Fred R. Coulter—July 28, 2007

pdfIcon - PDF | Audio | [Up]

or Download

Let's come to Luke 11 and let's see the model prayer again, because everything keys on this. The whole basis of what we do in praying and in living is keyed on the outline of what the model prayer is. And what the Catholics, what they do, they just repeat the prayer, and it becomes vain repetition because they really do not use it as a model for their own personal prayers.

Luke 11:1: "Now it came to pass that as He was praying in a certain place, when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us how to pray, as John also taught his disciples.'…. [So we have to learn; you have to be taught—and that's the whole purpose of this series on Keys to Answered Prayer, because prayer does not come naturally.] …And He said to them, 'When you pray, say, "Our Father Who is in heaven… [So the first thing you do is go to God directly. And as we've seen in the series on Hebrews, we have direct communication with God the Father in the temple in heaven above, into the Holy of Holies, right to the Father.] …hallowed be Your name…"'" (vs 1-2).

He is Holy, He is righteous, He is true. Everything about God is contained in this. Because if He's Holy then this also tells us that He is true; and if He is true, that tells us that God does not lie, cannot lie. That also tells us that in inspiring His Word—since it is God-breathed—then everything about His Word is true. And so, you can take that and expand it out. And also remember Psa. 138, which says that He 'exalts His Word above His name.' And so that's also important to understand for those who get hung up on sacred names.

"'…"Your kingdom come... [We're not looking for power and prestige and things on the earth. We're looking for the Kingdom to come.] (Key thing): …Your will be done… [And in our personal prayers, that means in our life. And of course, everything that is going to go on in the world in fulfilling of prophecy is going to be done. Jesus said that all these things will take place and 'heaven and earth shall pass away but My Words shall not pass away.'] …as in heaven, so also upon the earth. Give us our bread as needed day by day…"'" (v 2-3).

And I'm sure the time is going to come when we will appreciate that even more—when things get tough. When you look at how vulnerable this high-tech society that we live in today really is—food wise—just watch what happens when any disaster occurs. What do they do? They run down to the supermarket and in hours the shelves are empty. So you can think about trouble down the road, what that is going to be—which also tells us we need to be prudent, we need to have some sort of reserve and not get caught with all the rest when difficulties come along.

Now then, when we get done with that, we need life to live, and in living with our human nature, then the most important thing we need in our lives is this: "And forgive us our sins…" (v 4). And I think the longer that we have God's Spirit—and of course, God's Spirit works to cause every person who has the Holy Spirit to expose sin in the mind. Before we're converted, we don't understand sin in the mind; and that's because of the 'law of sin and death.' We look at if we do something wrong, an act that is wrong, and yet, today living in a lawless society, what is around us all the time? People who think that they can go against God and win! You see that in everything in people's attitudes. That's why we have such a lawless society today. So we have that.

"…forgive us our sins… [then God has something very important that we always need to keep in mind, which is this: We are not going to have our sins forgiven selfishly, for us. He wants us to learn a lesson from Him. If we want God to forgive us our sins, then we have to forgive the sins of others. And that is in every prayer.] …as we ourselves… [that means in the same measure, in the same portion.] …also forgive everyone who is indebted to us…" (v 4).

And you can find all of this that we've already covered reiterated in Matt. 18, beginning where Peter said, 'Lord, how often should I forgive my brother if he sins against me—seven times?' He said, 'No, seven times seventy.' Now, why did He do that for us, that we are to extend this kind of forgiveness to other people, because why? Daily we need our sins forgiven—right? Yes! And we see it more and more, because with God's Spirit in us, it exposes the sins in our minds, and those will come up in our imaginations, and we have to use God's Spirit to cast them down. And then ask God to forgive us for those. Now, I'm not talking about just sins that we do, which are committed outwardly, all of those we also have to deal with. But I'm talking about, as we go along in our Christian life in growing and overcoming, this is what is occurring within and becomes a very important part of our prayers.

"…and lead us not into temptation… [we've already covered that—that God does not tempt us, but this is 'lead us not into trials'—extreme trials. Now we're going to have enough just living. But 'lead us not into extreme trials.'] …but rescue us from the evil one" (v 4). And every day we need to be rescued from Satan, because he's the 'prince of the power of the air'; he's the one who temps everyone. And living in this age, brethren, with all the things that we have, with all of the modern conveniences—in radio and television and printed word and pictures and things like this—we need that every day. Satan has more things working for him today that at any point in history. And I think that that's important to understand as we come up toward the end-times and the 'beast' and the mark of the beast and things like this. And as I covered here a week ago, we don't know how much time we have left because we do not know how far God is going to let Satan and man develop to where they think they can really win against God. So we'll just have to wait and see how that goes. But 'rescue us from the evil one.'

Now then, we have a lesson. Here are some parables and lessons. Let's continue right on—v 5: "Then He said to them, 'Who among you has a friend that he shall go to at midnight, and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread]; For a friend of mine has come to me on a journey, and I do not have anything to set before him"; and from within he shall answer, saying, "Do not disturb me… [I'm asleep!] …The door has already been shut, and my children are in bed with me. I cannot get up to give to you." I say to you, even if he will not rise… [if that's his attitude] …to give to him on account of being his friend, yet because of his importunity [or persistence] he will rise and give him as much as he needs."…. [So then He gives the conclusion of this]: …And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you'" (vs 5-9).

Now let's also understand that if it's according to God's will then we do it according to God's way. Is that not right? Yes! Now the force of the Greek also means this: 'ask and keep on asking'—showing then the same kind of persistence. Now some prayers it takes years to answer. So we need to also understand this: to be praying for years for an answer does not mean that it's a vain repetition. It is a needful repetition of persistence.

Now, let's come back here to 1-Samuel 1 and let's see persistence—let's see something that occurred, and let's see the circumstances of it. Now we'll just briefly summarize it, and we have this: Elkanah, he had two wives—Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah didn't have any children; Peninnah had children (v 1). And every year they went up to the Feast of Tabernacles at Shiloh and offered their offerings (v 2). And he gave to Peninnah, his wife and all her sons and her daughters portions (v 4). So here we have jealousy of two women—the have and the have not. And that would be a tough household to live in. So Elkanah gave extra to Hannah (v 5) and she would go up to the Lord and pour her heart out to the Lord (v 10). So we find that's exactly what she did. (vs 1-10 paraphrased).

Verse 9: "So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul… [So there are times when you have things that are weighing on you that are so heavy that it is really a tough go. So here it was for her.] …and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow…" (vs 9-11).

Now, let's understand something about vows. Today we don't vow, we have something that is greater—what is that? What personal expression do you have that is greater than a vow? Your word. Jesus said, "You've heard it said, 'You pay your vows unto the Lord.' I say to you, 'Don't' swear by heaven, don't swear by earth, don't swear by the temple, but let your yes be yes and your no be no.'" And in growing and overcoming through the years of conversion, this becomes a real part of character. And then we have the ultimate extreme of that in Acts, the fifth chapter, with Annanias and Sapphira, right? They said, 'Oh, we'll give all.' Then they got more. Because they said they would give all, then they sold the property. God blessed them to sell it for more and they said, 'Oh well, we got more so we better keep back part.' So "let your yes be yes and your no be no."

So here she vowed a vow—and in this particular case, her yes had better be yes. And she did it. She said, "'O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Your handmaid, but will give unto Your handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head'" (v 11). So he was under a Nazarite Vow from conception. Who else was under a Nazarite Vow from conception? John the Baptist.

"And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved… [and so this shows you the intensity of the prayer.] …but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, 'How long will you be drunken? Put away your wine from you.' And Hannah answered and said, 'No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD…. [Now, put in your margin there: Psa. 62:10—where it is 'pour out your heart before the Lord always.' (She said): …Count not your handmaid for a daughter of Belial… [a daughter of worthlessness] …for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto'" (vs 12-16).

Now she probably prayed a very similar prayer every year until this year when she went up there and she said, 'I'm really going to just really commit myself to God for this.' And so, "Then Eli answered and said, 'Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant you your petition that you have asked of Him'" (v 17). So she conceived and bore Samuel and then she also had other children. All together she had three more sons and two daughters. She bore three sons—so that includes Samuel. And after he was weaned, she brought him up and gave him to Eli; and so we have the beginning of the story of Samson. And there were only two who had fulfilled an office similar to Christ's:

  • Moses—he was prophet, priest and ruler
  • Samuel—he was priest, prophet and ruler

—of all the others—those are the only two that come close to it. So that's interesting that that came up.

So this shows how to ask and keep on asking; seek and keep on seeking—because you never, never know when God is going to answer it. And in the things that you don't understand, you don't know how God is going to work it out according to His will. And we don't know what the will of God is going to be for us until we come to the point that God begins fulfilling it. Which tells us what?

  • we walk in faith
  • we live in faith
  • we believe in God
  • and we continue in God's way

Now, back here to Luke 11. Now here's a promise, and remember this: You can always claim all the promises of God. It is not presumptuous in your prayers to say, 'God, You have promised.' And to say, 'God, I know that You are a God Who always is a God of Truth. You cannot lie. So I'm coming to You to claim this promise. Not because I'm righteous. Not because I deserve it. But to claim the promise because You have given it.'

Luke 11:10: "For everyone who asks receives; and the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, it shall be opened." So that comes into our personal lives and everything. That comes into our church lives, with all of us together. That comes into our lives in living in the world. That comes into all the brethren, wherever they are in the whole world, together. So we can put it that way. Then He wants you understand that God is going to answer it in a way that is going to be best for you.

Verse 11: "'But which of you who is a father, if a son shall ask for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will give him a scorpion? Therefore if you, being evil… [which gets right down to the whole core of human nature. Human nature of and by itself is evil, even though it's capable of doing good acts. Now that's a hard one to figure because this is compared to God. God is righteous always. Is He not? Human beings have what kind of nature? Nature of good and evil from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But as long as the evil is there, any act of goodness that we do is not the kind of pure goodness that comes from God. So this is why He's saying]: …you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father Who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?'" (vs 10-13). So what is the greatest thing that God wants you to have? The Holy Spirit. That's the greatest thing! And to grow in It.

All right, let's come here to Luke 18:1. Now here again, we find the persistence. And persistence is tied into endurance. And endurance is one of the key things of Godly character. Let's look at it this way: Let's look at it from God's point of view concerning mankind and even us. How much does God have to endure and be longsuffering with the human race and with those in His Church? Constantly! So this also shows us that God has to endure, God has to be patient. So do we!

Luke 18:1: "And He also spoke a parable to them to show that it is necessary to pray always… [And remember this: prayer is the key to your relationship with God.] …pray always… [Now sometimes if you get in a bad attitude it's hard to go pray. What you need to do is go pray and start repenting of that bad attitude or anger or whatever it is that you need to overcome.] …and not to give up… [Now that's important because God is not going to give things to us until we have the character to be able to handle it. So we don't give up!] (So then, He gives another parable): …Saying, 'There was in a certain city a certain judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city; and she kept coming to him, saying, "Avenge me of my adversary." Now for a time he would not; but afterwards he said within himself, "Although I do not fear God and do not respect man, Yet because this widow is causing me trouble, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming"'" (vs 1-5).

Now if the unrighteous judge is going to do that, and isn't that what happens? What is the saying in the world concerning needs and complaints and things like this? The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Yes, or get off my back.

"Then the Lord said, 'Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And shall not God execute vengeance for His elect… [God wants to know: are we going to take it into our hands to do something we should not do—because God has not yet answered our prayers. We need to keep that in mind. God will eventually answer them—and answer them in a way that is going to work out the best for our eternal character. ] …shall not God execute vengeance for His elect, who cry out to Him day and night [constantly], and patiently watch over them?" (vs 6-7). So remember, God is patiently watching over you.

Now, let's come over here to 1-Thessalonians, the fifth chapter, and let's see something else we are to do. And this is one which really helps a great deal when you understand it. 1-Thessalonians 5:16: "Rejoice always!…. [Rejoice before the Lord, because remember this: When all of the physical things around you fail, and you still have the Holy Spirit of God, you have the greatest thing that you can have. Is that not true? So rejoice in that.] …Pray unceasingly" (vs 16-17). Now, how does that work? Well it works this way. After you pray in the morning, before you go to work; you get on your knees and you're praying to God—is that your last communication to God all the day? Or do you go through your day and say, 'Oh Lord, help me! Oh God, help me! Give me understanding. Forgive me.' And I tell you what, the longer we have the Holy Spirit, the more we see how much we need God—and how we need to pray always! In other words: grow in coming to have an attitude of praying to God many, many times during the day as you're going about your routine. That's what that means.

Notice the other things that He adds to it: "Give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit" (vs 18-19). Which also tells us this: If you're not praying, what are you doing with the Spirit of God? Quenching the Spirit of God.

Hold your place here and come to Ephesians 4, and we will see another thing that takes place if you quench the Spirit. Let's pick it up here in Ephesians 4:23 [transcriber's correction]—here's the whole purpose of all of this, of prayer, of study, overcoming, of living God's way: "…that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind… [constantly renewed, day-by-day; day-by-day; day-by-day; week-by-week; month-by-month; year-by-year] …And that you put on the new man, which according to God is created in righteousness and Holiness of the Truth…. [Because God is doing His greatest work in us!] …Therefore, let each one put away lies… [That is during the day recognize them, repent and get rid of it] …and speak the truth with his neighbor because we are members of one another. When you become angry… [Because you will] …do not sin…. [There's an anger of righteousness in despising sin. And there is an anger unto sin. So don't let it become sin. And then when you do]: …Do not let the sun go down on your anger… [Because what does that always do? When does the new day begin? At sundown. You begin carrying the troubles of the day over in tomorrow and over into your sleep; and if you're really upset about it, then what do you do? You lose sleep and can't sleep, and it effects everything that you do. Right?] (Now notice what else can take place—v 27): …Neither give place to the devil" (vs 23-27).

As we have seen, we have to be rescued from the evil one every day—correct? So you don't want to give place to the devil by becoming carnal. So you see, God wants His creation in you to be active every day, every day, every day. And this is accomplished by prayer—that's the main connection between you and God and then with His Word.

Verse 28 [transcriber's correction]—then He shows here how to get rid of sin. "Let the one who stole, steal no more; rather, let him labor with his hands, working at what is good, so that he may impart something to the one who has need…. [And this is another way of saying, Philip. 2: don't think on your things only, but think on the things of others to help them.] …Do not let any corrupt communication come out of your mouth, but that which is good and needful for edification that it may give grace to those who hear. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God…" (vs 28-30). So we have here:

  • quench not the Spirit
  • grieve not the Spirit
  • we quench the Spirit when you're not praying
  • And you grieve the Spirit when your behavior is carnal

So we need to keep that in mind. And keep that as understanding of why we need to pray.

"…grieve not the Holy Spirit of God by which you have been sealed for the day of redemption. [And then here are all the things that grieve the Holy Spirit.] …Let all bitterness, and indignation, and wrath, and clamor, and evil speaking be removed from you, together with all malice; and be kind and tenderhearted toward one another, forgiving one another… [Notice, so often it is forgiving one another.] …even as God has also in Christ forgiven you" (vs 30-32).

Now come back here to 1-Thessalonians 5:19: "Quench not the Spirit." Now, what happens when you quench the Spirit? Has God necessarily given up on you? No! Because God is patient and kind and puts up with us. But what does it do? If we don't come back to God in prayer, then it's going to result in exactly what we've seen in so many brethren through the years, which is what? They drift off. So "Quench not the Spirit."

Verse 20: "Despise not prophecies. Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good…. [So here now we have all of these things coming upon us. Prove it—not only the Word of God (that's the first thing to prove); prove the things that we are doing in our life, that they're right and good and true.] …Hold fast to that which is good…. [Because that will help you build character.] …Abstain from every form of wickedness…. [That's how you tie that together with Eph. 4 and you're building Godly and righteous character, that He's creating in us.] …Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your entire spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…. [And they were expecting Jesus to return during [their] lifetime then—or we could say, 'unto your very last breath, and you're put in the grave to wait the resurrection.] …Faithful is He Who calls you, Who will also perform it" (vs 20-24).

Now here's a promise. Just take this section of Scripture and use it also in your prayer. Claim the promise. He will perform it. "Brethren, pray for us…. [That's why we need to pray for others continually: brethren, family, those that we know, grace and favor of people in the world and so forth. And we'll see a little later on, we're even to pray for our enemies. We've covered some of that previously, but we may review that.] …Brethren, pray for us" (v 25).

Let's continue on here, let's come to Ephesians, the sixth chapter. Let's see again how prayer is to be a part of our life continually! Now Ephesians 6:18: "Praying at all times with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit… [Now we'll cover about beseeching and supplications a little later] …and in this very thing being watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; And for me, that boldness of speech may be given to me so that I may open my mouth to make known the mystery of the Gospel…" (vs 18-19). So we are to pray about reaching out to others.

Let's look at what James said about prayer. Let's come to James 5:7—so we get the flow of it. "Therefore, brethren, be patient until the coming of the Lord. Consider the husbandman who waits for the precious fruit of the earth… [You put the seed in and you watch the plant grow. You don't go out and disturb it because it's not doing what you want it to do right away. You nurture it. You hull it. You dung it and so forth—and it grows.] …being patient for it, until it has received the former and latter rains. You also be patient. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord has drawn near…. [Now take this verse and understand we're a whole lot closer than what it was back then, but it shows they were expecting the Lord to come during their lifetimes.] …Do not complain against one another, brethren, so that you may not be condemned" (vs 7-9).

Now we're all going to have our faults; We're all going to have our difficulties; we're all going to have things that come along. But don't complain against one another. Like John said there in 1-John 5: 'If you see your brother sin a sin not unto death, pray for him.' Don't gripe and complain against him and talk about him behind his back and so forth.

"…Behold, the Judge stands at the door…. [And of course, we're always being judged unto eternal life every day.] (v 10): …My brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of endurance in afflictions and of steadfastness…. [If you get down and think your troubles are difficult, go back and read Isa., Jer., Ezek. Go back and read about the life of Samuel, of Joshua, of Moses. Look at Moses! Having 40 years to deal with hard-hearted, rebellious, carnal-minded people. Wow! As an example of endurance and afflictions and steadfastness.] …Remember, we call those blessed who endure. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the end result of servingthe Lord: that the Lord is very compassionate and full of tender mercies" (vs 9-11). So look at the long picture, always.

"But above all things, my brethren, do not swear, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and let your no be no… [we already covered that] …so that you do not fall into hypocrisy. Is anyone suffering hardship among you? Let him pray…. [And keep praying as we have seen] …Is anyone happy? Let him sing praise. Is anyone sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him after anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick one… [Now the 'prayer of faith' is going to save all of us.] …and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another… [You confess your sins to God and you admit your faults to one another. And there's a difference.] …that you may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man prevails much, being effective" (vs 12-16).

So then he ends by telling us what Elijah did. "Elijah was a man of emotions like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain upon the earth for three years and six months. And again he prayed… [You can go back and read that account.] …and the heaven gave rain, and caused the earth to sprout its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you strays from the Truth, and someone brings him back, let him know that he who brings back a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins" (vs 17-20).

So here again we see that our prayers, our way of living, are all connected together. Prayer is not one part of it isolated alone [and] has nothing to do with the rest of the way that we live our lives. It's all connected together.

Let's ask a question: Can you change God's mind? Yes, you can. That's important to understand. So circumstances are coming against you that are very difficult. Then you can cry out to God and He will change His mind. Let's come to Amos 7—you can change God's mind. And that's what it means when it says, 'The Lord repented.' God changed His mind. Now here we have some pretty tough stuff coming down as punishment against Israel.

So let's pick it up here Amos 7:1—Now, we need to keep this in mind as we approach closer and closer to the difficult times at the end, that asking God to help us, to spare us, that if some of these things are coming down close to us that He would change His mind. And this shows how we do it. We just don't say, 'God, change your mind.' No, we beseech God—that's the key. So we're going to see that beseeching God in the right way can change His mind.

Amos 7:1: "Thus has the Lord GOD showed unto me; and, behold, He formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, 'O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech You… [terrible punishment] …by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.' The LORD repented for this. 'It shall not be,' says the LORD" (vs 1-3). Now that's tremendous—isn't it? And what we can do again, here, remember as I have said: We can use this and claim this as a promise from God.

Verse 4: "Thus has the Lord GOD showed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part. Then said I, 'O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech You: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.' The LORD repented for this. 'This also shall not be,' says the Lord GOD" (vs 4-6). Then he goes on showing what happened then.

Let's come to Genesis 6, and let's see that our love of God and our conduct can also change His mind. Now here we are at a critical point in the history of the world and the conduct of man in the days before the Flood. We've covered this, and the one man can make a difference, but let's look at this again. Let's understand that it was Noah's conduct, because Noah did not pray to God that He would change His mind. But God saw Noah that he was walking uprightly, that he was doing right.

Genesis 6:5: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. [And now, today, we've got it…I need to give a sermon one of these days: Are You Mainlined into Satan. We've got television; we've have I-Pods; we have rock concerts; we have music; we have literature; we have pornography; we've got I-phones and cell phones, and all the evil that takes place because of those is almost unimaginable.] …And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (vs 5-6). Because God has given us free moral agency and He will not take it away. In spite of all the evil that is done, He will not take it away. Obviously, there's going to have to be judgment coming because of it, but He is not going to take it away.

"And the LORD said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents Me that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD… [And he found it why? Because of his conduct.] …These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations [or genealogy], and Noah walked with God" (vs 7-9). Now, isn't it interesting that before the Flood we have three righteous patriarchs: Abel, Enoch and Noah. And after the Flood, we have three righteous patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Something, isn't it?

Now, let's look at the classic example concerning Moses. Now remember they did what? They made the golden calf, right? They sinned against God—Moses was on the mountain—right at the end of receiving all the instructions of God. And let's see again how Moses handled it. Because what we need to understand is this: There are going to be times when we may be confronted with a very evil situation that is going to test us—do we really want mercy or do we want something for ourselves? That's what Moses was confronted with. We'll see the choice that he was given.

Exodus 32:7—So, here's God talking to Moses, a very critical point. He had just received the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God, on tables of stone that God Himself had provided for himself—the second set, He had Moses do it. But this set, God did. "And the LORD said unto Moses, 'Go, get you down; for your people… [And it's always interesting that when the people sinned they're Moses' people.] …which you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.… ['But Lord, You told me to bring them up.] …They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, "These be your gods, O Israel, which have brought you up out of the land of Egypt."' And the LORD said unto Moses, 'I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation'" (vs 7-10).

Now Moses had a choice—didn't he? Mercy or self! Now, we need to always consider that. Now these situations do not come along but once in a great, great, great while. So what did Moses do? He besought God. This is when beseeching God—and this means that you are talking to God; in this case, face-to-face with Moses—but in prayer that we have our whole being into this prayer, because it's so urgent.] …And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why does Your wrath wax hot against Your people, which You have brought… [Now notice, they're switching back and forth ownership of the people] …forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?'" (v 11).

Now think on this, God! "Wherefore, should the Egyptians speak, and say, 'For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'?…. [Now notice his boldness] …Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore… [And what did God say to Abraham? He said, 'I swear by Myself that in blessing I will bless and in multiplying I will multiply.' So He reminds him.] …by thine own self, and said unto them, "I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever."' And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do unto his people" (vs 12-14).

So yes, He changed His mind. Then he spoke a little more with Him in this whole situation. Let's come down here to v 30: "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, 'You have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.'…. [Now notice his attitude.] …And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, 'Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—… [and there's a dash right there in the Scripture, meaning that he had no more words to say. There comes a time in things that it's so bad that you become what? Speechless. And that's what it means. And he gathered his thoughts and said]: …and if not, blot me… [Total unselfishness, right?] …I pray You, out of Your book which You have written.'…. [So here again He changed his mind]: …And the LORD said unto Moses, 'Whosoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore, now go lead the people… [Now notice, He didn't say, 'your' people.] …unto the place of which I have spoken unto you: behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.' And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made" (vs 30-35). So He held them all responsible.

And in another place it says Moses told Aaron or it said of Moses that Aaron 'pleaded for you.' Now, he was to be the high priest. Remember, the whole priesthood of Aaron started out not in righteousness, but in sin—which was also what? A prophecy that they would corrupt themselves later. And so, you can put in your notes there, Malachi and all the corruption of the priesthood that is brought out there.

Now, let's come over here to Genesis 33:12—you can read all the rest up to it. "And Moses said unto the LORD, 'See, You say unto me, "Bring up this people"; and You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, "I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight."…. [So here's what he's doing. Here's how you claim a promise of God when you're talking to God in your prayers. And here, he was talking to Him face-to-face. So put in your margin there: Isa. 1, which says: 'come now let us reason together'—here's a good example of reasoning together—Moses talking directly with God.] …Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You, that I may find grace in Your sight: and consider that this nation is Your people.'…. [So v 14 He answered]: …And He said, 'My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest'" (vs 12-14).

"And he [that is Moses] said unto Him, 'If Your presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. ['I want a guarantee now, because this is such a great, great problem. Please God, guarantee it for me'—that's what he's saying in so many words.] …For wherein shall it be known here that I and Your people have found grace in Your sight? Is it not in that You go with us? So shall we be separated, I and Your people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.' And the LORD said unto Moses, 'I will do this thing also that you have spoken: for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.'…. [So then Moses answered]: …And he said, 'I beseech You, show me Your glory" (vs 15-18)—'Let me see Your goodness.' So He did. You can't see it all. You get in the crevice of the rock and you get in there and I'll pass by.

Now let's see what happened here in Exodus 34:4—now I want you to think about this in relationship to the guarantee that we have through the sacrifice of Christ, what He has done for us which was greater than this: Exodus 34:4: "And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone…. [So Moses had to make the second set of stones.] …And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, 'The LORD, The LORD God… [This is what God delights in]: …merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth'…" (vs 4-6).

So just remember that whenever you feel pressed in upon by everything around you. Go claim this promise. Open up the Bible right here and say, 'Lord, you did this with Moses. Please, intervene on my behalf in this small, little affair over here, O God.' Compared to this, whatever troubles we come to is a small, little affair.

And please be: "'…merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands… [Now, these are the words of God which we can claim as promises] …forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation'" (vs 6-7). And it says there in the second commandment: 'of those that hate Me.' Then He says in another place that the son shall not bear the sin of the father nor will the children bear the sin of the father or the father the children (Ezek. 18).

"And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. And he said, 'If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray You, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people and pardon our iniquity… [Now notice, Moses included himself in it—right? Yes!] …and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance.' And He said, 'Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which you are shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with you'" (vs 8-10). Then He goes on reiterating the Covenant again.

Can you change God's mind? The answer is: Yes! Now let's see how this works together with supplications. Supplications and deliverance go hand-in-hand. And the difference between beseeching and supplication is only a matter of degree. Beseeching seems to be more urgent, more desperate, more standing at the precipice and everything is about ready to come down. Whereas, supplication is asking God to intervene and help in a deep and meaningful way.

Let's come to Psalm 6:1—now that's the best that I can describe it. Here is a supplication: "O LORD, rebuke me not in Your anger, neither chasten me in Your hot displeasure…. [Now it doesn't say what David had done. It says there in the subheading below Psa. 6—David's complaint in his sickness; but we don't know exactly what it was.] (But notice): …Have mercy upon me, O LORD… [And this ties right in with what we just read back there with Moses: gracious and merciful and longsuffering.] …for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but You, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for Your mercies' sake…. [Now, he must have been very, very sick, because v 5 says]: …For in death there is no remembrance of You… [So he thought he was about ready to die.] …in the grave who shall give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim… [That is with sweating and tears] …I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxes old because of all mine enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer" (vs 1-9). Now, we don't know exactly what this is, or in the chronology of the history of David's life, exactly when this occurred; but it was getting down to the nitty-gritty.

Let's come to Psalm 119—the very last section. So you might say this is the last section here beginning in v 169. You might say this is the section of supplication. Psalm 119:169: "Let my cry come near before You, O LORD: give me understanding according to Your Word…. [So in your circumstances that are difficult and hard to come by, always ask God for understanding according to His Word. When we understand the situation, then we know how to handle it.] …Let my supplication come before You: deliver me according to YourWord…. [Now notice how he's keeping the promise of God—'according to Your Word.'] …My lips shall utter praise, when You have taught me Your statutes…. [So there's a lesson to be learned.] …My tongue shall speak of Your Word: for all Your commandments are righteousness…. [So what has he done here that's important? He's gotten his mind off his problem—asking God to deliver him—and got his mind on what? On God!His Word! His commandments!] …Let Your hand help me; for I have chosen Your precepts…. [So you can say, 'Oh God, remember how long You have dealt with me. Remember how I love Your law. Remember how I love Your way.' This is how we reason together with God.] …I have longed for Your salvation, O LORD; and Your law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I do not forget Your commandments" (vs 169-176). Now, you can put in there: Isa. 53—'we all like sheep have gone astray, each one to his own way'—etc., etc., etc.

Now, we will finish today—and there are many other Psalms you can put in there: Psa. 28 and then remember this one: this is a Scripture to always remember: Romans 8:28: "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose."—all things!

Now let's see deliverance and victory. Let's come to Psalm 18—this is quite a Psalm. And remember, what is going to be our final deliverance and victory? The resurrection! Now here is a victory celebration: Psalm 18:1: "…I will love You, O LORD, my strength…. [Always gets back to loving God.] …The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (vs 1-3). And then he shows how God intervened to even move the earth to give him victory over his enemies. So you can read the rest of that Psalm.

Let's come down here to Psalm 27—here's another victory Psalm. When God intervenes to help you, rejoice in it, share that with others, let them know. Psalm 27:1: "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple" (vs 1-4). Always that purpose before you. Put in your margin there: Heb. 12:1-2—that you keep your mind focused on Christ, the Beginner and Finisher of our salvation.

Now, let's look at a couple more. Let's come to Psalm 116:1: "I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications…. [So here now we have supplication, we have the beseeching, we have crying out to God, and so forth] …Because He has inclined His ear unto me, therefore, will I call upon Him as long as I live…. [Look at the dedication that we have there] …The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech You, deliver my soul…. [You can't have anymore difficulties than this.] …Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me" (vs 1-6). Tremendous Psalm—deliverance!

All right let's come here to Psalm 118:5: "I called upon the LORD in distress… [Don't get frustrated and go out and try and work it out yourself—call upon God. Do what you know you need to do, make sure though that it's right.] …the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side… [As long as you're on God's side, the Lord is on your side. Can you have anybody greater than that for you? No!] …I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD takes my part with them that help me: therefore, shall I see my desire upon them that hate me…. [God's going to take care of it.] …It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man…. [And that is the middle verse of the Bible—Psa. 118:8, right there.] …It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes" (vs 5-9).

Now, let's come over here to v 25: "Save now, I beseech You, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech You, send now prosperity…. [Or you can put there: victory; or you can put there: help; or you can put there: understanding.] …Blessed be he that comes in the name of the LORD. We have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. God is the LORD, which has showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar…. [Then you can put in there: the sacrifice of Christ.] … You are my God, and I will praise You: Youare my God, I will exalt You. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endures forever" (vs 25-29).

Now we have how to close a prayer, don't we? This shows how to close a prayer. And in the model prayer, what do we have? Matthew 6—"for Yours is the Kingdom." We start out "Your Kingdom come" and we end up coming back to the same thing: "For Yours is the might and the power and the Kingdom forever, Amen."

Now, let's come here to Hebrews 13—and let's end here—so that you can realize that yes,

  • Christ is there to always help
  • Christ is there to answer your prayers,
  • though your life may have troubles and difficulty
  • though you may be getting old and coming close to the end of your life
  • God will not leave you!
  • God will help you and hear you.

And the greatest answer to your prayers, in the final analysis is this: not the physical things around you; not the monetary things around you; but that you remain faithful unto death so that you can be resurrected when Christ returns. That's the key thing.

So Let's pick it up here in Hebrews 13:5: "Do not allowthe love of money to influence your behavior, but be satisfied with what you have; for He has said… [Now here is this promise and gives us faith and confidence in everything that we ask God for in our relationship with God—everything that we go through]: …'In no way will I ever leave you; no—I will never forsake you in any way'"

Now, that's the promise. And in our prayers we need to claim that promise. Christ is always there.

  • And remember: we are so important to God that He has given us His Holy Spirit by begettal. Remember that.
  • And remember that God loves you.
  • And remember that God delights in the prayer of the righteous.
  • And He is always there.

Verse 6: "So then, let us boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" Nothing! And we come down here to v 8—and claim this promise: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever."

And so, these are the keys to answered prayer. May this help you with your prayer life, to draw close to God the Father and Jesus Christ, and may God bless you in your prayers.

Old Testament Scriptures from the King James Version
New Testament Scriptures from The New Testament in Its Original Order—A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Luke 11:1-9
  • 1 Samuel 1:1-8 (paraphrased); 9-17
  • Luke 11:10-13
  • Luke 18:1-7
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
  • Ephesians 4:23-32
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19-25
  • Ephesians 6:18-19
  • James 5:7-20
  • Amos 7:1-6
  • Genesis 6:5-9
  • Exodus 32:7-14, 30-35
  • Exodus 33:12-18
  • Exodus 34:4-10
  • Psalm 6:1-9
  • Psalm 119:169-176
  • Psalm 18:1-3
  • Psalm 27:1-4
  • Psalm 116:1-6
  • Psalm 118:5-9; 25-29
  • Hebrews 13:5-6, 8

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Psalm 138
  • Matthew 18
  • Acts 5
  • Psalm 62:10
  • Philippians 2
  • Isaiah 1
  • 1 John 5
  • Malachi
  • Ezekiel 18
  • Isaiah 53
  • Psalm 28
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
  • Matthew 6

Also referenced: Sermon series: Hebrews

Transcribed: 4-8-08