Summary: What God's gift of prayer gives us the right to ask for.
‘Isaiah’s prayer for God’s intervention emphasized the people’s absolute dependence on God. When we pray, we confess our need for God to reach into our lives and touch them in some way.’ Without God’s gift of prayer there would be no way for us to ask God to intervene in our lives. Prayer is a wonderful gift, and as our pastor points out regularly, it is the greatest untapped resource in the world today. This morning I’d like to look at three areas where prayer is the only way for us to find help. First, prayer is our means to get the help—the gift—of salvation. Second, prayer allows for us to ask for help with our Christian walk and with our witness. Then the last thing I’d like to look at is the help that prayer can bring to our lost family and friends.
Prayer gives us the ability to communicate with God, and to ask for the help that His Son Jesus Christ provided with His death on the cross. The gift of salvation is the greatest help that God has provided for mankind. It’s a help that everyone must experience. Why? Well the obvious answer is so that we don’t have to spend eternity separated from God in a devil’s hell. God’s gift of eternal life is granted to us by our asking for help to be saved, and Christ’s blood allows us to be cleansed of our sins, and to have a new purpose in life. That’s a great help! But in verse five we see that once we accept God’s help of salvation, we now have been granted certain helps in this life that are only available for God’s redeemed. Here we see that help in times of trouble is available to those who have chosen to serve Him. ‘You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways.’ ‘You meet says that God intercedes or speaks on behalf of the one who remembers and pays attention to His ways, and to those that live their lives according to His purpose.’ In God’s great gift of salvation we not only get the honor to spend eternity with Him in heaven, but He provides for us His intercessory power in our daily lives. Whenever we are tempted, tried, perplexed, beaten down, having the worst day imaginable, God’s saving grace allows us to pray for His help in any situation. ‘This is not to say that God doesn’t care for those who haven’t chosen to serve Him. Christ died for everyone, and God wants everyone to choose His Son and live for Him. What Isaiah is pointing out in this verse is that if one wants to receive the fullness of Divine mercy, if one wants God interceding daily in their time of need, they must be forgiven of all past sin.’ God hates sin. It is what separates us from a loving God. ‘You are indeed angry, for we have sinned— In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved.’ How can God intercede in the life of someone He’s angry with? Sin in someone’s life causes Him to be angry with the way they are living. Not that He doesn’t love them and care for them, but His help in daily affairs is removed from them because of their sin. The only intercession available to sinner is forgiveness. That’s the prayer of help that God hears from the sinner. God I’ve messed up, I’ve angered You, I’m sorry, and I need to be saved. This is the prayer He hears, this the prayer He’ll answer. He’ll give help to anyone who prays this prayer. Then you’ll also have the honor, and the ability to ask for God’s help whenever and wherever you need it. Every one of us needs to pray that prayer at sometime in our lives—sooner rather than later. Every one needs salvation help from God, because everyone has sinned. ‘But we are all like an unclean thing,’ There has been only one person alive that never needed to ask for forgiveness, and that was the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Therefore, He is the only one who can give the help of salvation. He was the perfect sacrifice; He was the true white Lamb without blemish who willing gave us His life for the atonement of sins. ‘Even though God has been so gracious to die for our sins, yet people just keep right on sinning and have no desire to accept God’s forgiveness.’ The problem is the world believes that if they live a good life, they give to charitable organizations every now and then, they don’t murder anyone, that if they’re a good person then when they die they’ll go to Heaven. But here in verse six we see that God says all of our good works are worthless. There is no amount of good deeds that we can do to buy our way into Heaven. Only the blood of Jesus Christ sprinkled on our heart to remove our sins will allow us entrance into the Heavenly Realm. ‘Salvation comes only by seeking God and giving heed to Him and His ways.’ Now I don’t mean to make anyone uncomfortable with what I’m going to say next. But I think it’ll make the picture clear about how worthless, and how dirty our lives still are by trying to do good works to earn our way into Heaven. ‘And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.’ If one where to look at exactly what verse six is saying in the original Hebrew this is what you would find. ‘God says that our own righteousnesses—our own good works—are as a polluted garment, literally a garment soiled by a woman during her menstrual period.’ Ladies and gentleman if that’s the way God looks at our own attempts to earn are way into Heaven, I would encourage you today, as our pastor so frequently does—stop wasting your time! Come to Jesus Christ and allow His blood to cleanse you of all unrighteousness, and to make you pure and clean and ready to spend eternity with God. ‘There is no place where we find out the worthlessness of our own goodness like the place of prayer. ’ Do you see? Sin has destroyed us. ‘We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.’ ‘Like the leper in Old Testament times, sin has made us so unclean that God must put us outside His encampment of Heaven. Our iniquities have swept us away from God. ’ Leviticus 13:44-46, speaking of a person with leprosy says: