Prayer That Moves God – Dr. Charles Stanley

[Music] praying is serious business with God I'm talking to the creator of the whole earth I'm talking to the one who doesn't have to speak he can just think it in the bed I'm talking to a God who can change anything anywhere anytime according to his will next on InTouch prayer that moves God you often wonder why your prayers are unanswered you know some scriptures and you talk to God but somehow so many of your prayers go unanswered there must be some reason have you thought about why have you looked at your life to ask you a question is there anything in my life it would cause God not to answer my prayers 1 have you thought about this have you thought about they God to whom you're making your prayers you say well everybody believes in God well everybody doesn't believe in the one true God and many people pray to a god and they expect God to answer their prayers and somehow they don't get answered and so you give up on praying and you think you think well the Bible's not really true the Bible is very true from very beginning to the very end so I want you to listen carefully to this message because it just may be that you will discover one of those reasons your prayers are unanswered listen carefully so turn if you will to Acts chapter 12 this is a familiar passage and I want us to read a few verses but we'll take probably most of this chapter beginning in verse 1 the scripture says now about that time Herod the King laid hands on some who belong to the church in order to mistreat them and he had James the brother of John put to death with the sword and when he saw that it pleased the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also now it was during the days of the unleavened bread after the Passover and when he had seized him he put him in prison delivering him to four squads of soldiers that four squads would be 16 they were there to guard him and to bring him out before the people so Peter was kept in the prison but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God remember that he was made fervently by the church to God would you say that you pray fervently or do you just say well I I don't know whether it's firming they're not but I just pray well let's look at what's going on right here and maybe it discovers something about your own prayer life so this Herod he had James killed and that seemed to satisfy the Jews who hated the Christians and so then he thought that worked so he had Peter arrested and put in prison so Peter is now in prison and his death is imminent very evident that he intends to kill him that he intends to bring him out before the people and killing with a sword as he did James and he figured that that would satisfy the Jews by killing Christians and so the result is that the Christians gathered together the scripture says in Mary's house and there they gathered together to pray for Peter they remember probably James was killed without any warning and so here's Peter their leader who is going to be killed they know he's going to be killed and so they're praying but they have to be struggling to some degree with that because James already died and they know how a prisoner is imprisoned by the Romans and so they're praying and praying for God to release him and so I want us to just read a few verses if you will and look if you will verse 6 on the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward Peter was sleeping between two soldiers bound with two chains and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison and behold an angel of the Lord appeared in a light shone in the cell and he struck Peters side woke him up saying get up quickly and his chains fell off his hands and the angel said to him gird yourself put on your sandals and he did so and he said to him refu cloak around you and follow me and he went out and continued to follow and he did not know what was being done but by the angel was real but he thought he was seeing something having a vision when they had passed the first and second yard they came to the iron gate that leads into the city which opened for them by itself and they went out and went along one Street and immediately the angel departed from him so so what happens when Peter came to himself he said now I know for sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting now I want you to think about something the two words here that really got my attention when I read this and already many times if you go back to the fifth verse notice what it says so Peter was kept in the prison but prayer for him was being made fervently listened fervently by the church to God and those two words just jumped off the page to me to God if I should ask you who is the god you're praying to more than likely most of you seated here and most of you who believe us could say well I'm praying to the one true God that when I pray even when I think about but I want you to think about the people who pray who don't necessarily pray to the one true God and what I've discovered is this when I talk to somebody who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and they talk about praying I'd say well who do you pray to well I just pray to God well like like who is this God well he's the god I pray to and the more you talk to them the more you listen here's what you discover many people have mentally created their own God and this God agrees with them about what they want to do they want to go how they want to address what they want to drink and what kind of sexual relationships he'll have there was this guy just fits them perfectly and so they say that I believe in God yes either you pray to Him yes I do what do you say to him well now you're getting personal I'm gonna tell you what I pray to him they can't because he's not God he's a God that they've created in their minds but listen they will never tell you he's holy he's righteous he's a God of judgment he hates sin they're like I'll say that they're gonna talk about the God who has patterned his desires after their desire the way they live and so many people when they're praying then I prayed to God so somebody says well what kind of God does a Christian pray to I'll tell you he is the God who created this world he's the God who destroyed this world by flood he's the God who gave us the Ten Commandments he's the God who broke down the walls of Jericho he's the God who gave to David the Psalms he's a god who's given to us the prophets like Isaiah Jeremiah Daniel he's the God who has given to us the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God and our Savior now if that's nothing god you afraid - you got a homemade gun and it doesn't work he's a holy God he's a righteous God he's a perfect God he's a God who here's an answer prayers he's a God who loves us unconditionally he's a God who forgives us of our sin but he's a God who does not tolerate sin because he knows that sin is a destroyer of the very people he loves if you don't have that God you don't have God you have a homemade God you have one that suits you listen to this who has no power to promise you anything nothing we can say because of the scripture absent from the body present with the Lord what can you say about your God I can tell you what you say well I guess I just everything just goes to nothing I just disappeared no you know well I guess he got us together of love he treats everybody the same no he doesn't you can come up with all kinds of excuses about your god but you do not talk about judgment you do not talk about righteousness you do not talk about a day of judgment you do not talk about standing before a holy God and given account of your life and I notice you don't talk about hell you may talk a little bit about heaven because you believe that everybody's going there is that really true no it's not and so your God is God to you but your God can't do anything for you he has no power whatsoever because it is a god of your imagination the God who is the one true eternal God is the god we just described a few moments ago he's the God who gave us the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes and all the awesome scriptures we have in the Bible now the reason I ask you what gods you're praying to is because if you're not praying to the one through God it's not making it a difference in your life now these Christians hearing about teeta's imprisonment they got together and they began to pray and to intercede for him and it's interesting when you look at this passage and think about what was getting ready to happen that even in their prayers they had to be struggling a little bit I think I would have been but I've been one of them and so from all human perspective every human perspective Peter was going to be killed tomorrow that is tomorrow is d-day for PETA death for Peter and so they got together at Mary's house and began to pray and they were crying out for God to do something unusual to do something awesome for them because he he meant so much to them and and for him to be killed would have been a total disaster in their thinking and especially in what was happening in the church so we saw a few moments ago what happened so Peters in prison God sends his angel takes him out then he goes to Mary's house he knew that's where they were all praying knocks on the door and this young lady comes to the door the scripture says when he knocked at the door at the gate a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer when she recognized Peters voice you think she would have run she would have opened the door and run back and said here's Peter now what she did she heard him and she she didn't him open the door she just ran back and said it's Peter and what did they say oh I can't be Peter it may be an angel but he can't be up he steals them they can knock in trying to get in and they're in the southern it can't be him I mean they've been praying fervently forgot to set him free and he sets him free and they're still back there saying no it can't happen so that'll give you some wandering faith and so they said to her you're out of your mind look at this they've been in a praying crying out to God she says he's at the door they say you're at the you're out of your mind and so she kept insisting and so but Peter continued knocking and I wonder what he was thinking and when they had opened the door they saw him and were amazed so God answered their prayer what I want us to look at here and I want us to say this again and again because I don't want you to I don't want you to miss this the Bible says they were praying to God let me ask you that how many of you pray to God how many times have you gotten on your knees and began to talk to God about what you were concerned about and then you went from praying about your husband your wife or children or your finances whatever it is next thing you know you're praying about something else next thing you know you're praying about something else in fact in fact you you've read all over the world and then you get up and walk away about two hours later somebody says don't you pray would you pray about well I'm afraid about a lot of things when you pray to God you're gonna know what you prayed about now listen carefully what happens is in our mind we fix our mind upon God to pray to Him and we call him a verse God you said if I ask anything in your name that you did I mess this is Jesus name praying to you and so we've started praying and next thing you know we're off to something else and God gets lost in the whole issue it finally the way we put a period to it we say in Jesus name Amen we don't even know what that means in Jesus name Amen so so much of our praying is not profitable because we don't pray to God I'm praying to God about my finances I'm praying to God about my husband or wife I'm praying to God about my children I'm praying their words he must be uppermost in our praying and our thinking otherwise we drift off into all kinds of things as we said before and sometimes can't even remember what it was but God is uppermost for most I'm praying to the Heavenly Father about this and I'm not gonna go praying along and get off on something else and forget to whom I am praying and what he's like God is honored when we come to him he's honored when we talked to him and he's willing to hear an answer our prayer he says callin to me I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know if he can part the Red Sea knock down the walls of Jericho and if he can give us the Ten Commandments he can answer any prayer we prayed that fits his will and his plan for our life and so so once you notice something else here about them it says the scripture says so for him prayer was being made fervently by the church fervently you know what that means there's some enthusiasm there's some feeling there's some belief fervently let me ask you a question do you love your children fervently sure you do fervently means my heart is in it when I'm talking to God's fervently it means I'm I want to quote him on Scripture and we quote scripture in our prayer not to remind God of anything but to do what to remind us of what he's promised us when we come to him praying to him and so there pray fervently for example when Jesus was facing the cross the scripture says he was praying in Luke the 22nd chapter he was praying fervently that is he was agonizing and I wonder when is the last time you could honestly say I prayed fervently for him that means you put your whole heart into it it means you probably maybe we're weeping in their behalf that you were saying God I'll do whatever you say do whatever it takes to help them through this situation they're going through got in Jesus name and so fervently it means you it's wholeheartedly and oftentimes we say to somebody I'll pray for you we don't we shouldn't say that if we don't mean it now if I tell somebody I'm gonna pray for them I'm gonna pray for them I want to do something to remind me that I told them I'd pray for them and so sometimes I say yeah make a list now watch this if you want God to do something many things coming to him one time it's not gonna cut it it's not because some issues in situations got us to have time to arrange the situation's in order to answer your prayers so if you just pray once and say well God didn't answer my prayer you didn't give him an opportunity to answer your prayer the way he wants to answer it in the way that he gets the most credit and that you blessed and you reminded next time you have a request that's the way you come to him he says callin to me when I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know about you don't even understand and so if I say to you do you have a list it's for this way if you are dead serious I bet your prayer life and about the people you praying for you're gonna do something that reminds you to keep praying until God changes the circumstance and that's why I have a list you said what kind of list you just put at the top of the prayer list and right then that you can put that name down and the good thing that I found that a long time ago was to put a date down by this is a date I started it maybe three days when I can put another day down answered prayer it may be three months six months and I prayed for people longer than that and some people are prayed for and prayed for and prayed for I still can put a date down by it but look watch this but at least I'm reminded at least I can still pray for that person for God to change them in some way I'll provide something in their life the issue is am i praying with fervency because i love this person because I care not gonna pray for everybody the same you're not going to the closer people are to you the more you probably pray for the more sincere your prayers are gonna be the more intensive intensely you're gonna pray for somebody that you genuinely love or somebody that you see hitting in the wrong turn wrong direction and there have been people I've said don't do that don't do I'm telling you don't do it that and they head out in that direction I pray God that I'm stumbled that I'm fall that I'm hurt what it was necessary block them just block them from running their life it's not gonna be any profit to me to pray for God to block something for them I want to see how to work in their life and so he says we're to pray fervently and then the third thing I wanted you to notice his sinless and that is prayer that moves God maybe made by those in agreement with each other in agreement with each other and in the will of God for example if if I have a big burden on my heart about something I'm gonna talk to somebody it's sitting right here for example and I'm gonna say to that person here's the thing I'm really concerned about and that's you it lets you not pray about this together there's something watch that there's something about agreeing if any two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything of the father's will he gets involved and so there's something about praying together and let's put it this way the deeper your hurt the more your pain the more likely you're gonna ask somebody to pray with you not just pray for you but to pray with you and if I should ask you today how many of you have a prayer partner but so I don't need anybody praying for me yes you do we all need somebody to pray for us we need somebody to pray for us to warn us if we're heading in the wrong direction and I've had people come up to me over the years and say well now you sure about this and so and our garden if a godly person says to me are you sure that that's the right thing to do here's what I'm gonna say I'm not gonna I'm not gonna be prideful and you get this don't say well absolutely I'm sure no if you questioned that I'm gonna say God I want you to clarify this in my mind to be sure I'm headed in the right direction asking the right thing for the right purpose the right motive and so forth God is so willing to grant us the needs the desires of our heart when we come to him with a clean heart an open mind willing to listen to him willing to be obedient to him so the most powerful thing you and I do is to pray with a pray to God we're to pray with fervency with heart we Despres and his will what he wants and what he desires for our life and one of the best things we can do watch this it helps us and help somebody else is to have someone we pray with what's this because we all need to be held accountable a person who wants no accountability is into something they shouldn't be into that's why they don't want to have to give an account accountability is a safety zone for us but what I save where I go who I go with what I spent their words I want to be accountable that's that's safe somebody I says I want freedom you want freedom to destroy your life freedom to get in debt freedom to have relationships with people you have no business having relationships accountability is a safety net for every single one of us and God knows we all need to be safe safe walking in his will and in his way so the church in these days they were smart they all got together and prayed for Peters release and much much to their surprise he was released and what happens there's a long time after that now I descend to ask you this if you had to describe your prayer life what would it be like well I say my prayers at night well let's let's get this what do you mean you say your prayers at night I understand what you're saying but if you just Fred night before you go to sleep I can tell you right now you're gonna get in trouble because first of all you may be about two-thirds sleep before you start praying so you don't even know what you're saying no words you might as well say the prayer that I remember my mother taught me Berlin life for I knew what was going on now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep if I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take it's better than nothing but it isn't the best kind of friend now if we laugh about him oppressor dismisses pray to Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross and shed his blood to your sin praying to be saved to Almighty God through His Son Jesus serious business praying for our needs sirs missis praying for one another serious business praying for the nation serious misses prayers serious business listen not only serious it's powerful business praying with fervency makes change in people's lives and it can make change in a nation and God's people need to be praying amen and probably thank you that you're pleased when we pray willing to hear us willing to answer us willing to strengthen us willing to build our faith up willing to teach us how to love you and we pray today in Jesus name right now any persons needed here any person listening wherever they might be if their prayers are to count help them to understand first of all they must make a personal commitment of their life to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins which opens the door to prayer and makes it possible and before that happens there's no employee that is only talk and so we pray that somebody today would be saved made him maybe many people would be saved but Lord God that you'd have your way in their lives and in each one of us who calls ourselves Christians who names the name of Jesus that you had got us that all of us would be praying people is my prayer in Jesus name amen if you've been blessed by today's program please visit us at gee