Importunate Prayer

January 28, 2024 00:45:08
Importunate Prayer
Covenant Words
Importunate Prayer

Jan 28 2024 | 00:45:08

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Luke 12:20-18:8

 

Pastor Michael Babcock

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] You. [00:00:02] Amen. [00:00:05] Well be now the redeemed. The Lord not just forgiven us sins, as wonderful as that is to have all our sins washed clean, all our transgressions forgiven and forgot and thrown into the sea. [00:00:24] We are also adopted as children. [00:00:29] And so let us pray. As we turn now to God's word, our father in heaven. What a delight it is to be able to call you our father. [00:00:42] And that you have revealed to us your holy word. Not leaving us, O Lord, to our own ways, to our own devices, to try to figure out life on our own. But you give to us your word. [00:00:56] To illuminate us, to fill us, Lord, with wisdom. That we might walk in those ways, Lord, that you have designed for us to walk in. We pray, O Lord, now as we open your word. That your spirit would attend to us, O Lord, open our hearts that we may receive these things in faith. Open our ears, Lord, that we may hear him truly speak. And, Lord, strengthen our will, Lord, that we would not just be hearers. But also doers of that word that we hear in Jesus name. Amen. [00:01:33] In Luke, chapter 17, we come to these words of the living God. Jesus Christ is speaking now through his word. Luke, chapter 17, beginning with verse 20. And I'll read to chapter 18, verse eight. [00:01:53] Now, having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, saying, the kingdom of God is not coming. With signs to be observed. Nor will they say, look, here it is, or there it is. For, behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst. And he said to the disciples, the days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the son of man. And you will not see it. And they will say to you, look there. Look there. [00:02:26] Do not go away. Do not run after them. For like the lightning when it flashes out of one part of the sky. And shines in the other part of the sky, so will the son of man be in his day. [00:02:39] But first he must suffer many things. And be rejected by this generation. [00:02:46] And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the son of man. They were eating. They were drinking. They were marrying. They were being given in marriage. Until the day that Noah entered the ark. And the flood came and destroyed them all. [00:03:03] It was the same as what happened in the days of lot. They were eating, they were drinking. They were buying. They were selling, they were planting. They were building. But on the day that lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the son of man is revealed. On that day, the one who's on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out. And likewise, the one who's in the field must not turn back. [00:03:37] Remember lot's wife, whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night, there will be two in one bed. One will be taken, the other will be left. There'll be two women grinding at the same place. One will be taken, the other will be left. [00:04:01] Two men will be in the field. One will be taken, the other will be left. [00:04:07] In answering, they said to him, where, Lord? And he said to them, where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered. Now he was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart, saying, in a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, give me legal protection from my opponent. [00:04:36] Now, for a while he was unwilling, but afterwards he said to himself, even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection. Otherwise, by continually coming, she will wear me out. [00:04:59] And the Lord said, hear what the unrighteous judge said now, will not God bring about justice for his elect who cry to him day and night, and will he delay long over them? I tell you that he will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Amen. Please be seated. [00:05:29] Anniversaries are wonderful things, aren't they? For one, they do help us to remember the past. [00:05:37] And again, I well remember when this church was but a small bible study that met in some houses. [00:05:48] And as you celebrate, you may recall all the hard times that this church has gone through. And I know some of those hard times, some of the great disappointments. [00:06:01] But yet God sustained and he blessed despite those setbacks and disappointments, hasn't he? We see always that God's grace, his love, is always greater than our sorrow. His grace is always more enduring. [00:06:19] But as you trace God's hand in this church over the last decade allows us time to self evaluate, too, and to contemplate perhaps, why does this church matter here in Tucson as you move forward over the next 20, 30, 40 years? Calvin, our church in Phoenix is celebrating its 41st anniversary next month. [00:06:47] I pray that God will give you as many happy years as we have. [00:06:52] But why does this church matter. [00:06:57] As you look and reflect on the past. As you think about your present, as you look to the future again, this anniversary can help you focus on what you want this church to be. [00:07:09] And what the Lord wants it to be. And what you want to be known for. In verse eight of verse 18, Jesus asks a very somber question. [00:07:20] When this son of man returns, or when he comes. Will he find faith on the earth? [00:07:27] And should the Lord tarry for a few more years? [00:07:32] When he returns, would he find faith among you? [00:07:36] Will you be full of faith? Will you be faithful? [00:07:40] Say, that's the real question in light of the world's current milieu, right? Of course, Jesus doesn't ask the question lightly. [00:07:51] He brings up that question in light of all that he's been saying there in chapter 17. And in this parable, the Lord is coming again. [00:08:04] But until he comes, I hope that we will be a praying people. [00:08:10] Now, the parable of Luke 18, I think, should be read as a conclusion. To the Lord's teaching from chapter 17. Again, in chapter 17, verse 20, the Pharisees were asking Jesus. When is the kingdom of God coming? [00:08:28] See, they were looking for a messiah to overthrow the Romans. They wanted a messiah to overthrow their enemies. And to establish a throne of peace and righteousness for the world to flock to. [00:08:42] The Messiah would establish Israel as the great nation. All the Gentiles would be subservient to them. [00:08:52] And that's what they were looking for. That's what they were hoping for. [00:08:57] But Jesus answered their question by saying, in effect, you are mistaken. To think that the kingdom of God is coming down. To bring down roman tyranny. [00:09:08] The kingdom of God, in fact, is already here. [00:09:13] You may recall that John the Baptist asked the same question. [00:09:18] Are you the Messiah? Is the kingdom of God really here? Or should we be waiting for someone else? And remember how Jesus replied John's question? He replied by saying, well, you go report back to John. How the blind receive sight, how the lame walk, how lepers are cleansed, deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And Jesus'point there as it is to hear to the Pharisees. Is that the kingdom of God. Is not a geopolitical force. That comes directly, or at least initially. To overthrow world's power to change culture. It is first and foremost, and the greatest thing about it, it's a spiritual kingdom. [00:10:07] It has a spiritual power to set captives truly free. As it redeems lost souls. [00:10:17] Now, how sad. The Pharisees missed the kingdom because they were looking for something else. [00:10:23] They refused to acknowledge the king of the kingdom because they were looking for an idol. [00:10:33] Beloved, I do want to warn us all to be careful here, because I think that we can become very distraught over the chaos of the world today. The political scene is pretty well embarrassing, isn't it? [00:10:50] And it's easy to want to see a new world government established. [00:10:56] Even if that government is built on biblical principles, it's still going to be a worldly kingdom, isn't it? And Jesus here is clearly telling us that his kingdom is not of this world. [00:11:08] Its power does not rest according to human wisdom, or to human ability, or to human understanding or to human programs. The power of the kingdom rests as hearts are being transformed by being born again of the holy spirit of God. But now, having said that, Jesus says that one day he will return and that he will bring this world to account. He will judge it, and he will establish a world that is full of peace and righteousness. Yes, he will bring in new creation. But for that to happen, he says, first he must die and be raised. [00:11:53] And it is through his death, and it is through his resurrection, that he sets actually the events of the last day in motion. [00:12:02] It's through his death and resurrection that he brings in new creation. And while this new creation, established in his kingdom, goes forth into the world, he tells his disciples that, in fact, it will be a rival kingdom to the world. The world will still be in chaos. It will still suffer. It will still go through sin and darkness. In fact, Jesus said, it'll be just like the days of Noah. [00:12:33] Remember how in the days of Noah, the world got so wicked, so evil, that God had to bring a flood to destroy all living creatures? [00:12:45] Only eight people were saved, along with animals. [00:12:54] But God is about. Jesus said that he's coming. Be ready. [00:13:01] Be ready. [00:13:02] Because again, while evil will increase, life will look pretty normal. [00:13:09] Just like it was in the days of Noah. They were eating, drinking, marrying, giving to marriage. Or just like it was in the days of lot, when they were eating and drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. These are the things that take place in the world. Everything was looking fairly normal. People will be lulled. That's what Jesus is saying. People are going to be lulled into a lethargy, living without a thought of judgment, living without any consideration of the things of God. [00:13:41] And even his people, even God's people can fall into that lethargy. So Jesus says, remember lot's wife? [00:13:51] Do you remember in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, in that account there in Genesis, angels were sent to deliver lot and his family from coming judgment. [00:14:05] And they were warned, flee the city, but do not look back. [00:14:10] But as she left, she looked back with a longing desire for the pleasures of sin that Sodom gave. [00:14:24] Lot's wife is a sad case of someone being so close to being saved. [00:14:31] But her love for Sodom, her love for sin, her love for the world pulled her back to destruction. [00:14:40] And Jesus'teaching is calling us to resist that relentless temptation of Sodom. [00:14:51] That temptation is to be desensitized to God's kingdom by the ordinary pressures of daily life. [00:15:01] You know, even good and legitimate things in life can pull you away from the kingdom of God, just as bad things can. [00:15:15] We need to be careful, Jesus said, remember Lot's wife. Remember Lot's wife. Remember what she did and how she looked back to the world with longing, wanting its pleasures rather than going forward. [00:15:36] I don't need to tell you, but we are in a tremendous battle. [00:15:41] We are in a tremendous battle as christians, aren't we? And it's hard to maintain a radical, heartfelt, self denying faith in Christ, isn't it? Do you not struggle with that? We look around us, and what do we see? Wickedness abounding. [00:15:59] And the temptation may be to think that there's no real benefit in living the christian life. That's a daily struggle that many christians have. What's the point in living for Christ? [00:16:11] I don't get ahead. [00:16:14] Nothing good ever happens to me. Does that sound kind of familiar? Kind of psalm 73 ish. [00:16:23] We struggle with this, don't we? We struggle when everyone else, even christians, aren't living for Christ that much. [00:16:32] What value does it have for me? Listen, it matters. [00:16:39] But we struggle. And it's not just with the pressures of the world and the pressures of becoming lethargic. But Matthew 24. Later on, Jesus says this also to his disciples about the last days. He says, many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold. [00:17:07] But he who endures to the end will be saved. The danger of love growing cold parallels Jesus's question there in verse eight. When the son of man comes, will he find faith on earth again? The opposition of unbelievers, the busyness of life can easily swallow up our love for Christ and for one another. [00:17:34] Our love is always in danger of growing cold. [00:17:41] In Luke, chapter 14, Jesus gave another parable. [00:17:50] This parable was of a man who wanted to throw a big party, so he threw out all these invitations and everyone, yes, yes, I'll come. But when the party was about to begin, they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said, I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it. Please consider me excused. Another one said, I have bought five yoke of oxen and I'm going to try them out. Please consider me excused. And then another one said, I have married a wife and for that reason I cannot come. And all these excuses. [00:18:27] And it's so easy to give excuses right now. Life is too busy. I cannot come right now, I have my job to take care of. I cannot come right now, I have to finish school, I cannot come. So many excuses. How then can our faith be strong? How can our love burn hot? [00:18:47] How can we avoid being like lot's wife or like those who are left in judgment? How can we escape as we face adversaries and encounter struggles every day? How can we overcome the temptation to lose heart, the temptation to become discouraged and to give up languishing without hope? [00:19:18] And again, it's that background that Jesus comes and he begins to tell this parable. And again, Luke tells us that he gives this parable for a purpose, to show that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart. [00:19:38] Now I, as one who struggles in prayer myself, I know there's a lot of reasons why we find it difficult to pray. [00:19:48] I think one of the greatest ones is that we just simply lose heart, don't we? [00:19:53] God doesn't always answer the way we think that he ought to answer our prayers. His delays in answering our prayers discourages us and we begin to even wonder if God hears us at all. [00:20:05] And so we just stop asking. Prayer is hard and I always find it kind of an interesting thing. You don't need any special training, you don't need any credentials to pray, and yet we find it agonizingly difficult. [00:20:24] I know I do, and I know probably you do as well. But don't feel alone. Don't feel alone at all. In fact, John Calvin, the great reformer who you look up at, he's like one of those giants of the faith, right? One of these mighty men of God. [00:20:44] And indeed he was. But John Calvin said that to pray rightly was one of the most difficult duties of the christian life. [00:20:54] He found it hard to pray. [00:20:57] That gives me a little comfort. On the way down to Tucson this morning, we turned the car on and we were listening to Lloyd Jones, D. Martin Lloyd Jones, who was touted to be one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century. [00:21:14] Tremendous influence in the UK and even in the United States during the 19 hundreds. But Lloyd Jones said, everything we do in the christian life is easier than prayer. [00:21:28] Do you find that to be true of yourself? John Newton, the author of amazing Grace, a tremendous preacher in his own right, he admitted, I find in my own case an unaccountable backwardness to pray. I can read, I can write, I can converse with a ready will. But secret prayer is far more spiritual than any of these. And the more spiritual a duty is, the more my carnal heart is apt to start away from it. [00:21:59] And so if your cheek is blushing a little bit, as you feel a little guilt, because I don't pray as much as I want to or should, and I know it well. Take comfort. But here again, Jesus is exhorting us, and he's saying that as long as there is life in you and as long as there is life in others, we should continue then in prayer and seeking to be prayers, seeking to plead with the God of mercy, pray without pause, cry aloud and spare not until God opens the windows of heaven and pours out his great blessings on you and his church. [00:22:43] And as Jesus encourages us to impertunate prayer, he first mentions in this parable a judge. Now, if you had to go to court, this would not be the judge you hope to get, because he was void of any good character. If you don't fear the great judgments of God, then your dealing with others are going to be callous. And so this judge even confessed his own weakness himself. He says, though I do not fear God and respect men, see, there was nothing to restrain him from evil, nothing was compelling him to good. He didn't fear God, he didn't care about men. And Jesus describes him in such a way so that you, the hearer, would know that if you want justice and mercy, you're not going to find it in him. [00:23:36] But then the second character of the parable, of course, is the widow. Now, widows at that time were very marginal persons. They had no influence in society, they had very little resources. [00:23:50] And this woman, we're told, had a big problem. She had some opponent who was harassing her and she needed protection from that opponent. [00:24:01] Now, it's clear she had no invitation into the judge's chambers, she had no promise, she had no merit to badger this judge. [00:24:12] She wasn't in any kind of privileged position to cry out to him at any time. [00:24:20] She was the lowest of the low, coming to a judge, who simply didn't care. [00:24:28] But even though she's in the wrong position, going to the wrong judge, she keeps coming and coming and coming. She won't let him alone. She badgers him while he's trying to sleep. She shouts to him when he wakes up in the morning. She won't let him go because her need was greater than her comfort. [00:24:53] And Jesus'point in telling this story again was that men might always to pray, not to faint. [00:25:01] Here we see this poor widow, how she finally prevailed over the wicked man. [00:25:12] But the point being is that how much more than should we pray to one who is not wicked? [00:25:19] This unjust judge, who shamelessly admits that he neither fears God nor respects men, answered the persistent plea of this widow. [00:25:30] And that leads us then to see that our father in heaven, who is nothing like that judge, will answer the persevering prayers of his people. Isn't that wonderful? Good news. God is a God of grace, my friends. God is a God who is infinitely loving and immensely merciful, perfectly just, and he infinitely cares for his children who come to him seeking to have themselves avenged and helped. [00:26:04] Now, how do I know that God is a loving, merciful and giving God? How do I know that? [00:26:13] Well, I know that because who's telling the parable, the only begotten son of God, sent by the father into the world to take on our human flesh, to take our burdens, to take our sins, to take our transgressions and our guilt to the cross, and there die for us, to save us, to free us from God's wrath and the imminent destruction in hell. [00:26:47] How do I know that God is loving and giving? Because Jesus Christ is the greatest gift of God's love, and he's the one who's telling this story. And it is because God loves his children that Jesus says, you ought to pray and you ought not to lose heart. [00:27:07] We do not go to a heartless judge who doesn't care. We go to a loving father. [00:27:13] Now, let me tell you that this widow, I think, in the parable, represents the church in the world. The church is in a very vulnerable, weak position. She has a very strong opponent. [00:27:26] This opponent is invisible. This opponent is very old and very crafty and subtle. In fact, this opponent slithered his way into the garden and tempted Adam and Eve who were without sin at that time. [00:27:43] That's how crafty is. He is like a lion prowling around, seeking to devour. [00:27:54] Interesting. When you read through the psalms or you read through the New Testament epistles, like first Peter Hebrews, the epistles of Paul. I'm preaching through the book of revelation up at Calvin. And you read through revelation, and what do you see time and time again? How are the saints being represented there? As sheep being led to slaughter. Right. [00:28:25] The church has always been persecuted, and it will always be persecuted. And the world hates us. The devil hates us. Our own flesh hates us. But you know what? With all this opposition, with all this problem, with all the enemies that we have, you are the apple of God's eye. [00:28:46] We are the bride of Christ. [00:28:48] And so often are we in need, in dire need, and we are treated unfairly and unjustly. [00:28:56] Jesus is here to remind you that you do have a friend who always lives to make intercession for you. [00:29:05] Now this widow had no promise. She had no right of access. [00:29:09] She had no invitation, no permission to hound the judge day and night. [00:29:18] But in contrast to that, guess what? We have promises, don't we? We have an invitation to come. [00:29:26] And he has bidden us to pray without ceasing, coming day and night. [00:29:34] In fact, it was her very weaknesses and vulnerability that caused her to keep going, asking for justice. [00:29:46] And so it is with us when we truly see our need, that's when we have an interest in prayer. [00:29:53] We ought not to think of prayer as something that we do when everything else fails. And sometimes we think that way. Well, I tried this. I tried that. I guess I might as well pray now. No. You have an invitation to come before the throne of grace. To come before the throne of the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, who is your father. Come and come and come and see what he will do. Now notice this prayer was not long of the widow. It's just a few words. Give me legal protection for my opponent. That's all it was. [00:30:27] It's not the eloquence of her speech that got her hurt, is it? [00:30:32] It wasn't the merit of her case that won the day. [00:30:37] It wasn't because he was moved by fear of God or care of man. [00:30:43] It wasn't because she was worthy. [00:30:46] He didn't respect that. [00:30:49] It was simply the relentless, ceaseless opportunity of her speech that got her heard. [00:30:58] In fact, verse five at chapter 18, the judge says, I will give her legal protection. [00:31:06] Otherwise, by continually coming, she will wear me out. Now that greek word for wear me out carries with it a meaning of being pummeled, like giving me a black eye. [00:31:18] He would say, I'm tired of this woman beating me up. He didn't care about the woman. He didn't care about her cause. He didn't care about her plight. If she had children. He didn't care about that. She didn't care about her need at all. [00:31:32] Let them all die, for all I care, he said. But he did care about being pummeled. Death. He did care about his black eye. He was tired of it. [00:31:45] Again, one of the hindrances to prayer is a sense of unworthiness, a sense that I don't have a just cause. [00:31:56] I mean, after all, I've sinned against God. I've transgressed against him. I know that I don't deserve his favorable look upon me. Why should he listen to my prayers? Do you ever feel that way? [00:32:10] But Jesus is bringing this out to show us that however worthy, unworthy you may be, you should still continue prayer. Because as disciples of Christ, as those who are united to Christ, we are dressed in Jesus's righteousness. [00:32:30] And though you may feel abandoned, you always have access then to the Father's throne. [00:32:39] And so you should come. [00:32:42] You should come because you need to come. [00:32:45] Just look around you at the needs again. There's so much against the church today, isn't it? Christians are being slaughtered in places all around the world. [00:32:55] In fact, I was reading this article not that long ago. There's more persecution now, more martyrdom happening now than there did during the days of Diocletian. [00:33:06] Persecution is on the rise. I read an article also not that long ago. This is by a four star general in the United States army who said that the number one enemy to the United States is not Putin. It's not China. The number one enemy to the United States right now is conservative, born again christians. [00:33:26] Why? Because we bow our need to a higher king than to the president. [00:33:34] And that's a danger. [00:33:36] Well, guess what? I'm going to tell you something. Persecution is round the corner. If you haven't already experienced it, you're going to be. I'm pretty sure that ought we not to pray? [00:33:47] And even in places where christians are not being imprisoned for their faith, christians are still being ostracized by family members. Right? [00:33:57] Students. [00:33:58] I know some students that have had their grades hurt in school because of their faith in Christ. I've known that some men who took a stand on the gospel and on righteous issues have lost their jobs because of that. [00:34:15] And are we not mocked? [00:34:18] Are you not considered to be a fool because you believe in Christ and not in science? [00:34:24] And even worse than that, many churches have been marginalized by secularism, humanism, and worldly living. Many churches have substituted faithfulness to the word for popularity. They want to get in numbers, and numbers matter more than faithfulness, beloved. Ought we not then to persevere in prayer? Jesus asked that telling question, will the son of man find faith on the earth when he comes? Will he? [00:34:52] Ought we then not to persevere? The needs of the church, let alone our personal needs, are great. We cannot do without prayer, can we? We must be like this widow, constantly raising up our voice to be heard because our adversary is great. Again. One Peter, chapter five, verses six and eight. Be humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on him. Pray because he cares for you. Be a sober spirit. Be on the alert. Why your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. And if you will not pray, you will be devoured. [00:35:36] And given all that, my friends, Jesus says, will not God bring about justice for his elect who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you that he will bring about justice quickly. [00:35:51] Now, God's quickness is not necessarily our quickness. [00:35:56] Chapter 17. Jesus gave a very bleak picture of the world where wickedness abounds and flourishes and persecution is going on. And we feel how hard it is to be christians. But while we're tempted to give up, Jesus says, pray again. Who is Jesus talking to? He's talking to people who are facing trying circumstances, who are losing hope, who feel abandoned and discouraged, who are tempted to whisper silently, does God care about me? Does God love me? [00:36:33] Where is the one who said, I will never leave you or forsake you? [00:36:39] But note how Jesus says that his coming and glory is the answer really to all our prayers. [00:36:46] Because on that day he will give the justice that we're looking for. [00:36:52] Our prayer then is ultimately looking to his return. Do we not pray as we will a little bit? Thy kingdom come. [00:37:03] Do you ever pray that prayer that is found in Paul's epistles, Maranatha? Come quickly, Lord. Our prayer is to pray that prayer. Come, Lord. It's been 2000 years. [00:37:22] There seems to be no vindication, no justice. [00:37:27] How can Jesus say that he's coming quickly? [00:37:31] Well, again, going back to Peter, he reminds us that one day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. So quickness for God is different than for us. The Lord may not come when you want him to, but he has his own timetable, which is perfect, and he's always on time. And remember, God's plan includes not only you, but the whole church, even those who are not yet born. The world doesn't spin around you. It doesn't spin around our needs. God is interested in the grand plan of his decrees. You're part of it, but you're not the only part. [00:38:13] And so we pray, and we pray and we pray, knowing that one day those prayers will be answered when the last martyr lays down his life. [00:38:27] Between now and then, he's telling us in this parable, he will take care of everything. Do you believe that? [00:38:41] There is no ultimate hopelessness for the Christian, however hard your situation is. And Jesus wants you to know, beloved, today, that God is more easily moved towards you than this unjust judge was towards this widow. [00:39:03] Come to him in prayer. [00:39:06] Set the five wounds of Christ before the father's eyes. [00:39:12] Call upon the name of the righteous one who stands at the right hand of God, who is there as your high priest, interceding for you. You find it difficult to pray, but he is there praying for you. [00:39:27] And Jesus promised that he would save a people from every tribe and tongue and nation. [00:39:33] And so we have warrant to bring our petitions to God for this very thing. God has ordained the success of the gospel and that the fullness of the church is laid up somewhat in our prayers. The state of men's souls are certainly in danger, aren't they? So how could we give up praying? Our souls depend upon it. The glory of God is related to it. And so let us urgently plead with him until we obtain the answer. [00:40:05] Jesus closed his teaching. [00:40:08] Will the son of man find faith on earth when he comes? [00:40:15] As you press forward in your ministry in this church, know that as you pray, you are joining in the continuing ministry of Christ himself, who is making intercession for all his people. Amen. [00:40:38] Well, let us turn then to God in prayer. [00:40:50] Our father, your ways are always good and wise, and although from our limited vision they do not always seem so. [00:41:03] Yet we ask, O Lord, that you would help us to stand with a steadfast heart in your goodness, trusting in your grace, trusting in your wisdom, trusting that your providence is causing all things to work together for our good and to your glory. [00:41:21] Lord, teach us to trust in your sovereign will, that we may cast our burdens on you, where we may find in you a healing God, a comforting savior. [00:41:35] Sanctify us, O Lord, that we may always be ready servants. Not only your servants, but servants to one another. May your word. [00:41:46] May your word work in itself in us, that we would learn how to bear one another's burdens to love others more than ourselves, to think of others as being more important than ourselves. O Lord, forgive us for the many times that our proud hearts rises up and that we do not stand as servants. [00:42:11] Humble us, O Lord, that we might see our place in your kingdom. But, Lord, we pray that you would cause our hearts to grow in faith and persevere in this great duty and privilege of prayer. And so, Father, we do pray for your church around the world. We ask that your church would grow in unity of spirit and the knowledge of Christ. Cause your word that is being preached today to be powerful, pulling down strongholds of resistance. Let your word bring people to a true faith in Christ. [00:42:44] Lord, we pray for the mission work of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, granted success in establishing churches in the various places around the world. [00:42:55] O Lord, we pray for your persecuted church. [00:43:02] Please draw near to those who suffer for the gospel. [00:43:06] Enable them to stand firm against the harshness of unbelief and cause your word to take seed and to grow even in those places that are governed by superstition and ignorance and hatred. [00:43:23] And, Lord, we pray for ourselves here, that we would be bold and wise as we deal with unbelievers, open doors of ministry, that you might share the hope, that we might share the hope that's within us. O Lord, we pray, we give you thanks for these ten years of being a church, and we ask, O Lord, that you would grant it many more. Bless Pastor Chelka and his ministry here. Bless the elders, Lord, as they would gather with him to help shepherd and govern the church according to your pattern and your word and your polity. Father, we pray for every member and a regular attender here, Lord, that you would fill them with joy and with peace. Lord, let them look beyond their own needs and their own situation, Lord, to look to you knowing that you are a faithful good shepherd. Bless this church, we pray. [00:44:24] And, Father, we pray that it would grow in wisdom and love and that it would be unified in the fellowship of the spirit. Lord, we pray for the presbytery as it meets this week. O Lord, be with the moderator and with its clerk, Pastor Chelka. Lord, we pray that all the travel will be safe, that there will be unity of mind and heart. [00:44:54] And, Lord, we pray that wisdom would be found in the counsel of many and that good things would occur within the regional bounds of this church. In Jesus'name we pray. Amen.

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