Posts Tagged ‘earnest prayers’

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 10:1-6  1By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, I and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Paul’s opponents questioned his authority. From 7:8-16 we know that the majority of Corinthian believers sided with Paul. However, a minority continued to slander him, saying that he was bold in his letters but had no authority in person. Chapters 10–13 are Paul’s response to this charge.

We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don’t need to use human plans and methods to win our battles. God’s mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against Satan’s “strongholds.” The Christian must choose whose methods to use—God’s or the world’s. Paul assures us that God’s mighty weapons—prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit—are powerful and effective (see Ephesians 6:13-18)! These weapons can break down the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God.

Lets Bring it Home: When dealing with people’s proud arguments that keep them from a relationship with Christ, we may be tempted to use our own methods. But nothing can break down these barriers like God’s weapons.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous. 

Prayer is not a right. Prayer is a privilege, a blessed privilege. God is not obligated to hear the prayer of any man, and He will reject the prayer of the wicked. But as He has promised, He will hear the prayer of the righteous. He will answer them tenderly, mightily, and speedily. This axiom was perfectly understood by the Jews (John 9:31).

The wicked are those continuing in sin, any sin, even one sin. They know they are sinning, but they do not care. They do not confess and forsake it. They ignore the warnings of God’s Word, His minister, their whispering conscience, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. They think they can get away with their sin. They do not think it important enough to forsake and repudiate it. They hide it under a cloak of hypocrisy.

You can hide sin from your parents, your spouse, your children, your church, and your pastor. They will continue to treat you with the same kindness and affection as in the past. You can deceive friends and family with hypocrisy, but you cannot deceive God. This is an important distinction to remember, for your wicked heart will assume foolishly that since you are not punished by others for hidden sins, God will not punish you either.

The LORD sees the very thoughts and intents of each heart (Heb 4:12). There is nothing hid from His holy eyes (Heb 4:13). He perfectly sees and knows every sin of thought, word, and deed (Pr 15:3; Ps 139:1-12). And He does not overlook them. They grieve and offend Him, and unless they are confessed and forsaken, He will not hear your prayers. You are doomed to a life without His blessing, and He will then righteously chasten you.

The LORD is not far from the wicked in location and knowledge, for He fills heaven and earth, and no one can hide from Him (Jer 23:24). But He is far from helping them, comforting them, blessing them, and having fellowship with them. He is near at hand to see their wickedness, but He is far away from answering their prayers. And in the great Day of Judgment, He will tell them to depart from Him into eternal hell fire (Matt 7:23).

So offensive is sin against the holy God of the Bible, especially when you know better, that even your sacrifices become an abomination to him (Pr 15:8). When you rebel against the preaching of His Word, He counts your prayers an abomination (Pr 28:9). He despises your worship, when you are hiding unconfessed sin (Is 1:10-15; 58:1-11).

So great is this offence of rebellion against God that He will laugh and mock when you need Him most (Pr 1:24-31). If you reject His conviction and instruction now, He will laugh at your calamity later. Reader, do not even dare to think you can take preaching lightly. Do not even dare to think you can keep your secret sins and God will be merciful.

Because of Saul’s wickedness, the LORD left him (I Sam 16:14). And though he begged for mercy, the LORD had judged him and given the kingdom to David (I Sam 15:28-30). He was so desperate for his prayers to be heard that he went to the witch of Endor to conjure up Samuel, who condemned him further (I Sam 28:5-20). But David was confident that even in death God’s presence would protect and bless him (Ps 139:7-10).

David also sinned. He hid his sin and learned a painful lesson. He learned not to wallow in his sins. He wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps 66:18). So he confessed his sin, and the Lord heard him (Ps 32:5-6). He wrote, “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer” (Ps 66:19).

Therefore, it is a great duty to examine your soul and life. The man after God’s own heart examined himself often and thoroughly (Ps 19:12-14; 26:2; 139:23-24). Then you must confess, immediately and completely, whatever evil you find by the blessing of God’s light and conviction (Pr 28:13; Job 33:26-28). He will faithfully forgive you (I John 1:9).

Conviction for sin is special mercy from God. It is the loving overtures of your heavenly Father calling you back to Him. When you feel conviction for sin, rejoice that God has not forsaken you forever, and run with that conviction to confess and forsake your sins. If you continue to rebel, He will turn in Fatherly anger and chasten you. Instead, He lovingly says to you, “Return unto me” (Is 44:22; Mal 3:7).

To those who humble themselves and live holy lives, the LORD is always present with deliverance and blessing (II Chron 16:9; Ps 34:15-17; 138:6; Jas 5:16; I Pet 3:12). Listen to the LORD God, and believe His Word, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them” (Ps 145:18-19).

Dear reader, you do not have to be perfect for God to hear your every prayer, but you do need to confess your failures. Consider Elijah, the wild man that he was. When reviewing the power of his prayers, the LORD comforts you by declaring that Elijah was a man subject to the same passions you face every day (James 5:16-18). Thank you, Lord!

The LORD heard every prayer of the Lord Jesus (John 11:42), for He always did those things that pleased God (John 8:29). In His deepest hour of need, though the cross was unavoidable, His Father sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). And the angel of the LORD encamps around you, and delivers you, when you fear Him (Ps 34:7).

Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

 Although God is all-powerful and all knowing, he has chosen to let us help him change the world through our prayers.  How this works is a mystery to us because of our limited understanding, but it is a reality.  Paul based his instruction about prayer for everyone on his conviction that God’s invitation for salvation extends equally to all people.  The word everyone captures the nature of the gospel.  The world that God loves includes every person (John 3:16).  He loves us as individuals whom he knows intimately (Psalm 139:13-18).  Paul urges us to pray for everyone.  Our earnest prayers will have powerful results (James 5:16)

2:2 Says we should pray for those in authority around the world so that their societies will be conducive to the spread of the gospel.  Paul’s command to pray for kings is remarkable considering that Nero, a notoriously cruel ruler, was emperor at this time (A.D. 54-68).  When Paul wrote this letter, persecution was a growing threat to believers.  Later, when Nero needed a scapegoat for the great fire that destroyed much of Rome in A.D 64, he blamed the Roman Christians so as to take the focus off himself.  Then persecution erupted throughout the Roman Empire.  Not only were Christians denied certain privileges in society; some were even publicly butchered, burned, or fed to animals.

2:4 Both Peter and Paul said that God wants all to be saved (see 2 Peter 3:9).  This does not mean that all will be saved, because the Bible makes it clear that many reject Christ (Matthew 25:31-46: John 12:44-50; Hebrews 10:26-29).

Lets Bring it Home: The gospel message has a universal scope; it is not directed only to people of one race, one sex, or one national background.  God loves the whole world and sent his Son to save sinners.  No one is outside God’s mercy or beyond the reach of his offer of salvation.