Sunday's Text was:
1 John 4:13-15 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
James 5:16-18 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
God used the prayers of one righteous man, one person redeemed by God. God used these prayers to fulfill His sovereign plan. He had promised in the book of Deut. that when Israel walked away, He would punish them with drought and then He would bring relief. But God carried out this promise and plan using the means of Elijah.
Consider where your prayers can be effective: (1) praying for the salvation of a loved one; (2) praying for spiritual growth in your children; (3) praying for the spiritual growth and health of our church; (4) praying for the spread of the gospel to all nations or even all corners of America.
B. Acknowledge God’s will in your prayers.
1. In your prayers, be careful to ask for God’s will to be done.
2. Acknowledge that God may answer your prayer differently than you see fit.
3. Specifically make God’s glory the most important part of how he answers your request.
4. No matter how godly we might be, our will is not going to be answered: Consider Jesus.
Mark 14:36 36 And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."
C. Do not use ‘God’s will’ as an excuse for approaching God in confidence.
1. Do not hide your lack of a desire to see God do what is best behind the phrase ‘God’s will’. Do not use it as a cop out. We rob this phrase of the emboldening power that it has: God does what is right all the time. God does not fail to carry out His will. He does what is best. What I am saying is that sometimes we use “if it is God’s will” to sound pious but we do not mean it. We just do not want to be disappointed. This is selfish. The idea of praying to God’s will is suppose to humble us and make us say “God is God and He really knows what is best.”
2. We should be praying that God will change our hearts… ‘please do this Lord, but help me to trust you to work out your perfect will.’ We are to see that God does what is right.
D. Delight yourself in prayer and bold requests. Delight in asking for those things which only God can do.
E. Realize that unanswered prayer is not really unanswered but answered different than we want. Change your desires. Do not see unanswered prayer as God’s failure. It really does take faith in the Son of God to say: “I know there is a God who hears my prayers even when I do not get the answer I want.” But this kind of faith in God is supposed to make us bolder, we go again to the throne saying, “Oh God do this, yet not what I will but what you will.” Consider how Jesus could ask this in all confidence to our prayer hearing God.