Real Prayer

You can't share the teachings of God without being in love with Jesus. Get real with people and God. Pray your way through the day.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:7-8, 1 Timothy 2:2


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today?

I was thinking of all the people I’ve met by way of radio broadcast, and the letters and cards that you write me. Thousands of you have never seen – nor will I – until we get to glory, but I get to know you in a way, just by reading your letters and your cards, because you keep writing – many of you – and I’m grateful for that. To see somebody, for instance, who’s going through deep sorrow, somebody’s lost a husband and writes and says, “I don’t want to go on living. He was all I had. Why did God take him from me?” And to try to give some comfort and counsel, and then to see the blessed Holy Spirit, sometimes through the words that are set on the broadcast, more often through His blessed written Word, the Bible, and the whispered messages of the indwelling Holy Spirit as that person would, would read and meditate and pray. God would speak to that hurting heart and things would begin to heal, and new horizons would open up and new areas of usefulness would become clear, and finally, to get a letter saying, “I, I’ve just, I just started, this or that or the other enterprise” and just praising the Lord for the way He has worked things out.” To me, it’s a great thrill to see people growing in grace and coming along in the ways of the Lord, to see God bring you through the hard places and drying your tears, and strengthening your faith. Oh, that’s great. That’s – for me – that’s the reward. I try to put a handle on it so you can get hold of it for yourself, and when that works, believe me, I’m delighted.

Well, we’re looking at 1 Timothy 2, and he said, “I’m ordained a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” How do you teach? He said, “I teach in faith and I teach in verity,” or truth. Why did he have to say that? Because, my dear friend, if your teaching of the things of God is not based upon your own personal faith, which is… (This is a Cook definition, but I think it’s a good one.) Faith is the willingness to risk the entire situation on God. If you’re teaching of others is not based upon your willingness to risk everything on God’s Will, then it falls flat. Now, you can teach geology without being in love with the rocks, and you can teach biology and botany without being in love with the frogs or the flowers, but you can’t teach the things of God without being in love with Jesus. It’s that simple.

I have to ask you, my pastor friend, how deep does your preaching go? I know you work hard at it, and know I might see hundreds of preachers, because God has given me the privilege of meeting lots of you dear men. I think when God calls people to preach, He calls the cream of the crop. Your pastor is God’s choice-anointed servant. You love him and take care of, give him, give him a raise… But I’m talking now to the preacher. How deep does your preaching go? Does it excite you? Does it convict you? Ever pray over your sermons? Do you ever cry over your sermons? Is there anything of real concern there?

The impression is around… Someone was talking with me the other day on this, and said, “You give the idea that everything’s cut and dried, and it’ll go on just as it always has. You’re not really concerned about revival and renewal and a great wave of cleansing in God’s work.” It cut me to the quick. It really did, because I see myself as caring about those things, but you see, the fact is, none of us cares really enough, and no one of us has risked enough on God yet, and no one of us… Well, the writer to the Hebrews says – says a little bit sarcastically – he says, “You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” “I don’t see bleeding,” said he. What’s the impression that gets around about you and about me? Do people think that we are pretty much routine, and that it’s gotten dried, and that we don’t really care all that much?

See, all of those questions and the answers to them are wrapped up in this matter of the teacher in faith, where you have faced the options of either believing God and obeying Him or not, of obeying God or going your own way, of coming clean with the Will of God or else hiding your own ineptitudes and failures and trying to put on a good face, and you’ve faced it and you’ve, and you’ve settled it, and you said, “I’m going to risk it all on my blessed Lord.” Then, when you teach, if you’ve done that, beloved, there’s going to be some results. Oh yes, there will.

Then the other word he says – “verity” – and that is, it has to be truth, and it has to be truth you know about. When you know something of a verity, that is you know it and you know that you know. I was arguing with my boss one time – years ago – and we, we just, he would, he was saying, “No, no – you can’t do it that way. Have to do it this way.” And I said, “I can’t understand why you, you won’t agree to try this. It’s such a great idea. Why don’t you like it?” He looked me right in the eye and said, “Because I know more about it than you do.” I tell you, that qualified the bar in a hurry, didn’t it?

Well, faith… Faith and verity. You have to know that you know because you’ve been through it yourself. I used to tell my students at the college: “Anything I tell you, I’ve been there.” I make it a practice not to teach or preach anything that’s just theoretical. I want to live it. Don’t you feel the same way? Faith and verity. I want it to be real in my life. Nothing put on – no fraud, no fake, no veneer – just reality. Reality. Faith and reality, where people who listen to you in conversation, in your sermons, in your Sunday school lessons, in your talk at home – whatever it is – they’ll say, “He’s the real thing.” “She is real.” Do they say that about you? If they don’t, they should, and the way to get real with people is to get real with God, first of all. Let Him speak to your heart. Let your tears fall as you repent of your failings and shortcomings and sins, and let the indwelling Holy Spirit fill every part of your life, every room in your heart house, full of the presence of the Spirit of God who dwells in the believer. Let Him fill your life and then speak in terms of reality. You’ll be a blessing.

Well, Paul says, “I will that men pray everywhere now.” He started prayer, “I exhort therefore…” – this is verse 1 – “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men,” and he goes on to talk about that. Notice how he developed this, now. The prayer life, the prayer life includes worship. First of all, supplication – you come as a supplicant after mercy. Prayer – that’s worship. Intercession – that’s getting under the burden of another person. Giving of thanks – you know what that is. Praise God even in the midst of trials; “Hallelujah anyway.” A prayer life includes those things and it includes praying for people on, on the top level and the, and underneath – Kings and those that are in authority. A prayer life includes asking God to live a life that pleases Him: “that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in godliness. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” Pray that you might live a life that pleases God. Then he says, “Who will have all men to be saved.” A real prayer life zeroes in on the salvation of other people. A real prayer life ends up in your teaching others in faith and reality. Now, that’s just a quick profile of those verses.

Now we come to verse eight, “I will therefore,” he said, “that men pray, pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Now, what does he mean: “Men pray everywhere?” You’re supposed to stand on a street corner and pray a loud prayer? Why, if you do that very often, the men in white coats will come and get you, but you can talk to God anywhere and He’ll hear you. Pray when you’re driving, pray before you answer the phone, pray before you open a letter – could be a check or a bill; there is a difference. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you sign a contract. God has already read the fine print: “The large print giveth, but the fine print taketh away,” is the saying. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you, you to take a job, make a job decision. Pray before you hire somebody or before you transfer somebody; certainly before you fire somebody. The most expensive thing you can do in a business is to fire somebody – you have to start all over. Pray your way through the day. Pray when you’re happy; share it with God. Pray when you’re sad; let Him share His joy and peace with you. Pray when you feel full of pep, that God will guide you in the use of that strength, and pray when your feet are dragging, that God will give you His strength. “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,” says the Bible. Pray when you’re encouraged, that God may keep you in line with His purposes. Pray when you’re discouraged, that God may keep you from caving in and getting off on some sidetrack. Pray. When Paul says, “pray everywhere,” I think he means under every circumstance. Pray your way through the day. I that I think that’s what he means, I’m certain that that’s the way it works, at least for yours truly. And there are many occasions when in, in conversation with a friend, you can pray in something other than a church situation.

I took some clothes to the cleaner when I came back from the, the western convention. A couple suits that were rumpled and needed pressing and some shirts that needed cleaning, and as I came out of the cleaners’ shop there in Stroudsburg, I noticed a car with a little bumper sticker that said, “I love Jesus,” and I went over. The man was sitting in his car with his wife, and I said, “You know the Lord, don’t you?” He brightened up and said, “Yes!” “Well, I’m Bob Cook.” He said, “Are you on the radio?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Are you Mr. Cook?” I said, “Yes.” He jumped out, shook my hand. We talked for awhile. I found out he had some burdens and some needs, and so as we talked, there in the parking lot of the cleaners, I put my hand on his shoulder and I prayed earnestly for him. And heaven was there, the presence of God was real, and everything was right about that moment, believe me.

“Pray everywhere” means “pray under every circumstance.” You come into a strange group of people – you have to be guided by the Holy Spirit in this – but I’ll take what happened to me one time. I was just starting at the college. I didn’t know anybody scarcely, but some kind person opened his home for a little reception for a bunch of faculty, and we stood around and talked, and everybody was a little bit ill at ease, but we got to be friendly after awhile, and at ease. And finally when it was time to go home – without thinking – I said, “Friends, let’s just lift a prayer. Just pray with me.” And I bowed, and they bowed, and I prayed and asked God to bless them and help them and strengthen them, and, and lead us in our work, and when I finished somebody came over to me with tears showing and said, “I’m so glad you did that. I needed that.” Well, you never know. Be ready to pray with people and for people, but pray your way through the day. Always.

Heavenly Father today, oh, may we be people of prayer in every situation so that we can know Thy victory every step of the way, through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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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