I. The Components Of The Promise
A. To Whom The Promise Was Made-Disciples Luke 14:25-27
1. Jesus is not making this promise to people who will pray selfishly or godlessly
2. This promise is for those who make Jesus the priority of their life
B. Faith & Believing
1. What faith is…
a. Faith is the confidence that something will happen, based upon a reasonable point of reference, and that is beyond your ability to control
b. We have faith that the bridge will hold us, the fast food won’t kill us, the doctor will prescribe the right medicine. We need good reasons for faith.
c. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.
d. Hebrews 11:1 NIV Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
e. Faith requires an object or person to believe in. Faith in…(fill in the blank)
f. Faith requires a revelation to hope in, a promise to believe, an action to lean on, a person to trust.
2. What faith isn’t…
a. Faith is more than just hoping or wishing. More than just desire.
b. You can’t have faith in your faith. That would mean it is “you” centered
c. Faith is not a whimsical wish, a good feeling, or a hunch that just maybe…
3. Christian faith is based upon…
a. God’s revelation of His nature
b. God’s revelation of His intentions and emotions
c. God’s revelation of His promises to those who accept Christ
d. God’s personal revelation to our hearts by His Spirit, which will never contradict His written word
C. Asking In Prayer
1. Jesus said that an action is required of us- ask
2. If God knows our needs, then why ask?
3. Because it shows that we have faith. We are to ask in faith.
4. Both components together. Can’t have one w/o the other.
5. Asking in faith honors God.
a. We confess our limitations and inabilities
b. We acknowledge God’s abilities, wisdom, good intentions, etc.
II. Obstacles To Praying In Faith
A. Regarding Being A Disciple
1. Not being a disciple of Jesus. Not being born again.
a. God doesn’t promise to answer the prayers of those who reject Him
b. The unbeliever needs to pray first for forgiveness
c. How can an unbeliever pray in faith, when they don’t believe the promises or the warnings of God?
2. Being a carnal disciple
a. 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
b. Carnal- sarkikos- having the nature of flesh; governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God
c. “behaving like mere men”- the manner of regulating one’s life
d. Galatians 5:16, 17 Christians can choose to be influenced by their flesh
e. They can view life, process information, place value, and make decisions not based upon the Spirit of God influencing them and illuminating the Scriptures, but upon their natural human instincts.
f. Though saved, they don’t live according to Jesus definition of “disciple”
g. The carnal Christian is more focused on the things of the world.
i. They forget what God’s priorities are. They rarely/don’t read
ii. They become lulled to sleep, spiritually anesthetized, and forget that Christians are in a spiritual war.
iii. They forget the spiritual weapons God had given them
iv. They fight temporal battles, and ignore eternal ones.
v. They forget the “Enemy of Our Souls” seeks to destroy us & others
h. Carnal Christians might believe they can accomplish sp. things w/o God
3. Being a Christian whose understanding of God is limited and erroneous.
a. They are saved, but do not pray according to the revealed nature, word, promises, or intentions of God
b. They claim the promises of God, but misunderstand them
c. They are moved more by good intentions and emotions than by having faith in the revelation of God
d. Because they may pray apart from God’s will and promises, their prayers are not answered, and they can become discouraged and not pray.
B. When Faith Is Difficult
1. Sometimes prayers are not quickly answered, and faith is tested
2. Sometimes the situation worsens after we have prayed
3. The Liar (Satan) seeks to convince us that God doesn’t care, doesn’t listen, we’re not deserving of an answered prayer, etc.
4. Prayer is a spiritual weapon of faith, which means we don’t always see things happening, which can make us give up on praying
5. Matthew 7:7, 8 7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
(Literally-keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking)
C. Sometimes We Just Don’t Pray
1. James 4:1-3 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
2. Matthew 13:7, 22
a. Too busy to pray
b. Too busy to remember that we are in a spiritual battle
c. Too absorbed with temporal things….forgetting eternal things
3. Then a tragedy comes into our life, and we try to pray according to this promise-
a. But we are unseasoned in prayer, in God’s word, in having faith
b. Prayer is one of many spiritual disciplines that we grow in…
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Ephesians 6:10-13 10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of £the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
1 Timothy 1:18, 19 18This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
2 Timothy 2:3-5 3You therefore must endure£ hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
1 Peter 5:8, 9a Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, steadfast in the faith…
James 5:16b-18 The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.