What do we pray for??
True story - I was driving home one evening, saw a lottery board with the latest amount and said to God, “God, that lottery looks really good. If you bless me with the win, I will glorify you by using that money to help others… and myself.”
What was I praying for?
God says in scripture that he wants to grant us peace, right??
So, what about prayer for self-change:
o Psalm 139:23-24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Who here has heard this prayer before in scripture?
Who has prayed this before?
Will God answer your prayer if you really don’t mean it? For example, you say, “Hey God, search all throughout me and remove wicked ways about me.” – It comes down to, what do you want to change or what are you willing to change – right? Or to put it in a different context – what do we want AND believe can be changed?
So, for example say someone feels convicted about porn in their life.
What is the desire that is fulfilled by engaging in porn?
Get to experience some lustful thoughts, feel good for a brief moment, the fantasy of it all?
Where does an experience of porn start??? How did someone get to that point??? (OR) How did it really start??? – As a kid, looking at other girls? Some whacked out experience you had as a kid? Or maybe as a teen?? Or as an adult? Trying to fulfill a gap in acceptance?
By a raise of hands, who has struggled with any kind of sexual sin in their lives? Why?
Bad habit for years that you just couldn’t break?? Maybe you just didn’t see it as being that bad.
Ok, who looks at women on the street with lust?
Turning girls into objects, objectifying them – into a fantasy to serve our own desires. Is this really "not a big deal"? If you don't think so - Matthew 5:28 is the scripture you are looking for, to back this claim.
So, who has prayed for God to break them of any kind of porn or sexual addiction? Were you sincere?? Maybe a better question would be – were you complete in your prayer? OR what were you actually wanting to have God address in your life. To get rid of the bad parts that were troubling you – and maybe keeping some of the stuff that didn’t “seem” so bad”.
Now, who still looks at women with unclean thoughts?
When those thoughts come into your head, do you dwell on them or do you capture every thought?
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
I ask these questions, because prayer being answered has everything to do with our resolve in receiving an answer to prayer. It is a shift from God won’t or God may not answer my prayer, but I’m going to pray anyway – to faith or agreement that God will move in an area of our lives.
Testimony from the bible for prayer:
Psalm 66: 16-20 - Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!
Will my prayer be answered?
Philippians 4:6 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
This is scripture that many people memorize… Is it a complete thought?? How would this turn out for the person that lets their request be made known to God?
7 - and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Certainly a convincing statement – to actually pray (Supplication = Earnest prayer).
What about having faith in prayer?
James 1:6 - But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
How easy is it to doubt whether God will provide??? When we doubt, our prayer metaphorically bounces around like a wave of the sea.
What if you actually have belief that it is possible?
Mark 11:24 - Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
1 John 5:14 - Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
So, let’s go a step further and look at this with regard to praying for peace. Starting with “God please bring me peace during this hard time in my life.”
Of course, many people would say that God would just give us the opportunity for peace. Meaning even more hard times.
What about, “God if it is your will, please grant me peace to deal with this situation.” Valid request, might even be genuine.
How about, “God, thank you for the peace that you will grace me with (or grant me with) – tonight when I deal with this situation”.
Now the question is – did you mean it enough to convince yourself of the outcome tonight?
And that is what prayer boils down to. Faith that prayer will be answered and is in accordance with God’s will.
Agreement with the will of God
Matthew 18:19 - “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven
James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
We stand in agreement with God and His will, when we accept His strength to have victory in an area of our lives.
And finish with a powerful example of thanksgiving, prayer and supplication... Amen.
Psalm 116 - I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD In the land of the living. I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” I said in my haste, “All men are liars.” What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD Now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints. O LORD, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD Now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the LORD’s house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
1 Corinthians 10:31 - Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Romans 10:9 - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Matthew 7:8 - For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.