Sermon Transcript: Independence to Dependence

8/25/2019 Jeff Schwarzentraub 52 min read

Let's go before the Lord this morning. Let's prepare our hearts. Let's hear what He has to say directly to each and every one of us. Will you pray with me? Lord Jesus, we just thank you. We bow before you this morning because our desire as we worship you and seek you and pray to you is to hear you. Lord, our desire is to let your living and active word speak to us. And Lord, we believe that every time your word is faithfully proclaimed Lord, that you have a message for us.

So Lord, today we pray that you would help us to be attentive and responsive to everything that you have. And now for all of God's people who have gathered here, who would say, I want to hear God, I want to believe what He's says about me and put into practice the very things he shows me this morning, agreed with me by very loudly saying the word Amen.


Amen. Well, we've been in this disciple shift series and we've been talking about different foundational choices that we need to make or different ways that we need to move in a direction. And to refresh your memory a little bit, we talked about first choosing to surrender to Christ's authority. We took a look at Matthew 16:24, and following says, "If anyone would come after me, if anyone would be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." We talked about what a surrendered life to Jesus Christ look like. And then the second week we said, choose to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

We talked to about what a powerful, a privilege and weapon it is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. This is how we must worship. It's the worshipers that the fathers seeks. And then last week we talked about choosing to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and how as believers, we have a responsibility and a privilege to share the gospel with other people. And just remind me who was listening last week. Gospel simply means what really loud?

Good news.

It means good news. That's all it is. And we're sharing good news with people, but I don't know about you. Sometimes when I hear messages and I hear people tell me, just do this. It's easy. And God says to do it. Let's do it. That even in my desire to be a surrendered worshiping evangelist that I find sometimes I'm distracted with all sorts of other things and it's just not working. Life happens. There's different things going on, and how am I going to make this work? Today we're going to talk about foundational choice, number four, or a shift that we need to make.

When we shift, we're not talking about religious practices that you need to do. We're talking about relational practices you need to engage in. And this choice that we have today is to choose to seek the Lord in prayer. Choose to seek the Lord in prayer. Now, many of us have been told to pray. If you've come to church, you've seen prayer, prayer, prayer, prayer. Yeah. I pray. Some of you pray before meals. Some of you pray before bed, but how important is prayer?

If you study the life of Jesus Christ, you'll see prayer was foundational in everything that he did. I mean, Mark 1:35 records that, "Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up and went to solitary places where there he prayed." It was his practice to get up early and to go somewhere by himself to seek his Father. Even at the age of 12, when his family left Jerusalem to head back to Galilee area, they couldn't find Jesus on the way. And they had to go all the way back to Jerusalem. When they found him, what did he say? "Did you not know I had to be in my father's house?"

Later, he protects his father's house. He says, "Father's house will be called a house of prayer." I mean, prayer modeled everything Jesus did. After he fed the 5,000 and before he walked on the water, he went up on a mountain all night to pray. Before he picked his apostles and selected the 12 out of all of his disciples, he spent the whole night in prayer. Now, think about this for a minute. You ever thought about this? Jesus Christ had a direct access to his dad. They heard each other. He only did what he saw his father doing. How long would it take to get 12 names? I mean, not very long if you're the God man of the universe.

So why did he pray all night? Because I believe that when the father said, "Out of the disciples, pick those to be the apostles." He's like, "Are you kidding me? I mean, Judas Iscariot?" He's up all night, praying for those guys. I mean, he modeled prayer. On the night that he was betrayed, we read his prayer in John 17, where he prayed for his disciples and future disciples. He's praying in the garden of Gethsemane not wanting his father's will, but he said, "Not my will, but yours be done, and if that's what you want, I'll do what you want dad."

And even on the cross after people have spit upon him and mocked him and beat him and scourged him and nailed him to a cross. What's he doing? Well, he's praying. He's praying to his father to forgive those for they know not what they do. He's praying to his father to commit his spirit into his hands. His life was consumed with prayer. So it's no wonder that the only place in the scripture we have recorded where the disciples want to be taught something, it's Lord teach us to pray.


I mean, Jesus did all sorts of incredible things. I would've asked, "Hey, how do you heal the blind? And how do you raise the dead? And how do you heal leprosy? And how do you? How do you? How do you?" Lord teach us to pray. We realize that when you, the world changes. Lord, teach us to pray. Now prayer is so important because it's like this, most of us realize the power of prayer and that it's important that we do it, but we really don't practice it. And that we don't understand why our life doesn't work the way we read about in the scriptures.

It's like this, if you ever rearranged a room before, you've ever moved into a new house and one of your appliance isn't working right, maybe it's your refrigerator, your microwave, your TV, your radio, something. It's not working right. And you're trying to work on it and somebody comes over to help you and they're doing all these things. And then somebody will ask this question, you ever been in this situation? "Well, is it plugged in?" "Well, of course it's... Oh, it wasn't plugged in."

See, we make the assumption sometime. Yeah, we're praying. We're praying. I pray. I pray. You don't realize that if you're not plugged into prayer on a continual basis, you can't live the Christian life because the Christian life is not what you're going to do for God. The Christian life is what God wants to do in and through you. So the only way Christ can work in and through you is if he has access to work in and through you and that comes through prayer. Now in Luke 11, Jesus records his prayer for his disciples.

We're going to use Matthew 6 this morning versus nine through 15. Matthew 6:9-15, we call this the Lord's prayer because the Lord was teaching his disciples to pray. It could also be called the disciples' prayer, because it's how we should pray when we approach God. What I'd like to do this morning is walk through this. Now, keep in mind, when I was at Dallas Seminary, I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll teach us that, "Hey, one day you're going to realize you have far more to say than you're ever going to be able to squeeze into a sermon." I remember thinking there's no way that's ever going to happen for me.

This is 24 sermons in one morning. This will not be an exhaustive study on prayer, but we're going to hit some high points. I want to be authentic with you about my growth in prayer and how I think it is the most important spiritual discipline of all the other and how everything falls into place if you learn how to pray. Now, Jesus in this section is just comparing and contrasting relational prayer of praying relationally versus praying religiously, because some people like to stand in the streets and act all fluent in their language and pray out loud so everybody knows that they're praying good.

Some people like to give like, "Look at how much I'm giving." And some people to fast like, "Look at me, I'm fasting." And act all spiritual and Jesus is like, "Don't be like that. Make sure your prayer is engaged in the right thing." So here's what he says in verse nine. "Pray then in this way, our father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name." Our father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Now, as we walked through this prayer this morning, I'm going to talk about prayer giving you access to five different things that you need to be aware of. The first is this, when we pray our father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. We are seeing that prayer involves access to a personal and reverent relationship with God. Our father who art in heaven.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:5 that there is one God and there's one mediator between God and man. The man, Jesus Christ. If you want to talk to God, it goes through Jesus Christ every time. There's no other access point to get to God, but Jesus Christ.


There is no other access point to God, but through Jesus Christ.


You can't pray through saints. You can't pray through Mary. You can't pray through dead relatives of yours who knew Jesus. They're not listening to you. You pray through Jesus Christ, who is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other way to pray. Jesus says we can pray our father who art in heaven. It means we all through Jesus Christ can have access to God. Our father. Now father is a relational term. There's a relationship. The aramaic word that gets translated in the Greek is abba.

Sometimes you'll hear people talking and they're like abba father, abba father and you're like, "What the heck are they talking about?" Abba really means dad or daddy. It's how little kids would refer to their dad. They would call him abba, but it wasn't just little kids. It would be grown adults that would still refer to their dad as abba. When I go back to meet my dad to this day, I don't call him, Dennis, even though that's his name. I don't call him Dr. Schwarzentraub even though that's his title. I call him dad. There's a relationship that we have.

When you approach God, you are approaching him in a relationship. You can talk to him like you would talk to your own father. Now for some of you, that's a bad situation, but let me tell you about our father. He is a loving, good father that is begging us to come and talk to Him. He loves it. When we talk to Him. Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know." Come talk to me. I'm your daddy. I'm your dad. Have a relationship with me, but our father who art in heaven, hallowed or holy be your name.

Not only is He our father, but guess what He is? He's unlike my father and He is unlike me as a father. He's completely holy. He stands outside of space and time. It means not only is he my dad relationally, but he's a fierce, terrifying God that I should reverence. He's both. I mean, He's God. I mean, there's no words to put on it. How can he be this tender, loving father and this fierce almighty God? Because He is God, which is why sometimes when we pray, when we come to God, we should pray to Him as dad. When we pray to Him as dad, we're praying dependently like a little kid.

You can picture a young kid at the carnival that's putting their hands up, "Dad, dad hold me, hold me." Sometimes we should be praying, dependently like that and asking God and showing our humility and our dependence on Him. And other times we should be referring to God reverently. Like, "You're my God." So instead of raising my hands, maybe I'm down on my face, reminding myself that God is holy and He's worthy of being sought. Now chances are, if you've been in church for a while, you've been taught to pray one way or the other. And some people that we're taught to pray, reverently, pray with thee and thou and art and all these things. And that's okay to pray that way if you're praying to be Reverent. But at the same time, maybe you need to learn how to pray like a little kid.

Maybe some of us that have learned how to pray like little kids take God a little too cavalier at times and maybe we need to grow in our reverence for the Lord as well. I mean, both are equally true. Both are equally true. Reverent prayers are the ones that will tell you, you got to wear a suit and tie to church every single Sunday, or God's going to be upset with you. He's holy bring your best. Relational daddy people are like, "Hey, you can come in flip flops and a hat and sunglasses. Come on, man. He's your dad." Both are true. Both are true.

It's like this, if I got invited to the White House, into the Oval office, I wouldn't go in and flip flops and a swimsuit with no shirt. Okay. I just wouldn't go because of the respect for the office of president. I wear a suit. That's what you wear if you go there. But if I were the president's son, it wouldn't really matter what I wore. Because I could go in and flip flops in a swimsuit, because I'm going in to see my dad. Both are equally true. There's a tension there. We get caught up in how to pray sometimes because well, which way do I approach and how do I pray and what's my language?

Talk to Him like your dad. Talk to Him like a holy God. And use your words. Just use your words. When you pray, our father who is in heaven hallowed be thy name. It means we're trying to get to know who God is. We're trying to get to know Him. Jesus tells a story in the Bible in Luke 18 of a religious leader, a Pharisee and a tax collector. I'm abbreviating story, but basically the tax collector stands there and says, "God, I thank you that I'm not like others. I thank you, I tithe 10% of everything I have. I'm awesome. I'm good. I'm holy. I thank you, I'm not like this tax collector, this evil wicked person over there."

And then the tax collector stood at a distance and he just beat his chest and he said, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner." And Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, that that one went home justified." See, humility is standing before God either saying, "God I'm dependent on you or I'm referencing you because I need you." Do you ever notice that God has a way of engineering circumstances in our lives to let us know that we're not in control?

Oh yes.

That's a great place for an amen.


Do you ever think something is going to go right? "I can't wait for this. I know this is going to happen. As soon as I get married, as soon as we have a kid, as soon as we adopt, as soon as we get in this new job, as soon as we get in our new house, it is going to be..." It wasn't supposed to be like this. Why? Because God's backing you to pray. That's what it is. Our father who art in heaven. Now think something about your father. Your father who is in heaven is completely sovereign. He controls the universe and He's not worried about any of your circumstances. He's like chill about it. He's like, I know I see them all.

Your father even knows what you need before you ask Him. So then why pray? We're going to talk about that because the Bible makes clear exactly the same thing in James 4:2, "You have not because you ask not. See prayer changes things. Listen, listen, listen, especially you Calvinist sovereign people, prayer changes things. God is totally sovereign. There's nothing that's going to happen outside of God's will. God is totally sovereign. God set all these things. But when we pray, God moves. You have not because you ask not means, if you would've asked, I would've done something for you, but you didn't ask so I didn't. Which means in God's sovereign plan, God has ordained prayer as a mechanism for the believer to move and change what's going on in the world.

Do you hear what I'm saying? It means you have the privilege of changing human history through prayer. The most important spiritual discipline, which is why I will tell you this, it is the most opposed spiritual discipline. If you don't believe me do this, please do this. Set a time sometime after church either today or tomorrow. I mean, set it right now. Write it down on a piece of paper, put it in your phone, whatever. Just say at 5:00 PM tonight or at 7:00 PM tonight or at 5:00 tomorrow morning, nine o'clock tomorrow morning. You put that time down and say, "God, this is your 10 minutes. It's all yours. Nothing will get in the way."

I promise you, it will be opposed because the enemy knows that the one thing he doesn't want you to do is seek the Lord because if you do different things happen. See, this is what the prayer is talking about. Says our father who art in heaven, holy be your name. Then what's he saying, verse 10, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This is what I'll spend a majority of our time. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Now prayer involves access to a power that manifests Christ's agenda. Prayer involves access to a power that manifests Christ's agenda. Access means I'm plugged into God. Access means that I'm experiencing Him.

When you're plugged into God, there is a power that gets expressed unlike any other. I've heard people say something like this when they're experiencing God. They'll say, "Man, God is on the move right now. God is on the move. He's on the move." When is he not been? He's always on the move. In my vehicle, I have XM Radio. When you have XM Radio, up in the heavenly so to speak on the satellite, there's all sorts of programming going on all the time but in order to tune in and get it, your car has to be on and you have to be receiving it.

Likewise, there are things going on in the invisible spiritual realm all the time that if you're plugged into will manifest itself, visibly and tangibly in this world. And if you're not, they're still going on, but you're just not experiencing them. Prayer is a spiritual exercise. It's work. It's hard. It's a labor, but it's power. God moves in and through you when you pray. Now think about this, we took a look at this a couple weeks ago. In Genesis 1:27, it says that, "God created man and woman in His image. In the image of God, He created the male and female."

When God created you, He created you unlike anything else. There is no other animal, there's no tree, there's no sun, there's no star. Nothing was created in the image of God, except you were. You are an image bearer of Him. When God put man and woman on the earth, Genesis 1:28 tells him to be fruitful and multiply and to subdue the earth and rule over it. In other words, here was God's plan, "I'm going to allow man, who is created in my image, men and women, to be my image bearers on the planet. They will get my will done on the earth in the way that I want it done. But I'm going to choose to work through human agents to get it done." That's God's plan. It's never changed.

Now, the devil's lied to us and we turned over our leadership that we had from God to sin, but Christ came into the world and redeemed all that. So now what is true of Christ as a believer is true in me. Now, follow me on this. Because when you read in the New Testament of Christ in you, the hope of glory, it means that everything that was true about Jesus, Jesus is now residing in you. And so God wants to get done through you everything he would get done through Jesus, if he were the one living in and through your life.

So check this out. When I read my Bible, I see Ephesians 2:5-6, "For it by grace that I've been saved through faith and that I have been seated in the heavenly realms in Christ." Positionally, I'm already a victor. I still live on planet earth, but I'm living as a victor. In Roman 8, I see that I'm more than a conqueror. I see that if God is for me, who can be against me? And in 2 Peter 1:3, if you just write that verse down. In 2 Peter chapter 1:3 it says this, "That grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord."

Why? Seeing that his divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness. When you became a believer, God has granted you divine power for everything you will ever need for your life and for living godly. Picture this, that by grace, you've been saved and picture a heavenly storage container of everything that you will ever need to accomplish everything God ever wants to do in your life and you have complete access to it.

Now you might say, "Why didn't God just put it in front of me and let me see it all?" Because if you could see it all, it wouldn't be by faith and you wouldn't pray and ask for it and you would squander it on yourself. See, everything and pray is praying in an unseen world that's more real than the world that we live in here. It's unseen, but it's real. It's why we're so enamored with Marvel and Batman and all these things. Because when we see people that have otherworldly powers that manifest themselves in present world we're like, "Wow, superhero. Like you'll remember this guy, his name was Clark Kent, a quirky newspaper reporter with his little girlfriend Lois L. And he was average and normal until what he went into a phone booth and he went into the phone booth as Clark Kent and he came out as what? Tell me.


He came out a Superman. He went in as quirky Clark and he came out now, what is he? He's able to outrun a speeding bullet. He's more powerful than a locomotive, and he can leap tall buildings in a single bound. He ain't a bird. He ain't a plane. He's Superman. See, here's what the devil knows that you have access to God through Jesus Christ to have supernatural power departed into your life if you will take the access of it. You say, "Where in the world are you getting that?" I'm getting it from the Bible. So let's look at it.

Ephesians 3, probably the favorite verse of everybody in Ephesians 3. See, if this is your favorite verse in Ephesians, come on. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the what? The power that works, where? Within us to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever." Amen. I've heard that verse quoted by everybody all the time. "Praise God there, He's got more power than anything and He can do it all through us. Praise God. He can do it all more than we can ask or think."

Well, where are we going to get this power? Well, if you go back up to verse 14, you'll see Paul says, "For this reason I bow my knees before the father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives His name, that he would grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with the power through his spirit in the inner man. I'm Paul, and I'm praying for you to experience God's ultimate divine power in everything that you have so you will live about with everything that you need to accomplish everything that God wants you to do."

It means this, listen church, if you're a believer in Christ, you are a victim and not a victor. No backwards. I'm looking at your faces and nobody's saying, amen. You're a victor and not a victim.


Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Getting all worked up. Thanks for paying attention though. I find that sometimes we pray like victims. We pray earthly. We pray with what we can see. We pray our circumstance. We pray what's not happening. God help. It's not working. I know you could, but you probably won't. This is awful. I feel bad. Change it. God it's no... We pray like a victim. How about praying like a victor? God, I'm already victorious in Christ. And if you're for me, who can be against me and what do you have in this situation? Because I know you'll bring whatever you need to bring, because you're going to make this thing right because you're the God of the universe and I'm standing on your word.


See, the devil doesn't want you to believe that you have a victory. He believes maybe one day you'll have it. Let me tell you something. You already have the victory.Christ rose from the dead and he is in you. The victory has already taken place. When you pray, you pray as a victor that it is done according to his word. I mean, do you ever read these Old Testament stories and get fired up? Like how is it Elijah calls down fire? It's like, "Dude, that's awesome. I wish I could call down fire."

How is it David speaks to the giant Goliath like that and defeats him? How is it that Elijah who James 5 tells us is a man who is just like us in every way. Which means this, he's totally normal prays and it doesn't rain for three and a half years and then he prays and it starts raining. Where do they get this power? The same place that you can get it to. It means if you know God's word and you pray God word, that God will act. That's what it means. I've heard that David and Goliath story preached so many times, sometimes faithfully, sometimes butchered to everything.

I mean, when I read that story, the story's really not about a little shepherd boy that defeats a giant so God can defeat the giants in your life, although I'll tell you he can defeat the giants in your life. Here's what's going on. God promised the land to Israel. It's their land. There's an enemy in their land. Everybody in Israel's scared except David who knows his Bible. Who's like, "What's he doing in our land? I don't care if he's nine foot six, 17 feet. I don't care what he is. My God said he doesn't belong there and he's done."

So when he says, "Hey, when the bear came along and the lion came along and I killed them." He wasn't saying, "I've been preparing for this big battle my whole life." He's saying when evil comes against what's good, good always wins. So I don't care who this guy is. I'm going to go beat him. And when you read in the Bible, when Goliath says, "Who are you? A dog and you're going to come at me with your sticks." David's like, "No, you don't get it. I'm not coming after you with jiving, I'm coming at you in the name of the Lord." What's he saying, God's power is coming on you and you're done.

And we read that story and we're like, "Wow, that's awesome." God, would've done that through anybody that believed His word. David was a man after God's own heart, which means David knew God's word. It means David was close to the Lord. It means David knew when to act, right? I mean you have spiritual power accessible to you if you'll just take it. It's why prayer's opposed. It's why on first Tuesday of every month, even good intentions make it hard get here. It's why on first Tuesday, some people say, "I'll just pray at home."

Now, I'm just going to be candid with you. Do you really pray at home? Do you really pray for an hour and a half at home? Is there really something in your life, more important than getting the power that you need for what's going on in your life? See, here's what I believe because some people say, "Well, I don't know if I should to pray privately or pray in a group. Pastor, what's more important?" I'm like, "Do you eat?" "Yeah." "Well, is it more important to eat in a group or eat by yourself? Just eat." I mean, when you're in a group, there's a fellowship that comes along with the meal that is even better. But if you pray by yourself, that's good. But there's something about praying together that's awesome.

I believe this with my whole heart. Satan ain't afraid of your strategies. Satan is not afraid of the BRAVE Church mission statement. Satan is not afraid of Pastor Jeff. Satan is not afraid of our elders. Satan's not afraid of deacons. Satan afraid a small group leaders. Satan ain't afraid of that. Here's what would make him run in terror. Satan is afraid of any group of believers that believe that they're dependent upon the Lord and can't get anything done without him and seek him in prayer and say, "God, you do whatever you want to do. And we'll just be obedient. Satan will flee at that.

Let me just make it even more personal. We started first Tuesday just so we get have a regular time where you would always know when we're meeting. I schedule my vacations around. I'll be here. Here's why we do it because I know this. If everybody that called BRAVE Church their home would come and seek the face of God and pray. We would not be able to set up enough chairs at BRAVE Church. All there would be is overflow seating. And some of you would say, well, that's why I'm not coming because I like my seat. But my whole point is, God wants us to pray.

About a year and a half ago, we started implementing prayer during our service. And from time to time, we'll gather in groups and pray. When we started doing that, we lost like 150 to 200 people. Several people told me, "I feel uncomfortable with that in church." And I thought, "Okay, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, but if you can't pray in church, who are you? How effective are you for the kingdom?" I'm sorry, you don't feel comfortable here, but my goal is not to make you comfortable. My goal is to introduce you to Jesus Christ. My goal is to make sure you grow spiritually. My goal is to make sure you have the power that you need. So that's what I'm going to pastor and that's who we're going to be, and God's going to draw us in. Amen.

I would just say this about prayer. Prayer is more caught than it is taught. The more you see answered prayers, the more you can do it. Now, let me just tell you about what the Bible says. In Ephesians 3:12 it says, "In whom we have boldness and confident access through him in faith." And Hebrews 4 tells us, we can approach the throne and grace with freedom and confidence too. It means you can come talk to get out at anytime any way you want. Just have confidence. You're already saved. What if I get the language wrong? You're already saved. I mean, I've told you a story when I was a youth pastor. I mean, somebody would get saved in our youth group and they would be so overwhelmed that they would start praying and it wasn't uncommon for them to drop a swear word.

I remember one time we were praying in a group and the F-bomb came out of this kid's mouth that had just gotten saved. And I'm praying with all the kids in my youth group and everybody's eyes were like that. And they're all looking at me during the prayer like, "Are you going to correct that? Are you going to say something?" And we got done praying and I looked at him and I said, "Bob, that was a real authentic prayer." See, because I feel like the Holy Spirit can change his language. If he gets in touch with Jesus, I believe the Holy Spirit can change who he is.

See, sometimes I don't know how to pray and some of us as men, we don't pray because we hear our wives pray with such great flowerly language that, "Oh, you be the leader. You be the spiritual leader. Lead us." I'm like, "Can't pray like that." You don't have to. Remember Peter's prayer when he was drowning. It was three words. It worked really well. Lord saved me. That's all he needed in the moment. God can hear your prayer. Just be authentic. Be real. Now I've told you about my friend at my senior year in college, I led to the Lord, but I want to give you a little backup story. I really felt and preparing this message, I want to be vulnerable because sometimes when you hear a pastor preach on prayer, you think, "Well, pastor you've been doing this for 30 years." Which I have. "And you're so guilt skilled at prayer and it just works for you. It doesn't work for me."

So I just wanted be candid with how I began to grow in prayer. So in college, after I had gotten saved. After I got saved, I went to the University of Illinois, bad decision. It wasn't a theologically adept school that was promoted being Jesus Christ. I tried to find a ministry and I couldn't get connected to one. The one I went to, they had these things called testimonies every week, but as I told you, the testimonies celebrated more of the bad life that these people lived than it celebrated Jesus Christ and what he done in their heart. Well, I hadn't been all that bad. I mean, I did plenty of bad, but I hadn't been that bad. They asked me to give my testimony. I'm like, "I don't have one. I don't have a story like these people."

I felt uncomfortable being around people that were celebrating all the bad they did. So I never went back and I built my testimony and it was miserable because for three years I had one foot that was wanting to grow with Christ and I had this other foot in football and fraternity I was waffling back and forth all the time. I'm telling you this, because there's people that go to BRAVE Church you know exactly what I'm talking about. You're living that way right now. I mean, you're here on Sunday and you're like, "Praise God. I know it's true. I know it's true." But on Monday through Saturday, you're living your life in such a way that if people saw you would be, "No way they're a Christian." But you're a Christian. You just aren't walking it out. That was me.

Here's how I used to pray. I used to pray prayers like this, after a wild night of partying or something like that. I remember I used to pray. See if you prayed like this before. "Lord, I'm so sorry. I will never ever do that again. If you just help me get over the sickness and help me get in my classes and help me do... I promise this is the last time. Lord, I'm so sorry." That doesn't work. Do you know why? Because it's a lie. I remember one day I stopped lying to the Lord.

Here's how I began to pray, "Hey Lord, I'd love to tell you I'm sorry, but I don't even feel sorry. I actually like this party life that I'm living, but I read in your word that you hate it. Will you give me a hatred for what you hate and will you give me a love for what you love? Because I'd love to tell you, I'll never do this again, but I know what my friends are doing later this afternoon and I'll probably go out and party with them again tonight. But I know you don't want me to be that, but would you help me? Could you bring some men in my life that could help me?"

Do you know that week God brought two men into my life. God began to change my life. When I got real with God, God took that all away. Now, here's what he did. He filled me so much with Jesus that I stopped doing the things that I did before. But it wasn't because I was trying, it wasn't because I was keeping records. I went three days without getting drunk. Now I go to go four days without getting drunk. It wasn't like that anymore. It was like, "I got Jesus and I don't want anything to get in the way of my relationship with Christ."

Some of you pray and you're like, "Okay. I looked at porn. I've gone four days without looking at porn. Dear Lord, help me go five days. Okay. I did five days. Lord help me go six days. I only did two. Okay, I'm going to start over. Help me go one day." It doesn't work. When you get real and you start praying and you come into the throne room saying, "God, you're holy and I'm not and I want to be holy and I'm not. Would you change my life and make me the way you want me to be?" Then God can work in your life. And God brought people into my life and they started discipling me. They started to show me how to walk my life and how to do my life. Now I went from the kid that was out, turning it up to the kid that was leading people to Christ.

One was my roommate that I led to Christ. And the way he ended up coming to Christ was because God started teaching me how to pray. Because I was getting rumors that my friend like now I'm starting to walk with the Lord and starting that fall, my roommate was coming back and I had heard that he was smoking pot, selling it and maybe into other drugs. I'm not a rocket scientist, but I knew if I wanted to walk with Christ, probably not a good idea to sell drugs out of my apartment. So I asked this guy that was assigned to me like, "What do we do?" He's like, "Let's just pray for him." I'm like, "Okay."

So I thought we were going to sit down and say, "Dear Lord, help Aaron not sell drugs and amen." This guy said, "I'll meet you every morning at your apartment." He came to my house at about 8:00 in the morning. We'd pray every single day for a half an hour. Every day we'd just pray for Aaron. Whatever he was doing. "God, you know where he is at. You know what he's doing. Just change his heart. Bring him to yourself." And then my friend had to go away and I started doing that every morning, half an hour. Now half an hour for me at that time seemed like forever.

I mean, Jesus asked his disciples in the garden, "You couldn't even stay awake with me an hour." My answer would've been, "Dude, I gave you a half. That's huge." I mean, that just seemed like a long time, but that's what I did. I prayed for him. Now, he came back to school that fall and a long story short ended up seeing how I was living. Ended up hearing the gospel, gave his life to Christ and started walking with Jesus.

Subsequently, I began to tell him, this is what I did for you all summer. While you were out doing whatever you did. Like what were you doing this summer? Because I prayed for you every single day. He said, "Bro." He's like, "You don't even know." He's like, "Not only was I smoking weed constantly. I was high the whole summer." He goes, "I was selling it, but I got introduced these people in Indianapolis that were teaching me how I could sell cocaine and they were introducing me to all these women and had I gone down that road, they were showing me all this money I would've had." He goes, "I would've been trapped for the rest of my life." He goes, "I'd probably be dead. Thanks for praying for me."

Now when I saw God move on somebody's life, then I'm like, "Man, if you pray for people, you'll screw it up. You can screw their lives up for the good." So I started praying for people. And the more I started praying for people, the more I saw God start moving in their life." That's why God calls us to pray for the saints. When you read every one of Paul's letters, I've been wrestling in prayer. We've been praying for you day and night. Because Paul believes that through prayer, God can impart spiritual power into other people so that His kingdom can be manifested in them.

Pray. And it doesn't just mean pray for those that are hurting and wayward. We should, but pray for those who are doing well. Pray for the marriages that are already good, that they would continue to flourish and have an impact for the kingdom. Pray for the kids in high school that are already walking with the Lord so they can have influence in their school. Pray. There's spiritual power that can be unleashed. And when you pray as a victor and not a victim, it becomes difficult because even Christians will tell you, "Well, don't pray that way because God may not do it."

See, I believe God still opens wombs. I believe God still delivers from drugs. I believe God still heals people. Does he do it every single time? No, I mean there's only three answers you can get when you pray, you ready? Pray and God's going to say, yes, it's done. No, it's never going to happen. Third, it's just not time yet. And God never changes His mind. "God am I going to marry her?" "No. You might as well break up right now. It'll just save you lots of time." "God am I going to get married? "Not yet. But how come she got married and she doesn't even walk with you like I do. How come he got married and he doesn't even do what you... God, am I going to have a baby? Well, how come she has one and they have one?

See, here's what I believe. Sometimes God doesn't do it in our time. It's either go, no or slow. And it's usually the answer we don't want at that time. That's what I've found. That usually when I'm praying about something and God's like, "Go, it's like, well I'm not ready yet." And usually when I want it, "He's like slow or no. I'm like, "Come on, God." Knowing God is getting into God's heart so we can pray what God wants. Because every time we pray what God wants, God does exactly what He's going to do. When Elijah's praying for no rain, God told them back in Deuteronomy that if people weren't obedient, he would dry up the land.

All Elijah's doing is praying for what God promised. So he's just praying, here's what God said He was going to do. I'm praying God will do what he says he's going to do. He did it. In 1 King's 18, God says I'm about ready to bring rain. So Elijah starts praying for rain. Elijah didn't do anything except ask for what God already wanted to do. That's what prayer is. Does God want to see people healed? Yes. Pray for it. Does God want to see people delivered? Yes. Pray for it. Does God want to see wombs open so that people can raise kids? Yes. Pray for it.

Does that mean God will always do what you want? No. God may not open your womb. God may give you a heart and desire to foster or adopt it. It's fine. But God will change who you are in the process to get done what he wants to get done. There are spiritual power given to those who seek His face. That's why we got to continue to pray and not give up. Because we view God as a microwave. I want to plop it in for 30 seconds and come out with this really hot meal. And sometimes it's not 30 seconds and sometimes it's not three months and sometimes it's not even three years.

Some of you have prayed for the same thing for 30 years and God's still hearing your prayer and He's going to do it. Pray and don't give up. But there's power available to you. I mean, you can access the power every single time you pray. Let's continue in this prayer. Let me give you a third reason we want to pray because prayer provides access to a provision that meets needs. This is our favorite. Verse 11, "Give us this day, our daily bread." Now there's two words in there, day and daily. That means today. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Sometimes we're praying for our monthly bread, our yearly bread. "God, by the end of this year, I need..." He's like, "I see what you need. Just pray for today." I mean, our daily bread. Now, bread is not just money. Bread is not just food. Bread is any sustenance you need today to accomplish God's kingdom agenda in the world. I mean, we just got done praying for His Kingdom to come for as will, to be done on earth as it is in heaven. That means, "God, I'm praying for your power to come. I'm praying for Jesus Christ and all of his fullness to be here. And until you get here, let me live as a representative on earth for everything that's happening in heaven. Pour your power through me in such a way that the world knows that Jesus Christ is alive."

Now, give us a stay daily bread. Give it. Give it. Give it. That sounds rude. Just give me. Give me. Give me. Give me. See, if your heart is aligned with God, you'll know exactly what to ask for Him to give you. Like, if you want what God wants, all you're doing is asking for him to release from heaven the very things that you need. So you're going to ask prayers according to His will. And John 15 says, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and what? Sometimes I might do it. Sometimes I might not." No that's not what it says. "If you abide in me in my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, it will be done for you."

So what do you need? See, sometimes we don't have clarity on what we need. We have a lot of wants, but we're not clarity on what we need to accomplish what God wants us to do because we don't even know what God wants us to do. When you know what God wants you to do, then you can ask for the specific things you need to accomplish what God wants you to accomplish. And every time you ask for those things, God hears it and says, "Yeah, I can do that."

Now you've heard this story before, but many of you have, but I tell it again, because this story changed my whole life in prayer. I mean, my first church that I pastored as a youth pastor had about 100 people on a weekend, only four youth. That's what we had. I don't know how they hired me. Our annual budget for the year was $113,000. That included the pastor's salary, my part-time salary and taking care of all the church ministries. Our annual budget for the student ministry was $500 for the year.

Our youth group grew from four to about 100. Our kids decided we want to reach our high school. One way they thought they wanted to reach the high school was by doing this barn dance type of thing on a Friday night where we'd invite all the kids from the high school to come and do line dancing and all this stuff. I'm like, "Okay, if you want to meet your friends and we'll share the gospel with them, I mean, come on." And these kids were fired up evangelists. So we said, "Let's do it."

So we found a place that a guy let us rent his barn and we got ready to go. Now the kids kept telling me, "We need bales of hay." I said, "What for?" "Because we want to decorate. We on places to sit. Places to take pictures. It would be fun to have bales of hay." So I said, "No problem." So I started calling all the farmers in west Illinois and asking them, "Okay, do you have bales of hay?" "They're like, "Yeah." Every bale hay cost between three and five dollars a bale and we needed $100 or $200.

So I couldn't conceive I was spending our entire youth ministry budget on bales of hay for the year. I couldn't justify that. So I had seen God answer prayer from the women in our church that prayed. So I began to pray every day for hay. I mean, I was like Dr. Seuss for about a period of two months and the kids would come ask me, "Did we get hay?, Did we get hay?" I'm like, "I can't find any." "Well, we got a friend." So I'd call them, it didn't work. Every day I prayed for hay, nothing happened. On Thursday night, we went to set up this barn before the Friday night dance that we were going to have. Music got put in, speakers got put in decorations, got put in, all this stuff. There were like 70 kids that are decorating.

The guy that it let us borrow his barn said to me, "Hey, your kids are awesome. I mean the fact they want to reach their friends with the gospel and do all this. I'm just excited. I can participate." I told him, "Hey, thanks for letting us do this." I said, "The only problem that we have and the whole thing is that we just wanted some bales of hay." And he said, "Well, what do you mean?" I said, "Well, the kids wanted bales of hay to sit on and have pictures." He said, "Well, how many do you need?" I'm like, "I don't know, like 100 to 200." He said, "Well, wait right here." And he went inside and made a phone call and he came back out and he said, "Hey, get seven of your kids to come with me."

He went out behind and he owned a towing company. So he had a flatbed trailer and he said, "Get seven of your kids stand on the back." He got us on this trailer. He drove us one mile down the road from his barn to another barn. He said, "This is my friend's barn." He said, "You can have as many bales of hay as you want. If you break one, it's a dollar. Otherwise, I'll bring all of them back for you." And he opened up the door to the barn and there were thousands of bales of hay, one mile from where we needed bales of hay.

Now, here's what went off in my heart. I was like, "Are you kidding me? If God cares that much about hay, what more does he care?" It changed the way I pray, I ask. God, give me what I need. When we prayed for our building and we were a smaller church and we needed to raise $1.73 million in six days, I knew God had called us as elders to go for it. It was so crystal clear. I preached with authority the Sunday before waiting for the following Saturday when we collected the money, which was great until I went home that day and I was like, "That was bad. There's no way we're going to get this money."

And then I started getting scared, because then I was like, "What's going to happen to our church? We're going to have a church split. I'm probably not going to pastor anymore. We're going to have to move away from Denver." I mean, all these thoughts are going on. And on Thursday I started reading through my Bible because I was so terrified. I was almost in my office and I read through Psalm 27. "The Lord is my light in my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, whom shall I dread?" And it ends by saying this, "I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Take heart, wait on the Lord, have courage."

I always kept praying to Lord. I'm like, "Lord, we don't have enough people. We don't have enough people to get that money." And as I'm reading Psalm 27, I hear the Lord. Now when I say hear the Lord, I didn't hear an audible voice. I've never heard an audible voice. I know his voice in my spirit. I heard Him say this, "Jeff, I'm coming to the meeting on Saturday night and it is finished." And on Thursday in my office, I went from crying to like, "Woo it's done." So for the next three days I was fine and the elders at the time said, "Hey, we'll count the money. We'll let you know." I'm like, "You do whatever you want. It's done. I already know we got the money." I didn't hear until Sunday morning, but I already knew that we had the money on Thursday because God told me he was going to do that.

See, that's what it means to pray and seek His face. Now here's what's really interesting. Remember the disciples when Jesus came off the Mount of Transfigurations with Peter, James and John and he comes down and there's this whole ruckus of things going on. And during this whole ruckus, this man brings his son to Jesus. He's probably got epilepsy or something like that. He's throwing himself in the fire. He's throwing himself in water. He's foaming at the mouth. All these things are going on. And the man says this, "I brought them to your disciples and they couldn't do anything."

You remember Jesus's answer? You would think he would say, "Well, we're talking about a serious physical condition here. I mean, give them a break. I mean, I'm God, they're not." Here's what Jesus says, "How long do I have to put up with you, you perverse generation? Bring the boy to me." And when they bring the boy to him, he throws himself down and Jesus cast out the demon and he goes. Now the disciples are listening to all this. The rebuke that's happening. Like, "You couldn't do this? And later privately, they ask the Lord, "Hey, why couldn't we cast it out?" What did Jesus tell them? Because this type only comes out by prayer.

I used to read that for years and be like, "What does that mean? Like if you pray really hard, when you get in that situation, then you can do..." No, no, it means this. If you ain't preyed up, when the situation arises, you're going to have no power to dispense. You can't start lifting weights if you're an NFL player on Sunday afternoon, right before the game and expect to be strong. You can't start praying when a bad situation arises.

If you're seeking the Lord in prayer, there is spiritual power in your life so that no matter what comes along and no matter what happens, God is able to accomplish in that moment anything he wants to do in and through you. Pray that was his rebuke to the disciples. You guys don't pray. You don't seek me. And because you don't have spiritual power, it's why you don't see the things happening that you want to see happen.

Now I've read through the Bible several times and I'm going to tell you, I see nowhere in the Bible where you see any verse where the Holy Spirit says, "I'm turning off my power now and I don't do this stuff anymore." There's not a chapter or a verse. "Well, Pastor Jeff, how come we don't see healings and how come we don't see this? I guess we got to go to the mission field to see it." Now, what you see on the mission field is people that pray. If our people prayed, you would see healings, you would see demonic deliverance. You would see restoration of marriages. You would see, because when God's people pray, the Holy Spirit says, let's go to work. They're asking for it. Let's do it. That's what it means.

Give us this day or daily bread. God give us what we need as a church. God give us what we need financially. God do all this. I mean, and God shows up in everything. I remember one time when I was young in my faith, I was a youth pastor and I'd been reading through the Bible and I saw everybody that got saved, got baptized. They got immersed and they got baptized. I'm like, "I never was. I was in a tradition you sprinkled infants. That's what I was taught." But every time I read the word, I'm like, "How come I'm not baptized?" I didn't know who to talk to because nobody I knew that was a Christian ever got baptized in water.

I'm like, "Lord, if this is what you want from me, show me you want it because there's this burning thing in me to get baptized, but I don't want to step into one of those freaky charismatic churches and have somebody do something." I mean, I'm scared of that whole thing. So I just praying all the time about baptism. Would you know as a camp speaker at this place one time and as I was speaking there I said, "Hey, we want to bring up one of our missionaries and a 70-year-old guy comes up from the Congo Zaire and he gets up and preaches for 30 minutes. Guess what he taught on? Oh, he happened to just be teach you on baptism and the importance of believers to get baptized.

As soon as he got done, before he even said, amen, I was already standing in his face saying, baptize me right now. Why? Because God answers His word. God always answers His prayer. In 2003, I had been part of a church planting residency. I moved from Dallas to Little Rock, Arkansas in 2002. I knew for fact, God had called me to plant a church. There was no doubt in my mind. So I moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. I went through the residency and it was probably one of the worst seasons of my life. That didn't work out. I had a engagement that broke off. It was just bad timing.

I ended up leaving the program early. In the spring of 2003, I'm just asking God questions like, "Lord, I went to seminary. I'm willing to do whatever you want. I sent out letters to college football coaches telling them I'll come work for them for free. I sent business letters out. I'm like, Lord, I'll just do whatever you want. I got no skin in the game, but just show me what you want me to do." And it just so happened to fly over, to visit my friend who's a missionary in Czech Republic. I got to preach and Czech and in Wales and in Switzerland and do some different things.

During my time there, God used the book of Jeremiah and Ezekiel to teach me that He was going to take me to my home nation of America and I was going to call a group of people there to go follow Him and go send people all over the world. And I said, "Lord, if that's really you, you got to teach me how to do this." I happened to see this prayer video from a pastor named Jim Cymbala, who pastors Brooklyn Tabernacle that talked about prayer so powerfully that I just began to pray every day and asked the Lord, "Lord, if you're really into my preaching, you got to let me know."

I was scheduled to preach at this large church that I knew very well, about 4,500 people when I got home and the Lord showed me, just preach the gospel. He told me exactly what to do and he said, "And at the end of your message, have people stand up that want to trust me." I said, "Okay." It was a real simple message. It was just the fact that you're a sinner and that Christ died for you and rose and you need to give your life to him. But not only did I pray, I began to fast. I never fasted before. So I started to fast. I'm like, "Lord, just show me if this fasting thing works."

So I stopped eating for a while and started praying more and doing all this. So I went back to my hometown of Peoria, Illinois to preach at this church one weekend. I'm going in on Saturday night and I hear this voice in my head. It said, this, "This is the last time you're ever going to preach." This will be your last sermon ever. They're never going to invite you back because you're at a church where the gospel gets preached. Everybody knows this stuff anyway. I was like, "I'm cool if it's the last time I ever preach. I already told the Lord that no problem." I knew that was a voice of the enemy.

So I got up and preached that night and I people, I was going to be sharing the gospel. So they put these yes packets out in the lobby. They put about 35 or 40 out there for the 4,500 people because there'd probably be a few people that would trust Christ that weekend. I got up and preached the gospel that weekend. At the end of my message, I said, "So anybody who's ready to give their lives to Christ? I just want you to stand." Now, I didn't know that that church had never asked people to stand, which caused a problem, but 200 people plus stood up on Saturday night to give their lives to Christ.

And I was like, "Well, that's pretty cool." So I walk off the stage and this guy comes running around and he's like, "You got to go back out there. You got to tell these people how they grow in Christ. We're way short on yes packets." So I went back out and explained to them the gospel and come back next week and what are we're going to do. So I preached the next day. There were over 750 people that weekend that gave their lives to Jesus Christ in that one church. I was hearing stories afterwards of men that were up here.

One guy was bawling his eyes out saying, "Hey, I was supposed to be on the flight that flew into the Twin Towers. I'm a pilot. I got rerouted that day. I wasn't on that flight. I've been flying with an atheist. I've been questioning my Christianity." And then he started bawling. He goes, "Now I know I wasn't on that flight because Jesus Christ wanted to save my life." Story after story, after story. When you pray, God moves. My wife and I pray. We're prayers. That's what we do. It's important because God will always meet your needs when you pray. I know we're going long and I don't care.


Because this is important. So I want to tell you about a fourth privilege that you have. A fourth access that you have. You have access to the privilege of living in freedom. Did you hear? I said you have the access of living and freedom. You can be liberated. Now notice this, after we give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. Forgive us our sins in the same way that we forgive other people's sins. It means forgiveness is a requirement for the believer because unforgiveness is a spiritual malady that manifests itself in the physical.

If you are spiritually unforgiving another, you will have physical manifestations that are negative because of your unforgiveness. How can you, as a believer, who's been forgiven everything by a perfect God, knowing you're imperfect, not forgive someone else who's imperfect? It's an impossibility. Many Christians live in because they're unwilling to forgive someone who hurt them because being hurt is painful. So I'm going to teach you how you can do that, because there's an immediacy to it and there's a process to it.

But forgiveness is an act of a will. It's not a feeling. You're never going to feel like forgiving someone. If someone hurts you, you're never going to feel like forgiving them, but you forgive them so that you can be liberated. You forgive them so that God's spirit and power can move in and through you. You forgive. I have permission to share this story because I'm just being vulnerable today. You got to hear this stuff because sometimes when you come into church, because I used to always go into church as a single and I see husbands and wives sit together arm around each other, holding hands.

All I saw was perfect marriages when I was single in the church. And then I got married and then I knew there was at least one that wasn't perfect. And then as I started studying and I realized a lot of them ain't perfect. And then I realized there's no such thing as a perfect marriage. But like when my wife and I got married, we had known each other for a couple years. I knew her character. I knew her heart for Jesus. I knew her family. I loved them all. She loved me. I mean, we used to look at people that had trouble in their marriage when we were single and be like, "Man, can you believe them? Oh my gosh. They just don't get it."

I mean, we were like the experts on marriage before we got married. And then when we said I do, it was as if the Holy Spirit was standing above us going, ha ha ha ha. I mean, we were just weeks into our marriage where it wasn't working. I mean, it wasn't working like really not working. Like every day, I didn't want to go home. Now, I loved her, but I didn't want to go home. She would've been fine if I wouldn't have come home. I mean, it was a two way street. I remember one night we had dinner with some friends and we got an argument in the car on the way home and the D word came up as we were driving and she didn't say, "Jeff, you're so delightful."

As I heard that word, I started thinking divorce. Okay. And honestly, when I heard it, I'm like, "I don't care. This is so stinking hard, I don't care." The only reason I really cared is because of my pride and I knew that if I got divorced, I couldn't do ministry anymore which means I had to find a different job. So in my pride, here's what I began to do. I began to pray and I told the Lord this, "Lord, if we get divorced, I cannot control that. So I'm not asking you to change Kim anymore." Because I was praying for God to change Kim all the time like daily, and then I was helping God to try to change Kim and it wasn't working.

And so I shut my mouth to Kim and I started talking to God and I started telling Him the things he needed to change about her. Like, "God, I just feel like when I come home, she doesn't show me the respect I deserve." And then this is what I heard, "Jeff there's times I don't feel like I get the respect I deserve from you. Why don't you focus on that?" Okay. So I started to focus on that. "Hey, God, when we're in a group sometimes, sometimes I feel like she's not being totally authentic about who she is with me and her Christian walk." And He would say, "Well, Jeff, sometimes when you're in a group of people, you're not totally authentic about who you are with me and your Christian walk. Why don't you work on that?"

God had so much for me to work on so I just started working on all that and quit worrying about my wife. I'm just like, "I'm just going to be who I am and I'm going to learn to encourage her or an out serve her and do all that." Now, at the same time, God got ahold of my wife's life. She started reading this book called The Power of a Praying Wife. She hated the book because she told me every time she was mad at me, she had her sit down and write out a prayer, a blessing over me. So God's working on her to change her. I'm telling you, within a matter of weeks, our love for one another went far beyond what it ever was when we were dating because we weren't trying to manipulate and control each other.

Now, why am I telling you this? This week we had a stack of 50 sheets of prayer requests. There's a ton in there. My husband doesn't do this. My husband do this. My wife is like... Here's the deal, flip it around. Forgive them and let God work on you. He'll take care of your spouse.

You got it.

Flip it around. How about in your own personal life? Because I know there's somebody here. I mean, I know your story and I'm not trying to belittle it because some of you are here like, "Well, how do I turn around and how do I forgive somebody that abused me when I was just a little girl or just a little boy?" What am I supposed to do? I don't even know who it was." See, when you bring that before the Lord, you'll hear something like this. Oh, I know what it's like to be stripped and beaten. I know what it's like to be hung publicly in shame. I know exactly how it feels and it's totally wrong and I want you to know I was right there the whole time. And if you can forgive, I can put my power through you in a way that you can liberate other. See what I'm saying? See, forgiveness sets you free to have a ministry to other people. Amen?


I mean, I'm telling you, I'm married because of prayer. I'm telling you, I'm not drunk every day because of prayer. I'm telling you I'm becoming a better pastor because of prayer. Even now, it's little things like if our elders don't agree on something or I'm feeling this inside, I realize it's only because there's something to me that I'm trying to control, that I want it to go my way. And until I get to a place where I can physically bless everybody on there and don't care about the direction anymore, I'm not in a good place. Every time you're irritated about something, it's God's call to you to be free. It's God's call to you to let go of the control.

Because we have so many expectations as to how things should go. This is the way our marriage should have gone. This is the way our kids should be. This is the way my family should look. This is the way I should be. This is the way people should treat me. When you live like that, you pray wrong. When you get the heart of God and say, "God, you led me here. God, you're doing this. What do you want to do? You can do whatever you want." God moves in your heart. You have the privilege of living free. Wives, you don't need to go home and beg your husband to be the spiritual leader. You do your part, the impossible part. Submit to him in everything as to the Lord. Do that, see what God does in your husband.

Husbands, you don't need to go home and change your wife. Husbands, you need to go home and love your wife like Christ loved the church, even though she's totally unlovable and then see what God does. That's what God does. That's what prayer does. You can't do that apart from having supernatural power in your life. There's a privilege of living in freedom. It's for freedom that Christ Jesus set us free. If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, then you'll know the truth and the truth shall set you free. That's why it goes on in verse 14 and 15. I don't have much time to talk about today, about forgiving others, their transgressions, and how important it is for us.

And then finally is this fifth point. Here's what you have access to. You have access to protection from evil. And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil. Some of your versions read, "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." You have protection from evil. Now God tempts no one and God tempts no one to sin. God is not causing you to sin. It's not that God made you do it. It's not that the devil made you do it. You chose to sin. What God is promising in this passage is that he's a good shepherd and he'll lead you in ways that are good for you.

Moms, you know what I'm talking about when you take your kids to the grocery store and there's that one aisle, you just dread taking them down? Because you know, if you take them down that aisle, it's going to be, give me this, give me this cereal, give me this candy, give me this. I want it now. I want it now. I mean, just like my little girl, one time my wife got to the checkout counter a couple years ago when she was four and she had all this candy in her hand and she's like, "Where did you get that?" And she's like, "I want what I want when I want it."

See, God has a way of taking us in a pathway that doesn't take us down the candy aisle if He knows we're struggling with candy. God has a way of leading us in a path that protects us from having to be tempted to sin. I mean, if you're a drunk, going to the bars with your friends and being the designated driver is a bad choice. You don't want to go. You want to find a different route. If drug use is your problem, you don't want to hang around with people that are doing drug use. If marriage is your challenge, you don't want to hang around with a bunch of people that speak negatively about marriage. It's a bad choice.

So you let God wind your path with people that are going his way so that you have power and strength to do it that way. That's what God wants. God wants to protect you from any evil because God wants you to be kingdom advancers for Him. And I'm telling you, there's nothing more delightful. There's nothing more delightful than hearing the Lord's voice and knowing that he's using you and that you're clothed with spiritual power on high and you know, it's not you doing the work. It's Jesus Christ doing it through you. And here's the truth, every single person here who is a believer has access to Jesus Christ in every way.

I'm inviting you. I'm all but begging you. When we open this altar for prayer on both campuses, come and pray. I mean, if we got 500 prayer requests a week, don't subcontract them out. Just other people pray for me. Come and pray. Five seconds in the presence of God is more important than 50 sermons that you'll ever hear. Because God has a way of change in your heart. You're struggling with that repetitive sin, you're struggling in your marriage, you're struggling with your kids. Been there, done that. Sure, I'll be there again. Need Jesus still. No different than you are. I need God. You need God.

I'm inviting you, when we do first Tuesday, especially this next one, we have both campuses, come. Let's seek the Lord together. Let's trust Him. Because when I read the first century church in the book of Acts, they didn't have buildings. They didn't have budgets. They didn't have a lot of things, but one thing they had, they had prayer and the power of God and the world was changed. Guess what? We have access to all the same things today. Amen?


Amen. Would you stand with me? Lord Jesus, we give you all the praise, glory and honor. Lord, you call your people to pray. Lord, help us to be men and women that seek your face. Not trying to get the formula right, not trying to get the language right, Lord, trying to get our relationship with you right. Lord, working in and through us. For your great name, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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