Today’s Scripture:  “26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”  Ezekiel 36:26

Introduction:

Before I get into the message today I just want to apologize for the delay between messages, but at the risk of writing without the Holy Ghost I felt it necessary to step back for a day or two while I finished my work schedule…and got a bit of much-needed rest.  For those of you who don’t know I have a wonderful job that I really enjoy as a route driver for my local Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store, but some times even though I’ve been doing this for a while I still can get sort of worn out…and that was the case over the last couple of days.

Let’s face it.  On our best days it’s not always easy to hear from the Holy Ghost, but when you add in fatigue it’s next to impossible.  I will say, however, that I had some outstanding praise and worship sessions in my work van where the presence of God really fell…and while it was a tiring week…it was also somewhat refreshing because I had time to spend in the Lord’s presence…and any time you can do that…it’s always a good thing…Amen?

So…let’s get back into our “Living the Surrendered Life” series…shall we!?!  You know…part of being surrendered is being able to know things like I knew over the last couple of days…some times it’s best to take a few steps back rather than try to force something…or make something happen.

This isn’t even close to being part of the message today, but some times the wisest thing we can do is not trying to emotionalize something with the Holy Ghost…Amen?  So…that’s why I chose to take the last couple of days off from writing…even though I was able to worship God and be in His presence…I just knew that the right thing to do was take these last two days off…and catch up with the messages on my days off.

So…with all that said…let’s get into day 9 of 21…and see what the Lord would have to say to us today.

Today’s Message:

We humans are a very misled group, aren’t we? We think we have some sort of divine power to change a person. We think that if we are nice enough or do the right things that maybe someone will “come to their senses” and change. I have met more people who think they can actually change someone by what they say or how they treat them. I have fallen into that trap in the past so please hear no judgment from me. However, today, I am fully aware that I am no match for the power of God. Yes, I believe in speaking the truth in someone’s life when prompted by the Spirit of God. But, even if I do that, it still doesn’t guarantee that they will change. Only God can change a person. And the best way for us to participate with Him is to pray.

I can certainly remember being this way when I first came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and I began to understand that I was called to serve Him in some capacity.  My pastor and father in the faith…Pastor Stephen Robbins used to always say:  “Zeal without knowledge will always lead to error.”

Listen, it’s a great thing to be fired up for God…but when you don’t have wisdom, knowledge or understanding to go along with that fire…then we really don’t have anything to take to a lost and dying world that’s headed for hell.  Yes…I believe anyone is capable at any time of evangelizing someone…and leading them into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

However…it doesn’t do anyone any good to think that we suddenly have received some kind of power to change lives.  We do have the power and authority of the name of Jesus.  However, the power to change lives is in the Gospel.  The power to get people healed, set free, and delivered is in the name of Jesus.  We are carries of that power…but the only One who really has the power to change people is the Holy Ghost.

We try to help Him out though, don’t we.  I know I did, and a lot of times when I try to help Him out…I wound up doing more harm than good.  Why?  I had zeal, but I had no knowledge.  I love what Cindy Beall says here…and it’s worth repeating.

However, today, I am fully aware that I am no match for the power of God. Yes, I believe in speaking the truth in someone’s life when prompted by the Spirit of God. But, even if I do that, it still doesn’t guarantee that they will change. Only God can change a person. And the best way for us to participate with Him is to pray.

I really am no match for the power of God.  Even with the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding I have gained over the years it all pales in comparison to God’s, and I can remember points in my early walk with the Lord where I would get so discouraged because while I had the zeal to try to help people…what I didn’t have the ability to understand is that my efforts are only as strong as the level of wisdom and knowledge I have of the Word of God.

I still have many areas where I need to grow up in…don’t we all.  However, I understand today that the power to change people’s lives isn’t within me, but it’s within the Holy Ghost.  Yes…I know the Holy Ghost is living on the inside of me.  That’s not what I’m talking about…and the power to witness to people is always available because the Holy Ghost is on the inside of me…however…the actual power to change a life…that’s not within me…and that’s where I had to grow and mature…and understand what it really means when the Bible says that none come except those that are drawn by the Holy Ghost.

It’s always the Holy Ghost who does the work.  I am just a vessel and carrier of the Gospel, but it’s the Holy Ghost who arranges those divine appointments.

So, for years now, I’ve been praying for people whose hearts seem to be a little on the hard side. For those people who seem to think they’ve got it all together and actually do no wrong, I pray for brokenness. For those people who still love their sin, I pray they develop a hatred for it. For those who have turned from their faith in God, I pray for a return to Him. I pray that God will give them a new heart and a new spirit and remove their hard heart and give them one that is pliable to the Master’s touch.

I love this woman’s attitude.  I have to admit I’m not all that great at being a prayer warrior.  I talk to God continually like we talked about the last few messages, but as far as being a prayer warrior…I really am not.  My wife, on the other hand, is the prayer warrior in this family.  Don’t get me wrong I do pray, and I certainly pray for people…but as far as getting down and really having that fervent effectual prayer…I freely admit my wife is much better at that then I am…which is probably one of the many reasons what God chose her to be my wife…He knew I’d need someone who is a prayer warrior not just for the people who would become a part of this ministry…but for me as well.

This is certainly something that I need to improve upon as a pastor and someone who has a ministry.  Here’s a couple of really good things to pray for certain people though…and for those of you who are aspiring prayer warriors…this section is for you.

>Tips for Prayer Warriors<

  • If you’re praying for people who have hard hearts and seem to believe they’ve got it together and can do no wrong…they need brokenness.
  • For those people who still love their sin, I pray they develop a hatred for it.
  • For those who have turned from their faith in God, I pray for a return to Him.

That’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but it’s a pretty good start.  I am even taking note, and realizing that these three areas are a good way for me to work at becoming a better prayer warrior.

I’ve seen remarkable results in doing this. And quite frankly, am still waiting to see many hearts softened…even after praying for over a decade. Truth is, I may never see a transformation in some people, but I still pray. I still believe.

I believe that if we commit to praying for people like this that we too will see results.  The thing here…is committing to pray this way…takes…well…surrender.  Maybe surrendering a couple of hours of watching television to seek God for the people we know who fit into these three categories…maybe we fit into one of these three categories.  Maybe we surrender an hour of sleep, and get up earlier or stay up later to seek God in the early morning or in the night watches.

Either way…I am feeling just as challenged to make more a commitment to praying for people who are caught in these areas.  We all know people who have hard hearts, and to this point have refused to listen and continue to reject Jesus.  We probably know people in the body of Christ who are happily engaged in certain sins…either knowingly or unknowingly…who need us to stand in the gap…and lift them up to God.  We may even know people in the body of Christ who are backsliding who need to be reminded of their first love…and drawn back to the Father by the Holy Ghost.

So…if you have to…take these three areas…and write out a list.  Make a list of people who need Jesus, people who have Jesus who are struggling with carnality, and people who have Jesus who may have one foot walking with God…and one foot walking in the world…make a list…and take it into your prayer closet when you seek God…and lift them up in prayer.

Having a good prayer life takes surrender of self…and being willing to cry out to God for someone other that yourself…Amen!?!

Points for Pondering:

  • Do you find yourself always wanting to “fix” or change someone?
  • Why do you think you do this?

Be A Doer NOT Just A Reader:

  • Spend some time asking God to show you the areas where you are trying to take over His job.
  • Ask Him to show you how to love people where they are and how to pray them to where He wants them to be.
  • Make a list of people in the three areas above…take that list into your prayer closet…and seek the face of God on their behalf.

Conclusion & Prayer:

I don’t know how many of you will join me in making out that list, but I want to remind you that this list is about others.  I’m including myself in this mini-challenge.  I’m not going to check with any of you to see if you’re doing this…and unless the Lord directs me other wise…I’m not going to post anything about my own list…but let me assure you that if you’ll take the time to write out this list…and stand in the gap for these people like you’d pray for yourself…I can guarantee that God will move in these people’s lives…and as you see God move in their lives…I know you’ll find more people to add to the list…and before you know if…you’ve become a prayer warrior…and not only will the needs of those on the list be met…but you’ll find yours are being met as well.

So…let’s learn to be better prayer warriors together…Amen!?!

Lord God…teach us to be better prayer warriors…to lay down ourselves…and seek Your face on someone else’s behalf.  Lord…help us to learn how to stand in the gap for people who need to know Your Son, those who are in the body of Christ who may be living in sin, and those of the body of Christ who have backslidden….and anyone else…Lord God.  Our family members who need Jesus…Lord…I just ask You to teach us to be better men and women of prayer…who You can call upon to stand in the gap for those who need us to…I ask this in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen