Hands folded in prayer
Hands folded in prayer

Principles of Prayer Part 1

RS: Before we start, I do want to tell y’all a funny kind of story. For the first time ever this week, on Wednesday morning, we had a dog attend. Buddy Gardner brought his dog, Bullet. Bullet’s a beautiful golden retriever. Buddy was sitting right there, and Bullet was sitting right here, and I’m sitting right here just teaching away, and Bullet is just looking at me, and I keep looking at Bullet, and I say, you know, Bullet’s really into this, see, I think he’s enjoying this Bible study. Then, a couple of minutes later, Bullet is on his back, snoring. (Laughter)

RS: Alright, let me pray, and we’ll get started. Father, I want to thank you for this time, and I’m grateful for each of these men, their lives, their friendship. Father, I pray as we come to You today, that You would really speak to us on this so important issue and that You would really enable us to see the imprtance of it. Lord we are thankful that we can come to You directly in prayer because of Jesus. It’s in His name that we pray, Amen.

The last time that we talked on prayer we ended by making the, or I commented that, in order to have an effective prayer life, there are certain crucial principles that are involved, and maybe the most important is this truth of approaching God with a heart of humility. And, if you’ll remember we said, that prayer requires humility. But then you will see that your prayer life is the key that produces humility in your life. Because so much, if you’ll recall, I said that humility does not come naturally to us as human beings, and therefore, it has to be cultivated in our lives. And the Bible uses the phrase humble yourself, humble yourself, and we looked at that, and I thought it would be helpful to type this out for you. I think we’ve got enough, I hope we have enough, and I’m going to take one of them. If we don’t, we’ll make some more afterwards. I counted 27, and I don’t think there’s 27 in here. If there are, we’ll get some more. Take this, and as you’re passing it out, I think it’s important to remember that God seems truly to have high esteem for the humble. Remember Isiaiah 66:2, it says, this is the one who I esteem, he who is humble and contrite in spirit and who trembles at My word.

(Miscellaneous Conversation and Chatter)

RS: Then you see in James and in I Peter, it says God gives His grace, His divine power only to the humble. And then we talked about humilty, it’s a form of wisdom, it’s being realistic about life, and we said that humility makes these four recognitions. (a) recognizing who really deserves the credit and the glory for what we do, for what we achieve and what we accomplish. (b) if you go down to the bottom, humility is recognizing we are sinners, and, as Christians, need God’s fathering and forgiveness each day. (c) humility is recognizing we are weak, and we need God’s strength and power to live the Christian life, and (d) finally, humility, and I had a lot of people come and talk to me about this, and I’m going to come back to this in just a little bit, true humility recognizes that God needs to be in charge of my public relations department and not me. I shared from Dallas Willard about the spiritual discipline of secrecy. And he says, “Secrecy, rightly practiced, enables us to place our public relations department entirely in the hands of God. We allow Him to decide when our deeds and accomplishments will be known and when our lights will be noticed.” And, in talking with various men about this, one of the things that I think, and everybody, if you really thought through this, would conclude, that is very difficult to do. We want the world to know how great our accomplishments are, all the great things we’ve done, and God says, keep them a secret. I’ll let them be known when they need to be known. That’s what he talks about in Matthew 6. When you give money, don’t let people know. Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. When you give, give in secret. That’s one example. What I wanted to do today is spend about 20 minutes showing you how this plays out in life. How this plays out in real life, using examples from the Old Testament. Some of this you may have heard in the past from me, and some of this you’ve never heard. I think this is one of the most important issues that I can teach on, and I’ve given you something that you can put into practice. You can take this, put it in your Bible, and use it as kind of a guide to really humble yourself each day. But, where I want to start this afternoon is the book of Daniel. Some of you might not be familiar with Daniel. It’s in the Old Testament. If you go find Isaiah, which we look at a lot. You have Isaiah, then Jeremiah, after Jeremiah, you’ve got Lamentations, then you’ve got the long book of Ezekiel, and Daniel is right next to Ezekiel. So, go to Daniel chapter 4. Let me give you a little context. You know, Israel has been divided into two nations, basically divided in two, and Judah had been defeated and captured by the Babylonians, and their powerful king. You remember the name of the King?

Unidentified audience member: Nebuchadnezzar?

RS: Nebuchadnezzar. And, Nebuchadnezzar, I think, was obviously very bright, very astute, because he made the decision, I’m going to hand pick some of the sharpest, the most talented, the most educated young Jewish men, and bring them to Babylonia, and serve in my court. Which is what he did, and one of the people that he chose was Daniel. And as you start reading in chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar begins to have these troubling dreams, and so he brings before him all the conjurers and the magicians, and astrologers, all those that are supposed to be able to interpret dreams and he tells them about these terrible dreams he’s been having, and he needs someone to help him interpret them and give him the interpretation. They said, tell us the dream and we’ll give you the interpretation. He said, uh-uh, you tell me what the dream is and then you give me the interpretation. Of course, they were clueless, but then God gives Daniel, this is the dream, Daniel, and this is what it means. And we pick up in verse 24, Dan, I’ll let you read 24 and 25 if you don’t mind.

Dan: “This is the interpretation, oh King, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is to come upon my lord the King. That you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and that you be given grass to eat like cattle, and be drenched with the dew of Heaven, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it upon whomever He wishes.”

RS: You know there’s a key word there in verse 25. A key word. In the NAS that Dan just read from, it’s that word recognize. In the NIV, it’s the word acknowledge. And isn’t that what we’ve been talking about in humility, recognizing who gets the credit and the glory? And that’s what He’s saying basically, is Nebuchadnezzar, until you recognize this, basically you’re going to be out of power. Because what is God ultimately saying to him?

Audience member: He’s not humble.

RS: He’s not humble at all. He’s taking all the credit. And you see this if you keep going. Go down to verse 28 and 29. What you see is a year has gone by, but nothing has really changed. Look at verse 30. Scott Reed, would you read that?

Scott: “The King reflected and said, is this not Babylon the Great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’”

RS: What do you see there, guys?

Unintelligible audience comment

RS: Unbelievable arrogance. It doesn’t really say, but when it says “he reflected”, then in the NIV it says, “he said”, but think about it, nobody really, maybe Muhammed Ali would say this out loud, I’m the greatest, or some of our politicians, but, it looks like he was reflecting to himself and said look at this great thing, look at what I’ve done, look at how great I am. Look at Babylon, which I built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty. Then God just comes out and speaks directly to him in verse 31. While the word was in the King’s mouth, a voice came from Heaven saying, King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared, Sovereignty is removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be the beasts of the field. And you will be given grass to eat like cattle, for seven periods of time, which is seven years. Seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize, there’s the word again, you acknowledge, that the Most High is the ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it upon whomever He wishes. He’s saying, until you recognize, Nebuchadnezzar, that all that you are, and all that you have is a gift from me, you’ll be out of power, and you know what he did? He went mad. He lost his mind, and he wondered around out in the wilderness for seven years, but then eventually, look at verse 34. Billy Hartsfield, how about reading verse 34.

Billy: At the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes toward Heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored Him who lives forever.

RS: Completely different attitude and perspective. And then in verse 37, I really love what he says in verse 37, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise exalt and honor the King of Heaven, for all His works are true, and His ways are just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride. Guys, God can humble any of us any time He chooses, and He just might do that. But it’s kind of like, just as Nebuchadnezzar was warned, we should also recognize that this is a warning, and take a good look at our lives. Now, do we humble ourselves before God each day? This is a huge issue. This is really serious business. And what’s interesting, if you keep going, Nebuchadnezzar dies and Daniel goes into retirement because Nebuchadnezzar’s son takes over, Belshazzar. Look at chapter five. Somebody read, Brad Spencer, how about reading verses one and two?

Brad: “King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.”

RS: You get the picture here, guys? Big party. Big party. Thousands of people. The wine is flowing. All of his wives and his concubines are there. What you’re going to see is that he really lost it. Basically, he had no clue what his father had learned the hard way. And then, in the midst of the party, this hand, just a hand, shows up and starts writing on the wall. We see that in verses 5 and 6. Mike Graham.

Mike: “Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.”

RS: His kees were knocking. Sounds to me like he was pretty frightened. No one could figure out the inscription. And then you go down to verse 9, and they realize. Jimbo, you want to read verse 9, 10, and 11?

Jimbo: “So the King Belshazzar grew even more alarmed, and his face turned paler, and his nobles too were shaken. When the Queen mother heard what was happening, she hurried to the banquet hall. She said to Belshazzar, ‘Long live the king! Don’t be so pale and frightened. There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods; and during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, this man was found to have insight, understanding, and wisdom, like that of the gods. Your predecessor the king, Nebuchadnezzar made him chief over all the magicians, astrologers, and fortunetellers. This man, Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, expain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call Daniel and he will tell you what the writing is.'”

RS: So they bring Daniel out of retirement. Daniel’s been tucked away somewhere, and he doesn’t even know who he is. But the Queen remembered, and so they bring Daniel out. And then Daniel gives the interpretation of the inscription starting in verse 18. Reed, you want to read for us? This is kind of a healthy read, 18 to 23.

Reed: “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position He gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death;those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone He wishes. But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of Heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways.”

RS: That’s pretty powerful guys. Again, in verse 21, he goes back to Nebuchadnezzar and he says, until he recognized, or until he acknowledged, that the most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind. And then in verse 22, which I think is very critical, and yet, you his son Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart even though you knew all of this. You knw everything that happened to your father. I can almost guarantee Nebuchadnezzar would have tried to pass this along to him and teach him to be humble. But the problem is, when you read the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, you see two different words used over and over again. Well, the first word is forgot. They forgot God. You see that over and over and over. They forgot, they forgot, they forgot. And that’s here, we see God say continually, remember, remember, remember. And that’s one of the reasons, that’s the reason we were given the Lord’s Supper. Do this in remembrance of me. But clearly, Belshazzar had forgotten it and was living a very pagan life. What’s interesting is verse 23, in his arrogance, what does it say, “you have exalted yourself against the Lord of Heaven.” And then he says, but the God in whose hand is your life, breath, and your ways, you have not glorified Him. And if you go down, he says, your kingdom is finished. And if you go down and read verse 30, he is slain that night. And that’s when the Medes and the Persians come in, Darius and they take over Babylonia. Guys, I hope this gets our attention. You know what the problem is? Every single one of us sitting here today thinks, well I’m not like that guy at all. You know what C.S. Lewis says, the problem with pride and arrogance is, we can see it in everybody else’s life, we just can’t see it in our own. That’s why I think it is so crucial that we daily seek to humble ourselves before God, seek to cultivate humility in our lives, because it makes a huge difference. What we’re going to do now is look real quick at two other examples of seeing how God responds when they do humble themselves. And the difference it makes. Comments or questions.

Unidentified audience comment: Richard, I assume you’re being facetious when you say noone around the table here thinks this applies. Are you taking any polls this week on hand-raising or…?

RS: No, I think everybody probably knows this is an issue we struggle with.

Unidentified audience comment: In 27, it says, you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. And that’s just like horrifiying to even read that. That’s the true measure of man.

RS: I just kind of skipped over that, but that’s pretty strong.

Unidentified audience comment: Later than 27, to 30, it’s talking about what the words mean.

RS: Yes, up on the wall.

Unidentified audience comment: You know I heard a great sermon preached by Larry Gibson, he used to be at the Advent a long time ago, and the sermon was Too Much at Home in Babylon, and it’s how what we are in has evolved into a type of Babylon.

RS: Yeah, I think he’s right. And it’s only getting worse. Let’s look at two quick examples. Go back in your Bibles to II Chronicles. You’ve got first and second Samuel, first and second Kings, and first and second Chronicles. II Chronicles 12. This is about King Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, and yet you’ll see in verse 1, that he was not faithful, he was not a faithful king. Russell how about reading verse 1, II Chronicles 12:1.

Russell: “After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord.”

RS: He and the people abandoned the law of the Lord. And so God send Shishak the Egyptian king against them. And you’ll see 1200 chariots, 60,000 men, and go down to verse 4, and you see that they captured the fortified cities of Judah, and came as far as Jerusalem, and then the high priest, whose name was Shemaiah, came to Rehoboam, and basically said because of Shishak, thus says the Lord, you have forsaken me, so I have forsaken you to Shishak. Look at verse 6. So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is righteous.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, who was the high priest saying, “They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some measure of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak. Now, what you find here, guys, is the Egyptians come in, they take all the gold and silver in the temple, but they leave, they didn’t occupy the land, because that’s what God said, because you have humbled yourself, you wil not be destroyed by the Egyptians, nor will they occupy your land. And I’m just sharing this because when you humble yourself before God, it makes a difference. That’s what He’s looking from us as people. Which leads us to a second king in II Chronicles 34. II Chronicles 34. Now, this is an unusual situation. This is about King Josiah. Now, King Josiah, we see a different kind of king. We finally see a good and faithful king, and the key is because of his humilty. The thing about Josiah is, when he takes over as king, he’s eight years old. Obviously, he had a little help there. Somebody was kind of guiding him. Read verses 1 through 4. Todd, would you read those for us?

Todd: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images. They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down; also the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground to powder and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.”

RS: Alright, do you see what’s happened here? Basically, you see that Josiah was trying to clean things up, get rid of all the idolatry, trying to restore Israel, and then you go down to verse 14, and it says, they were bringing out the money which had been brought into the house of the Lord, and Hilkiah the priest, found the book of the law of the Lord that had been given by Moses. It’s like it had been stuck down in the basement to gather dust, and most of the commentators believe that he was talking about the book of Deuteronomy. I mean, they had completely neglected the word of God, intentionally neglected it. And basically, when it’s read to Josiah, he had the priest read it to him, he realized the drastic changes that needed to be made to bring the nation back in line with God’s commands. And he was appalled at the people’s neglect of God and His law, and it says he tears his clothes, he’s so angry. And then, down in verse 27, Hilkiah, the high priest, brings these words from God to Josiah. Look at verse 27. Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord. And if you keep reading, you see how he restores to the nation God’s rightful place. And so God blessed the reign of Josiah, and I share this with you again to see how God responds to the man and the woman who humble themselves. It’s pretty clear and it’s pretty simple. Comments or questions?


RS: Alright, since we’re in Chronicles, this is really, this is worth doing. Go back to I Chronicles 29.

Unidentified audience member: Richard, I know what you’re saying here, and I know you’re going this way, but really, in our prayer life, we need to be very clear, and be humble.

RS: Yes, yes. We’re going to I Chronicles 29, we’re going to read verses 10 through 13. I know we’ve covered a lot. Bill Clements, you want to do that for us? What I want to do before you read, is we’re going to contrast King David, who was about to die, and King Nebuchadnezzar. Remember what King Nebuchadnezzar says, is this not Babylon the Great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?And contrast that with David, who was about to die, when Israel was at its strongest, and he stands before the assembly. Contrast what David prays to what Nebuchadnezzar. Bill?

Bill: “David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord the God of our father Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”

RS: Very good. You see the difference. That’s a great prayer; a very powerful prayer. You know what it is? Guys, that is a picture of humility. Of a man in a high place, of great wealth, and the attitude of his heart, that’s a picture of humility. In fact, it’s a great prayer, you can just hang on to that prayer. So, humble people are great people. They recognize and acknowledge who gets the credit and glory for what we do. Anybody want to comment on this?

Unidentified audience member: David and Nebuchadnezzar both had to be humbled also, basically.

RS: David, it’s not that David was humble all of his life, because he got to a point, and you know that point, where basically, remember we talked about, it was in my blog last week about why leaders fail. You remember? Because they’re arrogant, but because they also committed adultery, because when you feel like you’re superior to everybody else in a company, you can do whatever you want, you can spend the company’s money however you want, you can sleep with whoever you want, and you can do whatever you want. That’s what arrogance does. But look at what humility does. There’s strength and power in the humble life. David finished strong. He finished strong. Anybody else?

Unidentified audience member: What was interesting in your blog too was the study on Jim Collins’ book, and the study, with the commonality of great leadership is great humility.

RS: Yes, he says too many business people want to be business celebrities. He says these level five leaders were just ordinary men who quietly produced extraordinary results.

Unidentified audience member: Humility and will, wasn’t the other flip side of…?

RS: Yes, most people kind of think humility is you just kind of cower back and you don’t say anything. He says that you basically, real humility is to be humble and gentle but to be brave and courageous at the same time. He says you can’t have one without the other. I’ve got one other thing. Have any of ya’ll read this book? It’s called The Magnificent Obsession. Al Simmons said he had to read it in the eighth grade. That shows you how old this book is. It was written in 1929. It was one of the best-selling books back during that time. It was written by a guy by the name of Lloyd Douglas, and I read it three years ago over spring break. It’s a very well-written book. He was kind of the John Grisham of that era, but his books were more substantive than Grisham. It’s a novel about a doctor, Wayne Hudson. This has to do with the discipline of secrecy. Dr. Hudson is in a period of despair because his wife has just died. And he’s going out to pick a marker for the grave and he encounters this unusual man whose name was Clive Randolph. And they strike up and have this really great conversation and Randolph imparts to him, and says, I’m going to tell you a secret which will transform your life. He says, It’s a secret formula to find power in your life, and that secret formula is what he called, the magnificent obsession. And, he says, the formula goes like this. He says most men lead depleted lives. They’re weak, they’re zestless, they’re pessimistic, and they have no passion. And listen to this. The reason, he contends, is that when they perform a good deed, or some worthy achievement, they love to advertise it. They love to display it. They make sure that others know about it. If they can get it in the paper, they get it in the paper. On the other hand, he says, we do everything we can to hide our fears, our flaws, our weaknesses. He says, and therefore, this is what happens. Most men, and this probably applies to women as well, most men spend their lives pretending, too insecure, too afraid that somebody is going to find them out. And then Randolph says to Hudson, the remedy, the secret formula, the formula to find power in your life, you reverse this strategy. Seek to keep your great deeds and accomplishments a secret, and then find people you can go to and be vulnerable with, where you can share your fears, your struggles, your secrets. Of course, this is fiction, but in the book, Dr. Hudson takes it to heart, and he becomes a famous neurosurgeon in the process. But he’s obsessed with living this out, keeping all of his greatest accomplishments a secret, all of his good deeds a secret. Now there’s a guy by the name of Hobart Mowrer. I’m familiar with Mowrer because I’ve read one of his essays. He was a brilliant psychologist. He taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Illinois. He was president of the American Psychological Association. He was not a Christian when he first read this book, and I don’t know if he ever became one. But he read this book, and it stunned him. Now, here he is, a psychologist, and he said, I believe there’s truth in this. And Douglas was dead when he started doing all this research, and so he went to see Douglas’ daughters. And they said, basically, the daughters were convinced he learned this from Matthew 6, because he had been a minister up until he was 50. He said, and they were convinced that he put this into practice. And as he did, said, then something happened to his creativity and his passion, so that, as Mowrer put it, he became the most widely read novelist in the English language during that period of time. It’s an interesting idea. I believe the discipline of secrecy will make a huge difference in our lives if we can put it into practice. But like I said, it’s very difficult to do. It’s very difficult to do. You know, it’s so easy to pray about frivolous things, for instance, it’s so easy to ask God to remove some painful circumstance in your life, when at the same time, God’s intent is to use that in your life to mold and refine your character. It’s for your good, in fact, you see this in the life of the apostle Paul. Turn to II Corinthians chapter 12. Mayfield, how about reading 7 through 10.

Mayfield: “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

RS: Paul is afflicted with some kind of thorn in his flesh. We don’t really know what that it is. And so, what did he do about it? He asked God to take it away. What did God do?

Unidentified audience member: He said, My Grace is sufficient.

RS: He said no, I ain’t gonna remove it. Now, what you see there is two purposes. What’s the first purpose, right there in that first verse?

Unidentified audience member: So I won’t exalt myself.

RS: To keep me from exalting myself. God gave me this thorn in my flesh, and I asked for Him to remove it, and He didn’t. He said I’m going to do something better. I’m going to give you My grace, I’m going to give you My power, I’m going to give you My strength. Grace is divine enablement. If He had just taken it away, Paul would’ve just kept on going, but by keeping it there, basically he had to rely on God. He had to look to God, he had to humble himself to receive God’s grace, which was sufficient. So, basically, guys, I think it’s important that we think clearly and maturely about what we pray about, and I’m going to get into this more as we go down the road. Think about some of the requests that Jesus got. Remember when James and John come up to Jesus and they bring their mother. Their mother is there, and she is taking up for her two boys. She says, now Jesus, I want you to let my boys be in power, one on your left and one on your right, when you establish your Kingdom. Remember what Jesus said to her? Lady, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You know, it’s important to think clearly and maturely about what to pray. I mean, it’s kind of interesting, even Jesus made an unusual request of God. As we wrap this up, everybody turn to Matthew 26. Butch, you got it? 51 to 54.

Butch: “But when one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. “Put away your sword”, Jesus told him, “those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

RS: Do you hear what Jesus is saying? In fact, He says literally, don’t you realize I could call 12 legions of angels. Do you know how many angels are in a legion? A lot. I mean, literally, there’s 6,000. Do the math. 72,000. He said, I could call 72,000. They’re at my disposal. I don’t know about ya’ll but I probably would’ve called the angels. Wouldn’t that be a spectacle? 72,000 angels coming down and taking on those Romans? But, He didn’t. Jesus didn’t appeal, He could’ve, but why didn’t He? Go back up to verse 39. John London, would you read that?

John: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

RS: You hear what Jesus is saying? He’s saying, if there is any way that I can bypass the Cross, Lord let it happen. Father let it happen. What did God say to Him? My will is for you to go to the Cross. That’s My will. That’s why Jesus didn’t call the 72,000 angels like we probably would. Because God’s will was for Him to go to the Cross and bear the sins of the world. I was reading earlier today, John 5:30, Jesus just talks about, I am committed to doing the Will of God. The Will of My Father, which leads us to the last thing, because we’re out of time, that I want to share real quickly, and we’ll get into it. I John chapter 5, verses 14 and 15, says, “this is the confidence which we have before Him, is that if we ask anything

according to His Will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have the request which we have asked for from Him.” I John 5:14-15. Guys, what we want to try to figure out and learn. How do you pray, when it comes to supplication, which is just a part of prayer, and how do we seek to pray within the will of God? Because sometimes, let’s face it, we don’t know what His will is in a situation. And so, therefore, but there is a proper way to pray, particularly when it comes to the storms of life. And so, we’ll come back to that, we will get to that as we go through this series.


Add grace and understanding to your day with words from Richard E. Simmons III in your inbox. Sign-up for weekly email with the latest blog post, podcast, and quote.

Fill out the form to receive wisdom in your inbox from Richard E. Simmons III.