4 Prayers God Answers
Prayer is asking heaven to invade earth – to alter and change.
It aligns my will with Gods – the self-will is restrained.
“Discipline in prayer is everything. It’s the only thing that will keep you going when all else fails. No marriage stays together because of romance, but commitment. The same thing applies to God.” John Piper paraphrased
Context: 1:17 Then God assigned a huge fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish’s belly three days and nights.
1. THE HUMBLE PRAYER: REMOVE THE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER – Psalm 66:18 (NKJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
“I don’t deserve this; Yeah, it’s my fault, but…; You don’t know what I’ve been through; I’ll figure something else out…”
Why is the humble prayer so effective? “God, I need You – help!”
. . . God’s will and ours can’t live in the same fish.
2. THE INITIATING PRAYER: Deliverance came from initiating – “to cause an action or process to begin.”
If My people pray…
2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
God sometimes leaves us in challenging situations until we call out. John Newton was rocked by a raging sea.
3. THE TARGETED PRAYER- Prayer Must Be Aimed in the Right Direction
“His God” – is He yours? Millions pray but millions are not heard.
Be specific – Example of “will you marry me?” Be Bold and Audacious!
By whose authority are you speaking? In Jesus name
Pray according to God’s will: James 4:3 [NIV] “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
GOD, CHANGE THEM, BUT HE WANTS TO CHANGE YOU.
GOD, TAKE AWAY THIS DIFFICULTY AT WORK, BUT HE IS WORKING IN YOU.
GOD, CLEAN THIS MESS, BUT HE WANTS TO CLEAN YOU.
GOD, OPEN FINANCIAL DOORS, BUT HE…YOU TO CLOSE DOORS OF RECKLESS SPENDING.
GOD, TAKE AWAY THIS STRUGGLE, BUT HE WANTS YOU TO FIGHT
4. THE DESPERATE PRAYER – This prayeroften speaks the loudest.
Affliction and pain can be used as high octane fuel for prayer. Listen to Sunday’s message – Don’t Let Pain Define You: https://youtu.be/XasI8fLfU_8
In the depths of despair – the complete absence of hope – HE HEARD ME!
Desperation – leads to focused attention and more earnest seeking.
Psalm 142:6 [NIV] Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
Hannah – Moses – Elijah – Jehoshaphat
When He answers we must be content with the answer – “go back to Nineveh”.
3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 I went down to the moorings [bottoms] of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.
Where do you look? What attitudes are formed? Thankfulness…
The blessing of perseverance: “Yet I will look again toward You….”
When “the deep is closing around you” – He’s there.
But I don’t see Him!! Faith and trust please God –
7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.
Most don’t remember the Lord – they turn on Him and become bitter.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy [trusting in the wrong things]. 9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” 10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Again, “a voice of thanksgiving.” Gratitude, appreciative, and kind
It’s not about the absence of sin, but grieving over it that makes the difference.
One reason we preach the whole gospel is for people to see how desperate and lost they are – “You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.”
The more desperate the hour the more heartfelt the plea.
The more hopeless we are the more hopeful we become.
God answered him and delivered him – but even if he didn’t, he was still delivered from a hopeless grave; an eternity absence the presence of God.