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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - God's Pattern For Prayer - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - God's Pattern For Prayer - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - God's Pattern For Prayer - Part 2
TOPICS: Prayer That Really Work, Prayer, Lord's Prayer

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Whenever we face a crisis like a sudden illness in the family, or an unexpected layoff at work, we quickly fall on our knees in prayer. But God desires to hear from us on all occasions, not just when we need a favor. Yesterday I gave an overview of the Lord's prayer and showed how Jesus' example serves as a model for all of our petitions. And today we'll continue to discover why our prayers should always begin with praise. My message is titled "God's Pattern for Prayer" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

God is the God of all of us. But only those who are related to him by faith in Jesus Christ had access, or invited to come into his presence and experience that intimacy that would allow us to call him our daddy, our papa who is in heaven. I know for some of you maybe that just seems almost born on sacrilegious to think of God as your daddy or papa. I want you to notice in this second phrase how Jesus balances that truth when he talks about our reverence for God. He says, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name". How many of you have ever prayed that prayer before? You've actually repeated those words "Hallowed be Thy name".

How many of you would feel comfortable standing up and giving a precise definition of what that means? Isn't it funny, we pray that prayer very few of us understand what that means? hallowed be Thy name. Now there are two parts of that phrase. First of all, thy name. What do we mean by thy name? We sing what about the name of God, or constantly talking about the name of God, what's the big deal about God's name? Let me show you what the big deal is. I'm going to give you a name and I want you to tell me, think about what comes to your mind. When I say the name Robert, what do you think about? Some of you ladies think about Robert Redford, the actor, okay? Some of you more literary types might think about Robert Louis Stevenson, the great Stevens, the great writer.

But if I say the name Robert James Jeffress Jr., there's a very definite image that comes into your mind. You think about my appearance, my voice, my mannerisms. You think about the things you like about me, the things you don't like about me. But you definitely have a feeling when I say that name, because that name simply represents my entire being. In 1 Samuel 18:30, it says that the people of Israel esteemed, they revered the name of David. What does that mean they esteemed, they revered the name of David? Does it mean they like the name David better than John or Wilbur? No, that's not what it means. They were talking about king David. They esteemed, they revered king David. His name was just a placeholder for who he was. It's the same way with God.

In Psalm 9:10, the Bible says, "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee". Everyone who knows the name of God will trust him. But that's not true. The fact is lots of people know the name of God. They can say God, but do they trust him? No, that's not what the verse is saying. It's not saying everybody who can utter the name God will automatically trust in him. It's those who know who God is, his character is described by his name, those are the people who would trust him. When you understand that God is Jehovah Jireh, the one who provides, or Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, or Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts: when you understand the names of God that describe his character, when you really understand who God is, then you will trust him. So when the Bible talks about hallowed be Thy name, it literally means hallowed be you, o God. Of course that leads to the second part of that phrase "Hallowed".

What does that mean? When we're talking about God's name that is his being: being hallowed, what do we mean? In the contrary to have children pray, it's not Halloween be thy name, okay? It's hallowed be Thy name. Now that word hallowed is an old English word that comes from the Greek word hagios, and the word hagios means holy. When we say, "Our father, who is in heaven," what we're praying is, "Holy is your name". That's why we asked the choir to sing that this morning. Holy is he, holy be your name. Now what does the word holy mean? Some people say, "Well, that means to be free from sin". That's one aspect of it, but that's not really the meaning of holy. The word holy comes from an Old Testament word that means to cut or to separate. When we say God is holy, what we're saying is, "God is separate, he is different, he is distinct, he is a cut above anyone or anything here on earth".

You see this in Exodus 28. Remember, one of the commandments was, "Remember the sabbath day and keep it," what? Holy. Holy. Does that mean keep it free from sin? No, it means keep it different, separate than every other day of the week. In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter says that we are to be a holy people. If you're a Christian, that means you're to live separately, differently than the unbelievers around you. And in the same way, when we come before God we are to remember that God is holy, he is separate, he is different than we are. Holy be your name. That's what Jesus said we ought to begin our prayers with. Now the truth is God is holy regardless of whether you and I recognize it or not, isn't he? There's nothing we can do to make God any holier than he is. So why should we pray "Holy be your name" if your name is already holy? Why should we pray "May you be holy God"?

What he's talking about is not making God holy in the world, making God holy in our own lives. That's what this prayer is about. When we come before God, yes, we remember he is papa, he's our daddy, but we're to also remember he is holy, he is different than anyone or anything on earth. He's not our good buddy, he's not the man upstairs: he is the sovereign Creator of the universe. He's our Creator. How do we remember that? How do we make God holy, different, separate in our lives? Notice on your outline I suggest three practical ways that we make God holy. First of all, we hallow God's name. We make God's name holy through worship of his being. We make God holy, we hallow his name through our worship of his being. I noticed this morning after the choir finished their anthem you started applauding, some of you stood to your feet. Why did you do that? Because there is something inside you that was stirred, something inside of you wanted to praise God for who he was.

A few weeks ago, I found an old sermon that Dr. Cristle preached here probably 40 years ago. As I read the transcript of the sermon, it was very obvious what was going on. Apparently, a group had come to Dr. Cristle and said, "We want you to tell your congregation, we want you to tell our fellow church members to quit applauding in church. They shouldn't applaud during a baptism. They shouldn't applaud after a choir number. They need to remain worshipful". I smiled when I read that sermon, because the same thing happened to me in my last church. I've been there about six months. A group came to see me one afternoon and said, "Now, pastor, we need you to stop all the applause that's going on in our church. We've tried to get the last pastor to do it. He wouldn't do it, but we know you're going to do what we asked you to do. So would you please help the people remain in a spirit of worship".

You know what worship meant to them? It meant being catatonic. It meant being dead. If you're just absolutely still and express no emotion, that was worship. Gosh, what a lie. Worship means to praise God for who he is, to applaud, to revere, to honor, to esteem the name of God. And, you know, to Dr. Cristle's credit, he said no, and he explained to the congregation in that sermon why he wouldn't quench the Holy Spirit in a worship service. There's something inside of us that wants to praise God. And one way we make his name holy is through our worship of his being, by praising him, by expressing our appreciation when we begin to pray for who God is.

A great illustration that is found in Psalm 86. David wrote this Psalm when he was going through a lot of problems. I mean he was having problems at home, he really had problems at home. But not only that, he had problems at work, the kingship wasn't going that well, and he was way down with all of these problems. But when he came into the presence of God, instead of coming with a laundry list of things he wanted God to do for him, I want you to notice how David prayed, look at this, Psalm 86:8 to 10. "There is no one like you among the Gods, o Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before you, o Lord, and they shall glorify your name. For you are great and you do wondrous deeds: you alone are God". You notice how he prayed: he began by saying, "God, you're different than all the other Gods. You're holy, you're great, and you're majestic". And then notice in verse 17 how David closed the prayer. He said, "Show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because you, o Lord, have helped me and comforted me".

David begin the prayer way down with anxiety and worry: he finished the prayer comforted and at peace. What changed? None of his problems had gone away, in this moments he was on his knees. What changed was his perspective. As he concentrated, as he begin thinking about who God was, the power, the majesty of God, his problems melted away. And the same will be true for you. When you pray don't rush into God's presence with all of your request, there'll be time for that: but at least begin by remembering the holiness, the separateness of God.

We hallow God's name through the worship of his being. Secondly, we hallow God's name through our obedience to his will. That's how we make God holy in our hearts, by obeying his will. In 1 Peter 3:15, the apostle writes, "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts". That word sanctify is that Greek word I just told you about hagias, to be holy. It says, "Make Jesus holy as Lord in your hearts".

Now again you can't make Jesus any more holy than he is. But notice what he says, "Make him Lord in your hearts". That is, "Put God on the throne of your life, just as he is on the throne in heaven". Let God have the final say in your life, in everything about your life. Some of you are old enough to remember this. Remember the old Saturday night live, there was a comedian on there named Chevy Chase. Remember Chevy Chase? And Chevy Chase would do the weekend update and he would begin his weekend update every time with this line, he would say, "Hi, I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not". Remember that? "I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not". You know what Jesus is saying when we come into the presence of God we ought to begin by saying, "God, you're God, I'm not. And therefore you have a right to make every decision in my life". That's how we hallow, make holy the name of God, by obeying what we already know to be true. Somebody has said, "Prayer is ever and always, first and foremost a recognition of God's majestic glory, and a submission to it".

Third, we hallow God's name, we make God's name holy in our life through our awareness of his presence. In Psalm 16:8, David said, "I have set the Lord always before me". I hope you'll memorize that verse, Psalm 16:8. "I have set the Lord always before me". Now what was he saying? How can a finite being like David take hold of an infinite being like God and set God before him? That sounds kinda crazy when you think about it. No, what he was saying is, "Not that he makes God anymore omnipresent than he already is," God was always omnipresent, God was always before David. What David is saying, "In my mind, in my thinking, I have set the Lord before me". That is, "I have trained myself to always be aware of his presence".

Now there were times in David's life when he was aware of God's presence. Remember in Psalm 1:39, David said, "Where can I go from thy spirit? Or where can I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in sheol, thou art there". David said, "I don't care where I go. I can't get away from you, God. If I go up to heaven, you're there: if I make my bed in sheol, that is the grave, you're there as well". And yet there were times when David wasn't aware of God's presence. He conveniently forgot the presence of God. That's the only way he could've engaged in that act of adultery. It's the only way any of you and I can rebel against God when we forget the presence of God. Ladies and gentlemen, the single most revolutionary thought you can saturate your mind with is this: God is always watching: God is always evaluating: God is always judging your every thought, your every action.

That's what David was saying in Psalm 16:8, "I have always set the Lord ever before me". I'm constantly reminding myself that God is watching, he's evaluating, he's judging my every thought and action. That's how we make God's name holy in our life, through the constant awareness of his presence. Now that's easier said than done, isn't it? How can we keep the Lord before us in a practical way? Well, one reason we come together on Sundays is to do just that. We need a weekly reminder through our prayer and our praise and the proclamation of God's word, it is a way to remind us as we begin our week of who God is. Once a week isn't enough. We need daily reminders that God is always present. That's why we talk about the importance of reading God's word daily, of praying daily.

I tell you, even if you're in one of those passages, like I was talking about a few weeks ago in 2 kings that is dry as dust, at least in your own mind at that time, and absolutely has no application to your life: there is value in reading the Word of God, if nothing else, to remind you that God is ever before you. He's watching you, he is reeling your life just like he did the Israelites. We do it through reading scripture. But if you're like me, I need hourly, I need minute-by-minute reminders that the Lord is ever before me. One way you might do that is by putting scripture verses around your house, framing them, to have the Word of God all throughout your house. In your office, maybe put some mementos of spiritual milestones in your life.

I have a picture taken on a trip to Philippi that sits in my office a few years ago. It's where I made a momentous decision at that point, it was a spiritual milestone in my life. For some of you, it might be a baptismal certificate or something else. Just something that reminds you that your life is more than what you see. That's how we keep the Lord before us. We keep the Lord before us by the music that we listen to that has a way of either feeding or discouraging our spiritual nature. We need to set the Lord before us by what we watch and what we listen to. Now I know I'm going to step on some toes here. But there's some of you who need to change the station on your car radio. You need to quit listening to all that talk radio, okay? You need to quit listening to those people who keep telling you that America is going to hell in a hand basket. They are feeding off of your fears. They are making millions and millions of dollars by proclaiming a negative message by telling you that everything is just so awful right now.

And some of you listen to that and you get all worked up and you get your emails going back and forth and you dump them on me sometimes. And, "Oh, pastor, are you aware of what's going on? Oh, the sky is falling! Oh, what was that"? That is being a terrible witness for God to be that way. We don't need to feed our mind on fear. We need to change our station and listen to messages from God's word that reminds you no matter what's happening in Washington D. C., God's still on his throne, okay? He's still sovereign, he still has a plan that he's working out. We make God's name holy by constantly being aware of his presence.

David Jeremiah tells a true story about one man who found a unique way to do that. Brendan Manning was a Catholic priest who one day received a phone call asking if he would go and see a man who is dying in the hospital. Manning went. And as he went into the hospital room, he saw the man lying in bed dying and next to the hospital bed was an empty chair. The man who was dying said, "Father, I realize I'm about to die. That doesn't bother me. I'm ready to go meet Jesus. But I do have a question I want to ask you. It's been bothering me for years". Father Manning said, "Well, what's the question"?

He said, "Years ago, I was having difficulty in my prayer life. I feel like my prayers never made it above the ceilings. And a friend suggested that if we're not prayed, I would pull up an empty chair next to me and imagine that Jesus Christ was sitting in that chair. It would give new vitality to my prayer life. And so years ago I started doing that, I started praying with an empty chair next to me. I imagine that Jesus was there and I found myself praying sometimes an hour at a time. Father Manning, I want to know now 'cause I'm about to die, was that all right to do"? Father Manning says, "Not only is it all right, I think it delighted the heart of God for you to realize that prayer was an intimate conversation with your Heavenly Father".

Father Manning left the hospital room. A few days later, he received a telephone call from the daughter of that man. She said, "Father Manning, I wanted to thank you for coming to see my dad. I wanted to let you know that he went home to be with the Lord this morning. But, father Manning, when we went into the hospital room we saw something strange. Our dad was in a strange position. His head was leaning up against an empty chair". That man had discovered what prayer really is all about. Yes, when we pray we're coming into the presence of a powerful monarch, the one whose throne is in heaven, who's footstool is the earth, yes. But when we pray, we're also coming into the presence of the loving Heavenly Father who cares about every detail of our life: the kind of father we may not have experienced, but the kind of father every one of us has longed for.

Today, if you would like to join God's family, if you would like to know that God one day will usher you from this life into the next one to be with him forever, I invite you right now to confess your sins to Christ and then trust in Jesus, in Jesus alone, to be your Savior. Christ is Lord of the universe, but maybe he's not Lord of your hearts right now, maybe there is something you've been holding on to, some area of your life that is keeping you from experiencing that intimacy with God: that you don't want to pray, you don't want to come in God's presence because you're fearful of what he's going to ask you to do, what's he's going to ask you to give up you're not experiencing the benefits of having God as your father. But maybe today you would come by faith and say, "God, I'm giving you every part of my life. I believe you love me, I believe your plan for me is best. Today I'm surrendering to you".
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