- Jer 29:11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
- Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
These words are some of the most beautiful expressions in all of Scripture of the heart of our Heavenly Father towards us. They are both encouraging and challenging.
They are encouraging in the sense that He invites us to call upon Him. They are challenging in that He tells us to do so with all of our hearts. His promise to those who seek Him wholeheartedly is that He will answer us and show us great and mighty things that we know not.
Talk about incentive! These are not my words beloved, these are the words of The Living God. You and I as followers of Jesus Christ the privilege of talking to The Everlasting God Who spoke the entire universe into existence!
- Jesus said, Isa 56.7 My house shall be called a house of prayer.
Jesus left us an example to follow and He truly practiced what He preached.Listen to what is written about the prayer life of The Son of God, The Word who is God made flesh.
- Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.
- Lu 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened.
- Lu 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
- Lu 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
He prayed in at His baptism, He prayed all night before He chose the apostles, He prayed in The Garden, He prayed on the cross. Right now He ever lives to make intercession for us! Following Jesus means following His example of communion with The Father and dependency upon The Father.
What is one of the reason why God call us to pray unto Him? Because prayer is a means of communication and our God is a Jealous God Who loves us more than we will ever know. The purpose of prayer is to develop intimacy with God.
This glorious example of Jesus and these precious verses in Jeremiah are the foundation for what we are doing here this week – we are setting aside this week to pray and to seek The Lord…seeking His wisdom…seeking His direction….seeking His healing touch….seeking His sanctification in our lives…seeking His vision for victory and provision for every area of ministry.
- Pr 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.
We see in Acts 13.1-3 that the plans of God were given to the church during a time of praying and fasting.
The scope of our prayers
We are seeking Him for reconciliation of broken relationships. We are seeking Him for a fresh sense of His presence and majesty. We are seeking Him for a return to our first love in all that we do. We are seeking Him for that precious unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will be seeking Him for all outreach ministries and a fresh vision and heart to reach the lost…praying for marriages….praying for our singles, single parents, prodigals…..teens, elderly. We will be seeking Him for His grace and blessing upon other portions of His body here and around the world.
We will be praying for our nation’s political leaders….we will be praying for our local and state political leaders….
Beloved, at this very moment your circumstances may be against you….your feelings may be against you….your health may be against you; but if you are an adopted child of The Living God, He is not against you; in fact, not only is Jesus our Great High Priest interceding for you, we are also told that nothing can separate you from His love and according to His promise in Romans 8.28, He is working those very things that you and I are wrestling with today for your ultimate good and His glory!!
Beloved, never forget that in spite of what the changes and challenges of life throws at us, our heavenly Father has precious thoughts towards us.
- Ps 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
- Ps 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
When we begin to realize the love of The Father towards us as His children, we can then being to understand more clearly why Jesus taught us to pray, not my will, but Thy will be done. That is because the best will for your life is God’s will; the worst will for your life is your will.
The purpose of prayer is not to persuade God to do what we want, but to align our hearts to His good and perfect will.
This week of prayer provides for us a time for our church family to come together and humble our hearts before Him.
- 1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
- Psalm 51.17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
The Spirit of God will not move in a self-righteous, self centered, self-sufficient person or church.
I truly believe that a fresh outpouring of The Spirit of God takes place whenever the people of God empty themselves and determine to gather together before The Father with no agenda other than His. God promises to bless those who humble themselves before Him in unity.
- Ps 133:1 <<A Song of degrees of David.>> Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
The same word that is used here for pleasant, is used also in the Hebrew for a harmony of music.
Division and discord grieves the Spirit of God and breaks The Father’s heart. There are some of you that are carrying grudges and resentment in your hearts towards others in the body here and elsewhere in the body of Christ.
You can either deal with that destructive matter of the heart God’s way or your way. God’s way will give you peace, your way will kill you. Never shall we know the full power of the anointing till we are of one heart and of one spirit; never will the sacred dew of the Spirit descend in all its fulness till we are perfectly joined together in the same mind. Charles Spurgeon
Listen to how The Holy Spirit describes move of God amongst a humbled, united body of believers
- Ac 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. Ac 4:32.
Is there a correlation between Israel being in Babylon and the body of Christ today? I believe so.
These verses in Jeremiah declare The Father’s desire towards us are for good and not for evil, to gives us a future and a hope. This was a promise given to Israel when they were in Babylonian captivity because of sin and idolatry in their lives. They were a reminder of God’s desires towards them, and were given to them to urge them to forsake their idols and worldly agendas and return wholeheartedly to Him, The Fountain of Living Water.
Much of the church today is living in Babylon. We may not be worshipping Baal or Ashtoreth, but many “church people” are more concerned and preoccupied with bodily exercise and health food and their investments or the state of their house than the state of their eternal souls and the urgency of getting the gospel out to the lost. And Pastor Ray is as guilty as anyone else.
I am fully convinced that the number one enemy of wholehearted devotion to Christ is not the world, it’s not the devil…it’s not my children, my spouse, my job or the absence of one…it’s a lack of desire in my divided heart. King David had to deal with the danger of having a divided heart.
- Psa 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
2 things the Psalmist asks The Lord to do in His life.
- Teach me Your ways
- Unite my heart to fear Your Name. I.E. Bring all of my affections and desires into full harmony with Your will.
You and I need to deal with the danger of having a divided heart. Let me repeat, the number one enemy of whole hearted devotion to Christ is a divided heart….divided affections. How did Jesus describe the thorny heart in the parable of the sower?
- Mark 4.18,19 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Once again, the thorny heart from Luke’s perspective.
- Lu 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Beloved, according to Jesus, if our lives are cluttered with the cares of the world, deceitfulness of riches, lusts of other things, riches and pleasures of this life, we will not be fruitful. Do you want to be a fruitless Christian? Neglect making an investment of time developing a Christ centered marriage and raising children in the nurture and admonition of The Lord. Neglect daily times of prayer and reading of God’s Word. Make it the church’s responsibility for you to have personal, deliberate efforts for fellowship with other saints during the week in your house. Ignore the warning of Hebrews 10.25 and forsake the regular times of gathering together for corporate worship, teaching and prayer.
That is one reason why we are told in verse 13, that we are to seek Him and search for Him with all of our heart.
- Psa 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
- Lu 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
My prayer for you individually and for us congregationally is that we would do nothing half-heartedly. The Lord Jesus has died for us and He is The One Who is calling us to serve Him, worship Him and draw near to Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
- 2Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (full, complete) toward him.
If I/we are to seek The Lord with all of our hearts, then it means that I must be willing to set aside my plans and purposes in order to submit my life to The Lord and the plans that He has for me.
- Heb 4.16 Come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Beloved when we come to this throne of grace, we meet with our merciful and faithful High Priest, The Lord Jesus Christ.
- Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
- 1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
- Col 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving
Through the righteousness and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we come boldly, yet reverently before the throne of grace where we find mercy (not getting what we deserve) and help in time of need.
- Prov 3.6 In all they ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Seeking The Lord allows me to commit my life to The Lord afresh every single day and then stand back and watch Him direct my steps, to open and close doors. Prayer allows me to “peek into” the invisible hand of God working in my everyday life.
- Ps 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.
True prayer is not directing God; it is getting direction from The Lord. As we seek The Lord together this week, we are not seeking Him to give Him our plans and ask Him to bless them, we are laying down our plans and our will and asking Him to direct us.
It has been said that prayer can do what God can do. Note this promise of God:
- Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
The Hebrew, “inaccessible things,” that is, incredible, hard for man’s understanding to grasp.
- Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
There is strength, power, forgiveness, grace, mercy, provision and love beyond human understanding available to us that come to The Lord through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
I challenge you as never before in the history of this congregation to mark this week of prayer on your calendar. For some of you, the 6AM time of prayer may be the best. For some of you, coming during the day to pray may be the best. You can come during your lunch hour to pray. Every evening we will have prayer starting at 7PM, and thus Friday we will have prayer from 7PM Friday to 7PM Saturday. The church building will be open all day during office hours.
If you are unable to be here at the church building for prayer for one reason or another, I urge you to invite people over to your home and pray….pray with your families…pray during your lunch hours…….
God’s promises are God’s provision. What could be more thrilling than spending time alone with God or with the family of God before the throne of grace?