- As believers, we often cry out for God for every little thing, don’t we?
- Sometimes we almost have a helpless feeling or a need for more guidance
- Moses had this same issue and tonight’s lesson is that there comes a time when crying out must be replaced by action; when God answers we must move
- Our passage shows this type of scenario perfectly
- Let’s examine the reasons for praying, understanding the need and the want
- Background: Moses has convinced the Israelites to leave and to follow him
- Yet, here they stand before the Red Sea, and Moses is faced with uncertainty
- Read Exodus 14:12-16 / Pray
Point 1 - Sometimes the answer will be very unsatisfactory
- Matt 6:7 records for us how praying over and over with vain repetition is of no good; but some do so because it is “religion”; there is no spiritual reality of prayer
- Praying is the right thing to do, but do we do so in vanity?
-- Isaiah 29:13 says, “The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
- Do we pray because we need God? Or that we want God?
- Sometimes people pray just to feel better; but at what cost?
-- Isaiah 1:13 shows us that even God desires for us to come for the right reasons, “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and vocations – I cannot bear your evil assemblies.”
- It is something we must do to draw closer; not to fill our own desires
Point 2- Sometimes the answer will betray ignorance
- When praying hinders immediate repentance. Do we pray and not repent? Do we pray and look for ways to not perhaps stall? Instead of quitting sin and mourning over it, some talk about praying – but we must obey and act
- When praying keeps us from faith in Jesus. The gospel is not “pray and be saved” … but “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”
-- Matt 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
-- John 6:47, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”
- When we suppose that it fits us for Jesus. We must come as sinners, and not set up our prayers as sort of righteousness (Luke 18:11 talks about the Pharisee and the tax collector: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men …”
Point 3 – Sometimes the answer will be quite correct
- I pray … because I must! I am in trouble, and must pray or perish. Our own sighs and crying are how God has made us; and we must be willing to cry out
- It is because I know I will be heard, and have a desire to be closer to God, that I need to pray because He will hear and respond!
-- Psalm 116:2 “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.”
- Because I delight in it, it brings rest to my mind, and hope to my heart, “it is good for me to draw near to God” (Psalm 73:28)
- Praying gives us peace because I grow as I pray – I gain confidence and ground knowing that God’s answer will be right on time
- Because I look for all from God, and therefore I cry onto Him for help
-- Psalm 62:5, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”
- Where must those be who depend upon their own prayers?
- What can we say of those who live without prayer?
- What are those who give no reason for praying, but repeat words with no heart?
- Every fruit of the Spirit comes in its own season; it is then most precious to us
- We need to ask, but by all means be prepared to receive because God will answer
- Seek earnestly; but do not hold back when it comes time to find
- Knock, and knock again, but pause to ensure the door is fully open
- When we ought to believe that we have the mercy; why continue to cry out?
- Consider God’s question to Moses, “Wherefore criest thou unto me?”
God is asking Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?”
- He has already answered, already directed, and already commissioned
- So, in our case – what are we waiting for? What are we praying for?
* Sermon inspired by Charles H. Spurgeon