What Do You Want?
Praying means verbalizing my request to God as exactly as I can.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright? Well, this your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you.
We’re looking at Colossians, Colossians 1:9. Paul says, “For this cause”, and though the word’s, “this cause”, refers back to what he’s just been saying, we, he has heard about the Saints and faithful brethren in Christ in Colossae, and he’s heard of their faith and love and hope and fruitfulness and personal knowledge of the Gospel, all these things, and he says, “For this cause”, because I’ve heard all this about you, I’m not ceasing to pray for you, “we do not cease to pray for you”, he says, “and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”. That’s about as far as we got the last time we were together.
That word desire. I was just in the process, at that point, of referring you to Mark chapter 11, I think it is, where the Lord Jesus said something to His disciples along the line of this matter of desire in prayer. May I go back to that then again? “In the morning”, it says, “as they passed by they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots”. You remember that the Lord Jesus, in order to teach the people around Him an object lesson about Israel and its fruitlessness, “He sought for fruit and there was none”, and He said, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter, forever, and His disciples heard it”, that’s Mark 11:14.
Now, in Mark 11:20 it says, “They saw the fig tree dried up from the roots and Peter, calling to remembrance saith, ‘Master, behold the fig tree which Thou curses, is withered away”. He was surprised that something happened. Typical human reaction isn’t it? Surprised that something should actually happen as a result of the word of our blessed Lord. Well, it does. When Jesus says something, you have results, and so there you have the setup, Peter surprised that something is happening and our Lord’s answer gives us the key now to successful praying. Jesus answering, Said unto them, ‘Have faith in God”. He said, fellas, you’re not dealing with just human situations here, you’re dealing with God’s impact upon human life, that’s the difference. Have faith in God, for He says, “Whosoever say unto this mountain be thou removed, be thou cast into the sea and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall whatsoever he sayeth, therefore”, because when you’re dealing with God nothing is impossible, “therefore I say unto you, what things whatsoever ye desire when you pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them and when ye stand praying, forgive if you have ought against any, that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses, but if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven- forgive your trespasses”.
Now, what our Lord was saying there, all of this grows out of Paul’s use of the word desire. Colossians 1, you know where we’re going now? What our Lord was saying was, fellas, you’re not dealing just with human nature situations, you are dealing with God. Now, can you bring that concept into your daily life, beloved. Oh, it makes such a difference.
“Ye are laborers together with God”, Paul says. “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building”, God is treating you like his farm, He’s growing something in your life. God is treating you like the beautiful building that’s being constructed by a master architect. “Ye are laborers together with God”, God is actually working at your side, in other words, all that you are, where you are, what you are and what is happening to you this minute, is involved in the eternal plan and purpose of Almighty God. Because that is so, you then have the right to talk to Him about what is on your heart in these matters. He said, “If, if you speak to the mountain of difficulty and have no doubt in your heart, but you believe that those things which you’re saying to come to pass, it will happen”. God waits for you, beloved, to say what you want so He can do it.
Now, the first concept is, your present circumstances are linked with God. Second, your heart desires can be made known to God, and something as a result will happen. God does answer prayer.
Now third, the procedure is very plain, verse 24, it involves desire, prayer, and acceptance, “Believe that ye receive”, acceptance, and then possession, “ye shall have”. You want to think about that for a moment? What is the procedure then, that we follow in this matter of prayer, as our Lord lays it out? It starts with desire. That’s a very strong word as I explained to you the last time we got together. It’s a combination of beg and entreat and long for, and crave and demand, and need, and ask, and desire. All of those different connotations are bound up in that one verb that is used here.
In other words, what is it that you really want? What is it that you really want? When you boil it down, the things that are absolutely important to you are very few in number. Isn’t that true? There are a lot of things that you wish you had. You know, I wish someone would leave me $1 million. Well, it’s not about to happen. I don’t know any rich people that are going to do that. A nice thought you know. I don’t really desire that.
There aren’t too many things in life that you can list as being absolutely life-and-death important. I used to say to the young people at the college during those years when I served as President, I used to say, “Make a list of the things for which you would be willing to be shot dead at 5 o’clock tomorrow morning”. Now, it’d be a very short list when you come down to it and the more you think about of the shorter it gets, right? So, this word desire leads to a very short, but extremely important list of things. What is it you really want?
Now, somebody listening to me has a troubled home, and if I said, “What do you want”, well you might say, “I wish my husband would treat me better”, or, “I wish my wife would be more responsive to me”, or whatever, you know. This really is not the thing that you really desire. What you really desire is a home full of God and full of happiness and full of peace. Interpersonal weather, that is the conditions between you and your spouse, will improve when the relationship with God improves. You know that.
A merchant said to me many years ago, “Bob”, he said, “I’m going to get a divorce”. Well, I about fell over with surprise because I thought that he was happily married and I had no inkling of what was going on. “Oh”, I said, “You mustn’t do that”. “Yes”, he said, “I am”, he said, “I’ve met this fine young lady who works for me here and I’ve never really been happy in my home, and I’m going to get a divorce”.
Well, I’ll tell you I said, “Well, I’m going to pray that you don’t”, and I walked on out and went to prayer, spent some time, hours that is, before God, interceding for this man and for his wife and for the whole situation. The following Sunday, God graciously answered that prayer in that both husband and wife responded when I gave the invitation. They had never really- they were church attenders, but they had never really committed themselves to Jesus Christ as Lord and been as our Lord puts it, “Born again”. That Sunday night it happened, and they were both brought to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A week or two passed and as I was greeting people after the service, the wife said to me, “We’d like to talk with you for a moment”, “Well”, I said, “just wait till I finish greeting the people and I’ll be glad to sit down and talk with you”. By the way Pastor, don’t try to handle sensitive problems at the door as people go out. They may raise them, but don’t you try to handle them while people are in line. You say, “If you wait just a moment I’ll sit down with you”. That gives you time to be with them unhurried and uninterrupted and so I did.
When we sat down together, it was the lady who spoke and she said, “Pastor, I just want you to know that the since we were saved and got right with the Lord, everything’s Alright in our home”. Then her husband broke in with a beaming smile, “It’s just like, oh it’s like a second honeymoon”. Now, there was no more talk of divorce, no more talk of breaking up that home, when they get right with God.
I tell you that simply to remind you that desire is a strong word and it needs to be focused upon those matters that are eternal in nature or that affect God’s working in your life. Okay? “What things whatsoever ye desire”. What is it that is so important that you’ve got to have it? You bring that to God and you’re going to get an answer. Alright? Desire.
Then he said, “Pray”. You’d be surprised how many people fail to verbalize their requests. Paul the apostle said, “Don’t worry about anything but everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and as a result the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. Requests that is to say, you have thought through what it is you really want. Our Lord Jesus asked people that way, He said, “What is it you want Me to do”? Well, they said, “Lord that we might receive our sight”. He knew they were blind, that was obvious, but He wanted them to say it.
Dr. Walter Wilson, my dear, dear friend of many years, now with the Lord of course. Do you remember him, Walter L. Wilson? The beloved physician, they used to call him. I remember his saying in my hearing, “You have to say something in prayer, even our Lord”, he would go on, “even our Lord told us that”, he said, “When you pray, say our Father”, say something to God said he, don’t just mumble a few form expressions. A very good piece of advice, I thought, and so he said, “Whatsoever ye things desire when you pray”.
Praying means verbalizing my request to God as exactly as I can. You people in business know that you don’t depend on verbal instructions- you say write it out. Well if necessary, write out your petition so that you’re saying exactly what you mean when you talk with God. Pray means verbalize that need which to you is so very, very important. We’ll go on with this the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, help us to know what it is that we really desire and then to go after it in faith from Thee, 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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