User Error In Prayer

By Bobby Blakey on March 17, 2019

James 4:1-5


User Error In Prayer

By Bobby Blakey on March 17, 2019

James 4:1-5

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:02] Today's sermon is about how you pray. So let's be very clear, this is not about the topic of prayer. We're not given out to steps to pray better. This is an examination here this morning of how you pray your relationship with God. It's gonna be very personal, very real, and God knows how you pray to him. And let me tell you how we got here to this sermon, because usually what we do here at CompassHB H.B is we just preach through a book of the Bible. And right now we're preaching through Daniel and the next chapter we're gonna look at. And Daniel is Daniel, Chapter nine. And this is one of the most beautiful prayers. One of the greatest examples to us of how to pray that we have in the scripture is Daniel Chapter nine. And so we decided to go through Daniel. We were looking forward to that chapter. And we've already been praying that God is going to really stir up our church and really put prayer on our hearts and that we would be inspired by Daniel's example. So if you've never read Daniel nine, if you haven't read it as we've been going through the book, if you haven't read ahead yet, I encourage you to read Daniel nine and get ready. Now, we didn't want to do it today because we have all the ladies up there at the women's retreat. We didn't want to lead leave them behind in the Book of Daniel. And so that led us to decide we're gonna do a sermon on prayer here this morning to help us get ready for what we're going to learn from Daniel, Chapter nine. And one of the things that's really surprised me in the four and a half years that we've been here doing this church is prayer is something that regularly comes up in the Bible, like every book we've gone through. There's been prayer at some point in that book of the Bible, how can we have a relationship with God without talking to him in prayer?

[00:01:58] And so when we talk about prayer, one of the things that comes up is how Jesus says ask and you will receive seek and you will knock in the door will be.

[00:02:13] We know this. In fact, Jesus, not only does he say it three different ways, he doubles down on it. Everyone who asks will receive an honorable one time.

[00:02:24] We were going through the book of John and we got to John.

[00:02:27] Chapter 14, verse 14, where Jesus says, If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

[00:02:38] And we were so inspired by that statement of Jesus, we decided to put that verse up on the wall in our fellowship hall. You can look at it while you're munching on donuts here in a few minutes.

[00:02:48] Right. We were like, wow, Jesus seems to be going out of his way to say that our prayers will be answered. And that has proven to be very controversial. I'm surprised by how much feedback we have received here at the church where people have said God doesn't answer our prayers. And really, people have question, does prayer even really work? And so that's been a regular response that I have received. As we've looked at some of these passages on prayer.

[00:03:21] And so if our prayers are not getting answered, if it doesn't seem like God is hearing us in heaven and nothing is happening here on Earth, how should you and I think about that. What does the Bible say about that? Well, I invite you to open your Bible and tournament with me to the Book of James, Chapter four. And we're going to see a couple of statements that James makes here about prayer.

[00:03:45] So I need everybody to grab your Bible and open it up to the book of James. And I will just warn you. And as we dove into this passage in the book of James that James tells it like it really is.

[00:04:00] Guy James is the kind of guy where you would after you read this, you think, why don't you tell us what you really think, James? I mean, now this guy, he's the brother of Jesus. He did not believe in Jesus while he was alive. He did not believe in his own brother to be the Messiah, the Christ. But after Jesus died on the cross and then rose on the third day, then James believed in him and he became a leader in the early church there in Jerusalem. And he writes this book of the Bible.

[00:04:27] And this book is all about practical wisdom from the beginning, all the way to the end. He's just dives right into the application of how you should live your Christian life. And I want you to follow along with me as we read now, James, for one to four.

[00:04:45] What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are a war within you, you desire and do not have so you murder, you covet and cannot obtain. So you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions, you adulterous people. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

[00:05:33] Now, there's a lot that James says before this and after this, but he's building on one of his themes that he has been introduced in Chapter one, that our sin comes from within us.

[00:05:47] We have these desires when we are tempted. We can't say God's tempting me. No, the temptation actually comes from our sin within us. And now here he's saying this sin that's within us, these desires, these passions, these pleasures that we have within us. Well, now they're causing fights among us. Now there's there's hatred coming out of our hearts and there's envy and there's jealousy. And we don't have what we want in our desires and our passions.

[00:06:15] And so we're getting into conflict with one another. Even throws out the idea of murder because you do not have.

[00:06:22] And then he says this couple of clear statements that have to do with prayer right there at the end of verse two. You do not have because you do not ask. And then he says would write a cutting even deeper here in verse three.

[00:06:36] You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions. So he's given us two reasons right there, why it might seem to us like prayer isn't working and God hasn't answered us. And both of those reasons have to do with us. He introduces the idea here that maybe the problem with your prayers is not God in heaven or with prayer itself. Maybe the problem with your prayers is you.

[00:07:06] Could there be user error in your prayer?

[00:07:10] Now, this is really actually a wise principle for us to consider, not only in our most important relationship that we have with God is we are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. But I would encourage you in any relationship that you have, if there is a lack of communication, is there if there's conflict that needs to be resolved before you go blame on somebody else. I encourage you get your pointy finger out and point it at yourself and examine yourself. Ask God to search your heart, to know you, to try your thoughts, to show you if there's any grievous way in you. If your prayers aren't getting answered, could it be because you are not praying the right way? Maybe you're praying wrong. He just flat out says that here you're asking wrongly. So this sermon, I guarantee you the way James writes, is going to offend us at some point in this sermon. He comes on strong and he doesn't let up anywhere. We're going to turn here in his book. And so you're going to have a choice here today to get defensive about it or to maybe be open to the fact that you need to pray differently than you are. And maybe you're even praying wrongly. Maybe the problem in your relationship with God is you.

[00:08:25] Are you open to thinking that through? Because that's what James is saying.

[00:08:29] He in the context here, he's been talking about wisdom. Wisdom is one of the one of the themes of the book, if not the theme. Go back to chapter three, verse 13. He's been given us a contrast here, just like he makes a contrast between the world and God. And you can only be friends with one of them in verse four. Well, before that, he was saying, who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct. Let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

[00:08:57] See, James has a better definition of wisdom maybe than we do today. He says you want to see if somebody is wise. Look at what they do.

[00:09:06] We might think somebody is wise based on what they know. But James is always getting down to what you do. You want to see if somebody is wise and understanding. Watch their conduct. See what they do. But verse 14, if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. So maybe there's wisdom or maybe there's this selfishness, this jealousy, comparing yourself to other people wanting what they have.

[00:09:35] Verse 15. This is not the wisdom, the selfishness is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly on spiritual, demonic. So he's making a contrast, there's a wisdom that God gives to us from above.

[00:09:51] And then there's kind of what we naturally think here in the world. That's unspiritual, even influenced by the system of evil, run by Satan working through his demons. You need to make sure that you're living your life based on wisdom that comes from above, not based on the thinking that's going on here on Earth.

[00:10:11] And he flows from that passage there on wisdom, right into these selfish desires, these passions causing tension between us and other people. And the reason we don't have is because we do not ask. So that's the first step. The first question you've got to ask yourself is, how do you pray? Do you actually pray? Like, how much time do you think you spent in the last seven days? Praying?

[00:10:37] And this is something that's only between you and the Lord, the Lord knows how often you visit him and talk to him in the secret place where it's just between you and him. I mean, another question that other people might know is how much do you pray with the people around? You do pray regularly with your family or the people that you are living with right now. Do you pray regularly with people from church? Do you gather together and spend some time praying together when you gather or do you even gather with people for the sole purpose of praying when you are together? First of all, you got to examine yourself. Do you even pray? I've been going to church long enough to know that people say I'm praying for you when they're not praying for you.

[00:11:20] OK. So let's just say it how it is here. A lot of people will say they're praying.

[00:11:24] Are they actually really praying right now that the word when it says, ask hear this word, I tell you in the Greek here and at the end of verse two, and it's mentioned a few times here in James, just three times there in those two verses, the idea of asking. We were reading this in the Greek. It's in the present tense here. OK. And the present tense, if you if you get to ever learn the Greek language and study it a little bit.

[00:11:52] The present means it's an ongoing, continuous action. So when it says you do not have because you do not ask, it's not like why asked one time. And I'm waiting for God to answer. I'm wondering if it's going to work. No, the idea of asking would be it's an ongoing, continuous action. We know that we're supposed to pray without ceasing.

[00:12:14] Right.

[00:12:15] So if I'm asking God for something, if there's something that I'm really expecting God to answer me about and I really want to bring it before him in prayer. The idea is this asking would be continuous. It would be ongoing. At the way that I would be asking God is I'm going to ask expecting to receive. I'm going to ask until the prayer is answered. Not this idea of I threw it up there one time and I'm still waiting. No, I'm on a keep on talking to God about it until the prayer is answered. And this is how he got it started. Go back to James, chapter one. And he addressed this kind of asking and James one, verse five, right after he talked about the fact that life is going to be hard for Christians. We're going to go through trials. Trials will test our faith, but they will work in us, this maturity, this completeness.

[00:13:08] And if you don't know how to deal with the hard things that are happening in your life, he says in verse five, if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach. And it will be given him.

[00:13:28] So based on what that verse says, that is a promise of scripture James is writing. We believe God breathed words inspired by the Holy Spirit, who is moving him to write this? And it says that if you don't have wisdom, ask God for wisdom. And then let me ask you guys a question. Will God give you wisdom? If you ask him for it, that's what it says.

[00:13:49] It's making a promise. It's making a promise that if you ask God for wisdom, a God who gives generously.

[00:13:57] He's got so much wisdom to give you. He gives you without reproach. He's not going to be saying to you, you should've known this by now. Why are you asking me about this? No. God is ready to give you wisdom. It will be given to you if you ask God. And then it says this in verse six.

[00:14:14] But. Let him ask in faith with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

[00:14:26] For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways.

[00:14:36] Now, this wave analogy really works for us here in Huntington Beach, California. Right. Some of us have been driven and tossed by the wind and the waves. And so we understand this idea of somebody kind of going around, get knocked around following their own feelings, their own doubts.

[00:14:55] And it says if you come to God and you don't know what to do and you ask God for wisdom, but you don't think he's really going to give you that wisdom. Well, then you shouldn't expect to get wisdom, because if you're doubting God, then he's not going to answer you.

[00:15:09] Here's another example of user error.

[00:15:12] In fact, it's teaching us the way that we have to ask when we come to God and we ask him for something. We can't ask him for it unless we really believe that he's going to give it to us. We're not just supposed to pray through a list of things that we think are the right things to pray. We're not supposed to go through the motions of prayer because that's what we Christians do. No, I'm supposed to ask God for something if I really believe based on his attributes, based on his promises in scripture, based on his name. Everything I know about God, I should only ask him for something if I really believe he's going to give it to me. If you're just throwing up a prayer and you don't even think God's going to answer it, you got to ask yourself, what do you even do in.

[00:16:01] It says you can't come to God. The promise is sure. This is the reality. Everyone who ask God for wisdom will receive wisdom from God and less.

[00:16:12] They don't believe when they're asking.

[00:16:15] Unless they doubt it, well, then they shouldn't expect to get wisdom, they're actually being double minded, saying one thing to God and really believing something else in their heart. If there's one place in your life that you want to think, only one thought. It's when you're in the presence of God. Let me tell you right now, you don't want to be saying something to God with your mouth that you don't really believe in your heart.

[00:16:36] And so James is coming on strong, as he does right here, a bold promise. God's ready to give everybody in this room all the wisdom we need. He will give us everything we need to live the rest of this life to know how to do it. He'll guide us. He'll direct us. But here's the thing. You got to really believe that when you ask him for that wisdom, he's going to give it to you.

[00:16:56] Point number one, let's get it down like this. Ask like you believe you will receive. Ask like you believe you will receive. See, there's a key ingredient that Jesus keeps talking about when it comes to prayer.

[00:17:10] And now James is reiterating it here in his Book of Wisdom in the New Testament. And the key ingredient to prayer is faith. If you don't believe God is going to give you what you ask for, then you're just going through the motions and maybe making yourself feel better. You're not really talking to God. We've got to believe, and that's why Jesus, when you study what Jesus says about prayer and he goes away and prays a lot to the father and he teaches a lot about prayer. In fact, the disciples noticed Jesus praying so much, they went up to him and they said, Lord, teach us to pray. Because they could tell that he was praying a lot. And they wanted to know how to do it.

[00:17:54] And so there was a there's a lot of emphasis on prayer. And one of the things that Jesus is trying to help us all understand is that when we ask, we're gonna receive.

[00:18:03] So when you ask, you need to believe.

[00:18:07] Otherwise, your doubting God, even as you're talking to him. Let's go to Matthew seven and let's just look afresh at what Jesus teaches about prayer. I just want you to notice how he says it three different ways.

[00:18:20] And then he repeats it like this is a point of emphasis. He is really trying to make our expectation as the children of our father in heaven is that when we pray, when we ask him, we should expect to receive from him. That is the way that Jesus teaches you and me to think about prayer. And he says here in Matthew seven seven, this is page eight hundred and twelve. This is a part of his Sermon on the Mount, which goes for three chapters. And it includes some good content on prayer and where he was clearly expecting all of his followers to pray. And he says, ask and it will be given to you. So when James makes that promise about wisdom specifically. And James, one five. He's just getting more specific about wisdom. But he's ah, he's just reiterating what Jesus has already said. Ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find knock and it will be open to you.

[00:19:20] So he says it three different ways. And now everyone who asks receives the one who seeks finds and to the one who knocks it will be opened. According to Jesus Christ, if you're coming in, you're asking, you're seeking. You're knocking. It's only a matter of time till God answers your prayer.

[00:19:42] That's what he's saying. It's gonna happen.

[00:19:45] But he knows us and he knows how we are, so he gives us here a very helpful analogy. And he says in verse nine, which one of you if his son asks him for bread, we'll give him a stone. Or if he asks for a fish, we'll give him a serpent. If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask him?

[00:20:13] He's using the analogy here of being a parent who here in the room has been blessed by God to be a parent of a at least one child. Anybody here, a parent? Any dads, any moms? Can we are children a blessing from the Lord? Can we say amen to that here today? Can we affirm that these are they are a gift from God? And let me tell you, I am a sucker when my kids come and ask me for something and they give me those eyes. Right. And they know. They know. Here's the thing. They're great. They're growing up. They know I'm a sucker at this point. Right. And they even know. They know how to butter me up. They start me off down here. What they really want is up here. They come in low and then they keep talking. And I buy in on this level. Right. And then they bump it up a little bit. I'm like, okay, I guess that makes sense. I mean, they're leading me down the path and I'm following them. It's dangerous. What's going on? But I love these kids and I'm their dad. They they want something and I want to give it to them. That's my natural inclination. I wonder how many parents in the room, how we can all relate. Like, yes, we love to give things like if my son wants this, I'm not going to be like, well, I'll teach you a lesson and give him the opposite of what he wants.

[00:21:27] Well, this will build character. All just make him wait forever. Right.

[00:21:32] See, that's not what I do know as a as a dad who loves his kids. When they come to me asking, I have an inclination to want to give it to them. And I'm evil. I'm a man of sinful nature. I am. I have a tendency to be selfish. And yet I have a soft spot in my heart for my kids that our father in heaven who adopted us out of his love. And you know what? It cost the father to bring us into his family.

[00:22:00] It cost him his one and only son. Jesus Christ. Who had to suffer and die in our place, who had to bear the weight of the wrath of God for our sin. That's how much the father loves you. He's already proven it to us with his son, Jesus Christ.

[00:22:20] If he gave Jesus for us, surely he will also with him graciously give us all things.

[00:22:27] If you want to be good to your kids, if you care about your children, let me tell you that your father in heaven cares so much more about you than you do about your kids.

[00:22:37] He knows the hairs on your head. You see all those butterflies flying by this week.

[00:22:44] You see all the sparrows out there, all these things that are flying around and you're like, go God. It was kind of an awkward moment this week because you're praising God for his creation. And then a butterfly flies into your windshield and you kill it and you're like, God, I was worshiping you for that butterfly. I did. I did not. Wow. Murder really does come from the heart. I mean, I guess.

[00:23:08] Wow. Right.

[00:23:10] I mean, God, he knows the intricate details of his creation. He knows the intricate details of our lives. And it's saying Jesus is saying, I know the father. Let me tell you about your father. He wants to give you good gifts. Do you believe that God is good?

[00:23:28] I can tell how you believe. How God is good. By the way, that you pray.

[00:23:33] If you don't pay that much, you don't really believe that God's that good.

[00:23:37] If you really thought he was good and he was going to give you good gifts, I think you would make a regular habit in your life of asking him for those good things. And you would believe that your father, who loves you when you ask him for something that, you know is what he's told you to ask of him.

[00:23:54] Man, you will have confidence that he will give it to you.

[00:23:58] Do you believe that God will answer your prayer? Do you believe that your father is ready to give you good gifts? And if you believe that. Does it lead to a regular habit of going to the father in the secret place where it's just you and him? And when you meet with the father in the secret place, Jesus says he will reward you openly. The answers of your secret prayers will be evident to everyone.

[00:24:24] Because your father will give you good gifts.

[00:24:27] This is what Jesus. He's going out of his way here to try to prove it to you so that you will believe that if you ask, you will receive. Look at what he says in Luke 18 term with me to this parable that Jesus tells in Luke, 18 here versus one to eight. I need everybody to look at this parable, even if you're familiar with it. Let's look at it again afresh. This is page eight hundred and seventy seven and specifically Jesus.

[00:24:55] Remember, Jesus, who humbled himself to be a man, was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin. One of the things that Jesus knows about us as human beings is our tendency to doubt and lack faith. And he knows our sin of prayer lessness that we have.

[00:25:16] Not because we ask not.

[00:25:19] And so he gives us a story to address that here in Luke 18, verse one. Here's Luke's commentary. He told them a parable to the effect that they are always to pray and not lose heart. Here's a parable from Jesus so that you will be encouraged to keep asking until you receive, to not grow weary in your prayers, to keep on believing that God is going to answer you. And until he does answer you, you're going to keep on praying. Don't lose heart. Don't grow weary. Here's an example. Another picture that he gives us to teach us how to pray. He said in a certain city, there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. So we have here a corrupt judge full of himself and his authority and power doesn't really fear God doesn't care about people. And there was a widow, a widow who who needs someone to defend her to stand up for her. There was a widow in that city who kept coming to him, representing, it seems like herself here and saying, give me justice against my adversary. This widow knows she has been wronged and she keeps going to this judge to make it right for a while.

[00:26:32] Verse four, he refused.

[00:26:34] But afterward, he said to himself, Though I neither fear God nor respect man. Yet because this widow keeps bothering me.

[00:26:44] I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming. And the Lord said, listen to what the unrighteous judge says. OK. We have a guy.

[00:26:58] He doesn't care about what's doing right before God and he doesn't care about what's doing right before people. He is totally in it for himself. And here, if there was somebody you would care about, it would be this widow who has been wronged.

[00:27:11] But he doesn't care about her yet. She persists and she keeps coming back and she keeps saying, give me justice. Hey, this person is wronged me. Make it right. And she keeps coming.

[00:27:23] And finally, the judge answers her request just to stop, just to make her stop coming to.

[00:27:32] Okay, now let's compare that corrupt judge to God. And will not God give justice to his elect, to his chosen wants, to those whom he loves, will not God give justice to his elect who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.

[00:27:56] God does care about what doing what is right. In fact, he does what is right every single time.

[00:28:04] You know, don't believe it, because a lot of people today, they want to blame what is evil that's happening in the world and they want to blame it on God. No. Trust me, God is the one who's gonna take all the evil happening in the world. And he's the one who's going to make it right.

[00:28:19] That's who our God is. He can even take the evil that is happening and he can work it for good because he does what is right and he cares about his people.

[00:28:32] And so if this corrupt judge will eventually give in to this woman because of her persistence. How much more will God answer our prayers that he would be just and do what is right? How much how much more speedily will God answer us? See, here's another picture.

[00:28:50] Can you relate to being a parent who cares about your kids? Can you see how even persistence will overcome the strongest resistance? And so if we persist in asking to God and he actually cares about us and wants to do the right thing, well, surely he will answer us.

[00:29:08] But then Jesus says this and this to me is one of the most telling and saddest statements that Jesus makes. He says here at the end of verse eight. Nevertheless, when the son of man comes, will he find faith on Earth? He tells his story that we would keep frank, because if we keep praying, God will answer us. He's trying to encourage us to keep on asking. And yet, at the end of the story that he gives to encourage you to keep praying.

[00:29:35] He wonders that when the son of man comes, when he comes in riding on the clouds, when he comes in to actually judge and to make things right and establish his kingdom here on Earth, he wonders how many of us will still be praying with faith that God is going to answer. It's a sad statement that Jesus makes here, referring to his second coming and just kind of putting out this rhetorical question, how much faith will there really be?

[00:30:00] Even though we're I'm promising that the judge of heaven will answer your prayers if you keep coming to him and asking to him to do what is right. He will give justice.

[00:30:11] Well, who's going to keep doing it? That's basically the question there at the. And we have been given a promise and we have been given such an opportunity and a privilege.

[00:30:21] Do you realize what a blessing it is that people like you and me, people born in sin, now alive in Jesus Christ, that we can go before the throne room of heaven and talk to God at any moment and God will listen to us?

[00:30:36] He will answer us.

[00:30:37] In fact, when you pray that Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the father and he's interceding for you, he's representing you to the father. And Jesus Christ is claiming you as his own. Every time you pray, Jesus Christ represents you.

[00:30:55] He's saying, yes, this is one that I have purchased with my blood. This is one of those that I paid for and I gave them my righteousness. And they have now been made righteous. Before you, father. And so Jesus brings are prayers. He intercedes for us. Romans eight even tells us that the Holy Spirit in us intercedes for us. Groans For us when we don't even know what we ought to be praying. The Holy Spirit is interceding for our prayers. When you go to pray to God, you go before the throne of grace to find mercy in your time of need. Jesus intercedes for you. The Holy Spirit with groaning is too deep for words, intercedes for you. All of that is happening every time that you pray.

[00:31:37] And what's the number one reason that people give today? Why they can't pray.

[00:31:42] To what? Too busy. Is that really the issue? Maybe that's a case of wrong priorities right there. Is it too busy or is it the truth that you don't really believe prayer is going to make a difference? And you don't really believe the promises of God that when he says he wants to answer your prayers. He's gonna do it.

[00:32:06] Is it because you're too busy that you don't pray? Is it because you don't believe that asking is really going to be answered?

[00:32:14] By the one who does what is right by our father in heaven.

[00:32:19] We need to ask ourselves, do we pray? Are we praying the way that we think before God? We should be praying to him. It's important for all of us to be able to say, I'm praying the way that God would want me to pray in my life. Now go back to James Chapter four, because now he's really going to start coming after us. I mean, that was just the warm up right there. Now he's going to get into you. Now, James here is going to judge your motives. That's what he's going to do. Now, I.

[00:32:49] I have read the scripture. We just read it multiple times. Enrollment's where you and I, we are commanded not to judge people because we're gonna be held to the same standard that we judge others by. And we don't know what's going on in somebody else's heart. I don't know what's going on between you and God when you pray. So I can't judge your prayer life. We shouldn't be judge and other people. Can I get a name? Okay. But this is the word of God right here that we're about to read.

[00:33:14] And this word of God is like a sword that cuts to the thoughts and intense of our heart. It judges and exposes who we really are. And James, hey, it feels to me like James has been here to CompassHB Bible Church. Huntington Beach. Feels like he knows. I mean, he's writing this to a very broad audience. He's writing this to believers. I mean, not just to one location. He's spreading the word out there. And yet it's like he knows how we are. And he gets into our hearts here. And he says in verse three, you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions. I mean, just also get into some of the things you're asking for. You're doing it the wrong way. And the reason is your motives and the word here that he gets into four passions. Or you could translate it pleasures. It's the word we get hedonism from if you want to write that down. The word for passions there in verse three, which was also up there in verse one. It's the word that we get hedonism from. Hedonism is a world view of philosophy where the number one idea is pursue your own pleasure, pursue your own passion.

[00:34:26] Hedonism is become a very prevailing world view in America right now, where we are teaching an entire generation of young people who are growing up today. They're hearing the gospel of self-esteem that you should do you and you should believe in yourself and you should follow your heart.

[00:34:44] And whatever you want to do, you should go and do it. What we're telling the whole generation growing up today is to be hedonists, pursue your own passions and pursue your own pleasures, which is why we have more young people growing up in America today, depressed, anxious and even suicidal than ever before.

[00:35:04] Because we should not be pursuing our own passions. That is the problem.

[00:35:09] That is everything that's wrong with the world as people are suing, pursuing their own passions and that's what's causing wars and quarrels and fights.

[00:35:17] Everybody's trying to get for themself and they're not caring about other people.

[00:35:23] And if you're pursuing your own selfish ambitions, your own passions and pleasures. If your prayers are really about using God to get what you want. You shouldn't expect those prayers to be answered.

[00:35:35] And then he says this inverse for you adulterous people. Literally, you adulteresses, like we as the bride of Jesus Christ, are cheating on Jesus.

[00:35:49] I mean, that's a bold statement for him to call us to the people who would read this letter, including us here this morning. For him to just get out his pointy finger and look at us and say, you adulterers.

[00:36:05] You know what's going on in your heart? You're developing a friendship with the world.

[00:36:10] And if you're being friends with the world, then that is enmity between you and God. Hey, look what's happening in your heart when you pray, you're really trying to get something for yourself because you really want something in the here and now. You're getting focused, you're getting attached, and you're developing this familiarity with the things of this world. You got to check your heart. You're cheating on God. You're not on God's side. You're not living for the things of heaven. And I live in for his will to be done. You're in it for yourself.

[00:36:43] It comes right after us here.

[00:36:46] He says you got to get all the way down to your passions that might really be driving you. In fact, your passions might be leading you into the thinking of this world and a friendship with the world rather than your relationship with God. See, the idea here in the word friendship is this idea of brotherly love, right where we've become familiar. We've become this affinity with the things around us. And we start to think for a moment. We don't think there's a spiritual war going on. We don't think that the world is a system of evil run by Satan.

[00:37:21] We forget that the world hates Jesus and they killed him and they'll hate us, too. That's what Jesus promise. It promised to all of us that the world would hate us.

[00:37:30] See, we forget that we think that we in the world can get along. And when we watch TV shows and we watch movies, we start to become friends with the things that we're watching.

[00:37:43] We watched our sports, we watch our stock market, we get involved in the activities of our children's lives, and we start to think that this ain't so bad down here in the world.

[00:37:54] It's all right down here. I can kind of get along with the world. And he says, you adulterers, you adulterous people. Whose side are you on? Are you with God or are you with the world? Check your heart. Look at your motives. Why are you praying? Is it for God's name and his glory or is it for you at the end of the day? He really cuts to us here. And he really makes us think. Man, how come an hour long TV show is like a normal time period and a movie, most movies that we would watch an hour would be a short movie, we would expect movies to be longer than that. And people don't act like TV shows are long.

[00:38:39] People don't act like movies are long. But if we said, hey, let's go pray for an hour, people would start again. That's a real long time.

[00:38:48] And are we actually more familiar and more friendly with the world than we are in the secret place or gathered together with God's people in his presence? Whose side are we on? James is say. I mean, he's calling us out now, he's calling you a name. He's saying, are you? You're an adulterer. Look at look at how your heart is drifting towards the things of this world.

[00:39:18] That's a strong statement that he makes there. Join with me in Matthew Chapter six. And let's go back to where Jesus teaches us how to pray. And you're going to notice as we go through this prayer right now, let's just look at the Lord's Prayer, which we we refer to it at the Lord's Prayer. But really, it's the disciples prayer because he's teaching the disciples how to pray. And you will notice that when Jesus teaches us how to pray, there is not one time in here that you pray for yourself. Pay special attention to this. Pay special attention to how he instructs us to pray. First of all, he says, pray then like this in Matthew six nine. Our father in heaven, he says. And I love that because that brings up right away the intimacy that you and I, we can call on him as. We can come to him as adopted sons and daughters. We have this intimacy with our father.

[00:40:10] But he's also in heaven. And right away, that brings to my mind that if God's in heaven and I'm here on earth, then I should let my words be what few I should think before I speak, if I'm going into the presence of God in heaven.

[00:40:24] And so I see him high and lofty and lidded, lifted up know I see him near and close and ready to hear me. That's a great heading there, our father in heaven.

[00:40:33] And then it says, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

[00:40:44] He gives us six different ideas of how to pray here.

[00:40:48] And the first three are all about your name, your kingdom, your will.

[00:40:54] How we're supposed to pray is not coming to God and thinking, what do I want to ask for? We're supposed to be coming to God and thinking, what does he want me to ask for?

[00:41:05] That's how we're supposed to pray. Boy Number two, let's get it down like this. Ask for what God wants. Ask for what God wants.

[00:41:14] And this is hard for people who have an inclination towards selfishness like us to do day after day after day to really get our mind on the things above, on the things of heaven where Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Where our life really is hidden with Christ in God. It's hard for us to get our mind on heavenly things and the things of God. But that's what Jesus says we should be doing when we pray.

[00:41:40] Maybe what you need to do is, is throw away your old prayer list or start something new where you just start a whole new list of what does God want? OK, before we start getting a what we need, before we start getting even to other people, let's just try to go fill up a whole page of paper. What does God want?

[00:42:02] What do you know are the request that we're supposed to ask of our father in heaven? Well, first of all, his name to be hallowed. That's everything that God is his name. And that's the completeness of his character, all of his attributes. How load means to be made wholly set apart high and lifted up over. The first thing we're supposed to be praying for is for God to get all of the glory. Can I get any men? Are you about. Are you passionate for the glory of God? That's what this is gonna come down to. You either have your own passions or you're passionate for God's glory. You're gonna go one of those two ways towards the world or towards God, towards prayer or towards and not asking or asking just selfish things. You're driving. Passion has to be that God will get the glory.

[00:42:50] And it has to bother you on some level that there are so many people all around us right now in this world not giving God glory. In fact, they're going so far to deny God, they're mocking God. They're looking at people like us who believe in God, and they're making little of our faith.

[00:43:11] And we're supposed to be praying that he will be getting all the glory and his adversaries will have to admit that he is the holy one in heaven. We're supposed to pray for his name to be hallowed and then for his kingdom to come his kingdom, Nikko.

[00:43:28] We're praying for his kingdom that not anything going on here in this world. The kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, which is near to every one of us, the kingdom.

[00:43:37] We can be in the kingdom right now, all of us who have believed in our king, our Lord Jesus. We are a part of his kingdom. But ultimately, to pray for his kingdom to come is to pray for this evil system.

[00:43:48] This time, this age, right now that we're living in to end is King. Jesus returns to establish his reign. Are you praying for Jesus to come back? That's what it says. There's something we could all go and pray. Hey, we want to see Jesus come back.

[00:44:06] Then it says your will be done what you want would be done on Earth as it is in heaven. So when we go to pray. Prayer is the closest we get to heaven here on earth.

[00:44:17] We go into God's presence and we have glimpses of God's presence. Where it all centers around him and people are worshiping him. And everyone is set apart from sin in this pure environment. And there's a real God focus every time we see a glimpse of the throne room of heaven. Everything is focused on God and on the one who is next to him. Worthy is the lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ.

[00:44:41] And so what prayer is? Is it saying. I see in heaven everything is how you want it to be. Everything's according to your will. We need to bring heaven down here to earth. It's not happening the way you want down here. We need heaven down here. We want to see what's happening in heaven done here on earth.

[00:44:59] That's what we're praying for. And God has revealed his will to us.

[00:45:02] There are so many things that you could read in the Bible. You could look at them. You could say, that's God telling me what he wants right there. And you could pray that with faith knowing this is what God has said he wants. I'm going to ask him to do it.

[00:45:16] And you could come before him believing that you will receive it because he's already said that's what he wants to do. His will is revealed to us and as we know his will.

[00:45:28] We pray for his will to happen here. We know what's happening there. But, God, will you please bring heaven down?

[00:45:37] So not only do we need to think through how much did we pray? But we need to ask ourselves when we pray. Are we really getting to the heart of what God wants or does it stay in our heart and what we want? James is getting right to our motives here. Is it really about him and being a friend of him and being on his side, or is it still someone about you?

[00:46:03] And then he gives us here three more things to think through, look at these three things. Verse eleven, twelve and thirteen. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

[00:46:22] So a couple of things we want to notice here. These are not pleasures. These are not wants. These are needs is what these are.

[00:46:30] This is what our daily bread is, our physical need for life, for water, for food, that we are admitting that even my physical life, the health that I have, the ability that I have in my body right now to speak to you. The only reason I'm alive today is because God is giving me life. Can I get any man for anybody on that?

[00:46:51] See, we're declaring our absolute dependance and we're such blessed people. We're such spoiled children sometimes here in Orange County. Daily bread. We might not even be thinking we need that. Oh, that's already covered. We might be thinking like that.

[00:47:05] And we're supposed to be praying in a way where we're acknowledging that even just the ability to be alive today physically, to have the things we need to have clothes to wear, to have food and water to drink, to be able to have these meet needs met. That is our father in heaven giving those things to us.

[00:47:26] And so we declare our dependance on God for all things physical. And then look, what we're doing here is we're confessing sin. Forgive us our debts.

[00:47:35] So once we believe in Jesus Christ. An amazing thing happens when you transfer your trust from yourself and you believe in Jesus, what he's done.

[00:47:43] He died for you and rose again. You get made right. With God. And nothing in the world can ever take that away from you once you're right with God. You are justified for all of eternity.

[00:47:54] But when you have a relationship with the father and you're over here thinking about yourself and saying something you shouldn't say and doing something you shouldn't do. And thinking thoughts that you know, before God should not be thought in your head as you come to God in your relationship with him. You make that right with him. You confess that to him. You say, Father, forgive me, I shouldn't have said this to someone. So I shouldn't have thought this. I know I did this and I know that you told me not to do it. That was wrong of me to do. Will you please forgive me? I should be a regular part of our prayer to come to God to completely own up to what we did to confess it before him. And if we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. And he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now watch out for user error. Look what it says as we also have forgiven our debtors. And then there's some commentary in verse 14 for if you forgive others that are trespass is your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, their trespass is neither will your father forgive your trespasses.

[00:49:02] Watch out. High probability here of user error that we're going to go to God and say, God, I sinned. I need you to forgive me. But then when somebody else wrongs us, we're gonna hold it against him.

[00:49:14] We're gonna be like, I don't know if I want to forgive you. That wasn't very right. Well, you did. I might need you to think about it for a while before I forgive you. We start treating other people in a way that our father in heaven never once treats us as soon as we confess our sin. We are promised that he is faithful. He is just he does forgive us. Every time we confess, we are forgiven by our father. And he says we've got to forgive others that same way. How could you go to your father and expect him to forgive you while you also know at the same time you're holding it against somebody else? And you want to stick it to him?

[00:49:50] Jesus was. Confess your sins and make sure you're ready to forgive others in the same way that you are forgiven. And then he says this in verse 13. Not only are we addressing maybe the sins we might have done in the past, and we're addressing them in the present as we pray. But now we're looking to the future and we're saying lead us not into what does it say there? Lead us not into what? Now, where does temptation come from? According to James.

[00:50:17] Our passions, our pleasures. Do you realize what prayer is? Prayer is God.

[00:50:23] Don't give me what I want. Take me away from what I want. I don't want to want that anymore. Let me leave that behind. Father, please don't let me go down that path of what I want.

[00:50:37] Of my own pleasures, of my own passions, father, please today deliver me from that evil.

[00:50:42] Deliver me from the evil one, from the whole system of evil that tries to conform me and pressed me into that image where I'll go down that path again of what I want. We should be praying on a regular basis. Father, not as I will, but as you will. Don't give me what I want. Align my heart with what you want.

[00:51:03] Now, I notice all three of these things, they that come from our need, either our physical need or our spiritual need that we bring before God. It's not me, myself and I. Can we all see that here?

[00:51:17] Can we all see that in this prayer that Jesus gives us? We don't talk about ourselves and less.

[00:51:23] It's in the plural. I mean, that's something to really think about.

[00:51:29] I wonder if you rode out some of your prayers and you looked back in there. How many me, myself and eyes there would be. Now, I understand sometimes because we have this very intimate, personal relationship with our father. We are going to speak in the first person sometimes. But there's a lot of we us and our word in here. That regularly, when we pray, we should be coming to God on behalf of interceding for not just ourselves, but representing a group of people as we come to God. Maybe the we us in our could be your family. Maybe if you're living with some people that are your roommates, maybe you represent where you live and you come before God on behalf of everybody there where you live. Maybe the we, us and our could be your fellowship group representing your brothers and sisters that you're really getting to know.

[00:52:18] Maybe you could pray for our whole church, father, because whatever you need is going to be needed by everybody here at our church. So you don't just pray for yourself. You pray for all of us. God, I pray for all of my brothers and sisters. I CompassHB Bible Church, Huntington Beach. Father, we need this from you.

[00:52:34] And you bring us all up before the Lord. You can really pray for a lot of people. Very quickly, very effectively. If you pray for them in the plural, you can even identify with lost people and on on their behalf.

[00:52:48] You can bring their sins before God and even ask God to forgive them and save them. You could pray for America, which is a nation in need of a great revival, a great turning back to God and the foundation that our nation began.

[00:53:04] There's a lot that you could be praying for a lot more than yourself, and that's actually how Jesus teaches us here to pray. See, prayer comes when we get sick and tired of the world we're living in. Are you becoming a friend with the world or are you getting fed up with the world? Where are you at today? Have you really had enough of those temptations?

[00:53:25] Have you really had enough of kind of this easy system where everybody, as long as you kind of don't go against the system, you will be tolerated and you'll be moved forward and we can all just kind of move along and act like there's nothing wrong. Are you tired of that? Are you ready to say there are a lot of things going wrong all around us and we need to ask God to do something? So that's what fuels prayer.

[00:53:50] That's what motivates prayer. When you're sick and tired of the world and you want to see heaven come down, that's what prayer is. Joining me to Isaiah 64 and we see here an example of prayer towards the end of the prophet turn would be to Isaiah 64. And it starts with a key word here. This is a word that you would want to have in your prayers when you come before the father. We've learned how James has warned us, hey, you could be the problem could be user error. It could be you.

[00:54:20] Are you really asking are you asking regularly believing that you're gonna receive it? Are you really asking or is it really selfishly motivated? Is it about your own passions and pleasures? Or are you really praying about the things of God? Are you really praying about the things of other people? We've got a real heart check from James here.

[00:54:38] And and hopefully that's going to start fueling a passion to pray, a passion to see the things I've got a passion to see God work in other people's lives.

[00:54:47] I mean, wouldn't it be exciting to be a part of a church where it felt like everybody was really praying, really going for it? Like you had a confidence that your brothers and sisters, when they're at home alone, they're praying to God that they're there forsaking worldly entertainments and free time and they're getting down on their knees and doing the hard work of going into God's presence and asking for his will to be done, his kingdom to come, his name to be hallowed. And then you got together. You're praying over there. You're praying over there. And then we all come together and we all start praying. And it feels like people are really mean. And it when they pray, they're really asking God to do something and they believe it when they're asking. And would it be exciting to be a part of a church that really prays?

[00:55:27] I think so. I don't know if I can say I'm a part of that church. Are you a part of that church?

[00:55:33] Because we fill this church three times, especially when the women aren't gone on retreat, we fill this room right here three times every weekend, and then we regularly talk about the fact that there's a prayer meeting at seven o'clock on Monday night. So from three services, we go to about maybe 20 people sitting right over here in this section.

[00:55:54] Are we a church that really has a genuine reliance on prayer? Is there a passion burning up within you to meet with God in a secret place to gather together with brothers and sisters? Because we need to see God do something now. There are souls that need to be saved. Today, there's work that needs to be done right here among us. And we can pray and ask God to do it. He's already told us he wants to do it.

[00:56:21] Here's how the passion looks like here in Isaiah 64, verse one. Oh, that you would run the heavens and come down. That's a key word in your prayers. Oh, that's when you know you're getting passionate about God's glory. Oh, that you would run the heavens and come down? God, I want. I want you to be here.

[00:56:41] I want everyone to know who you are. I want you to show us your glory that the mountains might quake at your presence as when fire Kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil, to make your name known to your adversaries that the nations by tremble at your presence, God, that your will be done here on Earth as it is in heaven. Everyone's worshiping you in heaven. And so many people are not worshiping you here.

[00:57:08] Show yourself to your enemies. Put the nations in their place. Let it be known that you are God. Oh, Father, will you come down from heaven and show us who you are?

[00:57:23] We need your glory. That's what we're supposed to be praying. What Jesus taught us to do.

[00:57:29] And so it comes down to you and God and it comes down to the question, how do you pray? Let me let me just tell you something that's going on this week. If you look at the back of your handout, you see it right here. We've got a little fired up about prayer here this week. A little ambitious. We're having a prayer meeting every single night of the week. All right.

[00:57:50] You come here at six thirty Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night. If you show up here, there will be some of us. I will be here and we will be praying. And I understand you may not be able to come all five nights. That's not really the expectation. But we did it all five nights because I bet there's one of those nights that you could come. And we'd love to have you hopefully go home and spend some time praying yourself. And then we'd love to have you come and gather together and pray with us here at the church. And let's say you're taking care of kids at home. You've got things going on. You're sick. You can't get here to church. We will be live streaming the beginning of all of these prayer meetings every night at six thirty this week. If you go to compas h.b dot com, there will be brothers and sisters praying right here and you will be able to pray along with them every night this week if you want to.

[00:58:40] We need to pray to our father in heaven. Let's do it right now. Father in heaven. We come to you. And got after hearing James. Call this out. God, I prayed that we would not be defensive. I prayed that we would not be proud. I pray that we would humble ourselves before you and before your word here this morning, and then we would come to you now all together as a church, and we would confess our sin of prayer lessness to you.

[00:59:10] How many days? We don't pray or we don't pray the way that we should because we're not thinking about your name, your kingdom and your will where we're focused on ourselves.

[00:59:20] Can we even want to confess our lack of faith that sometimes we have asked you to do things, not even believing in our own heart, that you would do the.

[00:59:30] Sacagawea, we thank you. That you know us so well, we thank you that you inspired James to write words that would cut to our heart here today. And God, I pray that we would hear these words and it would change the way we pray, every single one of us that we've look into our hearts, that we would ask you to shirt, search our hearts, show us who we are, how are we becoming friends of the world?

[00:59:53] How do we becoming too comfortable with the evil system of sin all around us when we should be crying out and calling on your name for your glory and your renown to be known in our time?

[01:00:07] Father, please get our mind off the things of this earth and give us the wisdom that comes from above. Let us set our mind on the things of heaven and let us be people were so heavenly minded. We actually do some earthly good because we ask you to act and we keep on asking you to act until we do it, until we see you answer that prayer. Father, we confess our prayer listens to you, and we pray that from this day forward, there will be a difference in the way that we come and pray to you freely acknowledging our user error and trusting that if we ask, we will receive. If we seek, we will find.

[01:00:49] If we knock, the door will be opened and that we would rather have Jesus Christ and his kingdom and his will than anything this world affords. Today we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.


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