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April 14, 2024 27 mins

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Why bother praying if what will happen will happen? Why bother praying since many prayers are not answered anyway? These and other questions are explored in this recent sermon! 

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Good morning.
Thank you, sam Muckle, for thisprivilege to be here and to
participate in worship and tospeak God's word.
In August 1877, george Mullerhad to go from Bristol, england,
across the Atlantic Ocean onthe ship called the SS Sardinian
, and he had to get to Quebecthe following afternoon.

(00:23):
But the ship ran into somethick fog.
So he asked the captain of theship, who is Joseph E Dutton,
and said can you take me to thechart room so that we can pray?
And so the captain said yeah, Imean, we can go down to the
chart room and you can pray, butI don't think prayer is going
to do anything.
So he still went down withGeorge Muller to the chart room,

(00:45):
and once he were in the chartroom, george Muller prayed for
the lifting of the fog.
And soon after George prayed,the captain was about to pray,
but George Muller stopped himand said you don't need to pray,
partly because you don't havethe faith that it's going to
happen and partly because Ithink the fog is already lifted.
And then George Muller told thecaptain in 50 years I've never

(01:08):
failed to have an audience withthe king.
Come, captain, let's goupstairs.
And as they went up to the deckof the ship, they found that
the fog was lifted and GeorgeMuller was able to keep his
appointment in Quebec the nextday.
One of the most powerful and yetone of the most underused
weapons in the Christian'sarsenal is that of prayer, and

(01:30):
this morning, in a sermonentitled the Fog has Gone, I
want to look at the issue ofprayer.
The text that has been given tome is James, chapter 5, and
verse 16 through 18.
James, chapter 5, 16 through 18.
And if you can turn your Biblesto it, we will read those three
verses James, chapter 5, verse16.

(01:51):
Therefore, confess your sins toone another and pray for one
another so that you may behealed.
The prayer of a righteousperson has great power, as it is
working.
Elijah was a man with a naturelike ours and he prayed
fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six

(02:11):
months it did not rain on theearth.
Then he prayed again.
The heaven gave rain and theearth bore its fruit.
This morning, I want to speakon three things.
In the first part of the sermon, we will look at prayer and
passion.
In the second part of thesermon, we will look at prayer
changes and the third part ofthe sermon, we will look at

(02:33):
prayer and God's will.
First let's look at prayer withpassion, and I'm going to read
James, chapter 5, verse 17.
Again.
Elijah was a man with a naturelike ours and he prayed
fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six
months it did not rain on theearth.
It says Elijah prayed fervently.

(02:56):
Some of the translations sayElijah prayed earnestly, but in
the original Greek there is noword there for earnest.
There is no word there forfervent.
Instead, the Greek phrase is heprayed with prayer.

(03:16):
He prayed as if he was stackingone prayer on top of the other.
What does it mean to pray withpassion?
What does it mean to pray withfervency?
What does it mean to pray withpassion?
What does it mean to pray withfervency?
What does it mean to pray withearnestness?
Jesus himself prayed withearnestness.
He prayed with passion.
Let me read a verse Hebrews,chapter 5, verse 7.

(03:38):
Hebrews, chapter 5, verse 7,says In the days of his flesh,
jesus offered up prayers andsupplications with loud cries
and tears to him who was able tosave him from death, and he was
heard because of his reverence.
So Jesus prayed with passion.

(03:58):
So if I say, well, we need topray with passion.
What does that mean?
What does prayer with passionlook like?
Let me give you an illustration.
Let's say, after worship today,you had your time of fellowship
.
You ate the samosa that wasthere and you drank the chai
that was there, and you gatheredyour four-year-old son and you

(04:20):
went to your car and you stoppedyour four-year-old son at the
back and you and your wife oryour wife and the husband they
started driving back home.
And as you're driving back home, you are one of the last few
remaining fans of the BrooklynNets who are following them this
season.
So you look at your phone tosee how they are faring, are
they going to make the playoffsor not?

(04:42):
And so, as you're looking atthe phone and driving, for one
split second you don't payattention and your car gets
T-boned and the next thing youknow your four-year-old son is
unconscious and now you have todrag him.
You call another car, you dragyour four-year-old son and you

(05:03):
go to the hospital and theyquickly do a CT scan.
And as the radiologist looks atthe CT scan, he shakes his head
and says no, there's too muchbleeding in the brain.
They call the neurosurgeon oncall and he comes quickly, and
they need to take your son tothe operating room to reduce the
pressure in his brain.
There's too much blood insidethe brain and so the

(05:26):
neurosurgeon takes him into theoperating room to do a
craniotomy to release pressureon the brain.
What are you doing outside?
Do you need to attend a seminaron prayer?
Do you need to listen to asermon on prayer?
Do you need to read the bookthe ABC on prayer?

(05:46):
Do you need an encouragement topray?
No, we will be praying, isn'tit?
You will be crying, you will bepleading, you will be begging.
If you, as a finite human being, can grab something out of the
hand of an omnipotent God, youwould do it.
You would pray for the life ofyour four-year-old.

(06:07):
That, my friend, is passion inprayer.
Let me ask you another question.
What if in that operating roomwas somebody else's child?
Would we have the same passionin prayer?
Would we have the same passionin prayer?

(06:30):
Do we have a passion in prayer?
Yes, sometimes we do have apassion in prayer for our own
needs, but do we have a passionin prayer for the things of God?
Would we have the same passionin prayer for a non-believing
colleague who we have workedwith for the last 15 years and
they still don't know Jesus.
Would we have a passion inprayer for their soul to be

(06:53):
saved?
Evangelist and author LeonardRavenhill, in his book why
Revival Tarries writes thesewords we have many organizers,
but few agonizers.
Many players and payers, butfew prayers.
Many singers, few clingers,lots of pastors, few wrestlers,

(07:14):
many fears, few tears, muchfashion, little passion, many
interferers, few intercessors,many writers, few fighters.
And that's why revival tarries.
Second, let's look at prayerchanges.
The church has been convenientlydivided into two halves, so I'm

(07:37):
going to ask you one questionfor each side and then one
common question All right.
So on my left side, how many ofyou believe that prayer changes
circumstances?
Prayer changes circumstances,all right, all right.
So on my right side, how manyof you believe that prayer

(08:00):
changes us?
How many of you believe prayerchanges us?
All right, let me ask aquestion for everybody.
How many of you believe prayerchanges us?
All right, let me ask aquestion for everybody how many
of you believe that prayerchanges God?
Prayer changes God.
It's not a trick question.
I sometimes ask trick questions, but this is not a trick

(08:23):
question.
Let's read a few verses Exodus,chapter 32, verse 14.
Exodus 32, verse 14.
And the Lord relented from thedisaster that he had spoken of

(08:43):
bringing on his people.
The Lord relented.
That means he changed his mind.
Let's read another verse 2Samuel, chapter 24, verse 16.
2 Samuel, 24, verse 16.
And when the angel stretchedout his hand toward Jerusalem to

(09:05):
destroy it, the Lord relentedfrom the calamity and said to
the angel who was workingdestruction among the people it
is enough, now stay your hand.
Jonah, chapter 3, verse 10.
When God saw what they did thisis talking to the people of
Nineveh.
When God saw what they did thisis talking to the people of

(09:25):
Nineveh.
When God saw what they did, howthey turned from their evil way
, god relented of the disasterthat he had said he would do to
them.
God was about to do a disasteron them, but they repented and
God changed his mind.
Let's read one more verseJeremiah, chapter 15, verse 6.

(09:56):
Jeremiah, chapter 15, verse 6.
You have rejected me, declaresthe Lord.
You keep going backward, so Ihave stretched out my hand
against you and destroyed you.
I am weary of relenting.
God has relented so many timesthat he is getting tired of
changing his mind.

(10:16):
There are numerous examples ofGod changing his mind in
scripture.
So in 2nd King, chapter 20, ittalks about Hezekiah.
We're not going to look at theverse, but it talks about
Hezekiah, who the prophet Isaiahsaid he was going to die, and
the Bible says he turned to thewall and he pleaded with God for

(10:37):
his life and God changed hismind.
Let me read one more verseMalachi, chapter 3, verse 6.
Malachi, chapter 3, verse 6.
For I, the Lord, do not change.

(10:58):
For I, the Lord, do not change.
We have a problem here, isn'tit?
We have a verse that says Goddoes not change.
We have verses and numerousexamples that says that God does
change.
How do we reconcile the factthat God does change with the

(11:18):
doctrine about the immutabilityof God, that God does not change
, immutability of God, that Goddoes not change?
God does not change in theeternal plan, but he changes in
the immediate present.
God does not change in theeternal plan, but he changes in

(11:41):
the immediate present.
Let me give you an example todrive this point home.
How many of you have drivenfrom here to Florida?
Okay, how many hours did ittake you?
30 hours, 17 hours.
Let's say that I'm taking myfamily from New Jersey to Miami,
florida.

(12:02):
Okay, it takes 17 to 20 hoursIn the big plan.
The big plan is for me to takemy family from New Jersey to
Miami, but in the big plan Ihave also planned to have
changes in the immediate present.

(12:25):
I'm going to stop multipletimes along the way.
I need to put gas in my car,I'm going to stop for food, I'm
going to stop to stay probablyNot like this brother, but I'm
going to probably stay.
So, even though the big plan isto reach Miami in, let's say,

(12:46):
20 hours.
But I have already planned tochange in the immediate present
along the way, and that's whatGod does.
Many people simply accepteverything is God's will.
What's God's will is going tohappen to me.
But that's actually not fromthe Bible.

(13:11):
That's a Greek philosophycalled determinism by this
former slave in Nero's court, bythe name of Epictetus.
He became a philosopher and hisphilosophy was Greek
determinism, where what is goingto happen is going to happen.
But that's not from the Bible.

(13:32):
In fact, what is the motivationfor us to pray if we think that
what's going to happen is goingto happen?
I mean, why should we pray, whybother, if what's going to
happen to me is going to happento me and there's nothing I can
do about it, why pray?
But when you look at prayers inthe Bible, the saints in the

(13:53):
Bible, when they prayed, theyprayed as if their prayers made
a difference, as if theirprayers would do something.
Jesus in the New Testamentcommanded us to ask, right.
He says ask and it shall begiven to you.
Seek and you will find Knockand the door will be opened to
you.
That's three ways of saying ask, ask and ask.

(14:14):
Let's read another verse James,chapter 4, verse 2.
James, chapter 4, verse 2.
You do not have because you donot ask.
You don't have because youdon't ask.

(14:37):
If your prayer could change themind of God, what would you pray
for, right?
If your prayer could change themind of God, what would you
pray for?
Everything?
Right?
You would pray for everythingunder the sun because I can
change God's mind.

(14:57):
Why not?
So I pray.
When the plumber comes to ahouse, I pray that Lord give him
the sense to do the right thingso he doesn't flood our house.
When the electrician comes, Ipray that Lord give him the
sense to do the right thing sohe doesn't flood our house.
When the electrician comes, Ipray the same thing when we do
anything, on any level.
It doesn't matter if ourprayers can change the mind of
God.
Why not pray?
We can pray for our needs.

(15:21):
We can pray for our neighborsneeds.
We can pray for the salvationof our friends.
We can pray for the spiritualawakening of a family members.
We can pray for our neighbor'sneeds.
We can pray for the salvationof our friends.
We can pray for the spiritualawakening of our family members.
We can pray for anything andeverything.
So we looked at praying withpassion and we looked at the
fact that prayer changes God.
If you have to go for animportant appointment, don't
leave yet, because if you leavenow, the sermon is very, very

(15:44):
imbalanced.
You leave now, the sermon isvery, very imbalanced, very,
very imbalanced.
What we're going to say next iswhat adds to the balance of
this sermon.
Thirdly, let's look at prayerand God's will.
Prayer and God's will.
There are many promises in theBible on prayer.
I'm going to read three versesand I'm going to ask you a

(16:07):
question after that.
Okay, john, chapter 14, verse13 to 14.
John, chapter 14, 13 to 14.
Whatever you ask in my name,this I will do that.
The father may be glorified inthe son.
If you ask me anything in myname, I will do it.

(16:31):
Second verse Mark, chapter 11,verses 23 and 24.
Mark, chapter 11, verses 23 and24.
Truly, I say to you, whoeversays to this mountain, be taken
up and thrown into the sea, anddoes not doubt in his heart but

(16:51):
believes that what he says willcome to pass, it will be done
for him.
Therefore, I tell you, whateveryou ask in prayer, believe that
you have received it and itwill be yours.
Another verse Matthew, chapter18, verses 19 to 20.

(17:17):
Matthew 18, 19 and 20.
All of these are verses thatwe've read before.
Again, I say to you if two ofyou agree on earth about
anything they ask, it will bedone for them by my Father in
heaven.
Alright, so the first versetalked about asking something in

(17:40):
the name of Jesus.
The second verse talked aboutbelieving that you've received
it and it will be yours.
And the third verse says if twopeople on earth agree on
everything.
It talks about unity in prayer.
Let me ask you a question howmany of you have used at least
one of these three verses whenyou have prayed in the past?

(18:00):
Let me ask you another questionhow many of you, in spite of
using one of these three verses,did not receive the answer to
prayer?
You can say the truth we're inchurch, it's okay.
So what happened when the versesaid right, you ask in Jesus'

(18:24):
name, you'll get it.
Or you ask believing that youreceived it and you'll get it.
What happened?
Unity in prayer.
It didn't happen.
The issue of God's will.
God's will supersedes everypromise in prayer.

(18:47):
Over every promise of prayer isthe issue of God's will.
If it's not God's will, it'snot going to happen.
You'll say well, that doesn'tmake sense with what you said
earlier, because I said earlierthat I could change God's mind
and now I'm saying I cannotchange God's mind.

(19:07):
The issue of God's will is awhole day seminar, but let me
tell you about two types ofGod's will.
There are multiple kinds ofGod's will, but let me tell you
two kinds of God's will.
The first one is called thesecret will of God.
The secret will of God.
It's also called the decretivewill, which God established by

(19:28):
decree, or the sovereign will ofGod.
It's also called the decretivewill, which God established by
decree, or the sovereign will ofGod.
This will of God is secret.
Nobody knows about it otherthan God?
When it happens.
That's when we know about it.
We will never know about itahead of time.
So the second coming of Jesus,when is that?
Nobody knows.

(19:49):
That is part of the secret, thedecretive, the sovereign will
of God.
Most deaths, most human deaths,are part of the secret will of
God.
I say most because sometimesit's not, and when it happens it
happens.

(20:11):
A second kind of God's will iswhat is called as a revealed
will of God.
God has allowed us to know hiswill ahead of time Doesn't mean
that we know his will, becausewe're not trying to know his
will.
But if you want to know hiswill, the revealed will of God
is available for us to know.
Let's read a verse.

(20:33):
That is a beautiful verse.
It shows both kinds of God'swill in one verse In Deuteronomy
, chapter 29, verse 29.
Deuteronomy 29, verse 29 thesecret things belong to the Lord

(20:54):
, our God, but the things thatare revealed belong to us and to
our children forever.
That we may do all the words ofthe law.
You see how it's talking aboutboth kinds of God's will.
It's talking about the secretwill of God that we may do all
the words of the law.
You see how it's talking aboutboth kinds of God's will.
It's talking about the secretwill of God that we cannot know,
and then it talks about therevealed will of God that we can

(21:16):
know.
There was one will of God, orthe mystery of God that Paul
talks about in Ephesians,chapter 1 and 2.
He talks about the mystery ofGod that has now been made known
.
It was hidden for ages.
But in that specific contexthe's talking about the unity of
the church, especially inregards to the Jews and the

(21:38):
Gentiles.
Prayer changes God in theimmediate present only in the
aspect of the revealed will ofGod.
Let me say it again Prayerchanges God in the immediate
present only in matters relatingto the revealed will of God.

(22:03):
That means, if it's not part ofthe revealed will of God, there
is nothing you can do about it.
There's nothing we can do aboutit, and thankfully so.
Otherwise God would be changinghis decreative will all the
time, based on humanvicissitudes.
Let me expand on an illustrationI gave earlier.

(22:24):
Let's say that I'm driving fromNew Jersey to Miami.
It's going to take me 20 hours.
There are four kinds ofrequests that my kids can make.
The first one is nothing.
Whenever I stop, they stop.
So some of us, our prayer lives, are like that.

(22:46):
We believe it's all determined.
Whenever God stops, we stop.
Whenever God moves, we move.
There's nothing we can do.
The second kind of request thatthey can do let's say that my
10-year-old son, as we'redriving along, you know, we are
somewhere down Virginia and hesays, daddy, can I have a camel
to take with us?

(23:07):
He says, daddy, can I have acamel to take with us?
I say, well, I'm willing tochange in the immediate present,
but a camel is not part of thebig plan.
So he can make a request for acamel, but I am not tying a

(23:27):
camel on top of my van andtaking it all the way to Miami.
A third kind of request thatthey can ask is when we stop at
a gas station, they can ask forsnacks.
If they didn't ask for thesnack, I probably maybe I
wouldn't buy it.
But they ask for the snack andI say, sure, you want chips, you

(23:47):
want any one of those candies,by all means.
They ask for it, you can get it.
There's a fourth kind ofrequest and before I tell you
the fourth kind of request, letme tell you something about
myself.
I love chocolate, I love icecream.
I can eat chocolate and icecream all day long Breakfast,

(24:10):
lunch and dinner.
It's purely for the purposes oftrying to show my kids an
example that I don't do itOtherwise I would be.
That doesn't mean I can't do itat work, but they don't know
that.
What if, as we're driving along, my kids say, daddy, can we

(24:30):
stop for chocolate?
What am I going to do?
Absolutely Anytime In therequests that we make of God,
there are certain things, thereare many things that we ask for
ourselves, but there needs to besome things where we are asking

(24:54):
what God wants.
When kids are small, theirentire mindset is me, me, me.
They think only aboutthemselves.
And that's how it is withspiritual immaturity All you're
thinking about is my need, myneed, how God can talk to me,
how God can answer my need, howGod can build me up.

(25:17):
But the more mature kids get,we hope that they look at the
parents and they wonder what aretheir needs.
As we get spiritually moremature, at some point we have to
realize what does God want?
What are the things he wants,what are the things that are
close to his heart, and then ourasking will be a little

(25:42):
different.
Let me take you, finally, to theGarden of Gethsemane.
Let me take you, finally, tothe garden of Gethsemane.
The plan of God involved thecrucifixion, the suffering and
the death of his only son.
But the burden of universal sinand the agony of temporary

(26:05):
turning away of the facepresence of God was too much for
the eternal son to bear.
And so in the garden ofGethsemane he pleaded and he
said my father, if it ispossible, let this cup pass from
me.
And he didn't stop there.
He said yet not what I will,but as you will.

(26:26):
He said yet not what I will,but as you will.
The first time he prayed that,if you look at the text, he
comes back and Jesus askscouldn't you stay awake with me
for at least one hour?
That means Jesus was prayingfor at least an hour, and this
is what he was praying.
Then he went again.
Maybe, let's say another hour,second time, and third time,

(26:47):
another hour.
And this is what he was praying.
Then he went again.
Maybe, let's say another hour,second time, and third time,
another hour, another hour.
This is what he prayed.
What did God, the Father, do?
There was silence.
Because, you see, the eternalplan involved the suffering of

(27:08):
Jesus, and because he died,because God did not answer his
prayer in that way, the way hasbeen opened for me to pray, the
way has been opened for me tocome into the presence of God so
that we can pray.
Ladies and gentlemen, I urgeyou to pray about everything

(27:30):
with passion and submit it allto the will of God.
Thank you.
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