Having God’s Ear in Prayer
INTRODUCTION: The subject of prayer must always be before us individually as well as congregationally. In Psalm 61:1-8 we read,
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. (2) From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (3) For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. (4) I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. (5) For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. (6) Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations. (7) He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. (8) So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.”
Someone said, “Prayer is talking to God as naturally as a man talks to his friend.”
Another said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
Still another said, “When you think no one understands you or the burdens you’re bearing, remember – God is concerned. Therefore come before Him in prayer.”
And last here is a good quote, “When we reach out to God with our words, we wait with certainly that we will be heard.”
Now as we begin this last brief message on prayer, would you please take note of this statement?
A heart that prays and a church that gives itself to communion with the Lord are two of the great secrets that bring God's blessing in untold ways upon the earth.
God wants to remind us that nothing on earth can ultimately stand against the man or the woman who calls on the name of the Lord!
Our greatest needs are within us, in our hearts, our minds, our families, and our circumstances. Again the psalmist expressed this in Psalm 61:1-2 when he wrote,
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. (2) From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
There is a biblical mandate to pray. You and I have been invited to enter the very presence of God through prayer. But why should we pray?
Why is something so mysterious such a priority? Even as we pray, we wonder why God invites us to enter into dialogue with Him about His will and about our lives. While we may not have every answer to the mystery, one thing is clear: God has issued an invitation for us to call upon Him.
Do we want God to meet our needs? Then from James 4:2 we must ask.
Do answers to prayer not come immediately? Then from Luke 11:5-10 we must be persistent.
Are we confused about the answers to prayer we receive? Then from Luke 11:11-13 we can trust in God's fatherly wisdom to give us what we need.
Are we embarrassed or ashamed to ask God for what we need? Then from Hebrews 4:14 we must be bold in prayer.
Are we unsure of when, or how often, to pray? Then from I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
Do we find ourselves at a loss for words in prayer? Then from Romans 8:26-27 trust the Holy Spirit to lead you in prayer.
Does guilt over sin keep us from praying? Then from I John 1:9 we can confess our sins and receive forgiveness, resulting in a renewed conscience.
So today if you feel overwhelmed, helpless to solve a problem, helpless to rescue a loved one, helpless to regain your joy in life I would suggest studying the "Help Passages" of the Bible.
The word help constantly occurs in the Bible, reminding us that when we're in need, we should turn to the Lord. He is always there to help us.
In 1 Samuel 7:12, the prophet Samuel led the Israelites in a victorious battle against the Philistines, and afterward he erected a monument "and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD HELPED us."
This is a vivid picture of the way God wants to establish mile markers throughout our lives with strands of answered prayers as a testimony to the fact that He helps His people in their distress.
In II Chronicles 14:11 when King Asa learned a massive army was marching toward Judah to invade their land, he sent up a cry to heaven: "… LORD, it is nothing with thee to HELP, whether with many, or with them that have no power: HELP us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee…”
In II Chronicles 32:8 King Hezekiah encouraged his people during the Assyrian invasion, telling them, "With him [King Sennacherib of Assyria] is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to HELP us and to fight our battles"
In Psalm 46:1 we read, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present HELP in trouble."
In Psalm 121:1-2 we read, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my HELP. (2) My HELP cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”
In Isaiah 41:10 we read, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will HELP you." It’s at the throne of grace where we can obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
In Hebrews 13:5-6 we read. “Let your conversation (that is life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my HELPER, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
If you're overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness, let me ask you a simple question. Have you prayed about the matter that's troubling you?
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
God's grace is available to help us through prayer.
In Mark 9:22-24, we meet a man who asked Jesus for help in two different ways. He was anguished over his demon-possessed son and he cried out to Jesus, saying,
“…but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and HELP us. (23) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (24) And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; HELP thou mine unbelief.”
Help my unbelief; how often that has been my prayer, and yours, too. We cry to God for help in a critical matter, and then we must ask Him to help us in a second way—to help us to trust Him as He helps us.
The Lord gladly answers those prayers. When you cry to Him, you are heard; when you are heard, you are helped; and as you are helped, you can sing:
“O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come.
Be Thou our guard while life shall last…”
The greatest thing about prayer is the PRESENCE of God. When we pray we aren't talking into the air.
We're not flinging thoughts heavenward into the clouds.
We're not engaging in mental self-talk. We are coming into the presence of a real King for companionship, communion, and fellowship.
In Deuteronomy 4:7, Moses said, "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call (pray) upon him for?”
It's true that God is omnipresent. He fills heaven and earth and occupies all of space and time. Yet in terms of personal nearness, it's in prayer we draw near to God in an exclusive way. So here are three thoughts to think about.
First: When we have God's presence we have God’s EAR. This may sound like an unusual Bible study topic, but have you ever thought of looking up what the Bible says about God's ear? You'll find a lot of references, such as…
II kings 19:16, “LORD, bow down thine EAR, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words…”
Nehemiah 1:6, “Let thine EAR now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night…”
“Psalm18:6, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his EARS.”
Psalm 94:9, “He that planted the EAR, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?”
Isaiah 59:1, “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His EAR heavy, that it cannot hear.”
1 Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his EARS are open unto their prayers:”
God's ear never misses a sound. God hears!
God hears the soft breathing of a sleeping baby,
God hears the weeping of a troubled teen,
God hears the cry of an anguished parent,
God hears the whisper of a bedtime prayer,
God hears the sigh of a weary worker, and
God hears the praises from the lips of His worshipers.
You have God’s keen ear, and He hears every sound, even the unspoken pleas of your heart.
Second: When we have God's presence we have God’s CARE. We can have another's presence and ear, but what if that person doesn't care about us?
Awe…but with God that is different. We have a God who is near, who hears, and who deeply cares. When tough times come, we're tempted to forget God's over-watching care.
Even the disciples cried in Mark 4:38, “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”
Martha of Bethany once asked Jesus in Luke 10:40, "… Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”
The great biblical hero Job, in the midst of his sufferings, said in prayer from Job 10:12, "Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”
That's exactly what happens to us as we pray. God cares for us, and that preserves our spirits when nothing else will. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting (literally throw) all your care (that is your worries) upon him; for he careth for you.”
Third: When we have God's presence He works on our behalf. God works on our behalf when we accept His invitation to pray, we come into His presence, have His ear, and enjoy His care. But if it stopped there, we'd still be in trouble.
You have seen it as I have/ There are some people who truly care for us, but they can't really help us. They would if they could, but they can’t. This is not so with our God! He knows how to work on our behalf, and He does so as we pray.
Again from James 5:16 we read, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
Seeing repeated answers to prayer is one of the greatest motivations for continued prayer.
God works in our lives. God works all things for our good.
God works everything into a pattern that conforms with the purpose of His will.
We have His presence, His ear, His care, and His powerful working in our lives. So accept the King's standing invitation and come into His palace of prayer whenever you'd like. He's even available right now at the very minute.
God has the ability to provide the answer to our need. God is not short of resources of any kind. Whether God can meet our need is never the issue.
The foundational principle of prayer when we have a need is found in James 4:2: "…Yet you do not have because you do not ask." James was rebuking his readers for pursuing what they wanted and needed by entirely inappropriate means.
They had not yet learned the truth I am seeking to convey in this message: God has everything we need and wants to meet our needs as a father meets the needs of his children.
Where should a child go when he or she has a need – to a neighbor or friend or stranger? Should a child use force or deceit? Of course not!
The relationship of intimacy and knowledge between parent and child should result in an open door for a child to make his or her needs known.
Prayer is the way we enter into the need we have; it is the place we begin.
And so it should be between God and His children.
He wants to be the resource for every need we have: physically, financially, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. But…
We have to go to Him!
We have to talk to Him!
We have to unburden our heart to Him!
This is not a game. God does not say, "I won't meet your need unless you ask Me." Instead, prayer is the way we enter into the need we have; it is the place we begin.
In prayer, and through His Word, God is able to respond and shape our understanding of our need.
He can talk to us in prayer as much as we can talk to Him. It is in the discourse between Father and child that we reveal our heart to God and He reveals His heart to us.
The apostle Paul wrote it so well in Philippians 4:6-7 and it’s something I have to be reminded with ever so often:
“Be careful (STOP WORRYING) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
That peace is the loving afterglow of a conversation between the Father and His children.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “Having God’s Ear In Prayer” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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