Good morning my friends and thank you for joining J and L Ministries for part 3 and the conclusion of Does God hear our prayers. I pray that this series has been a blessing and that everyone’s prayer life has raised to a much a higher level. In the past 2 weeks we have looked at several things
that can and do hinder God from hearing our prayers. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.
Sin and unforgiveness.
Faith: Mark 11:22-24 ESV And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. (23) Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. (24) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Hebrews 4:16 ESV Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Selfishness, pride and turning away from the Bible. Proverbs 28:9 KJV He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
If you remember last week, we found that NOT giving to the poor can hurt our prayer life. Proverbs 21:13 KJV Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
We also read from 1 Peter 3:7 KJV (Dealing with husbands and their spouses) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
This week we will look at some more things that will hinder our prayer life. Let’s start with praying with vain repetition. Please turn to Ecclesiastes 5:2, then we will go to the New Testament to Matthew 6:5-8
Ecclesiastes 5:2 KJV Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
What do we see in this verse? When we pray we should use all reverence toward God. God doesn’t hear us because we might use many words or repetitions, but considers our faith and servant's mind.
Now let’s look at Matthew 6:5-8. We read these verses last week, but we didn’t discuss them.
Matthew 6:5-8 KJV And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Friends, we need to be praying with the right heart. Many people pray for many reasons and unfortunately with wrong motives, but those who belong to the kingdom need to watch their motives. Brother Jim, how can you make such a claim? Listen up and think about what we just read.
When you do acts of righteousness, or during worship, make sure that you’re doing it for God and not just to put on a show for the people around you. In our day, just like in Jesus’ day, there are people who do good religious activities just because they want to look good in front of other people. How can I impress my neighbors or friends? Go to church, give to the poor, say my prayers? Jesus says that if you’re involved in a lot of religious activity just to impress people, then it doesn’t mean anything to God. That’s not what it’s about.
If you start reading from verse 1 of Matthew 6 you will see that. If your motive for going to church, or doing some good deed, or helping the poor, tithing, or praying to God or performing some religious duty, if you’re doing those things to gain the admiration of the people around you, then it doesn’t mean anything to God. That is how the religious leaders prayed that Jesus was referring to in these scriptures we just read. It goes on today.
I am going to say something that may offend someone, or many at a later time, but we do need to be very careful of what our motives are when we pray. I have heard those who pray with such grace. Now don’t hear me or read this the wrong way. God knows your heart as He knows mine. There are those who love to pray with such elegance. They love to have men (and women) hear the beautiful words they use in prayer. Are they really praying to God, or do they want people to think, Wow!!! Can this person pray! Do you understand where I am going with this? I am not trying to judge, but we have scripture here that says what we should be doing and what not to be praying. I want all who hear and read this to have God hear and answer their prayers.
DO NOT PRAY TO IDOLS. Okay, here is a tough one and before you tune me out or click that red X in the top right hand corner of this page, I want you to hear this all the way through because it's that important.
One Must Pray to the True God. Many people do not really know who God is. They do not know God and have never had contact with Him. Attempts to pray under these circumstances are generally futile. Many idols have been placed ahead of the true God. An idol is not necessarily an image; it is anything that takes the place of God. Perhaps the most prevalent idol of all is the self. Anytime one places his or her own desires and interests ahead of God, an idol has been created.
Oh brother Jim, you are stepping over the line now!!
Please hear me out. Who is the god many people worship today? The answer: Satan the devil. Oh boy, here comes the hate e-mail, listen to what the Bible says.
Revelation 12:9 KJV And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
The Bible plainly states that Satan is the present god of this world.
2 Corinthians 4:1-5 KJV Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; (2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (3) but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
We are to give glory and honor to the true God, not to Satan.
Revelation 14:6-7 KJV And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, (7) Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Many professing Christians have been deceived into worshipping Satan by Satan’s ministers.
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 KJV And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan is the prince of the power of the air, the god many people follow today. Paul wrote to the Ephesian church this: Ephesians 2:2 KJV Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
We need to pray without ceasing. You mean to tell me Brother Jim, God forgets and has to be reminded? Hmmm, let us see.
Job 28:24 For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
1 John 3:19-20 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Isaiah 46:9 I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.
Matthew 10:30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
Psalm 139:4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
Let’s see what the Bible does say about praying often.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV (16) Rejoice evermore. (17) Pray without ceasing. (18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Apostle Paul is not saying that we are to be in a head bowed, eyes closed posture all day long. In fact as I type this, not once can I remember reading where we need to close our eyes and bow our head during prayer. Just a thought to ponder on. I believe what Paul is saying here is that every waking moment is to be lived in an awareness that God is with us and that He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions. Amen?
Philippians 4:6 KJV Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Colossians 4:2 KJV Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Ephesians 6:18 KJV Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
I want to close this morning saying: We love you and hope this series has blessed you and has helped you with your prayer life. There are many other scriptures that we didn't have time to look at and I encourage you to research for yourselves. Praise God!!! We also want to encourage you if it seems like God is not hearing your prayers to give us a shout and we will try to help you. It may be He is hearing you and it's not time for what you are asking. I also want to show you a chapter to have you ponder on.
Daniel 10:1-21 KJV In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. (2) In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. (3) I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. (4) And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; (5) Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: (6) His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. (7) And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. (8) Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. (9) Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. (10) And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. (11) And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. (12) Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. (13) But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (14) Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. (15) And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. (16) And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. (17) For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. (18) Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, (19) And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. (20) Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. (21) But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
Here we are looking at spiritual warfare. I would love to go into this much deeper and will at some point.
Friends, pray often, pray with the right heart. Pray with right motives and I believe you will see your prayer life begin to change.
God bless you.