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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Life-Changing Prayers - Part 2

Michael Youssef - Life-Changing Prayers - Part 2

Michael Youssef - Life-Changing Prayers - Part 2
Michael Youssef - Life-Changing Prayers - Part 2
TOPICS: Prayer

I think most of us, if not all of us, at some point, have stood in front of a proverbial fork in the road, and wondered, "Lord, which way"? We are looking through the effectual prayers of the saints in the Bible, of all the New Testament, as we continue in this series, and we looked in the last message of the prayer of Daniel, that incredibly effectual prayer that Satan was trying to hinder its answer, but he failed, and God succeeded, and then the answer came in due course to Daniel, and God privileged him, not only to answer his prayer, but also to show him a vision for what is to come of the coming of the Messiah. And so we come today to this very first prayer recorded in the Bible.

Now, I'm sure there were people before Eliezer have prayed, but this is the first one that's really recorded, and I want you to turn with me, please, to Genesis 24. It is of vital importance to understand that this trusted chief of staff, this man is not just a servant. He was a chief of staff of all of Abraham's household. He was entrusted by him to go and find a wife for the son of promise, Isaac. Now, I'm here to tell you something. If you have not picked on this being an incredible field of land mines, you haven't focused on the passage yet. This guy, Eliezer of Damascus, was in an unenviable position. His master, Abraham, was very specific in his direction of where to find the wife and, not only that, make sure that Isaac doesn't go there, but she comes here to Canaan because it's the land of promise. Why?

You see, when he left his home and went to Canaan, Abraham saw the Canaanite wives, and he said, "No way will my son of promise, the son of the covenant, is gonna marry one of them". They were so wicked, they were so evil, that he knew they will turn his heart against the Lord, and he said, "No Canaanite woman for my son". He, therefore, said that, "This boy is gonna inherit the covenant. He is the son of promise, and, therefore, he cannot have a wicked woman". So he sends his chief of staff to the land of Ur of Chaldees, where he knew there were godly women there.

Listen carefully. I know this is a message where the series of message is on prayer and particular prayer prescription, in order to see and to understand how to pray effectually, and we saw the effectual prayer of a righteous man in the last message, and here we're gonna see the effectual prayer of another righteous man, and while it is generally about discerning the will of God, let me just speak for a moment or two to the single folks. Whether they're here in the sanctuary or watching around the world, before you make a list of qualifications for the perfect future spouse, make sure that she or he is what God wants for you, amen? Before you make that list, ten-page list, of what you want in your spouse, you know what I'm talkin' about?

I remember several years ago, a precious lady showed me her list. I looked at her and I said, "There is not a man on the face of the earth that qualifies for that list," and so, my beloved friends, I wanna tell ya something. Go to the Lord. Ask him what he wants, to give you his choice. I know some people don't want to risk that. You say, "Well, how can you risk it"? Listen to me, I know human nature only too well, so just listen. Some of you know what I'm talkin' about. You don't wanna pray for the will of God because you're worried that God's will, and he may give you what you don't want, and that's about the strong language I can use in front of the pulpit, okay?

Listen, but, when you marry the spouse that God wants for you, you will have gotten the best for you, amen? I fasted, and I prayed, and I asked the Lord to give me the wife of his choice, and he gave me the best for me, amen, amen. I am bringing you one half from this message today, and the next will be in the next message. Today I wanna focus on the biblical foundation of that prayer of the foundation of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, and in the next message, I'm gonna examine that prayer a little bit more closely because the Bible teaches that Isaac is a type of Christ, and that is why there are many wonderful parallels between the story of Isaac's search for a bride through the ministry of his father's servant, and the Holy Spirit of God seeking out a bride for Christ from among both the Jews and the Gentiles.

I wish I have the time to go through these parallels. When you go home, read Acts 15:14, and 2 Corinthians 11:2. You see, the choice of a bride for Isaac, through whom the Messiah is gonna come, has to be a deliberate choice. It had to be a thoughtful choice. It had to be a careful choice. It had to be a perfect choice. It's that choice, had to be God-arranged, God-ordained, and God-sustained. That choice had to be done in utter dependence on the sovereign plan of God and the sovereign love of God. In the same way, the Holy Spirit chooses each one of us to be part of the bride of Christ.

I want you to hear me right. Did you know that God knew you by name before the foundation of the earth, that God chose you by name before he created Adam and Eve, that God loved you by name before all of creation was ever made, that God loved you by name, way before you were a gleam in your mother's eye? And when you comprehend that, when you focus on that, when that becomes the focus of your life, you're gonna live above all of the circumstances of life, and the reason people don't take their salvation seriously, they really do not comprehend their salvation. They think, well, they made a very good choice, choosing God, you know what I mean? How good you are to make that choice, huh? And they pat themselves on the back until they break their elbow.

No, my beloved, listen to me. When you begin to comprehend that he tenderly loved you, that he tenderly called you, that he tenderly chose you, that he tenderly wooed you, and it's the same reason why some people don't take their marriage vows very seriously, you see, because they do not take their salvation very seriously, and that is why the first thing Eliezer did was declare his utter dependency on the sovereign choice of God for a bride for his master's son. But before I get to the prayer, even, I want to transport you. I hope that you're gonna use your imagination and come with me, you know, 4,000 years ago, in the time when Abraham has lived, and, you see, back then, they did not have dates at the disco.

You see, back then, there were no passionate moments at the movies. You know, back then, when they're married, you know, the man was not trying to impress a woman with his washboard abs, no. Back then, they did not marry out of emotional hurricane with an urge to merge. No, no, no, no, you see, back then, women did not try to be what they're not until they got married. No, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No, back then, a spouse was carefully chosen for character or chosen for faithfulness, for commitment. A spouse was carefully chosen for upbringing and reputation, and that is why Abraham said, "Go back to the Ur of Chaldees".

Well, the first thing Eliezer did was pray. It wasn't the last resort. It was the first thing. He prayed. The first thing Eliezer was doing, he was seeking the Lord. He was seeking the will of God, the mind of God. The first thing Eliezer did ask: "Lord, what is your will? Lord, give me direction". And as I said, remember, this is the first recorded prayer in the Bible, and here's how he prayed: "O Lord, the God of my master, Abraham, give me success today".

Let me ask you a question: Where do you think Eliezer of Damascus learned how to pray like this? Where do you think he learned how to trust Yahweh's direction like this? Where did he learn how to seek the strength of God? Where did he learn all of this? From the head of his household, of course, his master, Abraham. Moms and Dads, would you listen to me just for a few minutes? I'm a dad who made a ton of mistakes. Your children will learn to trust in the Lord by watching how you're trusting in the Lord. Your children will develop confidence in the Lord's leadership in their life by watching you having confidence in his leadership in your life. Your children will learn to lean on the Lord during confusing times when they watch you leaning on the Lord during those confusing and difficult times. Your children will grow up to be prayer warriors by watching you pray. Your children will learn to go to the throne room of God before they make every decision, just by watching you go into the throne room of God before you make decisions, whether they are big or small.

Beloved, listen to me, leaders, pastors, Sunday school teachers, mentors, please listen. People will model your life more than they treasure your words. The people will walk in your footsteps more than they talk about your eloquence. Obviously, to Abraham, prayer was a lifestyle, not the last resort, and Eliezer watched Abraham's prayer life, and he learned from it, and that is why Eliezer begins trip with prayer. He begins a journey with prayer. He continued in prayer. He prevailed in prayer. He bathes the whole journey in prayer. No doubt, throughout the six-weeks' journey across the blazing heat of the desert, no doubt, he constantly prayed.

In the early hours of the morning, he prayed. At noontime, he prayed. In the cool of the night, he prayed. In the middle of the night he prayed, "Lord, I'm dependent on you. Lord, I'm trusting in you. Lord, you are the covenant maker and covenant keeper, God. Lord, you have been so faithful to your promises that you made to my master, Abraham. I watched how you kept your word, Lord, and you promised him, 25 years ago, to give him a son, and you kept your word even though he was an old man. Lord, you have been a source of all of his blessings. Lord, because of your character and because of who you are, I know that you will not let me down. You will not allow me to make a mistake. Lord, I know you will not allow my flesh to make the choice. Lord, your choice, not mine. Lord, what you want, not what I want. Lord, your will, not mine".

But then, there's a second thing here I don't want you to miss. He began with utter dependence on God. The second thing he did is, as he prayed, he kept on traveling. He kept on traveling. He kept on going his destination. He did not sit on his blessed assurance and said, "With the first woman will come my way will do". No, he kept on going. He kept on going. He says, "I know where my destination is, and that's where I'm going to go. I will not stop until I get to my destination". He didn't say, "Well, whatever I can find, I can bring home". No, no, no, no, no, he kept his eye on the destination. He kept his sight on where he needed to go. He kept his mind on planning for his journey. He was studying the maps of how to get there.

Beloved, many of you heard me say this, and I'm gonna say it again until the day I die. Prayer is no substitute for inaction. Did you get that? Prayer is no substitute for inaction. Prayer is not an excuse for laziness. Prayer is not an opportunity to do nothing. When Moses prayed and lifted up his hands, the people of God, under the leadership of Joshua, were winning the battle. Nehemiah said he got his people to "build with one hand and hold a sword with the other". The Bible said for us to watch and to pray, both at the same time.

The third thing, don't want you to miss that: Eliezer followed instructions. He followed instructions. Sometimes people pray and pray and pray, and their prayer is not effectual, and they wonder why. They're living in disobedience to the instruction manual, and they wonder why God is not answering prayers. But he followed the instructions. He did not disobey the instruction. There are people who pray and pray and pray, and they never hear an answer because their life is filled with bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred. Their life is filled with a critical spirit, and they wonder why God is not answering their prayers, and they wonder why their prayers are not effectual. Remember, it is a prayer of the righteous that is effectual. We saw that in the last message.

You see, Abraham's instruction was "Go to my relatives in the land of Ur of Chaldees". The wife of the son of the covenant has to come from a God-fearing stock, not the Canaanites. There are some people who pray, and then God answers their prayer, but they say, "No, no, no, no, no, I need to continue to pray," because what God did does not mesh with what they want. Hello, uh-uh. And so we keep on praying. We'll keep on praying. Wait a minute. Why is that? "Oh, well, I'm gonna keep on praying until God sees it my way. I'm gonna keep on praying until I can answer my own prayer". Have you noticed Eliezer did not ask for a miracle? He only asked for a sign. He didn't ask for a miracle. You notice that? Read it again when you go home.

What was that all about? He said, "Oh, I want a supernatural intervention of God because here's what I want: As soon as I see the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth that I've ever laid eyes on, she's the one," right? Well, she happened to be beautiful, but that's the icing on the cake, okay? "I'm gonna look for the one that wears Size 0," "a woman who has the gift of gab". Really? No. You notice, everything he prayed for is to do with character, generosity, hospitality, and self-giving. Isn't it amazing? He wasn't asking for miracle. He was asking for a sign.

I'm gonna say more about this in the next message, so come prepared. But Eliezer knew that, had he asked the wrong woman to give him a drink, she would've said to him, "Idiot, help yourself". He would say, "Uh-uh, she's not the one". Remember again, Isaac is the son of promise. He's the son of the covenant. "Isaac's descendant", the Bible said, "will be like the stars on the sky". Just as God promised, Isaac was the one from whom the Messiah is gonna be born, so Eliezer placed a sign, "If I ask a woman to give me a drink and she gladly gives it to me, and then she volunteers that she's going to give all my thirsty camels a drink of water, bingo, I got her. She's the one".

Let me ask you a question: Is it wrong in the New Testament to ask for a sign when you're not sure? Some of the most wonderful, respected by me, preachers and teachers say, in the New Testament, we have the Holy Spirit, and we shouldn't be asking for signs. So you say, "Michael, what do you say"? I'm gonna tell you next Sunday. But suffice it to say to you, listen to me, beloved friends. I'm getting ready to close. This is very important. Don't ever hesitate to pray specifically. Don't ever hesitate to pray specific prayers.

I know there are some wonderful people who are going around, saying, "Well, we should not pray specifically. What if it's not in the will of God"? Well, I'm gonna give you two things. If you're taking notes, write them down. It will help you out. Number one, when you are obeying God's instruction manual, you will not ask for things that do not glorify God. Did you get that? Say, "Amen". Second thing, when you are completely trusting in the sovereign plan and choice of God for your life, you're not gonna be adamant that God must see it your way.

Listen, there are times in my life when I prayed very specifically, and believe it or not, God answered very specifically, but there was one catch: It wasn't on my timetable. It wasn't when I want it. As a matter of fact, I was about to give up praying because it didn't happen when I thought it should happen, and the Holy Spirit convicted me, "No, no, no, no, you keep on praying. You're first and foremost seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and, therefore, keep on praying," and God answered specifically in his time, in his time, in his timetable, and so let me encourage you that, when you pray, as you pray, pray dependent on the sovereign God. Pray while you're working and waiting. Pray while you're serving. And the third thing is pray and believe God to do great things for his glory, and then you can be sure he will answer you. He will answer your prayer in his time.

So when you come to a fork in the road, what do you do? Pray the will of God: "Thy will, not mine, O Lord". But, you know, there may be someone here today, this message is really premature for you because you don't know the Lord Jesus in a personal, intimate way as your Savior and Lord. You have to come to the family first before you can call him, "Father". Whether you know him and you're waiting for an answer to prayer, whether you don't know him in a personal and intimate way and you really want to begin the journey today, he's gonna hear your pray. Shall we stand to our feet?
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