The Precautions of Prayer
- Genres:Preaching & Teaching, Tony Evans
It’s difficult to overstate how praying in conjunction with other believers is such an important aspect of being a believer. But unfortunately, many people wind up relying too heavily on public prayer when praying behind closed doors is just as important. Uncover the benefits of when your private prayer life begins to outshine your public prayer life in this look at the precautions of prayer.
where were you If you would have been here, she said, this thing wouldn’t have happened. The blood of christ has given believers a passport to enter into a realm that is closed to the general public prayer is how you show your passport. God has given so much clout to prayer that’s relational, li driven to draw heaven in the history that he will even allow prayer to change his mind. The disciples never asked jesus to teach them to preach, to teach them to do miracles. The one thing they did ask him is will you teach us to pray if you pursue a relationship and bring your needs along with that in your secret place, you will hear from God because God will hear from you ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be open to you don’t let things that God is willing to change go unchanged because we refuse to meet him in a private place, we have a place that we’re trying to go, we’re trying to get heaven to meet us here on earth, but to get to that foreign location, you need a passport, you just can’t walls up into heaven without a passport. But thank God that hebrews 1019 says that we can now enter the Holy Place through the blood of Christ. The blood of christ has given believers a passport to enter into a realm that is closed to the general public. General public can’t go there because they don’t have a passport the mechanism that God has given us the dominant mechanism for the use of the passport that has been granted to every believer by jesus christ to enter into what Hebrews 10 19 calls the holy place heavenly places. The very presence of God is prayer. Prayer is how you show your passport. The disciples never asked jesus to teach them to preach, to teach them to do miracles, to teach them to heal the sick, to teach them to have the blind see, to teach them how to make the lame walk. But the one thing they did ask him is will you teach us to pray in luke chapter 11 we’re verse one, you teach us to pray because they saw every time that jesus prayed, something happened, something supernatural took place every time he prayed. And so they were saying show us how to do that. How do you make that contact with God that makes things happen on earth? He starts off in verse five and says, and when you pray not and if you pray, there is an assumption as jesus talks to his disciples that if you are a follower of christ, you are a praying follower of christ, it’s when you pray. So let’s start with an assumption. The assumption of jesus is that if you are a christian and you are following of christ prayer as part of your lifestyle, it is not something you’re considering whether you do or not, it’s when you pray and then we’re introduced to this dominant word called prayer, it’s a word we all uses the word we all reference, but let’s get to a basic understanding of the term biblical prayer is simply defined as relational communication with God. A lot of people pray to God without a family connection and with when you go to God and there is not a relational connection, you are not connecting with the person you think you’re talking to, When people go to God for what they want, without a concern about the cultivation of the father child relationship, then they want to use God not relate to God and nobody likes being used. So prayer is relational communication with God. Why do I have relational communication with God? Because I need up there to do something down here, I need a eternity to enter time, I need heaven to enter history, I need God to come into the context of man, but God does not want to do that outside of a relationship. Prayer is relational communication with God. So when you pray, you are talking to God, he says, I don’t want you to be like the hypocrites because the hypocrites pray in public, he says, don’t be like the hypocrites who believe in showtime at the Apollo, who play the part in public, he says in the synagogues, that’s the church, but then on the street corner at the work, on the job, whatever he says, don’t be like them because you’re wearing a mask, he says no prayer is communication with God relational e driven the reason why this is critical as you’ll see in a moment is if there is no communication, many things that you want to happen won’t happen or if there is communication, but relationship is not a concern, only getting your prayers answered is a concern, You still may not get what you’re asking to happen because God is after a relationship, not a temporary hookup. The first thing is, I don’t want you to pray as a religious performance as fulfilling a duty as getting something done that you know you’re supposed to do because it’s the thing to do now we do that all the time. In fact for many people, the only reason they pray is because it is the appropriate thing to do, like Grace, we say grace, because it’s the prelude to a meal, he says, when you pray, don’t be like, don’t be like the actors who play a role Verse six, but you talking about his followers, Christians disciples when you pray because I’m assuming you do go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your father who is in secret and your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you your private prayer life should greatly outshine your public prayer life, he just condemned the public said don’t be like them, he says, I want to talk to you about how we connect in your prayer closet. He says go into your inner room, that’s like a closet. Not only do I want you to go inside your inner room, I also want you to shut the door. Prayer in the bible is a partnership. I want to hear from you but watch this. I also want you to hear from me. Point prayer was never meant to be a monologue, but a dialogue most people think of prayer as me talking to God. But if that is your only definition of prayer relationship is being cultivated because any kind of time you have a relationship, you get the two way communication. God wants to talk to us, but when does he want to talk to us in secret? He says I want to talk to you in the closet with the door closed because I don’t want anybody else listening nor do I want any noise interrupting our conversation. He wants a secret meeting because he’s cultivating relationship in a joint venture with mankind. And he says the father who sees in secret now this has to do with you know the op missions in the presence of God. You mean he doesn’t see in public, he sees everything but he’s talking about communication because he’s doing my prayer. He says when it comes to talking to me, first of all, if you go in your inner closet and you shut the door so nobody else can hear now you can be honest because see when you’re out in public and you ain’t you you lying, you ain’t gonna be here, you ain’t honest. You’re saying you’re saying stuff that’s acceptable to everybody else who you know is listening. But if you go in the closet okay, you’re being real with this thing, you’re free to now tell me the good, the bad and the ugly. You really you’re able to come clean because nobody else is listening because you’re in the closet and you shut the door. In other words, I see in secret and the father who sees in secret. But let me tell you the other reason he wants a private conversation to dominate your prayer development of your prayer relationship to me because he wants to talk to mm hmm wait a minute you say, wait a minute. I’m in this quiet room. I don’t hear any voices. I don’t see anybody. God’s invisible. How in the world is he talking to me in this quiet atmosphere? Because he speaks to your spirit. Let me say that again. You and I speak to our ears. We speak audibly to our external ears and we hear it in our, in our, in our minds and our brain that’s not where God starts speaking in the inner room. He speaks to the inner man in a person. You are composed of three parts spirit soul and body. The way God meant it to work like with Adam and Eve in the garden, Who the bible says. And they walked with God during the cool of the day, they communicated with God as they walked with God in the garden of Eden. He says it is in that walking in privacy with me that I will bring into the spirit man my thoughts for you to pick up on. When the spirit man gets God’s thoughts permeating inside of the inner man, it then flows to the soul. When it flows to the soul, it hits your brain, it hits your mind. That’s why First Corinthians chapter two, verses nine and following say what it says what eyes have not seen, ears have not heard and you have not thought about has not entered into the heart of man. God has revealed them to us by his spirit. So God wants to talk to you about the thing you’re dealing with the struggle. You’re having the fears that you’re addressing the crisis that you’re in. He wants to bring thoughts and ideas and and perspective, but he wants quiet. He wants no competition because he wants to speak in terms of your spirit. So he says, shut out the distractions. You come in and you be honest with me and give me some space. That’s why when you read the book of songs, you will regularly read the author most of the time. David talk about how he is meditating in prayer, meditating in prayer. See God wants to talk to you, he speaks objectively through his bible. He speaks subjectively through his spirit? And when the bible and the spirit come together, as you think through what you are talking to God about, it says David says spoke to him in the night hours. He says when you pray verse seven, stop using meaningless repetition as the gentiles do. Oh that’s like saying the same thing over and over again because that’s what you say. I want a serious meeting and I want you to close the door, put everybody else out so you can be 100 with me. And he says and the father who sees in secret. In other words, he’s waiting in the room for you to show up because he’s looking for a secret conversation because that’s what you do when you’re building a relationship when a guy is trying to win a girl, you know, he ain’t trying to have a whole lot of people around long, he’s trying to he’s trying to peel off to the side because he’s pursuing a relationship, see, and he wants to know, but you want a connection with the father, not just with God, but with dad, it’s a different deal. Our father who art in heaven and when you do that, he says, I will, I will meet you there, I will see you in private ah verse eight. So okay, what you trying to say, jesus do not be like them. The non christians the gentiles for your father. Can you still talking about relationship your daddy now not the big God up there. Your father knows what you need before you ask. Okay watch this now you don’t pray to inform God. No, most people pray to inform God Gaza. I know what you’re gonna say before you open your mouth. He says when you come to me, don’t just come to give me information. I am already completely aware of. Okay I already know what you need. Wait a minute. So if you know what I need what I got to pray anyway what you already know what I’m going to ask. You know what I’m thinking? You know where I’m struggling. Why do I have to pray? Because in a relationship you do things because of the connection and I wanna know you want me not what you can get from me already know what you want. I already know what you need but I want you to I want to know do you want me like folk who just come to be blessed. That isn’t that is an insult to God to only come to the blessing and not want the bless. Er how do we know? We don’t want to bless her because we only show up for the blessing. He says no this conversation is not just about what you need because I already know that. Okay watch this now watch this, we’re gonna go into something. So what I’m gonna do God is saying is I’m gonna let you have needs I’m gonna let you have health needs, financial needs, Korea needs relational needs emotional needs. I’m gonna let you have needs because it’s only when you ever need that I can get a little time with you. It’s only when you when things are bad enough that you at least will think about talking to me. It’s only when everything is shut down that I get extra time. In spite of just a rush you just say a quick thing because you’re supposed to. So sometimes I let the needs be light. Maybe I’ll get some time with you. Oh no that wasn’t bad enough. Let me take it down a little lower. Maybe you’ll give me some time now or let me make it so that it’s hopeless. Now. I get all of your time because I want a relationship with you and sometimes your needs are the only way I can get it. Now. Let me explain how this works. He says I know your needs ahead of time and I know it before you ask God has an unconditional will and a conditional will two wills. The unconditional will is what he has determined to do regardless of what anybody else does or does not do. That’s called his sovereign will. In other words he’s just gonna do it because he wants to okay you don’t have to do anything or not do something. It doesn’t matter. He’s just gonna do it because he decided to do it. But he has also a conditional will. The conditional will is what he chooses to do. But only when the conditions are met. So if the conditions aren’t met whatever is on the conditional will side is not dispensed because it was in his conditional will. Now the bible will give you a list of his conditional will. But sometimes things are in his conditional will that the bible doesn’t directly speak about and you don’t know whether it’s unconditional additional. That’s why the bible says pray about all things because you sometimes you don’t know if God’s gonna do it anyway or whether he’s waiting on you to pray first. Whether he’s waiting for you to obey first before he does it. So if it’s his conditional will, that means he’s waiting on you To meet the condition. That’s why James 42 says you have not because you ask not you didn’t meet the condition of asking. So I didn’t give it why? Because you weren’t you weren’t pursuing a relationship. Let me tell you how powerful this thing is. God says I already know what you’re coming to talk to me about. I just want you to come talk to me and I’ve already decided. In fact I’ve decided before you came to dispense it. So when you come I can then allow it to be delivered. Okay but I’m gonna hold onto it until I get a little time until I get a little attention? Show you love? Show you love, show your love. I’m gonna hold onto it until it’s not just about this that I already know about. It’s about me. Let me tell you how powerful this thing is. God has given so much clout to prayer. That’s relational li driven to draw heaven in the history that he will even allow prayer to change his mind. I don’t know that there’s anything more potent than prayer. God has allowed to be so powerful when it’s relational driven that you can switch him from what he was gonna do to what you want him to do. That’s different than what he was gonna do. The bible says God changes not he’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow he is the changeless God. Yet the bible says God changes his mind in exodus 32 verse 14, It says God changed his mind about judging his people in Jeremiah 26 19. It says God changed his mind with regard to the circumstances in Amos chapter seven, verses two and three, God was gonna bring judgment, it says, but the people cried out to God and God changed his mind. Anybody in here need God to change his mind about something about a health situation, a financial situation, a personal situation, you need him to switch it back. God says if relational lee driven prayer will give God at least an option. he’s sovereign, he can choose whether he wants to change his mind. But how can a changeless God change his mind. It works like this. God can never change regarding his character, but he can change regarding his actions, his being, his person. His attributes are changeless, but here’s our works. Let’s say God decides to judge you for a sin and I’m gonna judge you because my character of justice and wrath means that I must respond to unrighteous nous. And so God decides to do that. But like in Amos chapter seven, you go to God in repentance, you go to God for pardon, you go to God for restoration. God then has the option, it’s his option. But God then has an option to shift your sin to his mercy. He’s not gonna give up his judgment, but he may decide to use another part of his character. His mercy means not giving you what your sin called for. If God decides in your case to shift his judgment into his mercy, he stayed the same. He just related it to a different part of his changeless nature, which allows him to change his action towards your situation. So don’t let things that God is willing to change go unchanged because we refuse to meet him in a private place to meet him in a place of supernatural intervention are close with the passage in chapter seven of Matthew verse seven ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be open to you for everyone who asks receives and he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it will be open or what man is there among you who when his son asked for a loaf will give him a stone or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake, will he, if you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your Children. How much more your will your father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him. He will do good things. He says for those who love God and are called according to his purpose of wanting a relationship, wanting to be conformed to jesus christ. If you pursue a relationship and bring your needs along with that in your secret place, you will hear from God because God will hear from you. Prayer is not a performance. It is relational communication with God. God wants to warn us that if there is no pursuit of relationship, then we’re using prayer as a program. He doesn’t want us to be hypocritical and he doesn’t want us just to use words that are empty and without meaning He wants to be communicated with in a two way communication us talking to him in heaven and he talking from heaven to us in order that we might draw down eternity into time. So prayers to be taken seriously, not casually because we don’t have a casual god and a casual father in heaven. We have one who cares about us, loves us and wants to be intimately and intricately involved with us. So let’s be careful not to take prayer casually, but to give it the serious attention it deserves, because it is our way to bring heaven’s help into history’s need.