Acts 10:1-4
Unleashing God

It is obvious from this passage that Cornelius was a praying man. He
prayed and God sent an angel to visit him. It is obvious that Peter
was a praying man. \\#Acts 9:40\\ He prayed and God raised Dorcas
from the dead. It is obvious that the church at Jerusalem was a
praying church. Although they lacked faith in their prayers. they
prayed and God sent an angel who released Peter from prison
\\#Acts 12:12\\. It is obvious that Paul and Silas were men of prayer.
\\#Acts 16:25\\, they prayed and God sent an earthquake to open the
doors of a prison.

All of these Bible passages and many others teach us that prayer
unleashes the power of God into this world.  This is the promise of
God.

Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide
in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall
be done unto you.

Php 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every
thing by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known
unto God.

Mr 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things
soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye
receive them, and ye shall have them.

Question: Why, then, do Christians not pray more?  I think it gets
down to two reasons.
    1. Either we do not believe we need God unleashed on this world.
    2. Or we do not believe prayer will do any good.

Letís consider them both.
    1. Does the world not need Godís power unleashed?
        a. Would we not like to see diseases eradicated?  I saw an
            articles that stated brain cancer has become the leading
            cancer death for children ages 1-19.  Brain cancer and
            leukemia together account for more than 1/2 of cancer
            deaths in children but in recent years, brain cancer has
            moved to the number one cancer for childrenís death.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/17/health/brain-cancer-leukemia-children-
report/

            Do we not want to unleash God on that?
        b. Would we not like to see violence reduced?  During the
            night last night, an explosion occurred in New York City,
            injuring dozens.  The article that I read stated, "a
            second device with wiring was found blocks awayÖ."
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/17/us/new-york-explosion/

            insinuating that it was terrorism of some kind.  Do we
            not want to unleash God on that?
        c. Many have complained about the direction of our nation.  A
            good man, Judge Roy Moore, will face a hearing for
            standing against a sin that twenty years ago he would
            have been tried for NOT standing against.  Do we not want
            to unleash God on that?
        d. I think we would all agree that we need God unleashed on
            this world.
    2. So then, it must be that we do not believe prayer will do any
        good.
        a. Not all prayers accomplish what we want. We have all
            prayed and not gotten the answer we wanted. In fact,
            using that standardógetting what we wantóI think it is
            safe to say that most of us have more unanswered than
            answered prayers.
        b. But does our not getting what we want mean prayer does not
            work?   Is prayer about getting what we want?  The answer
            to both of those questions is not.
            (1) Not getting what we want is not an indication that
                 prayer does not work.
            (2) In fact, prayer is not about us getting what we want.

For a few moments this morning, letís talk about prayer.

I. There are some qualifications for getting your prayers answered.
    A. I am no expert on prayer.  I do not lift myself up as one, but
        I have studied the Bible and do know there are some
        qualifications.
    B. Qualifications
        1. You must be saved to get your prayers answered.
            a. I am not saying God will never answer the prayers of
                an saved person for He might.
            b. I remember meeting a man once who fought in the war.
                He was the proverbial fellow in a fox hole who prayed
                and asked to get him out.  His comrades were being
                killed all around him and he was under heavy fire.
                He asked God to get him out alive.  He said some
                might not think God answered his prayer but then he
                looked at me and said, "but Iím still here."
            c. While speaking with the man, I did not get the
                impression that he was a Christian, but still God
                heard his prayer and saved him.
            d. So I do not say that God will not answer the prayer of
                an unsaved person; however, I will say that God has
                no commitment to answer the prayers of an unsaved
                person so an unsaved person can have no confidence
                that God will answer his prayer.
            e. God has only committed Himself to answering the
                prayers of a saved person.  It is the saved personís
                right as a child of God to be able to talk with God
                and have God work on his behalf.
        2. You must be right with God to get your prayers answered.

Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide
in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall
be done unto you.

Psalms 66:18  If I regard iniquity in my heart,
the Lord will not hear me:

            a. To abide in Jesus is to stay close to Him, to stay
                connected to Him.  That describes the Christians who
                stays right with God.
            b. To the backslider, the carnal, and the cold Christian,
                I remind you that you are living in a state of sin,
                selfishness, and willfulness.  You are choosing those
                things over Jesusí presence, protection, peace, and
                power.
            c. You have no reason to expect God to answer you

Eze 14:3  Son of man, these men have set up their
idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock
of their iniquity before their face: should I be
enquired of at all by them?

        3. You must have faith to get your prayers answered.

Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things
soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye
receive them, and ye shall have them.

            a. I have spoken on faith several times in the last few
                weeks so I will say only this.
            b. You cannot receive from God what you do not believe
                God is willing to give.
            c. There are some exceptions for the church of Jerusalem
                prayed for Peterís release and then refused to
                accept he was standing at the door; but generally
                speaking, if you do not believe God will give it, God
                will not.
            d. I fear some will not be saved simply because they
                refused to believe that God would save them.
        4. You must pray in Jesusí name to get your prayers answered.

Joh 14:13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my
name, that will I do, that the Father may be
glorified in the Son.

            a. I bring this up mainly to correct a false
                understanding.
            b. When Jesus made this statement, He was not saying that
                any prayer we pray and tack the phrase "in Jesusí
                name" on to it will be answered.  Most of us close
                our prayers like this but that is not what Jesus
                meant.
            c. To pray in Jesusí name is to pray something that Jesus
                would want.  It is to pray in Jesusí will.
            d. Jesus used the phrase "in my name" often, 17 times in
                the four gospels.
            e. He spoke of giving someone a cup of water in His
                name, receiving a child in His name, and praying in
                His name.
            f. In all of these cases, Jesus was speaking of doing
                something because it was Jesus would want to be done.
            g. So when we pray, we must be praying for things that
                Jesus would want to be done, for things that Jesus
                would approve of and be doing if He were still here.
        5. You must pray in Godís will to get your prayers answered.

Mt 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in
earth, as it is in heaven.

            a. Prayer is not a tool for us to get what we want.
            b. Prayer is a tool for us to get what the Father wants
                to give us.
            c. We must be praying in accordance to Godís will.
            d. I will have more to say about this in a moment.
        6. You must be praying for Godís glory to get your prayers
            answered.

1Corinthians 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory
of God.

            a. Everything we do must be for Godís gloryónot ours.
            b. To be quite frank, most of our prayers are not
                answered because they are selfish prayers, prayers
                for our own personal gain, prayers that would promote
                usómost often at Godís expense, prayers that would
                only prolong our journey into sin and rebellion
                against God.

II. Discerning Godís will in praying
    A. The hardest thing about praying, outside of praying, is
        knowing Godís will about praying.
        1. As I have already stated, this is essential.
        2. Prayer does not change Godís mind about a thing.  It never
            has and it never will.
        3. Prayer aligns the yielded believer to God.
            a. Prayer put us in the place of desiring what God
                desires to do.
            b. So prayers that are outside of Godís will not be
                answered.
            c. How can I know what Godís will is?
    B. Learn the Bible.
        1. The Bible is the Word of God.  It is the mind of God given
            on paper.
        2. Did you know that two are called the Word of God?
            a. The Bible is called the Word of God and Jesus is
                called the Word of God.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father,) full of
grace and truth.

            b. Why are the written words of God and the Son of God
                both called the Word of God?
            c. Because they both reveal God to the physical world.
        3. How do I read the Word of God?
            a. Some need to change their attitude while reading it.
                (1) Some only read the Bible to critique it.
                (2) No human being knows enough to critique the
                     Bible and those who read the Bible for that
                     reason will never learn anything from it.
                (3) Read the Bible with a learnersí heart and if that
                     is too hard for you, at least read it with a
                     curious heart.
                (4) Even if you are a Bible doubter, read it to learn
                     whatever it can teach you and it wonít be long
                     before your opinion of the Bible will begin to
                     change.
            b. If your attitude is not a problem, thenÖ
                (1) Read the Bible.
                (2) Read the Bible to learn and to understand.
                     (a) I like to challenge people to read through
                          the Bible and have done so for many years;
                          however, there is no reward for reading
                          through the Bible in a year.
                     (b) The reward of reading the Bible is to learn
                          while you are reading it.
                (3) Read the Bible believing what it says.
                (4) Read the Bible obeying what it says.

Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    C. Divorce your desires.
        1. To pray for Godís will means you must purge yourself of
            your own.
        2. Our desires cloud our perception of Godís, and our
            emotions can totally deceive us into thinking our desires
            are Godís desires.
            a. Emotions like love, hate, anger, jealousy, bitterness,
                can cause us to think God is leading us when in
                actuality, God is totally against what we are doing.
            b. How do we deal with them?  The best thing I have
                found is to refuse our desires until God
                demonstrates and confirms His will in the matter.
            c. It is not always easy but we must be certain that God
                is leading.
    D. Complete the prayer cycle.
        1. If asked to define prayer, most will say that prayer is
            talking to God.
            a. That is correct as far as it goes.
            b. I think it is more accurate to say that prayer is
                communicating with God and communication goes both
                directions.
            c. Prayer is talking to God but it is also listening to
                what God has to say.
        2. When you pray, talk to God.
            a. Feel free to tell God whatever you want.  You can
                express to Him your needs, desires, dislikes, wants,
                fears, frustrations, aggravations, and everything
                else.
            b. Stay respectful,  Stay humble, but talk to God like
                you would talk to your best friend sitting in front
                of you.
            c. Before you quit talking to him:
                (1) Be sure to thank Him for the good things He has
                     done.
                (2) Be sure to praise Him for the good God that He
                     is.
        3. Then let God speak to you.
            a. This is part of "waiting on the Lord."

Isa 8:17  And I will wait upon the LORD, that
hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and
I will look for him.

Ps 27:14  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I
say, on the LORD.

            b. So after you have spoken to God for a while, just sit
                quietly and let God speak to you.
            c. That is why prayer takes time and quietness.
            c. The prayer close is not just for secret prayer.  It is
                also for silent reflection and meditation.

III. Prayer Power Boasters
    A. Pray fervently (intensely) \\#James 5:16\\
    B. Pray Determined (until answered) \\#Matt 7:7\\
    C. Pray with fasting \\#Is 58:1-6\\

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