Matthew 26:36

 

Dave’s song – “Can’t walk without holding your hand”

We hold on to Jesus is by praying.

 

How is your prayer life? What should your prayer life look like?

Should you pray at all? How should you pray?

 

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents.  At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs.  “I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE… I PRAY FOR A NEW PLAYSTATION… I PRAY FOR A NEW iPHONE…” His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, “Why are you shouting your prayers?  God isn’t deaf.”  To which the little brother replied, “No, but Grandma is!”

 

That is not praying. That is talking to someone else with your eyes closed acting like you are praying to God.

We’ve all heard public prayers that were worded in such a way so as to “preach” rather than to approach the throne of God.

When we pray, we are talking to God not someone else. As we listen in and pray with others we may learn something but that is not the purpose.

 

We are not the only ones guilty of “preaching” instead of praying. Who watched the Inauguration?

I was proud of President Trump for having more prayers, (six), offered than any other President in history. But most of the prayers did not seem like prayers to me, some of them seemed like little speeches.

 

Last Saturday there was the Inauguration prayer service with all kinds of religions represented. It is good for Americans to be a praying people but unless we pray to the God who hears and answers it is just talking into the air.

 

Isaiah 46:6 Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. 7  … Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.

 

There is only one God; Almighty God who created the universe who hears our prayers.

 

It was exciting to hear that Vice President Mike Pence had the Bible opened to 2 Chronicles 7:14 when he was sworn into office.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

This is what God said to King Solomon after the Temple was complete.

 

We have a God who loves us and hears our prayers.

 

There are conditions for successful prayer – we must humble ourselves, we must seek Him, we must turn from our sinful ways, we must obey Him.

 

1 John 3:21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22  and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

 

We have confidence in our prayers when we are being obedient to His will. That is why we pray in the name of Jesus and pray that His will be done.

 

John 16:26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.

 

Matthew 6:10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

God knows what we need and He knows how He is going to accomplish His will. Prayer is for us to align our will with God’s will.

When we pray in the name of Jesus it means something; it is not a magic formula to get what we want.  We are going before the Throne of God and we are asking for God to do something for us.  We come in confidence because we are His children.

 

Hebrews 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

When we say in the name of Jesus, we are saying in the authority of Jesus I ask. We are saying God, according to your will I ask you.  We are saying God, if this is not according to Your will I don’t want this granted.

 

Let me repeat that: We are saying God, if this is not according to Your will I don’t want this granted.

Prayer is a serious matter, prayer helps us understand the will of God.

 

How important is prayer to you?

We complain that prayer is not allowed in school but is prayer allowed in your house.  You are not under threat in your own house – do you pray?

If you were under threat of death like Daniel would you pray?

How much do you pray now?

 

I want us to understand that praying is not about getting what we want – it is about God’s will. We can ask God for what we want but we must humble ourselves to what is best, what is His will.  That is Jesus’ example.

 

Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40  Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42  He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43  When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

 

Jesus planned to come and die for us before the creation of the world but in His human flesh He really didn’t want to suffer. We can’t comprehend taking the sin of the world on us, we can’t fathom suffering for the sins of the world.  Yet, Jesus was willing to be obedient to the Father’s will.

 

As Christians, His children, we need to have the same attitude – not my will, but your will be done.

We don’t want to be like Peter.

Matthew 16:22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23  Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

 

Peter was concerned about His will not God’s will. What if Peter would have gotten his way?  Jesus would not have died to take away the sins of the world.  Peter’s wish would have put all of us in Hell.

 

I don’t want to suffer in this life but I have. I would rather suffer within God’s will than thrive outside of God’s will. Even in suffering we can praise God because He loves us.  God’s love for us has been proved through the cross.

 

Remember when David’s son died.

2 Samuel 12:21  His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” 22  He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23  But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

 

Pray for the Lord’s will, ask God for your will but when God brings forth the answer we can praise Him and trust in His future promises.

 

Many times, people get angry with God – He can handle your anger and He understands your anger.

When we get angry at God we are saying that God was wrong. We are pointing a finger in God’s face like Peter and yelling, NO!  This is not right.  I have been there and God will give you time to rest in His peace even if we never understand His will. (We will take more time next week on this.)

 

There is a passage I want us to remember when we get angry at God because He did not answer our prayers according to our will.

 

Paul was suffering and Jesus said His grace was sufficient.

2 Corinthians 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

 

No matter your struggle Jesus’ grace is sufficient. Rest in Jesus, rely on Jesus and His power will show up in your weakness.  We won’t like the suffering but we will love seeing His power at work in our life.

 

Paul pleaded three times – this is the Apostle who wrote half of the New Testament surely Jesus would give him whatever he asked. No, God will accomplish His will in our lives.  God’s answer of no does not mean God does not love you.  No, means your will is not in line with God’s will.  It has everything to do with God bringing forth what is best and has nothing to do with His love for you.

 

Listen to Paul’s attitude

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

We love that truth in the song – Jesus Loves Me

“Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong; They are weak but He is strong.”

 

We can be strong when we rely on Jesus in our weakness.

 

God loves us – He won’t fix everything or heal everyone on earth but He has taken care of the real issue already.

 

Everything is fixed by the blood of Jesus. Everyone is healed by the blood of Jesus.

 

Do you need healed? Do you need forgiveness?

Come today and meet the grace of Jesus.