Robert Jeffress - The Power of Faith-Kneeling - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Most Christians understand that prayer's an important part, of their spiritual life. But if God already knows everything, then what's the point of praying? And what sort of things should we pray for? Last time, we acknowledged the fact that, while praying effectively is simple, praying consistently can be quite a challenge. So today I'm going to share biblical truths, that can help all of us, become more disciplined about talking with God. My message is titled, "The Power of Faith-Kneeling", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Praying consistently is difficult, but he truth is praying effectively is quite simple. Nevertheless, many of us struggle, with maintaining a consistent prayer life. And I believe we will never unleash God's power, through prayer in our life, until we have four questions about prayer answered. Today, in the final moments we have, we're going to look at two of those questions, and we're going to look at the final two questions next week. The first question that many of us have, but few of us have the guts to ask is this question. And that is why should we pray if God's going to do, what he wants to do anyway.
Now, have you ever wondered about that? Why should we pray if God is sovereign, and he's going to do whatever he wants to do, anyway? I was actually asked that question one time, by a deacon on a Wednesday night, when we were walking down the hallway, on the way to prayer meeting. "Now, pastor why are we going down here to pray, if God's going to do what he wants to do, anyway"? Does prayer actually change God's will and plan, or does it simply change us? But people go to one of two extremes, when they talk about the relationship, between prayer and God's sovereignty.
There's some people who say that God is actually limited, in what he can do by our willingness to pray. To say that God is limited with what he can do, by our willingness to pray, is to strip God of his sovereignty. God can do whatever he chooses to do. Remember in Romans 9, God is talking about God's sovereign election. He says, "Jacob, have I chosen, Esau have I hated. I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy". And then in Romans 9:16, Paul says, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills, or the man who runs but on God who has mercy".
Ladies and gentlemen, God can do whatever he chooses to do. He doesn't need me to do it. One extreme about prayer, is to say that, "Somehow God is limited in what he can do, by my willingness to pray". On the other end of this spectrum though, are those people who would say, "Well, God is sovereign. God is in control, and my prayers make no difference whatsoever". Now, these are the same people who say, "Well, Gods' going to save whomever he is going to save. He doesn't need me to witness in order to save them".
How do we reconcile God's sovereignty, with our responsibility to witness? I like what one theologian says. He says, "God is not only ordained the end result. He's ordained the means to the end". Yes, God has decided who's going to be saved. He is elected certain individuals to salvation. You can't believe the Bible and not believe that. But even though God has ordained the end, who's going to be saved, he has also ordained the means, by which those people are going to be saved. And it's by they're hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:17 says, "For faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God". "How will they believe upon him whom they have not heard"? Paul asked. God has ordained who's going to be saved, but he's also ordained to how they're to be saved. And it is by you and me sharing the Gospel with them. Now, folks, it is the same way with prayer. God has all of these incredible things, he wants to do for you. He has a tremendous plan for your life. Remember the words in Jeremiah 29:11 God said, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for your welfare not for calamity. A plan to give you a future and a hope".
There is an infinite amount of things, good things, God wants to do for your life. How do those blessings come into your? The means by which they come into your life, is through prayer. God has ordained the good things he wants to do for you, but he's also ordained the means, by which those good things are going to come into your life, and it is through prayer. Why should I pray, if God is going to do what he wants to do, anyway? Well, the simple answer is because he's told us to pray. But the real answer is prayer is the channel, the means, by which those good things come into my life.
Now that leads to a second question about prayer. Okay, what sort of things should I pray for? What sort of thing should I pray for? Is it wrong to pray for a bigger house, a better job, a larger salary? Is it more spiritual to pray, "Lord heal me". Or should I be praying, "Lord, your will be done"? Again, Christians go to one of two extremes. There are some people who kind of see God, as a divine bellhop in heaven and prayers. And prayer is the buzzer, that we use to summon his attention, whenever we need him to carry out our purpose. Other people sickened by that kind of idea about prayer. They go to the other extreme and they say, "You know what, you should never ask God for anything selfish".
I remember hearing people say, teach about prayer. The most simple elementary immature way to pray, is to pray for me. "Lord, do this for me, do this for me". And once you get past that childish kind of praying, the next level of prayer is to pray for other people. "Lord do this for Sally. Do this for Jim". Praying for other people. But then they say, when we reached the highest state of maturity, in our spiritual life, we don't pray for ourselves. We don't pray for other people. We simply pray for the will of God to be done. Now there's a Greek term for that kind of teaching, hogwash, okay? The Bible tells us we need to pray for ourselves. The Bible says we ought to pray for other people. The Bible says we ought to also pray for the glory of God.
And we find a balanced view of how to really pray, the kinds of things we ought to be praying for, in Matthew 6. Now, let me remind you what occasioned, what we call the Lord's Prayer. In Luke's account of this story, the disciples actually came to Jesus and they said, "Lord teach us how to pray". And what did Jesus say? Jesus said, "When you pray, pray in this way". He never said, "When you pray, pray this prayer". And people ask me in our first class, "Why don't we pray the Lord's Prayer every Sunday, like other churches"? The reason is Jesus never instructed us to pray this prayer. Nowhere in the New Testament, do you find this prayer ever being repeated. The Lord's Prayer is not a mantra to be repeated. It is a model to be followed in our praying.
And so Jesus said, "Here are the components, of an effective prayer that reaches heaven". First of all, our prayer ought to begin, with a praise of God's name. "Our father, who is in heaven, hallowed, be thy name". It's not like children think sometime. It's not "Halloween be your name". It is "Hallowed be your name". That word hallowed simply means, holy is your name. And before we begin rushing at God with all of our requests, from the things we want to have done for us, we need to take a moment, and remember how holy God's name is. Remember a person's name is simply, representative of who that person is.
When Jesus said, "Remember the holiness of God's name". What he's really saying is, "Remember how holy God is". That word, "Holy" means separate. A cut above, different. When we come into God's presence, we are to praise him, that he is not like we are. "God, thank you for being loving, even though I deserve your judgment. God, thank you for being faithful, even when I'm faithless. God, thank you for being wiser, and having a good plan for my life, even though I don't know what that plan is". We take a moment and we praise God for who he is. The fact that he is different than we are. And then secondly, Jesus said, we need to get something settled early in our prayer, and that is the priority of God's purpose.
Look at verse 10, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". When we say, "God, may your kingdom come," what are we saying? The Kingdom of God is one of those terms, we all throw around, but I think very few of us have a real understanding, of what do we mean when we talk about the Kingdom of God. When we're praying for God's kingdom to come, we are praying for the future return of Jesus Christ.
Now listen to this. A king's kingdom consist of that area, wherever what the king wants done gets done. It is the area over which he rules. For example, the king of Egypt is sovereign. He is ruler over the citizens of Egypt. He has total authority over them. They submit to him. But the king of Egypt has absolutely no authority over us. If you get a letter from the Egyptian government, telling them that you owe them 20% of your income, and income tax, you probably aren't going to send that money to Egypt, are you? Why? Because they had no authority over you. The king has no authority over you. It's the same way with God's kingdom. God's kingdom is that area, wherever what God wants done gets done.
Now, what does God's kingdom consists of? Well, the Bible says he's king. He sovereign over all the universe. Well, that is true theologically. God is in control of everything that happens, but there is one small corner of his universe, where God's will is not being done right now. There's one small corner in the universe, where there is a rebellion against God's kingdom. And it's that speck in the universe called planet earth. Right now on planet earth are a group of God's creations, that are rebelling against him. But that rebellion won't last forever. There is coming a time when God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ will return, and he will rule over all the earth. And the Bible says at that time, every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is creos, He is Lord. He is sovereign over all. But right now we're living in that time, when God's kingdom, his rule is not total, over all of his creation. There is that rebellion going on right now.
So when we pray, "Your kingdom come," we're saying, "Lord we are praying for the future return of Jesus Christ". But notice the second phrase, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". That is a prayer for the present rule of God, on the earth and specifically in my life. See, here's what the Bible calls, the mystery of the Kingdom of God. All throughout the New Testament in Matthew 13, Jesus talked about the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And here's the mystery. The mystery is the future kingdom is coming. Jesus is going to return one day. But right now the Kingdom of God, occurs in the lives of individual believers, who are submitting to God's kingdom.
And so when we pray, "Lord your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". What we're saying is, "Lord I want to obey your rule right now. Even though other people around me, are not submitting to your rule, right now, I am submitting to your sovereignty over my life. Lord, may your will be done in my life, just as it is being done in heaven". Why should we submit ourselves to God's rule over our life? How many of you are looking forward to going to heaven? You just raise your hand. I mean, heaven is somewhat appealing to you. What is it about heaven you're looking most forward to? Well, some people say, "Well, I'm looking forward, to just be free from worrying all the time. I just worry all the time. I'm just looking forward to the time, I don't have to worry about anything". Guess what? You don't have to die to experience freedom from worry.
Jesus said, "My peace I give to you. My peace I leave with you". You can have that right now. Some people say, "Well, I'm looking forward, to just not worrying about money anymore. It's just a constant battle. Knowing if I'm going to have enough. I'm just just looking forward to the time, I don't have to be concerned about finances". Guess what? You don't have to die to be content, with your financial situation. The apostle Paul said, "I've learned to be content, in whatever circumstance I'm in". Some people say, "I'm looking forward to heaven, 'cause I won't have to be enslaved to sin anymore. I won't have to be enslaved to addictions, to wrong relationships, the things are destroying my life".
You don't have to die to experience that. Paul said to the Roman Christians, he said, "So do not let sin reign over your mortal bodies, that you should obey it's lust". What I'm saying to you folks is, you don't have to die to experience the benefits, of the Kingdom of God. The fact is to the extent that you and I, submit to God's rule in our life, we can experience the benefits of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes I really wonder why, some Christians even want to go to heaven. I mean, think what is it, that's going to characterize heaven? Heaven is going to be characterized, by total complete obedience to the will of God, isn't it?
There's not going to be one creature in the new heaven, and the new earth that rebels against God. And if we rebelling against God's will right now, if we think, "The last thing I want to do, is to obey God in my life". Why do we think we're going to be in heaven one day, where all we do is going to obey God day and night? What do you think is going to change in your life, between now and then that suddenly, it's going to make you want to obey God? If you don't want to obey him now, there's nothing that's going to change in your life, that's going to make you want to obey him in heaven. When you pray, "Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven". What we're really praying is, "God, I'm going to obey your preceptive will. That part of your will, that has been revealed to me right now, Father, I'm going to get this settled in my heart. I am going to start obeying you, so that I can start benefiting, from the blessings of the kingdom".
When we pray, "Your will be done in my life, as it is in heaven". We're first of all saying, "God, I acquiesce. I submit to your preceptive will, those commands in scripture that I know to be true". But we're also saying something else. When we say, "God, your will be done in my life". We're saying, "God, I submit to your providential will".
See, a lot of things about God's will, we don't know ahead of time until they happen, do we? There are a lot of concerns we have, that we can talk to God about, but we really don't know if it's God's will or not. We can say, "Lord I really want this relationship to be healed". truthfully, we don't know whether that's God's will, or not to heal that relationship, in many cases. We can say, "God, I'm out of work now. I need this particular job that is opened up". And we can pray for that. But we don't know when we pray, if that job is really God's will for us or not. We can pray when illness strikes in ourselves, or in a loved one, we can say, "God heal us. Heal them from that disease". But when we pray, the truth is we don't know, if it's God's will to heal or not.
So what does it mean to pray, "God, your will be done". Here's what it means. It says, "God, this is what I want. I'm going to be very honest in what I want, God. This is what I'm asking you to do. But I also realize that you know best. And ultimately I'm submitting myself, to your providential will". Isn't that what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane? When he knelt there, he prayed in great agony. That sweat like blood fell to the ground. He said, "Father, if you are willing, let this experience pass from me". We skip over that too often. We don't realize that Jesus really, did not want to go to the cross. He really didn't want to do it. Do you blame him? Not just the physical horrendous suffering, that the cross represented but the spiritual suffering, of being separated from God.
Who could blame Jesus for not wanting to go to the cross? He was very honest with God. He said, "God, if you are willing, please, another way. Let this cup be removed from me". But then he added, "Yet not my will but your will be done". Your will be done on earth, in my life, as it's being done in heaven right now. And in some inexplicable way, what were two wills, God's will and Jesus' will were molded into one. When we're praying to God, we need to be honest, and tell him what we want. But then we make that final essence to God's will, "Not my will but your will be done".