Promise and Prayer
By Bro Jim Brasseal, Pastor Landmark MBC
Sermon presented at the 2006 Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association messenger meeting at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, Gillette, WY.
I never expected to have this opportunity, but it is a blessing to be able to present the Word of God.
“And it came to pass, that, as he [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).
It is so amazing that John taught his disciples to pray, and Jesus was praying! Nothing ever came between the Son and the Father. He had no time that he needed to ask for forgiveness, but He did pray. And in his praying he expressed his willingness to follow whatever the Father gave him to do.
Here Jesus gave the model prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4).
Then Jesus gives a parable about a man who comes knocking on a door at night saying, “Friend, lend me three loaves” (Luke 11:5). However, the reply from the man in the house was, “Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee” (Luke 11:7). Jesus said that the man would not rise to give bread because of friendship, but “because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth” (Like 11:8). Importunity means being persistent, that is, he kept asking for the bread. We should apply this to our prayer life by being persistent and praying without ceasing.
Five Promises Connected with Prayer
Here are five promises that the Bible tells us the Lord made that are connected with prayer.
1. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). God promises that if we ask, seek, and knock; it will be given, we will find, and it will be opened.
2. “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7). These are wonderful words here! God promises peace. “Be careful for nothing” means to “have no anxious worry” or to “be full of care for nothing.”
3. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). It is not stated as a direct promise, but it gives implication of a promise. That is a wonderful promise: God can do more than we ask or think.
4. “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). God will give us the desires of our heart because we delight ourselves in Him.
5. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). This is a wonderful promise about Jesus Christ, our High Priest. First, Jesus knows everything that we are going through, and second, we can come to the throne of grace boldly!
These are all promises from God, and He doesn’t lie: (1) ask, seek, and knock, (2) make requests known, (3) exceeding abundantly above, (4) delight in the Lord, and (5) come boldly to the throne of grace.
Five Things that Indicate Our Attitude in Prayer
We have to come to God in the right way, so we have five scriptures about how we are to come to God to ask, seek, and knock. What should be the attitude of our heart? What should be our condition when we come to God in prayer?
1. Ask in faith. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:5-7).
2. Ask with a submission heart. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3).
3. Ask with commitment. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).
4. Come to God with confession and repentance. "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:3-7).
5. Pray in harmony with the Spirit. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). That is a verse that teaches us that our heart is to be in harmony with the Spirit, and the Spirit will guide us and intercede for us, and it implies a spiritual attitude.
God does not always answer prayer when we want him to, and he doesn’t answer our prayer how we want him to.
Five Doctrinal Lessons in God Answering Prayer
1. Doctrine of the Trinity. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). The Son prayed to the Father and was submissive to His will. This shows a distinction between the personality of Jesus and the Father, even though Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
2. Doctrine of God’s response to man’s needs. God responds to and changes things in answer to prayer. We learn that God will respond and change things in answer to prayer like in the account of King Hezekiah. "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD" (2 Kings 20:1-5). This account of Hezekiah shows the doctrine of God’s response to man’s needs in answer to prayer.
3. Doctrine that God is present and able to hear our prayers. “Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows” (Job 22:27). “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3).
4. Doctrine that God is all powerful and able to supply our needs. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
5. Doctrine that God’s love is shown in answered prayer. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32). God is a loving and giving God, and he showed it when he spared not his own Son.
We have 5 wonderful promises (you can have 5 more in you want to build a sermon with 25 points), we have 5 conditions of our heart that we need to manifest when we come to God, and we have 5 doctrinal lessons that we learn when we study about prayer.
God is good, and God loves for His people to come to him and say, “Dear Lord, I need you.” Come to the Lord because he answers prayer.