You better discuss with God what the facts are and let Him give you then that realistic answer to your specific prayer.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything Alright at your house? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. This is your good friend, Dr. Cook. I’m so glad to be back with you to share a little from the Word of God and to try to put a handle on it, so that you can get a hold of it for yourself.
You and I’ve started walking around in the book of Colossians. We’re now to that verse nine of chapter 1. Paul says, “For this cause”, now what does he mean? For what cause? He said, “We heard of your faith and your love and your hope and the fruitfulness of your lives, and your love in the Spirit”. These are things he heard about when Epaphras came to give him the news.
So with that in the background, what he had heard about them, he says, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power and unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness giving thanks unto the Father”. That’s quite a prayer isn’t it, and you’ll find that there’s a great deal of riches in it for you and for me. For our purposes, we see a very good outline of the logic of prayer.
How do you approach this matter of praying, anyway? Let me show you what I mean in verse nine of Colossians chapter 1. He said, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it”, underline heard, “do not cease to pray for you”, underline do not cease to pray, then, “and to desire”, underline the infinitive to desire, and then he says, “to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will”, so underline the phrase, ye might be filled.
Now, what does all that mean to us? He said, “Since the day we heard it, we don’t cease to pray”, which tells me the Paul always faced reality and prayed on the basis of the facts. Wouldn’t you agree that a great deal of our praying turns out to be formal, habitual, ritualized? Praying that his inner larded with sort of filler phrases? You’ve heard people pray who use the phrase, “Dear Heavenly Father”, and in between sentences when they couldn’t quite think of what to say next, other religious expressions are often times used to supply the need of real thoughtfulness and real meaning.
Well, Paul didn’t have that difficulty., He prayed on the basis of the facts, and so indeed should you and I. Would you review your own praying along that line? How factual, now really, have you been in your praying, for instance, about your own self? You and I know ourselves best of all. I, on one occasion I found myself praying, “Oh Lord help me and bless me in this matter”, and I was getting precisely nowhere in the process of praying, until it occurred to me that I really wasn’t leveling with God. I wasn’t telling Him the truth, and so I burst out, I remember in my praying, and say, “Oh God I don’t like to do this. I don’t want to do it”, and so on, and I just told Him how I really felt. Then, the Spirit of God took hold of my heart and mind and will, and I got somewhere in my praying. Have you had that experience? Pray honestly on the basis of the facts.
You’re having trouble with your teenage boy and you pray, “Oh Lord, bless Junior”. Well it’s a good prayer. God will undoubtedly hear it and, “The faithful Holy Spirit of God will interpret it”, as Paul says he does, that we read in Romans chapter 8, but it’d be far better to bring Johnny’s grade card and the letter that came with it to your Lord in prayer and say, “Lord, look at this. It’s Johnny’s grade card. He’s having trouble with this teacher, and the teacher’s having trouble with him. Lord, it seems that he’s not cooperative and somewhat belligerent, and his grades are slipping generally and I have this nagging fear that he may be getting in with the wrong crowd and may even of got into the drug traffic. Oh God, this is the scar with my boy, and I ask for your help in these matters”.
See now, that is factual praying, isn’t it? We have a very good example of that in the case of Hezekiah who received a threatening letter from an adversary nation, and it said, “He took the letter and lay it before the Lord”, he read it before the Lord, said, God look at this, in other words. He prayed on the basis of the facts. Nehemiah is another illustration of factual praying. He heard that the walls of the city of Jerusalem were broken down and gates were burned with the fire, and all that, and he prayed to God, then after he had been sent by the King Artaxerxes to head an expedition that was going to rebuild these walls, and he found opposition there, Sanballat, and Geshem, and Tobiah were heading up a force of opposition, he says, “I prayed to the God of Heaven”, and then his prayer was pretty factual. He said, “Lord, you look at these people”, and, and, and you take care of us, in other words. Nehemiah prayed on the basis of the facts. “He went out at nighttime”, it says, “and looked at the walls, how they were broken down and saw the whole setup”, and then he said, “I prayed to the God of Heaven”. “The God of Heaven, He will prosper”.
Well, give some thought, would you beloved, to this matter praying on the facts, praying factually. Many of us, it must be admitted, fill our prayers with general petitions, “Lord bless my family, bless my pastor, and the board of deacons, bless the missionaries”, you know and we use that word, and I’m sure it’s acceptable with the Lord because the Bible is filled with the same phrases, but if you want real results from your praying beloved, you better get factual. You better discuss with God what the facts are and let Him give you then that realistic answer, that constitutes a direct answer to your prayer and a specific supply of your need.
A good many years ago now when our two older girls were just little toddlers, I brought with me to the dinner table at night, a statement of money that we owed, and at that time I wasn’t make anywhere near enough to pay that particular obligation, and I said to the family, “Now, when we have family worship tonight, we’re going to pray about this”, and I did. I asked the Lord in Jesus’ name, for a supply of this particular need, and in a few days there came a letter from a man who did not at that time owe me any money, but who would, this had to do with a royalty of some book or other, who would owe it in six months. You understand me? He didn’t at that time owe any money, but there would be a royalty of some sort coming due in six months, and he said in his letter, “For some strange reason I feel I have to get this off my mind and get it paid now, and so I’m sending you a check in the amount of X dollars”.
Well, believe it or not, the amount of that check was within a very few dollars, it was over actually, within a very few dollars of what we’d asked the Lord for. I brought the check with me then, to the dinner table and I said, “This is God’s answer to our prayer of the other evening. Let’s thank Him for it”. When you ask God specifically about things, He’ll give you a specific answer.
Dr. McCarrell, used to call him Billy McCarrell, many of you Chicagoans remember him, Cicero Bible Church pastor for many years, great man of God. One of his pet phrases in his preaching, as I recall was, “You get definite with God, He’ll get definite with you”. “Get definite with God”, said he, “He’ll get definite with you”. You try that, will you? Pray on the facts, that’s what this verse says to me, “Since the day we heard it, we prayed”. When you hear something, pray about it. When you know something is a fact, pray about it. Don’t just say, “Lord, bless me, Lord help the situation”. He will undoubtedly hear that prayer, but if you want real results from God, go into detail in your praying and ask God for it.
There was a missionary who was being evacuated from a war zone during World War II, out in the Pacific, and he and some other missionaries were taken off of an island in the South Pacific, and they were aboard a lumbering old freighter, plowing its way slowly through the Pacific Ocean, heading toward, hopefully, toward safety. And as this rusty old freighter made its way through the waves, these refugees, these war evacuated, were horrified to see the spume of spray that followed a rising submarine periscope. There they saw it, as it sliced through the waves, perilously near to them, and oh how they prayed. I remember this particular missionary saying, “I thought I knew how to pray before, but”, he said, “I learned in those hours to pray in detail. We prayed, ‘Lord, stop his engines. Lord, jam his torpedo tubes. Lord, turn him the other way around. Lord, make him go away’”. He said, “We prayed definitely”, and to their great relief and joy, the periscope was lowered and the submarine disappeared from view, and they were bothered no more. “I learned”, said he, “to pray in detail”. He said, “We prayed about every part of that submarine”.
Well, it’s good for a chuckle now perhaps, after the years of passed, but I assure you it was a matter of desperate concern in those hours, when life was at stake. Pray definitely, pray in detail, pray on the facts. Let God in on the situation, not that He doesn’t know, but that He wants you to share it with Him. Good idea? That’s the first step in the logic of prayer. We’ll get at the rest the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, we commend ourselves to Thee, Make us good pray-ers, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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