These are the notes from my message on Sunday 4/7/2013 – They are not exactly as I spoke it, more of a guideline, but key scriptures are in place, I’ve added some to the notes and shaped it best as I can to match what I spoke, but its not 100% the same, but the core message is there!
How many times when you ask for something do you not always like what you get?
Example would be you goto dinner, you order say a hamburger, you tell the waiter exactly how you want the meat prepared, the toppings you do want and those you don’t want and yet when you get it delivered to the table you get it all good and ready to chow down and its not what you wanted. You think you should of got the salad instead.
The past week I have been blessed to get to talk to some people in my life who asked me to pray, they asked to pray for something and it came to pass, yet how many times do we ask God for something and not wait expectantly for it? We pray and await the ever popular Christian phrase “God’s Will” for something and in some ways we use that as an excuse its a way out because if we pray for A, and get C, we can easily just chalk it up to God’s will and attempt to roll with it, but sometimes in going with the flow we lose sight of the WHY God changed things – “God’s Will” is a familiar phrase because Jesus praying in the garden prays that very thing – but different from Us on earth, Jesus knew the plan in motion, he knew the events that would unfold and he knew he could pray that the cup be taken from him and His father could grant it – he knew the power of his prayers because as we see in John, Jesus points it out to us:
John 14:5-14 (NIV)
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
God is a man of His word, and sometimes following his will means exactly that – following. Not just pray it and forget it, but pray it, watching for the reply on the road out ahead of us – take the example of Jesus walking on the water:
Matthew 14:25-31 (NIV)
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,”he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”
When we take time to talk to God and ask things of Him, we do see powerful results, Peter asked for the direction to come out on the water, that bold move to start, but then seeing the things around him lost sight of the one he asked for that ability to do so, and began to sink, but even in his fear, even in that moment of falling away he cried out “Lord, save me!” and Jesus caught him and saved him.
Prayer is power. Someone recently asked me to pray for things in their lives, and change came, for one it was the victory at the gym, the thermostat was too warm for our slowly warming city, and the gym wouldn’t adjust it after many requests, yet after some prayer, a talk with a manager occured, then suddenly an email apology, and now comfortable temperatures – but another in asking for prayer for Truth in her broken marriage, the truth appeared in that her husband called to say he couldn’t work on their marriage, and word that he was still seeing another woman also came showing where things truly stood.
With both cases maybe not when or what they expected – but they asked for change, they asked for truth, and one friend actually asked me “Do you have a special connection to God?” but I don’t, I am no more special to God than anyone else on this planet, my prayers are the same as everyone can lift, I just pray expecting results, or even more so true, desiring results – but when you pray, realize what you are praying for, because as I have spoke before sometimes we think earthly, and God’s heavenly perspective may mean He speaks, but are you listening for what ever he directs? You said “God’s will be done!” but do you really mean that or are you just awaiting that fancy BMW Z3 you prayed for knowing God would give it? God knows us in and out and he knows if we are like in John where he says “whatever you ask in my name” he knows if your heart is in his name or in your name! But are you true to your word that when “God’s Will” comes, you are ready to move forward with it?
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
While you may think to yourself, and convince yourself “I need this BMW Z3 for the LORD!” – This is my dad’s favorite car, its one of those “If I had the money” type cars, but I know if he asked God for the car, the Lord could give it, but he knows his truck is the better vehicle to help build up things at the church, transport food, parts, tools, etc.
God looks past your words to your heart and sees the truth, and that is a word lately that I’ve prayed for when people ask me to help them find the right path, and TRUTH isn’t always easy for truth means sometimes admitting to something, it means that the truth is you are off course and he needs you back on course to be a productive child of the king!
Back to the book of John:
John 8:32 (NIV)
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
But in praying for truth you can find freedom, and that may free you of what you were desiring, it may be taking you on a path not of your own making but God’s – and thats a good thing! But it may not always be what we are expecting from God! Nor what you are prepared to have come about, because sometimes we are on a path that Truth isn’t in, we’ve convinced ourselves what we want is what God wants, and sometimes that means that Truth brings correction to bring us back to where God would have us be!
One of my oldest sayings coming from anxiety – is I wish I could get a peek at God’s playbook in life, I think we all do! And yet when I read how Elisha showed his servant what was going on behind the scenes of battle:
2 Kings 6:17 (NIV)
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lordopened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
We are protected by our father in heaven, How would we react truthfully to what is going on around, what God is doing that we can’t see where I faith must expect good things – for I know for me, if my eyes were opened to the things in heavenly realms it would be too great for me to truly even comprehend – and how then do I honestly think that I’d understand God’s playbook?
A book by Christian author Randy Alcorn called “Deadline” describes heaven from a interesting perspective the view of heaven, right now we think clouds, big golden gates, we know streets of Gold, house with many rooms, all our loved ones, all our friends who’ve gone before – and yet I love the picture of this book paints of an angel, of this giant of a creature not completely a man, but not completely a creature but still strangely beautiful and yet strong – the author paints a picture of a scarred creature walking next to one of the characters who has died, who is even in heaven praying for his friend, he paints this picture though of this warrior next to him, and yet has peace about him, I don’t think I’d have peace if I could see the things of heaven with mortal eyes and yet Elisha prayed and opened eyes – not sure I would ask for that view, and yet that book, which I say constantly I’d love to see I realized as preparing this message, it would likely scare me!
Imagine for a moment a playbook that said “Chuck’s Life” for God knows it start to finish, he knows when I should zig, but in life zag, when I should go 15 yards out and cut left, but instead I go 10 yards and right and not where I need to be so he can toss the ball to me! But imagine for a moment with mortal/earthly understanding I read this book – what would I comprehend? What if its written in shorthand, It’s written in events of a BIG nature and I see “Chuck’s Car Accident”, “Chuck’s Anxiety”, “Chuck’s Lost Job” I see these things and say “Why would God desire that for me?” and yet if I understood completely his plan, maybe – but with human eyes at the time looking at events I’d not fully understand what he would hope to accomplish in my life, I’d see events without redemption as I read them not understanding they led to something else down the line, because I see a moment, not a completed life like God has in his ability to view the entire book not one page, he sees areas of my life that when I go thru shape, form, refine, and make me into who he needs me to be!
Prayer is powerful, we don’t always see exactly what we pray for come to pass, we pray for healing for a friend dying of cancer, and when they pass away after we pray, we wonder sometimes to ourselves “Why would God take them! I asked for healing!” but they aren’t hurting anymore, they’ve shed the pain of this world, they got the healing they’d never find in this life, and sometimes that is a truth we aren’t always prepared to accept.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God desires for us to really just bring our prayers but also our praise, but with the father hearing our requests we need to be expecting God to move, not just haphazardly praying and thinking “God’s will be done” but expect it, know it, watch for it!
When God works in our lives it may not always be what we expected, it may not be the way that we in our human understanding of how God works have things come around – We ask for Truth and the truth we get changes everything in our lives, but we read earlier that the TRUTH sets us free, so in the truth we were seeking God could change EVERYTHING in our lives, things we had been binded up in, things that held us back from true blessings of God working in our lives.
My challenge to you this week is pray for Truth in your life, Truth of your walk with the Lord, Truth in your finances, Truth of your witness, Truth in your Job, seek God’s truth in all areas of your life both big and small, but don’t expect it to be easy, don’t expect it means you won’t have to work at it, because if you are going to pray it, know that what you ask for, God will deliver it, and it may not be what you thought your prayer would bring about – but God knows its what you life needs to have come about to be exactly where God would have you be.
For God desires us to be in truth because the truth sets us free, and freedom is what he paid the price for as it says in:
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Don’t let this world lie, steal, and kill your hope, your dreams, your faith – pray for truth, seek truth, and expect truth when you pray asking for it, let prayer bring you the good things God has for you and expectantly wait for the blessings God has for your life today!