The Promise, Price & Purpose of Prayer
The Price, Promise and Purpose of Prayer
Maranatha Baptist Church. Sunday July 3, 2005
Earlier we sang in our National Anthem “God keep our Land”. In many ways this is a prayer. The logical intent of this prayer in our National Anthem is that there is a God. We say the he is our God, and we are his. His work of “keeping” would indicate that we he intervenes and he is the ultimate ruler.
-Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, Premier of New Brunswick and one of the Fathers of Confederation, rose each morning to start his day with prayer and Scripture reading. As the 33 fathers gathered in Charlottetown to discuss and draft the terms of the British North American Act, there are were many suggestions on what to call this new “United Canada.” That morning, as Tilley read from Psalm 72:8, he became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God, that when came down to the Conference session, he presented the inspired “Dominion of Canada.” The other Fathers readily agreed and accepted.
-Canada’s coat of arms, adopted in 1921, stands upon the Latin phrase “A Mari Usque Ad Mare,” which when translated means “from sea to sea” a reference to Psalm 72:8.
-Canada’s official motto comes from Psalm 72:8, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.” Until not many years ago, July 1 was called “Dominion Day” which was a recognition of the sovereignty of God. Today, it is called “Canada Day.”
Part one of the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms, the Constitution Act of 1982 states that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God..”
Please turn to Romans 1
Ironically it has been the appeal to the Charter that has been used to claim liberty from God. People claim Autonomy from God. We become a law unto ourselves.
Rom 1:18-28 Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
- Stop: Can anyone then say they did not know God’s standard: God testifies that
V.19 It is plain. V.20 Perceived: Known by the senses; felt; understood; observed. Therefore without excuse.
What then is the fundamental dishonour, both individually and nationally?
Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
- Every time the anthem was sung and Dominion Day was celebrated it was meant be a prayer and thanksgiving.
- Look around how much individually and nationally was this done this weekend?
What then is the result of this failure? What does God do?
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Rom 1:25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; Rom 1:27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Rom 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
- We just saw the Gay pride parade and Dyke march:
- God declares that homosexuality is a judgement. V.24: God gives people up to the desires of their heart.
- V.27: Individuals and society received the due penalty for this error.
- Yet for the faithful remnant there is hope:
Back to our principle text: Jn. 14
Jn 14:1 says: Let not your hearts be troubled. Literally: “Stop being troubled”.
When Jesus said these words it was an hour darkened by the shadow of Judas’s treachery and Peter’s failure and only a few hours away from the agony of Gethsemane and death on the cross
Jn. 14 can help us understand what is happening in our land and the 1)Price 2) Promise and 3) Purpose of Prayer
1) The Price of Prayer: “I will spend most of my time on this”
Jn 14: 12" "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
· Do you notice who is doing the action.
· It is not what we do thorough God, but what God does through us.
Phi 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Always keep tabs on Jn 14 but please turn to 1 Jn 5:20
- We are absolutely dependent upon Christ for our knowledge of redemptive truth and for the spark that causes that truth to live in our souls.
- The way to God is fundamentally not through our actions, or works but only though Christ and his actions and works.
1Jo 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding (The Way), so that we may know him who is true; (The Truth) and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life (The Life).
Christ is doing the action through us. The starting point is faith: “Back to v. 13”:
1Jo 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1Jo 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
1Jo 5:15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
If we don’t have faith:
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
- The access to God comes through faith in his son. Therefore, the only prayer that God honours from the unbeliever is the prayer of faith.
Please turn back to Hosea 7:10
Some may think that since they poses salvation, God will automatically be responsive to their prayers
What then is the reaction of God to prayers made by the disobedient?
Hos 7:10 The pride of Israel testifies to his face; yet they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him, for all this. 7:11 Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria. 7:12 As they go, I will spread over them my net; I will bring them down like birds of the heavens; I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation. 7:13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me. 7:14 They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.
Back to Isaiah 59:1
Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; Isa 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. Isa 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.
What about prayers made with great frequency?
Isa 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
1Pe 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered
For Everyone Individually:
Psa 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Yet, For those who are obedient:
Psa 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.
Jam 5:16 (Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed). The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
- It has indeed no intrinsic power; but God has graciously purposed that his favor shall be granted to the righteous who call upon him,
Phi 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ Phi 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
- We are only able to approach God though Christ’s merit
- John Bunyan: “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed; but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed
In terms of the second part of the verse: What then are the greater works?
Please turn back to John 5:19
This will explain life and the nature of the work
Joh 5:19 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
- Showing complete unity of purpose and action in the Trinity: (We will see this explained when we come to the element of requests in “Jesus’ name)
Joh 5:20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. Joh 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
Joh 5:22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, Joh 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Joh 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
- Eternal life is a present reality & assurance for the believer
This is not an invitation. God does not give invitations:
Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, Act 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
The very basis for greater works is Jesus Going to the Father
Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
- Once Jesus departed, the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers and permanently indwelt them.
- This enabled them to obey God from the heart, he illuminated their mind, believers then received spiritual gifts and empowerment to do the work of God.
The work was greater in it’s scope
Christ confined his ministry chiefly to the precincts of Judea
-Christ only preached in Judea, and in the language only of that country; but the apostles preached through the most of the then known world, and in all the languages of all countries.
-The works were greater in their effects: more extensive results.
- Not necessarily greater miracles and not greater spiritual works in quality, but greater in quantity and scope.
- The miracles in the physical realm were there to prove the genuine character of the spiritual realm.
- The works would be greater because of v. 16: when the Spirit will empower the works.
- The works are greater in number and geographical explosion of the kingdom of God
Illustration: Read: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson p. 193.
1) The Price of Prayer
2) The Promise of Prayer
Jn 14:13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Can we therefore refuse medical treatment if we finish our prayer with “in Jesus’ name”? Can we make whatever financial commitments because we can expect or demand of God to respond favourably to their prayers?
How do we understand what it means to pray in Jesus’ name?
In Scripture, the name of God embodies all that He is. For example, when Moses first encountered God in the burning bush, he asked hi8m what His name was.
Exo 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM."
That means God’s name stands for all that He is. So when Christ commands us to pray in His name, He wants us to pray consistent with who He is-His person, His will and His purposes.
In my name - This is equivalent to saying on my account, or for my sake.
Illustration: When we write a cheque someone takes a piece of paper in our name to draw funds from our account. If a man who has money in a bank authorizes us to draw it, we are said to do it in his name.
Turn over to John 15:7
Praying in Jesus’ Name requires:
- Wholehearted communion with Christ in which the believer is conformed to Christ and his Purposes
Joh 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Joh 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Once again, if we deceive ourselves in not bearing fruit:
Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
Now over to John 16:23
- The actions are lawlessness if work not done in his name. The NLT even translates it “unauthorized”
Joh 16:23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 16:25 "I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 16:26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 16:27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
Notice in Jn 16:24 the nature of the asking and the type of answers given (Good Gifts). Matthew 7:7 spells it out:
Mat 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Mat 7:8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Mat 7:9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Mat 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? Mat 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
1Jo 3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
1Jo 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in harmony with Him, seeking his intercession and submitting to Him as Lord. In accordance with His name- that is, his holy character.
Illustration: For you parents, have you ever had your child come to you and say mommy or daddy said it was ok if I had the whole bag of candy. Can you get it down for me? You knew even though they claimed something in the other parents name it was not in keeping with their name. It was not in keeping with their character and you refused. But if they came and said: Mommy or Daddy said it was ok if I have an apple, can you get it down for me? You probably obliged, for it would make a lot more sense.
1) The Price of Prayer 2) The Promise of Prayer
3) The Purpose of Prayer
Joh 14:13 (Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do), that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Joh 14:14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
How did Jesus Teach Us?
Mat 6:9 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
- To show the line of demarcation: What is the most common profanity that a non-Christian will use: Blasphemy.
- That God’s name will be gloried is the first directive that we are told to pray for.
Please turn to Matthew 15
The key aspect of Glorifying God is our motive:
Mat 15:8 "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; Mat15:9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" Mat 15:10 And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand: Mat 15:11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person."
How then is Glorifying God worked out?
Jam 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Jam 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. Jam 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder! Jam 2:20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
How exactly does this look?
1Jo 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 1Jo 2:4 Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1Jo 2:5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 1Jo 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
What then is the purpose of Prayer?
Purpose of Prayer: A God ordained means to accomplish God ordained ends/
It is not getting God to do what he does not want, but laying a hold of his highest willingness.
Finally, please turn to Matthew 5:13
Mat 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Prayer: Good works, Glory to God & The Sending of Alan Oats