Frankie Mazzapica - Before You Pray
Thank you for tuning in today. My name is Frankie Mazzapica. The title of the message is "Before You Pray". Before You Pray. Let me just springboard straight into the verse that we're gonna build the entire message off of, and if you want to follow along, you can go to your app store, type in Celebration Church TW, all my sermon notes are inside of that app. But I want to get straight into the scriptures, there's four verses. This is how it reads, "O Lord, you have searched my heart and you know everything about me. You know when I sit down and you know when I stand up. You know my thoughts when they are afar off. You see me when I travel and you see me when I stay home and rest. You know everything I do and you know every word I'm going to say, even before I say it".
Now, tell me that is not a great perspective on who God is. Come on, put your hands together for that. Come on, that's awesome. Before you pray one word, before we dive into that scripture and unpack it, before you pray one word, I want you to take a second and realize who you are talking to. Sometimes we just start praying. The words just come off our lips. We just start praying, and we're not taking a minute to realize who we're talking to. We're not talking to a man. The person that you see in those paintings, that's not what Jesus looks like anymore. He doesn't look like that. He looks like a God because he is God. He is one with his Father. There is no end to his presence.
In Colossians chapter 1, verse 17, it says that he was before all things. He was before the first star was created. He was before the first animal was made. He was before the first mountain was pulled out of the ground. He was before every single galaxy, but even more astounding than that, not only was he before all things, but all things are held together within him. Every bone you have, every vein you have, every organ you have is held together within you. Every single thing that was ever made is held together within him. If you could get on a rocket ship that would never run out of gas and could fly at the speed of light and go as high as you possibly can through space, you would never get to the end of space, but space itself is within God. This is who you're talking to.
And before you say one word, before you say one word, before you pray, we need to take a minute just to realize how big he is, how powerful he is, how wide he is, how high he is, and recognize that his face is facing towards you, and then we say our first word. Let's jump into the scripture, the passage. There's four verses, and that's Psalms 139:1-4. Each of those verses are going to be my major points. Let's start with the first verse where it reads like this, "O Lord, you have searched my heart and you know everything about me," everything.
Do you know he knows what makes you anxious. He knows what makes you feel depressed. He knows what you get excited about. He knows what makes you just want to go to bed. He knows what makes you jump up in the morning and he also knows what makes you want to stay in bed and take the pillow and pull it over your head. He knows every single challenge. He knows every single weakness. He knows all of your strengths. He knows all of these things and he cannot stop looking at you. Lamentations chapter 3, verse 22 and 23. It says that his love for you has no end. He loves you more than you love you. We beat ourself up. If we treated our own thoughts like we treat people who lie to us, it would be a completely different ballgame on how we look at us. We would look at us and say I'm not that bad.
In fact, I'm cooking with grease right now. I'm getting better and better. But it's that lying thought that comes through our mind and if we had a friend that lied to us as much as we lied to ourself, we'd never speak to them again. But God loves you. It says that his love never ends and his mercy is endless, and every morning you wake up, they are fresh and new. His mercy is fresh every time you wake up as if you've never needed it before. Come on. But the last part of that verse is what I want to camp on just a little bit, where it says this, you have searched my heart, you know everything about me, you know what I'm strong and you know what I'm good at, you know it all. But he also knows where you're at, the core of your being, the part of you that you don't even tell other people.
When I was trying to learn how to spell, I did terrible. When I tried, when I was learning how to read, I didn't do well. I distinctly remember being in the third grade, my mom would put me, we were in an apartment, a small apartment, we had this round pine table that, you know, two 5-year-olds could lift up, and I would practice my spelling words, and every single Friday, we had to take a spelling test for 20 words, and my mom would work with me on the first five words, took a while, and once I got those down, would go for 6 through 10. Then she would quiz me on the 1 through 5, and I'd mess up again. I would work on the 1 through 5, and then we'd go through the 6 through 10, and you see the process. After an hour at least, an hour and a half, I still did not have those words down. And we just got tired.
Every single Friday I would bring home my test, and it would have a big F on the test. I don't know why teachers use red pens all the time. If you're a teacher, will you use blue? Come on, just feels better. It's softer on the eyes. Big red F. F, F, F, F, F, F. And I'd come home and I just hand my mom the teacher, my mom the paper, and all of a sudden, I started making D-minuses. And it was interesting because I didn't find out for several years later that my mom went marching to my school and she told my teacher, don't you ever put an F on his paper again. Don't you ever put an F on his... Now, my mother's Brazilian. You poke her, you poke the bear, you get bit. You don't poke and laugh. You don't poke and say now poke me back and that's okay. No, no, no, no, no, not with my mom. You poke the bear, you get bit. So she shows up and she got poked, and she said you keep on treating my son like he's an idiot by putting these Fs on his paper. From now on, you put a D-minus.
ow, you can put an F in the grade book. I don't care how many Fs you put in the grade book. I don't even care how many Fs are on his report card. But if you put an F on his spelling test, I'm coming for you. It was amazing. I was making D-minuses like crazy. I would come walking home, I couldn't wait to get home. D-minus, D-minus, D-minus, D-minus. See, my mom knew... my teacher only saw a kid that couldn't keep his shoelaces tied, little scrappy kid. He'd come back from lunch with chocolate on the corner of his lips, always had a hole in his pants, even if he got some new jeans, they'd have a hole in it within a week. That's all she saw. But my mom, she knew my heart. She had searched my heart. She had bore me. She knew everything about me. And even though she saw my weaknesses, ah, she'd defend me to the end, and that's how the Lord looks at you. He will defend you till the end.
Let me jump to the second verse, which is my second point. It says this, that the Lord knows every time you sit down and every time you stand up, he knows your thoughts when you're afar off. You know, when you sit down, you're kinda... when you're standing up, you're moving, you're working, going forward. When you sit down, that's when you let yourself kind of exhale. That's when your mind starts wandering. Your mind doesn't wander whenever you're busy, whenever you're working. My grandpa used to make fake trees and sell them, you know, he worked really hard to put these branches in there and glue all the branches and he'd work really hard to be able to sell a plant for $42. I mean, it was the hardest $42 that you could possibly earn.
And I remember standing there one day watching him, and he goes, I'm working, you're not, can you at least stand in a strain? I didn't think that was very funny at the time because it was just reminding me, but it's just constant work. When you're working, your mind isn't running, but when you're sitting down on the couch, when you're sitting down at the computer, when you're laying down in your bed, that's when your thoughts begin to run around. Now, I'm about to be very, very transparent with you. Now, every time I am transparent, there's always somebody that has to send me some encouraging email, slip a scripture in my hand. I was reading this passage the other day, and you came to my mind. Okay, just listen to me. Just listen. You with me? Just listen.
So I've been very open and transparent. If this is your first time in church, this is your first time hearing this, but those who call Celebration Church their church home, you're aware of this struggle that I have. I fight depression. I fight discouragement. It feels like the muscles in my face just drop and, you know, I feel like the disciples felt in Matthew chapter 19, verse 25, they had been following Jesus for years, and they look at Jesus and they're like who in the world can be saved? You know, these are for some, not everyone, this is the achilles heel. It's my achilles heel. And so, I regularly go to counseling 'cause I need someone to put a different voice in my head.
A few months ago, I was in my counseling session, and I was I was trying to express how I was feeling, but I guess I wasn't doing a good job expressing it, I don't know. And the moment passed, he kept on talking, and so I decided I'd bring it back up and say the same thing using different words. Took it from a different angle. We weren't really connecting. So a third time, a few moments later, I brought it back up. Took it from a different angle using different words. I thought we weren't connecting. I didn't feel like he was hearing me, but boy, was I wrong. He looked at me and he said, "Frankie," very pointed, "Frankie, you've said that three times. What are you so paranoid about"?
Now, over the years, I'm embarrassed to say that I have built armor around my heart. I'm 44 years old. I'm telling you, I'm embarrassed about this, but I built armor around my heart so that I can't get hurt. And on any other day, that would have ricocheted off my heart. I would have been fine. But this wasn't any other day, and those words found a crack in my armor, and it pierced. Like a nine-year-old, I started chewing my lip. I looked out the window because I could feel my eyes welling up with tears and I didn't want him to know. But if I kept looking out the window, I knew that he would realize that something was wrong.
And so when I looked at him, I would look over his shoulder. And finally, I made the biggest mistake. I blinked. And man, the top lid of my eye pushed all the tears, like, right out and out of both corners. I tried to wipe them away real fast and then it was like I can't, can't keep up. And then he looked at me and he said, "Frankie, what are you feeling"? I did not know what I was feeling. I knew I felt hurt. I knew I was overwhelmed with emotion, but I didn't know what I was feeling. I'm still chewing my lip. I don't want to talk because my voice is gonna crack. And then I looked at him and then I said these words, "I'm doing the best I can".
The rest of the session, I think shortly after that, my 45 minutes was up, but I'll never forget that particular session. And now my mind goes back to that verse. You know when I sit down. You know when I stand up. And when your thoughts are afar off. You can't explain it, but I know. Here's the third verse. You see me when I travel or when I stay at home at rest. You know everything that I do. When I say he knows everything you do, there's this natural flesh indication where you think to yourself, oh my goodness, he knows everything I do. Oh my goodness! This is terrible. I hope he has a short memory. This is terrible. He knows what I say, he knows what I do, when I'm alone, you know. Quiet that down.
Those are condemning thoughts, shhh. When I say he knows everything you do, God knows every little win, and it makes him smile. The King of the universe. Every little win. Last summer, my grandmother died. She lived in Miami. I went to the funeral. Afterwards, I went to this restaurant on Miami Beach with my cousin who lives in Miami. We were sitting on a patio, out on the patio of the restaurant, at this table. And one chair was facing the beach. The other chair was facing the inside of the restaurant.
So I wanted to sit in the good chair. I'm Italian, I'm half Brazilian, half Italian. My back is supposed to be to the wall anyway. I don't trust anybody in a restaurant. Somebody's gonna come in, shoot somebody, drop the gun, pick up the cannoli. I want to know what's going on. But that wasn't the good seat. I wanted my back to the wall and I wanted to see the ocean. My cousin looked at me and goes, "What seat do you want"?
Now, it's very obvious what seat is the best seat. And I'm thinking to myself you live here. You live here. Why are you asking me what seat I want? And so, clearly he wanted that seat too. And so I said, "Ah, you sit there, I'll sit here". It was a little, small, unselfish win. I know everything you do. I saw it. The last point that I want to talk about is when the Bible says I know every word you're gonna say even before you say it. Now, some of you are in a really hard season right now. I remember a few months ago, and the season that I was talking to you about just a few months ago. I thought to myself, I am in a hard season. And this thought came to my mind. This is not hard. I know what hard is. I know what hard is and this is not hard.
Some of you that are in a hard season, come on, come on, let's be honest. You know what hard is. This is not hard. Those seasons that almost killed you. Now that was hard. This, this isn't hard. And the Lord knows what you are going to say. Maybe you said it yesterday. Maybe you're gonna say it today. Maybe you're gonna say it tomorrow, but eventually he knows what you are going to say. A nanosecond before you say it, a day before you say it, but he knows eventually, he knows what you are going to say, and this is what you're gonna say: I need you. I need you. And the Lord is going to look at you and he'll say, "And that's why I love you". Did this message help anyone today? Come on. Did it help you?