So often, when we do not get the answer that we want, we think God is not answering our prayers. We think, "God does not care about me. God does not care about this situation. He's too busy to deal with this prayer request."
Is this true?
I think God wants us to learn the difference between "praying for" and "praying through."
Remember Jesus' teaching about the persistent widow who kept coming back day after day to an unjust judge? Finally, the unjust judge granted her request.
I like Eugene Peterson's translation of this in Luke 18:6-8 (Msg) "Then the Master (Jesus) said, 'Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?'"
We all need this continual reminder, God answers every prayer. It might be a "yes," or a "maybe," or a "not yet," or a "no." I believe God wants us to wrestle in our prayers until we understand which way He answered our prayers. If we get a "maybe," or a "not yet," then what is God trying to communicate? Is He trying to tell us that we need to change our motives, confess sin, grow in some way, prepare somehow, change something?
If we get a "no," then what is He saying to us? Anything similar?
This gets even more challenging when we are praying specifically for Jesus' vision and His specific will to be done and He still gives us other answers besides "yes."
So, let's not just pray for Jesus' mission to be accomplished this Easter season. Let's pray through this Easter season for Jesus to accomplish His mission. Let's approach the throne of grace with boldness and confidence by daily asking Jesus to loosen the grip of our Fab 5 and 1,000 homes around church who are grasping onto the gates of hell. Let's ask Jesus to loosen up their fingers. Let's ask Him to open their eyes to the reality of who God is and who they are.
Let's be like the Nation of Israel and keep marching around Jericho until God knocks down the walls. Six times around those walls were extremely exhausting. Aren't we so glad they did not stop after six?
How would our stopping affect our Fab 5?
Continuing to join Jesus in wrestling for lost people to be found,
Next week we will celebrate the greatest day of the year, Easter. How is God going to use you this Easter? Who is He prompting you to love, serve and reach out to with the life-enhancing gift of Jesus?
Those who do not know Jesus personally are most receptive to the Gospel at Easter time. Not-yet Christians need an invitation to go to a church. Research shows that it is better than 50% that a non-Christian friend will say "yes" to your invitation. God always shows up and draws people to Himself on Easter.
This year, I will be speaking on one of the Last Words Of Jesus, "It Is Finished!" In this message, I believe God is going to use it to help us better understand the greatest work that has ever been completed in the history of the world. I will give a clear invitation for the people we invite to respond to Jesus' finished work. It will give a chance for anyone present to be adopted by Jesus Christ.
Who of your relatives, neighbors, and co-workers do you want to see come to Christ this Easter? People are more likely to be open to your invitation at Easter than at any other time of year. Don't miss this once-a-year opportunity to invite them to Southtown Baptist Church!
Here's how you can fulfill your mission at Easter.
Thanks for your prayers. It's going to be an amazing day! I am so grateful to be your pastor. Let's each Reach One More ... for Jesus!
One of the best gifts we can give...
As the greatest day of the year approaches, Resurrection Sunday April 20, 2014, let's commit together to pray intercessory prayers for others. I am motivated by Charles Spurgeon's instructions on prayer:
"As an encouragement to offer intercessory prayer cheerfully, remember that such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears, for the prayer of Christ is of this character. His intercession must be the most acceptable of all supplications, and the more like our prayer is to Christ’s, the sweeter it will be. Thus, while petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit—more love, more faith, more brotherly kindness—will be, through the precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest offering that we can offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice. Remember, again, that intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought!"
I join Spurgeon's plea by imploring you to go to your private places and cry out to God to set people free from the grip of lies and the evil one who is preventing them to come to Jesus.
I ask that you invite your family to daily gather and pray for others to come and fall in love with Jesus Christ as the only name given under heaven that people can be saved.
I ask that you do a prayer walk or prayer drive around the 1,000 homes surrounding SouthtownBaptist Church, asking God to intervene in these peoples' lives. That God would heal marriages and broken families. That God would adopt lonely people into His family and into Southtown Baptist Church. That God would start the healing process in wounded people. That God's Kingdom come and God's will be done in these homes, families, marriages and individuals.
I ask that you pray for God to give you ideas on how to give, serve and invite your Fab 5.
I ask that you pray for all the ministry teams to dig the ditches we need to dig in order that God would fill those ditches. Remember, it is an easy thing for God to fill the ditches.
I ask that you pray for me as I prepare and share the message of Easter during this series entitled, Jesus' Last Words.
1 Tim 2:1, 3-6 (NLT) Paul wrote, "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them... This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone."
What is an awakening?
"An act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something."
"To spring into being."
Is there such a thing as a Jesus Awakening?
Where people who are not in God's family are awakened to Jesus? Where they spring into Jesus' family only through faith in Jesus Christ?
Jonathan Edwards wrestled with his own conversion. He was trained at Yale as a theologian and became a pastor. As he got to know the older teens and young twenties of his day he discovered, due to their circumstances and culture, that they could not marry as quickly as they wanted. This resulted in idleness, gossiping and sexual sins. Edwards focused his preaching on this. After many years of resistance, suddenly some teens and twenty-somethings professed faith in Jesus, declared they had been converted and desired to join the church. Edwards shared about this with other churches and other churches had similar experiences of new people coming to faith in Jesus. These were the seeds of the Great Awakening.
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. Acts 2:38-41 (NLT)
May Jesus do this again in our Fab 5, the 1,000 homes around Southtown, and whomever Jesus reaches through our social media.
Praying for a Jesus awakening.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.