God's will and our desires - Part 4

SERMON TOPIC: God's will and our desires - Part 4

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 2 April 2017


Sermon synopsis: God has commanded us to pray.
'Pray for those who persecute you' –Matthew 5:44
'And when you pray …' –Matthew 6:5
'This, then, is how you should pray …' –Matthew 6:9
'Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.' –Romans 12:12
'And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.' –Ephesians 6:18
'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' –Philippians 4:6
'Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.' –Colossians 4:2
'Pray continually' -1 Thessalonians 5:17
'I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone …' -1 Timothy 2:1
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God’s will Part 4.

God has commanded us to pray.

"Pray for those who persecute you" Matthew 5:44

"And when you pray …" Matthew 6:5

"This, then, is how you should pray …" Matthew 6:9

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." Ephesians 6:18

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." –Colossians 4:2

"Pray continually" -1 Thessalonians 5:17

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone …" -1 Timothy 2:1

Jesus Prayed Regularly.

Why did Jesus pray? One reason he prayed was as an example so that we could learn from him.

"After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray." –Matthew 14:23

"Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.'" –Matthew 26:36

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." –Mark 1:35

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." –Luke 5:16

"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." –Luke 6:12

Nico Bougas 1 April 2017.

Dear Ken, The famous Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said, "I would rather teach one man to pray than 10 people to preach." We need prayer to be a priority in our lives not just something that is tacked on and bookends our daily lives. The word of God urges us to "pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5.17). This means developing a lifestyle of prayer where we are in constant communication with the Lord. We don't need to close our eyes or get on our knees. We are simply interacting with Him and casting all our cares on Him for He cares for us. (I Peter 5.7)

But prayer is not simply getting ready for Christian service, prayer IS Christian service. And when we work, we work, but when we pray, God works.

“You could remove the powerful preaching from our church and it would still continue. You could remove the administration of pastoral care through the cell group system and the church would still continue. But if you remove the prayer life of our church it would collapse.” (David Yonggi Cho)

It is God’s will that we should prayer.

1 Timothy 2:1-8. I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.....

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

It is God’s will that we should prayer.

Joel 2:15-17.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

It is God’s will that we should prayer.

Franklin Graham had a unique calling: to hold prayer rallies in all 50 state capitals. But he’ll be the first to tell you that 282 days ago, waiting for noon to come around in windy and snowy Des Moines, with temperatures in the teens—it was a bit of a challenge.

“I thought to myself, if 50 people showed up, that would be a pretty good crowd,” Franklin Graham said, opening the final Decision America Tour stop on Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Fifty? Ha.

An estimated 2,500 concerned Americans launched Franklin Graham’s “campaign for God” that day in January on the ice-packed Iowa State Capitol steps. The Decision America Tour was officially off and running.

Finishing the tour with a massive crowd of about 14,200 in his home state, he reflected on when it all began.

“They didn’t come to hear me,” Franklin Graham said. “They came to pray.”

It is God’s will that we should prayer.

A crowd estimated to be more than 14,000 strong joined Franklin Graham in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the 50th and final Decision America Tour prayer rally on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.

It is God’s will that we should prayer.

Persistent prayer

Luke 18:1-8.

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, Grant me justice against my adversary. For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!

And the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

People who don’t have Faith, don’t pray...

Prayer God’s will in God’s way.

Matthew 6:5-10. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Unanswered prayer

(God says not your will).

2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Prayer God’s will.

1 John 5:14-15.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of him.

Matthew 26:38-44.

Then he said to them, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. 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.

Prayer God’s will.

Matthew 26:38-44 (continued)

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour? he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away a second time and prayed, My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Unanswered prayer.

Selfish motives: your own pleasures.

James 4:2-3.

You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Husbands been inconsiderate and disrespectful to their wives.

1 Peter 3:7.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Unanswered prayer.


Luke 18:9-14.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.

I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Unanswered prayer.


Jeremiah 11:11-14.

Therefore thus says the LORD, Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they surely will not save them in the time of their disaster. For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal.

Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster.

Unanswered prayer.


Amos 5:18-23 &25-26.

Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light, pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.

Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god which you made for yourselves.

Unanswered prayer.


James 1:5-8. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Mark 9:23.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth.

Matthew 21:22.

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Unanswered prayer.


Ezekiel 8:15-18.

Do you see this, son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they have committed here, that they have filled the land with violence and provoked Me repeatedly? For behold, they are putting the twig to their nose. Therefore, I indeed will deal in wrath. My eye will have no pity nor will I spare; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet I will not listen to them.

Proverbs 1:28-29.

Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.

Proverbs 28:9.

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

Unanswered prayer.

No compassion for the poor.

Proverbs 21:13

Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

Unanswered prayer.

Ignoring the plight of the oppressed, the fatherless and widows.

Isaiah 1:11-17.

The multitude of your sacrifices, what are they to me? says the LORD. I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations, I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Unanswered prayer.

Ignoring the plight of the oppressed, the fatherless and widows. Zechariah 7:7-14.

And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: This is what the LORD Almighty said: Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other. But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.

When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen, says the LORD Almighty. I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one travelled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.

Unanswered prayer.

Unrepented sin.


I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfil my vows to you, vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats. Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Isaiah 59:1-2.

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Unanswered prayer.

Un-repented sin.

1 Peter 3:8-12.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

John 9:31

We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.

Delayed answers to prayer.

Unseen spiritual warfare

Daniel 10:10-14.

A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.

He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

Unanswered prayer even when fasting.

Isaiah 58:1-11.

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed? Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Unanswered prayer even when fasting.

Isaiah 58:1-11. Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Answered prayer when fasting.

There are examples even of the wicked fasting and God hearing and granting His grace.

Ahab 1 Kings 21: 27.

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day

The King of Nineveh.

Jonah 3.6-7.

When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.

Answered prayer when fasting.

I believe that the Lord wants to see sincerity, desperation on our part and not just religious ritual.

Personal testimony: This week fasting and praying.

The person in the mirror.

Cosmetic change does not take too much, we can hide who we are and what we really look like and billion dollar industries make a fortune out of making that possible.

Real change however takes commitment, discipline and dedication.

Why is it that we can see ourselves so differently to the way God sees us.

Answered prayer when fasting.

We see ourselves all too often like the Laodician church.

Revelation 3:14-17.

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Just as there is no cosmetics to take away scars and missing limbs and excess weight, there is no quick fix for a rotten selfish personality that can only be cured by submitting to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to take charge of our lives so that the very nature of Christ is clearly seen by all who have contact with us.

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898)

George Mueller was a man of faith and miracles. Certainly he was one of the greatest prayer warriors of the past century.

His ministry was prospered because he trusted fully in God and he started a work that was born in his heart. During his ministry of 63 years, he supported missionaries, established the Scriptural Knowledge Institute in England, taught Sunday schools as well as day schools where teachers were Christian, distributed Bibles and religious tracts, and cared for orphans.

He was directly involved in the Christian instruction of 121,683 pupils. He distributed 281,652 Bibles, 1,448,662 New Testaments, 21,343 copies of the Book of Psalms, and 222,196 other portions of the Holy Scriptures.

He financially supported missionary operations in 26 different countries. He distributed 111,489,067 tracts/ booklets/ pamphlets, and was directly involved in the conversion of 2,813 orphans. He mastered 6 languages: French, German, Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and English.

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898)

Near the end of his life he affirmed that he had read the Bible through approximately

200 times, 100 of which was on his knees.

He found God's promises in the Bible and experienced the truth of them in his everyday life.

He learned to believe what he read and to act accordingly.

He learned to tell not man but God his needs and to believe God would supply them.

As long as Mueller saw to the careful distribution of money and supplies, God never failed in pouring in the needed materials. Mr. Mueller testified that in his lifetime 50,000 specific prayers were answered. Years before he died, about the middle of his career, he affirmed that up to that time 5000 of his definite prayers had been answered on the day of asking.

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898)

He made it a habit to keep a notebook with 2-page entries.

On one page he gave the petition and the date, and on the opposite page he entered the date of the answer. In this manner he was able to keep record of definite petitions, and their specific answers. He recommended this form to believers who desired specific results to their prayers. Thus there is no guesswork as to when God answers prayers. "…I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming. Thousands and tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered. When once I am persuaded that a thing is right and for the glory of God, I go on praying for it until the answer comes.

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898)

The Mueller's set off for the United States in August 1877 aboard the Sardian.

Off Newfoundland the weather turned cold and the ship's progress was seriously retarded by fog. The captain had been on the bridge for 24 hours when something happened which was to revolutionize his life. George Mueller appeared on the bridge. "Captain, I have come to tell you I must be in Quebec by Saturday afternoon.” "It is impossible," said the captain. "Very well, " said Mueller, "if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way--I have never broken an engagement for 52 years. Let us go down into the chart-room and pray.” The Captain wondered which lunatic asylum Mueller had come from. "Mr. Mueller," he said, "do you know how dense this fog is?” "No, my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life."

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898)

Mueller then knelt down and prayed simply. When he had finished the captain was about to pray, but Mueller put his hand on his shoulder, and told him not to. "First, you do not believe He will' and second, I believe He has, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.” The captain looked at Mueller in amazement. "Captain," he continued, I have known my Lord for 52 years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get an audience with the King. Get up, captain, and open the door, and you will find the fog is gone.” The captain walked across to the door and opened it. The fog had lifted. It was the captain himself, who later told the story of this incident, and who was subsequently described by a well known evangelist as "one of the most devoted men I ever knew.”

GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898)

During the last year of Mr. Mueller's life, among the gifts (for the feeding of the orphans) recorded were 7, 203 loaves of bread; 5,222 buns; 20 boxes of soap; 9 tons of coal; 26 haunches of venison; 112 rabbits; 312 pheasants; 5 bags of oatmeal; 26 cases of oranges; 5 boxes of dates and 4,013 pounds of meat along with hundreds of other items. Additionally he had prayed for the financial needs of the orphan houses and had during the course of his lifetime received over 2 1/ 2 million dollars--always making his requests known only to God. All of these gifts were needed to help care for and feed the thousands of orphans under his careful wing. George Mueller was a living demonstration of the reality of the Scripture: But my God shall supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19. www.christianadoption.com/ goals/ mueller.htm www.unityinchrist.com/ prayer/ mueller.htm www.wholesomewords.org/ biography/ biorpmueller.html

How not to pray, prayer is not a monologue.

Ecclesiastes 5:1. Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, My vow was a mistake. Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?


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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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