Be specific when you pray for yourself and for others. Then trust the blessed, faithful, promise-keeping God to answer perfectly and according to His eternal Will.
Alright. Thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Oh, I’m feeling fine, thank you. Nice of you to ask. Happy in the Lord and full of bounce to the ounce, as we say. Glad to be back with you. I cherish these times when we can sit down together and look at God’s Word. Maybe you’re driving to work, or maybe you’re just waking up, it’s early in the morning, or maybe you’re just finishing a long day, and it’s late at night, or whenever it may be, we’re together, aren’t we? Around the Word of God. Hallelujah for that.
Now, we’ve come through some of the passages in First Thessalonians Five, and the last one that we considered, was that verse, “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” And the emphasis is on the character of the one calling you. What He is, is reflected in what He does. Always remember this, you can adjust your conduct for a while, but the person you are, will inevitably effect the conduct that people observe in you. What you do will inevitably be controlled by the person you are. And what God does, is based upon the wonderful person that He is, a faithful, covenant keeping God. As Moses said, “He is God, the faithful God, keeping His promises to a thousand generations.”
Oh, as you worship and pray before Him, let your soul delight in the realization that God keeps His Word, and that you are not at the whim of some tyrant who may change His mind tomorrow. Or even some government that may change its mind. I remember when I worked for Scripture Press, years ago, we had some government hearings in Washington and I was there, would you believe it, as a Technical Advisor? [chuckle] Yeah, that’s a fine term and I wore it proudly, believe me. Whatever it means, there I was. [chuckle] So I got in on all the different hearings. What astounded me, on one occasion, was to hear the government attorney say, when we produce certain documents dated back in the 19… What would it have been? 40’s I guess… Stating what the government’s position was and said, “Look, the government said this.” He looked us right in the eye and said, “Well, the government has changed its mind.”
Oh, that upset me no end. Well, the thing worked out alright. I’ll take you off the anxious seat and say everything worked out alright. But, you know, even governments change their minds and tyrants all over the world change their minds. And you can very easily, if you’re depending upon human beings, you can very easily be at the mercy of someone who is changeable, and doesn’t keep his word. But God is different. He doesn’t change. “I am the Lord, I change not. Therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Oh, beloved, would you today just revel in the fact that you’re dealing with a faithful God that keeps His word? Now, in order, really, to enjoy it, you need to know what His word is. And so get into the Bible, find out what His promises are, and then apply them in faith to your own heart, and your own life, and your own needs. And you’ll be rejoicing, as you, with me, walk step by step with the faithful God.
Now, Paul says, “Brethren, pray for us.” Over in Ephesians, after he gave the listing of the Christian’s armor, he said, “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication, for all saints and for me.” You remember that? Let me look at that. I’m turning the pages of my big Bible, so that I can read it for you, because I don’t think I can quote it. “Praying always,” Ephesians 6:18, “With all prayer and supplications in the Spirit, and watching thereunto, with all perseverance and supplication, for all saints,” Verse 19, “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I’m an ambassador in handcuffs. That, in them, I may speak boldly as I ought to speak. Pray for me, that I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”
The apostles, when they were jailed, as a result of the miracle that was done on the lame man, his story is found, as you recall, in the Third Chapter of Acts. “Now, they were in jail overnight, and then they were brought out, and questioned, and threatened,” and it said, “They called them and commanded them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus.” Peter and John said, “We can’t but speak the things which we have seen and heard. It isn’t right, in the sight of God, to listen to you more than to God.” So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them. Because the man that was healed, was all there… People saw him and they knew him. Now, it says, “Being let go, they went to their own company, told it all, and when they heard that,” the church people, “They lifted up their voice to God with one accord and said, ‘Lord, thou art God.’ ” That’s a wonderful prayer. You preachers can preach on that with great blessing. “Lord, you’re the God of creation, you’re the God of the Scripture, you’re the God of history, you’re the God of the incarnation, you’re the God of Calvary, Christ in Calvary, and you’re the God of the impossible.”
“Now, grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness, they may speak thy Word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal, and the signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy Holy Child, Jesus.” They prayed for boldness and they prayed for power. This was the essence of New Testament praying in those days. And it ought, I think, also to be ours.
Now, Paul does say in Ephesians 4:6-7, that you should pray about everything, and I do, and I know many of you do. Pray about everything, everything from preparing sermons to looking for parking places. Submit the whole business of living to God, because He’s interested in it. He said, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you. Thoughts of good, not of evil, to give you a desired end.” “The steps of a good man,” steps it says, “Are ordered of the Lord and He delighteth in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him by His hand.” God has hold of you and He’s going to keep you, even though you may stumble. He determines your steps. So God is interested in the details, of course, He is.
But what should be the thrust of our praying? Jesus said, “Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He may thrust forth laborers into His harvest.” Pray for the harvest, pray for boldness in witnessing for Christ. Pray for power in your life, that it may make a difference in the lives of others. Pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God, in and through your life.
These are the great areas of prayer. Yes, pray your way through the day. I’ve often taught that to my students at the college. And you are familiar with it, because you’ve heard me say it different times on the radio, haven’t you? Pray when you wake up. Pray when you greet the family for the first time. Pray before you start a job of work at the office, or shop, or whatever it may be. Pray before you answer the phone. Pray before you open a letter. Pray before you sign a contract. Pray before you go on a trip. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you either quit a job or take one. Pray your way through the day, and then you can turn out the pocket full of memories, and say, “Thank you, Lord. You led me all the way.”
Okay, that’s true, but the thrust of my praying has to be the will of God. Has to be, that I may be given boldness to speak for Jesus. Has to be, that I’ll be the kind of person whose speaking will be credible. Has to be, that I ask for the Power of God to fill my life, so that Christ will be honored and people’ll be saved. That is the stuff of which New Testament praying must be made.
Interestingly enough, every time I’ve prayed on that basis, other things shaped up as well. You know why? “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,” Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” You pray on the basis of God’s perfect will concerning the Gospel, and you in it, and you’ll find that other things shape up as well, because God takes care of that for you. Prayer. Isn’t that something? Now, see, that’s what you and I have to look at, in terms of where the real action is. Brethren, pray for us. Pray for us. What? Pray that we might speak the Word of God with boldness, alright?
Now, how do you go about this matter of intercessory prayer? Many of you, I know, have a prayer list and that, I think, is the basis of good, orderly, effective praying. You oughta have a prayer list. Get yourself a little blank book. You can get it in the five and dime for a dollar, I think. [chuckle] It’s just a little blank book with pages that are lined, so you can write on them, and you can put the date at the top of the page, and then you can put down some of the things about which you’re praying. Leave the opposite page blank, so that you can fill in the answers when they come. That’s the way I do it. But have a list of things and people for whom you’re praying, and then pray earnestly as you go down that list. Not just aimlessly wandering through a prayer, until you feel better, but remember, you’re doing business with Heaven. And so you need to be orderly, and you need to be organized, and you need to be sensible, and not depend simply on the whim of the moment.
How do you pray effectively? Well, have a prayer list. But before you do that, what? I think you have to spend time in the presence of your Lord, until your heart is really right with Him. How can you pray for anybody else, until your heart is really right with your Lord? And so every time you go to prayer, you wait before Him, and ask Him to cleanse you. And search me, Oh, God, and try my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Ask God to cleanse you, ask Him to make you right with Him, and then you can go on, and pray for others.
Incidentally, we need to get beyond the “Lord, bless John Doe” kind of a prayer. Now, that’s all good, to mention a person’s name in prayer is great. I’m immensely grateful for people who’ve told me from time to time, “I have your name on my list. It’s up near the top and I mention you every day when I pray.” Oh, I’m grateful for that, don’t quit. Any blessing in my life today, is a result of answered prayer, I know that. But we need to go a little farther than that, I think, in our praying. We need to pray particularly. Once in a very great while, I have the privilege of visiting my sister, who lives out in California. She’s older than I. She served, actually, as a surrogate mother for me, after my own mother died, when I was just a baby. And she helped to raise me, as many of you know.
And so once in a while, I get a chance to visit her. And when I do, inevitably, before we’ve been together very long, one of us will say, “Well, let’s have our prayer meeting.” And so we’ll pray. But before we pray, we generally talk about the things about which we’re gonna pray. “What should we pray about? What’s on your heart?” And so, then, we’ll share the details of things that we wanna bring before the Heavenly Father. Real praying needs to be specific, not, “Lord, just bless me.” You wouldn’t go into the supermarket and say, “Oh, grocer man, give me groceries,” would you? No. You want a pound of this, and a can of that, and a sack of the other. You’re specific. And so, when you come to your blessed Lord, Paul says, “Let your requests be made known unto God.” Be specific when you pray for yourself and for others. And then, trust the blessed, faithful, promise-keeping God to answer perfectly, according to His eternal will. Oh, we’d go on with this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, we love you, and we adore you, and we worship you. Oh, today, may our praying improve in efficiency, and in love, and in power, and as a result, in its answers. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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