Message Scripture: Psalm 103:19-22 (NASB)
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Any of you that have followed me for any length of time know that one of my favorite preachers is Dr. Charles F. Stanley. I’ve been getting his devotional emails for quite a while now, and some times some of his points make some of my Thoughts of the Day posts on Facebook. I also have a print copy of the In Touch Devotional, and I was just reading it to find that there is a short two-message series available for the writing on prayer. So, I’m going to be talking about prayer using one of my favorite teachers devotionals, and I couldn’t be more excited. So, let’s get into this message as Dr. Charles F. Stanley answers a common question: “If the Lord is in control, why does He expect us to pray?”
Why Believers Pray:
Dr. Charles F. Stanley has long been one of my favorite preachers. You never hear about him doing or saying anything crazy. He’s not trying to fleece God’s people for a brand new private jet, he believes there are very practical ways to true prosperity, and he’s long been one of the most honorable men of God that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to on the radio, watching on television, or reading. I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Charles F. Stanley. How can you not learn from a man that makes Holy Ghost inspired statements like this:
“Prayer brings us into cooperation with what God has purposed to accomplish.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
You see, there are two weapons God gives us to use when it comes to the full armor of God. We have the Word of God and we have prayer…and when you learn to incorporate the Word of God into your prayer life…that’s the stuff that really shakes hell to it’s core. It’s one thing to have a believer praying in faith, it’s another thing to have a believer speaking the Word of God in faith, but when you get a believer incorporating the Word of God into their prayer life by faith…that’s some of that power that no demon in hell can stop. I mean we all know that the Bible says if we pray anything according to the will of God we will have the petitions we’re asking, and the reason praying the Word of God is so powerful is because the Word of God is the Voice of God…and so that means when we are praying the Word of God we are automatically praying the will of God.
“God desires to involve believers in the work He is doing both in the world and in their lives. But the word “work” is a tricky one when it comes to our faith.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
One of the staples of the Lord’s prayer is when we ask Our Father that His will would be done on earth (and in our lives) as they’re done there in heaven. We ask Him to do His will here on earth as it is in Heaven. We’re asked of by God to humble ourselves, seek His face, and pray for our land. Prayer isn’t just about giving God a wish list, but it’s how we do that “work” that God has commissioned us to do in the earth.
“Unlike the striving we see in the world, what the Lord desires is for us to trust Him (John 6:29), surrender our burdens to Him, grow in relationship with Him, and allow Him to work through us. Prayer is a tool we can use to do all those things.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
I love how in the middle of this devotional message is another message sitting inside, and God pointed out to me. I was trying to write a few things down from this devotional because I saw a message within a message, and that secondary message is where we’re going to go on what most preachers will call a “side journey”. So, what’s this message within a message that’s prompting me to take a side journey in the middle of this message? The message within the message is titled “Four Things The Lord Desires For Us”.
Four Things The Lord Desires For Us:
- The Lord desires for us to trust Him: I have never had the Lord tell me that He wants me to understand Him. Yes, He wants me to grow in knowledge and understanding of His love and His Word, but what He is constantly speaking to us is that He wants primarily for us to talk to Him about everything (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and trust Him with the results.
- The Lord desires for us to surrender our burdens to Him: We’re told many times to be anxious for nothing, and to cast those anxieties upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and it goes back to the first point because He wants us to trust Him with the results of casting those burdens upon Him. He cares for us, and many of the burdens we carry around with us we were never meant to carry.
- The Lord desires for us to grow in relationship with Him: Listen, all relationship grow the more we trust and communicate with one another. As we cast those burdens upon Him the more we can watch God work in our lives, and the more results we see causes our faith and trust in Him to grow…and that causes our relationship with Him to deepen and grow. Amen!?!
- The Lord desires for us to allow Him to work through us: As we just mentioned a moment ago, prayer is how God does His work in the earth (2 Chronicles 7:14).
And that gives us our door to get back into the original message, and answering the question of why believers pray…and more importantly if the Lord is in control then why are we expected to pray.
“Jesus asked the Father to protect the disciples by the power of His name (John 17:11 NIV). Did He think they might lose their salvation or drift from their commitment? Absolutely NOT. Jesus was God in human flesh. He knew exactly what was going to happen – how these men would spread the gospel and remain faithful even unto death. Jesus was taking part in the Father’s plan by interceding for them.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
Leave it to Jesus to be the Example as He always IS. There are a couple of things worth mentioning here, but I’m going to stay away from the temptation to take another side journey, and stick to the message at hand. The most important things to point out, however, are about the prayer Jesus prays both for His disciples then…and those of us who are His disciples now. See, the mistake is thinking that Jesus was only interceding for His disciples then, but how many of you know that we are still His disciples now…and as we’ve said many times when Jesus is speaking in the red letters of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John since Jesus is God in the flesh we know that when Jesus is speaking He wasn’t only speaking to His disciples then, but He was speaking for our benefit today. Jesus was in the earth interceding for us then, and He’s seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us now.
He has also commissioned us to intercede, and stand in the gap for people here in the earth. It’s our job to humble ourselves and pray for our land. It’s our job to pray for our government leaders. It’s our job to pray for one another’s burdens, healing, and for those people who don’t know Jesus that they would come to know Him. It’s our job to intercede for our nation as we just read in 2 Chronicles 7:14, and that’s why we’re talking about us doing “work” here in the earth. Prayer is the tool that we use to do that work in the earth.
“God certainly can build His kingdom without believers’ input or help. But a relationship develops depth and intimacy when the Lover and His beloved share an interest. Praying and working alongside our Lord strengthens our faith in His power.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
The reason God expects us to pray isn’t because He’s not in control, but because as Dr. Stanley says it give us an opportunity to work with Him to accomplish His work in the earth. Remember what a deep, personal, intimate relationship that Jesus enjoyed with the Father? The reason they enjoyed such a relationship is because Jesus was doing the Father’s work…and we can enjoy that same kind of relationship with Him. We can be one with the Father just as Jesus was, and part of that oneness is making sure that we’re in constant communication with Him…just like Jesus was.
Let’s give Dr. Charles F. Stanley the last word, and close…
“The Lord created you to love Him and be loved by Him. Prayer nurtures and develops our connection with Him. Our Father calls us to communicate with Him so He can draw us close and involve us in building His kingdom.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
Dear Lord Jesus, what a privilege we have as Your blood-bought children to be able to enter the throne-room of grace and bring our prayers and supplications right into the presence of God – through our Lord Jesus Christ – so Father God, teach us to pray– teach us to pray Lord.
Our hearts longs to pray in the way that is pleasing to You Father, so that our prayers are both powerful and effective. We want to know You better so that we may know Your will – in order that we may pray into Your perfect plans and purposes, not only in our own lives…and the lives of those that we love, but also in a world where the lost are dying and souls are in despair. But Lord, we understand that only as we abide in You and rest our weary souls in Your loving arms – by submitting to Your Holy Spirit, day by day in spirit and truth, will our prayers and pleadings accomplish wonderful results that are honoring to You.
Teach us Your will we pray, through Your Word – and may Your guiding Holy Spirit turn the thoughts of our hearts towards those things that You have planned and purposed… so that we may truly pray into You will – so that Your name may be glorified through our humble supplications.
Teach us day by day to pray as we ought – in Jesus name we pray, Amen
First of all, I have to add that part of the reason I’m able to write more today is that my wife is home because…well…it’s time for us to work at getting Lizzie to use the potty instead of continuing to buy diapers. Yeah, my little girl is growing up, and she’s learning to use the potty. So, please be praying for us that this will be smooth, and that mom and I will be able to be patient. Imagine that, I’m asking for prayer in a message talking about prayer, but this is precisely what I was talking about when it comes to us doing the “work” of the kingdom on the earth. Praying for one another, and supporting one another by bringing one another’s needs before the throne of grace. So, I am thankful she’s home so that I can write while the anointing is flowing like it has today.
Secondly, after only one week of taking the daily devotional and turning it into a weekly devotional just that slight change has freed me up to where I’m actually looking forward to writing. It’s amazing, but by taking the burden of trying to keep up with a daily devotional it’s freed me of that burden. It’s also freed me of the burden of feeling like I am letting people and God down by not being able to keep up. It’s helped me to find balance, and it’s also helped to restore the joy I have when I’m writing messages.
Finally, I know I’ve written and posted a lot today…but the anointing is strong today. I guess trying to keep up with a daily devotional was more my idea then God’s, and now that I’m doing things the way He wants me to do them…once again the anointing is flowing. But, I’m also done for the day. I didn’t do a whole lot today, but I can tell it’s almost bedtime.
I’m pretty sure we’ll finish this series up tomorrow as we look with Dr. Charles F. Stanley at “The Impact of Prayer”, and learn a little more about prayer from one of the greatest Bible teachers of my lifetime. I know many of you that follow me are also fans of Charles Stanley. If you’d like to know more about him you can find out by going to www.intouch.org or you can click right here —> Dr. Charles F. Stanley <—, and that will take you to his website.
Well, I’m so thankful that you’ve joined me in finding out more about why we pray, and I hope you’ll come back to join me as we look next time at The Impact of Prayer. For now, thank you for all your prayers, patience, and support! We love you, and we are praying for you as though you were our family…because you are.
Have a blessed and relaxing evening in the Lord!
Blessings & Grace to you!
Bryan Kizer – Pastor
Christlike Ministries NWA