage is commonly taught that God is like this friend. That's how we're commonly hearing it. God is like this friend. You must go to him when you have a need. But when you first ask for it to be met, he may answer no, he may answer not now, or he may answer I'm not ready. And therefore, you must stay after God. You got to badger God. You got to badger him and you got to be persistent in praying your requests over and over and over again until you make him give you what you need. And then basically, you must bombard the gates of heaven until they open. That's how it's been taught.
That's not at all what Jesus is talking about here. Please pay very close attention to what he's talking about here. What Jesus is saying is if you were my real friend, I wouldn't have to beg you. If you were my real friend, all I have to do is ask and you would do it. He said you wouldn't have to beg a real friend. You wouldn't have to plead with a real friend. And this is more of a contrast of what a real friend is, should be, versus a comparison. And Jesus says, "You know, if a real friend should respond without begging and pleading, then how much more do you think I should respond"?
You see how the church took that whole thing around and said, "Hey, we got to be just like this man. We got to show up and beg and plead. And if he say no, we got to keep begging and pleading. If he say not now, we got to keep begging and pleading. But don't stop begging, don't stop pleading until you get what you want". And the church start shouting over and that ain't at all what he talked about. He said, "If you were a friend, begging and pleading is not required. You would do it". He says, "I'm more than a friend". And so, how do I know he's saying this?
Look at the next verse in verse 9. Look at what he says. When he said that, he said, "And I say unto you, 'Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened'". You know what Jesus said? "You don't need to beg and plead with me like this guy die. I'm a real friend. Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, you shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened". You don't have to plead, and bombard heaven, and beg and all that kind of stuff. He says a real friend, a real friend would know to respond to a friend. And Jesus is saying, I'm a real friend. None of that is required when you come to me. Oh my goodness. None of that's required when you come to me.
And then look at the next verse. "For everyone that asketh receiveth. He that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be open to him". He says because I'm more than a friend. I'm more than a friend. I'm going to do this thing without you begging me. And go on to the next verse, he says, "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone"? He says so look at a father and son's relationship. He says a real father is not going to give you a stone when you need fish to eat. Will he for fish, give him a serpent? No, not a real father. And God is more than a Father. God is more than a friend. You don't have to beg him.
So this thing that we do in prayer all night long. I don't even know how people do it. I used to do it. And I used to fall asleep, and I thought, "Well I'm not a good Christian ' cause I'm tired and I'm hungry". And I realized today, I don't have to beg God. He's my friend, he's my friend, he is delighted. You remember the Bible says, "that he's delighted to give us the keys to the kingdom? It is his pleasure to give you the keys to the kingdom, and whatever you bound on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. It is the Father's pleasure to give you the keys to the kingdom".
I want to you to erase that. And I know a lot of people have been taught that, let's just bombard heaven. Let's just beg God, let's just plead with God, no. Ask, he'll answer; seek, you're going to find; knock, the door's going to open. He will treat you better than the father would treat his son. This is what this prayer is about, that you know you have a Jesus, a God who is meek and lowly and who's ready to respond to you. And in some cases, like I said, I believe it was last week, some cases God will answer you before you ask. He will open the door before you knock, you will find it before you seek because that's what happens in that communion. In the developing of a relationship and the developing through that communion, God's doing stuff for you. God's doing stuff for you.
And so, I hope you got a hold of that. So if a friend would treat you better than this, why would you think God must be begged and pleaded with to meet your need? God loves you, God died for you, God gave his Son for you. Look at this Scripture, Romans chapter 8:32. Look at it in the King James and then the New Living Translation. Oh my goodness. What a relief to know that I don't have to beg God. What a relief to know that I don't have to bombard the gates of heaven. What a relief to know. And then, you have to think about what, you know, people in these intercessory groups. They're just begging and pleading with God, and man, I can go in and do in two minutes what they're trying to do in 24 hours, when you know him and you're communing with them.
Look what he says. Says, "He that spared not his own Son, but he delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things"? All right, so here's what he's saying, "I gave you my Son. I gave you the most valuable thing heaven had to offer. Seriously, you think I'm going to withhold something from you? You think I'mma hold this little thing from you when I gave you my Son? You think I'm going to hold healing from you when I gave you my Son? I'm going to withhold deliverance from you when I gave you my Son? I'm going to withhold favor from you when I give you my Son"?
In a lot of cases, God wants you to have it more than what you wanted. Look at this in the NLT. He says, "Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else"? That is powerful. He made Jesus available to us. I like what he says here, "Won't he also give us everything else"? That is so good, that is so good. "Won't he always give us everything else"?
Now, let me show you where and why communion with God and communion with his Word is very important. Because if you just start preaching to people that their motivation is pleasing self, than they're always going to be asking for the wrong thing. They're going to always ask God something that's going to satisfy themselves. And that's why when you're communing with God, you allow the Holy Spirit to come in and change your desire. The Bible talks about that, the Spirit of God will come and change your desire to do what pleases God, and to change your desire. There's a Scripture that says, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you will, and it shall be given".
Here's the key: abiding in the Word is going to, in a sense, correct your asking. It's going to govern your asking. By me spending time in the Word, whatever I thought I would ask maybe ten years before that, I spent so much time in that Word that my asking now has been changed and I'm now asking according to his will. I didn't know. I thought, "Well, give me a car. Give me this". All of that was me asking what brings pleasure to me. What about going to God and say, "God, I want to know clearly what I've been put here to do. And equip me with everything I need so that I can be successful in accomplishing the will of God for my life". And then all of those other things come behind that.
That's so important, that's so important. And since he gave you his Son, he not going to give you everything else? He's not going to give you everything else? We have to be careful not to put ourselves in the center of this relationship with God. It's got to be about him and not about you. Prayer is as much about the right attitude, and the right motivations, than the right volume and the right posture. We spent so much time on the posture and the volume. Should my hands be folded? Should I be on my face? You know, how long should I do this? How long should I do that?
He gave you, Jesus. He will give you everything else. That really, really blessed me to know that God loves me so much that he will cause that to happen. So the whole point of this parable is that God won't treat you like this. That's the whole point of the parable. God is not going to treat you the way that that guy who is supposed to be his friend, treated his friend, and that's what that means. I mean I'm sure the friend was disappointed like, "Dude, you seriously going to make me sit out here and beg you and plead with you, instead of just coming and helping me out"? God won't treat you like that. That's awesome. And that gives me great, great, great desire to want to praise the Lord because I know I got a God that won't treat me like that.
And so contrast, you know, I believe that was a contrast being made. It means to compare in order to show unlikeness or differences, and that's what this was. It was showing and comparing in contrast this friend versus God being the friend. And that's what he was showing. I'm comparing God's friendship to you versus this guy's friendship to his guy, and God was like, "I'm going to be the friend that won't treat you like that friend". And so, it means to exhibit unlikeliness on comparison with something else. That's what this is about. So it took the achievements of Christ to really rescue my mind from the lies it's believed. To rescue my mind from the lies.
Look at 2 Corinthians 4:7. It took the achievements of Christ to rescue my mind from all the lies that I believed, and especially the lies that we believed about prayer. I want you to think about this as we come near a close, you know, the last three, four weeks, we've been talking about this. Have you been able to identify the lies that you've been told about prayer. You know, verse 7 says, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us". That's an amazing thing to me, that the excellency of the power is not of me. It took the achievements of Christ to rescue my mind from the lies that is believed, and God lives on the inside of me, and we have this treasure in earthen vessels, and it's not of us, it's of him.