It’s easiest to get into a conversation when someone speaks to us first. God speaks to us in His Word; and if we pray with an open Bible, we don’t need to think of words to pray to Him. We can simply respond to what…
Chapter 5, begins by reminding true believers that they can overcome the turmoil of this world v.1-5 through the power of Christ. in v.6-12, John also reminds us that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and life begins with Him. Finally in John wraps up the Chapter and Book with v.13-21, reassuring true believers that they can know they have eternal life.
Our text for today comes from the latter and expresses perfectly John’s and the Holy Spirit’s meaning:
- We (true believers) can have confidence in Christ
- We can ask anything of Him according to His will, NOT OURS
- He hears all those petitions
- Because those petitions are in God’s will we have no fear of them not being heard, not being granted, for we put our Faith, our Trust in the Sovereignty of God.
1 John 5:13-15 – Praying and Waiting by C H Spurgeon
- 1 John 5:14-15 – Praying According to God’s Will by P G Mathew
- Our Confidence in a Hearing and Answering God – 1 John 5:14-15 by S Lance Quinn
Strong’s Concordance, translated the Greek word Prosecho, as take heed (KJV), Be on Guard (AMP), watch yourselves (ESV) in v.34 meaning “to turn the mind to, attend to be attentive; to devote thought and effort to”.
Christ’s Return is one of the major theme’s of this Chapter in Luke 21:25-28. This must have been very confusing to the disciples since Jesus was sitting among them at the time and yet telling them of His own return. In order to explain His point Jesus sets out beginning in v.29 to tell them the Parable of the Fig Tree.
And take heed to yourselves, – Simply put Jesus is telling His disciples Be Prepared, to devote time and effort into preparing their minds and…
lest at any time your hearts – Their hearts, out of which spring froth the true intent of man
be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, – Being self-indulgent or gluttonous on the excesses of worldly things (here probably food) but any excess to the point of nausea.
and cares of this life, – Weight down by the care of this world or have your burdens been cast upon the broad yoke of Christ?
and so that day come upon you unawares. – Jesus back in Luke 18:8 had asked a question, here he gives the answer to it or the answer to how to avoid it. Only the prepared will be ready and acceptable upon Christ’s return.
Men since the death of Christ have attempted to predict the date of His return, all have failed miserably. All those who claim to know this are false prophets and LIARS, the bible clearly states not even Jesus Himself knows.
What the Bible does tell us to do is Watch and Pray and as our text shows Jesus Himself encouraged His disciples then and now to Be Prepared. We do this by guarding our hearts, studying daily to show ourselves approved, and praying daily for wisdom and guidance.
Are you a Bible Prepper?
Chapter 2 begins v.1-9 with God at odds with His church (in this case Israel) for their disobedience and worship of idols. Note that God seems to have a hand in the troubles befalling Israel but is not their enemy though angry with them. He does this to bring to their attention and cause their turning from sin.
The second half of Chapter 2; v.10-22 sees the people lamenting their woes, and calls for repentance issued.
The Lord hath done that which he had devised; – Once again we see God is in control of all, sovereign over the events of mankind, here in the Chaldean occupation of Judea, today can we not see His hand in all things restraining the Chaos from unleashing in earnest.
he hath fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old: – God has long promised rewards to those who are faithful and woes to those who are not
he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: – God is all powerful and here it is demonstrated in the tearing down of walls of Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple of God.
and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, – Our enemies rejoice in apparent victory thinking themselves great, but it is He who is greater and will have the final say
he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries. – God has swelled their self-worth, puffed them up and for His purpose (to remind us (Israel) of our place) and set them up for a hard fall in the end
There are clear parallels to Israel and the US found here. Both claim to be established upon Godly principles and laws. Both peoples claim to desire to follow a moral code established by God. Yet both readily and easily turn their backs upon that very same God.
As with Israel, America needs a time of lamenting (a passionate expression of grief or sorrow) and repentance.
Here is a 5 day devotional from CROSSWAY to help in that endeavor:
Question: “What does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?”
Answer: Prayer in Jesus’ name is taught in John 14:13-14, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Some misapply this verse, thinking that saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer results in God’s always granting what is asked for. This is essentially treating the words “in Jesus’ name” as a magic formula. This is absolutely unbiblical…
CONTINUED AT: SOURCE
Please note I have slightly modified this devotional from its original form to fit today’s intent – Mike
New Year Review, Prayer & Final Thoughts
Take some time today to review your readings from the past year (hopefully you are a 11-percenter) and reflect on what God has taught you or convicted you about. Use the questions below to help you reflect on what you read, and how it has impacted your life. Spend time praying, asking God to help you make the changes you have identified. Look forward to what God is going to do this next year as you spend time in His Word.
What are some things you learned from this year’s reading?
What sections in this year’s reading had the greatest impact on you? Why?
What surprised you the most as you read this past year?
How do you want to be different in light of this past year’s reading?
For the past several months, I have been searching through the long and storied history of the church to find examples of Christian men who had godly moms. More specifically, I have been searching for notable Christian men whose most important spiritual influence was their mother. I have discovered many of them and have been deeply encouraged by their stories.
Continued at Source: The Power of a Praying Mother (Christian Men and Their Godly Moms) – Tim Challies
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jon. 4: 1– 3)
Dear Jesus, you’re stirring my heart today to pray for weary men and women serving in the ministry of the gospel. I wish it weren’t so, but sometimes it takes my own challenges and hardships in ministry for me to hit my knees with compassionate intercession for others. Before your throne of grace, I bring you missionaries, pastors, elders, counselors— a wide range of friends you have called and gifted to share and apply the gospel of your grace.
Many of them are living Jonah’s story. In their heads they still know you to be a God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. But in their hearts they are displeased and angry, disconnected and disillusioned, and some, like Jonah, aren’t sure they want many more days in this world. Have mercy on them, Lord; have great mercy today.
Jesus, you know all the issues. You know what’s under the anger; what’s compounding the contempt; and what’s fueling the flight. Meet these dear servants of yours right where they are. I pray for their spouses and children as well, for sometimes it’s the family members who suffer ministry pangs the most.
Comfort them with your compassion. Grant them a renewed perspective of eternity. Rekindle hope in their hurting hearts. Where needed, may your kindness drive them to appropriate repentance. Refresh them with whatever means of grace you choose.
Until you return, Jesus, Satan will continue to mount an all-out assault against you by attacking your bride, and especially those called to nourish and prepare your church for the great wedding day. Satan knows he’s lost us for eternity, so he will do anything and everything within his power to bring havoc, heartache, and hell. Use us, however you choose, to encourage your servants, and all the more as we see that great day approaching. We pray in your holy and loving name. Amen.
Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith (p. 75). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Response to Brokenness Continued
PRAYER PART 1
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
Remembering that we defined Brokenness as the state which man is not living as God intended. We continue our series on Nehemiah this week by continuing to look at Nehemiah’s and hopefully our Response to Brokenness.
A quick review, Nehemiah hears of the plight of the Jewish people back in Jerusalem. He is told that they are are in great affliction and reproach. He also learns the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. Nehemiah’s response is not to blame the government, he does not say oh well it’s not my problem; no he sat down and wept, and mourned certain days. Last week we explored his next response where he fasted. Today let us examine his final response where he prayed before the God of heaven.
I may be way off base here by I would venture to say most people Christians or “religious types” or not, understand some concept of prayer. Here are some definitions of prayer:
Focus on the Family- So what is prayer? Prayer is a relationship, wherein we humbly communicate, worship, and sincerely seek God’s face, knowing that He hears us, loves us and will respond, though not always in a manner we may expect or desire. Prayer can encompass confession, praise, adoration, supplication, intercession and more.
Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 178 – What is prayer? A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
I hope you can easily spot the differences between Wikipedia’s secular definition and that of the next two. I included it to make my point, that even non-believers and those who would deny a deity in any fashion (an object of worship) have a concept of prayer.
As believers our concept of prayer is quite different than that of those still living in darkness. Today I want to look at five specific things Nehemiah did (and we should follow suit) concerning prayer and why he did them. They are:
1) Why he/we should pray prayed
2) To whom he/we should pray
3) Reason(s) he/we should prayer
4) How he/we should pray
5) Our expectations of prayer
I am going to use the Westminster Larger Catechism to look deeper into prayer in the life of Christians.
1. The first question many have is why pray? Principal reason we pray because we are commanded to do so:
(WLC 186) What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer.
(1198) 1 John 5:14: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.
(1199) Matthew 6:9-13: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Luke 11:2-4.And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Christ in leaving us this model on how to pray, commands us to pray. There is no if you feel like it, when you get around to it, or if the spirit moves you suggestion here. No Christ clearly says After this manner therefore pray ye and When ye pray, say undeniably a command to pray. Prayer develops our relationship with God.
One of my favorite passages of scripture (So much so my thesis is on its importance) is 1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. I really like the idea of a full cup of joy, don’t you? Well John in the preceding verse tells how to get that: That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Fellowship is the key to joy. Both fellowship with believers and with God. Now it should be obvious that fellowship with believers can happen in many ways but fellowship with God (whom we can’t see or touch) can only happen through prayer.
Christ did not command us to pray just for ha ha’s no He wanted us to communicate with Him that our joy may be full.
2. The next question is whom do you pray too. Unlike the unbelievers who pray to establish a rapport or connection with some unknown deity (god, idol, immortal) Christians already have a connection to God and that is whom we communicate with:
(WLC 179) Are we to pray unto God only? A. God only being able to search the hearts, hear the requests, pardon the sins, and fulfill the desires of all; and only to be believed in, and worshipped with religious worship; prayer, which is a special part thereof, is to be made by all to him alone, and to none other.
It is to God the one and only true and living God of the bible that we are to pray. None other can search our hearts, hear our requests, pardon our sins and fulfill our desires. Let’s face it that is the reason most folk’s believer or not pray. They are in a jam or things are just messed up and they want help (desires). The unbeliever in desperation calls out; God if you are there help me.
While many cry out in desperation with no real sincerity some (like many of us at one time) cry out with true understanding of the situation and our Broken state. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, R. C. Sproul wrote on the matter:
Prayer has a vital place in the life of the Christian. First, it is an absolute prerequisite for salvation. Some people cannot hear; yet though deaf, they can be saved. Some may not be able to see; yet though blind, they can be saved. Knowledge of the Good News—salvation through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—will come from one source or another, but in the final analysis, a person must humbly ask God for salvation. The prayer of salvation is the one prayer of the wicked God has said he will hear.
Why God only, His word tells us so: 1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Let’s get logical for a moment. I have never met anyone that has said I will take the worst thing, the weakest person the laziest helper. No we want the best for ourselves and our families. There is nothing wrong with that. So why would you chose a lesser god?
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Now if obtaining the best means going through Jesus to God that for sure is the path I want.
Nehemiah prayed to God because he knew that God alone could help in this matter. Like Nehemiah I pray to God because I want the best. I desire the guidance of He who is able to do all things.
3 Now let us look at the Reasons we pray. This could be a whole sermon series on its own so I am going to try and give a helpful overview by again using the WLC.
Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; for magistrates, and ministers; for ourselves, our brethren, yea, our enemies; and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.
That is quite the list. Some of the persons mentioned are quite easily understood. The first five would seem relatively common today. Most folks find it easy to pray for their church family (as Nehemiah was doing here), the government (especially in these times) our families and friends, our church leaders and of course our own needs. But I want to look at two specific items on the list:
a) Our enemies, the WLC uses Matthew 5:44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you to make this point and I totally agree. How easy it is to pray for our loved ones but those that hate and oppress us.
How many of us could respond as Stephan and say: Acts 7:59-60 And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit! 60 And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death].
An even greater example to me is recorded in Romans 5:7-8 Amplified Bible (AMP) 7 Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die. 8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Christ did more than pray for His enemies He died for them. What are you willing to do?
b) those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death. The WLC uses 1 John 5:16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it, to make its case. There are varying opinions on exactly what John meant when writing this. I tend to agree with Dr. John Gill on the matter:
There is a sin unto death; which is not only deserving of death, as every other sin is, but which certainly and inevitably issues in death in all that commit it, without exception; and that is the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is neither forgiven in this world nor in that to come, and therefore must be unto death; it is a sinning willfully, not in a practical, but doctrinal way, after a man has received the knowledge of the truth; it is a willful denial of the truth of the Gospel, particularly that peace, pardon, righteousness, eternal life, and salvation, are by Jesus Christ, contrary to the light of his mind, and this joined with malice and obstinacy; so that there is no more or other sacrifice for such a sin; there is nothing but a fearful looking for of wrath and fury to fall on such opposers of the way of life; and as the presumptuous sinners under Moses’s law died without mercy, so must these despiteful ones under the Gospel; see Matthew 12:31. Some think there is an allusion to one of the kinds of excommunication among the Jews, called “shammatha”, the etymology of which, according to some Jewish writers, is, “there is death” (t).
I do not say that he shall pray for it; the apostle does not expressly forbid to pray for the forgiveness of this sin, yet what he says amounts unto it; he gives no encouragement to it, or any hopes of succeeding, but rather the reverse; and indeed where this sin is known, or can be known, it is not to be prayed for, because it is irremissible; but as it is a most difficult point to know when a man has sinned it, the apostle expresses himself with great caution.
As Dr. Gill points out I think this is in reference to Matt 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. John is relating that there are better things to pray for than those who have so hardened their hearts to the Gospel that there is little hope for them. Is that so called tough love, maybe? Yet if given the choice to pray for known needs of those listed prior and that of a blasphemer; well you get the idea.
Along with people we are to pray for certain things also.
Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
Again while this may seem obvious to all I think two areas are worth closer exam.
a) The Glory of God should be on our mind in all things especially in prayer. The Lord’s Prayer or Model Prayer as so insist, is the lasting example left by Jesus. Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Our prayers should acknowledge that God is worthy to be Hallowed or Glorified. It is not enough o just understand it it is important to express it.
This is going to be a poor example but we are humans like being acknowledged to the accomplishments in life. Get an “A” on the exam and your teacher writes “excellent”. Finish your work ahead of schedule and the boss gives you a big at-a-boy. Well if sinful creatures such as us desire and deserve acknowledgement for the good we do how much more so does God?
b) …not for anything that is unlawful. Really do we need to go here, YES! for to many times today I hear Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart misquoted and out of context. It should seem obvious that unlawful things (illegal, immoral, unethical) are not God honoring. Yet I hear folks all the time willing to bend the truth of the bible to meet their needs.
Listen you cannot ask God for things that are out of His will for your life 1 John 5:14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us nor for things that do not glorify Him and expect results. That is foolish.
I think this is a good place to stop for tonight. Next time we will continue with the last two things Nehemiah and we should do in prayer.
Until Next time
In HIS Service