Summary: What can we do in difficult times. God invites us to call on Him. Like Jeremiah, we can respond to God’s invitation to prayer
GOD’S CALL TO PRAYER
The Setting: Jeremiah was living in desperate times. The people of Jerusalem had been taken captive. Jeremiah had faithfully preached but his message had been totally rejected. Moreover, Jeremiah was imprisoned. Yet God gave this man, an invitation to prayer.
What can we do in difficult times? God invites us to call on Him. Like Jeremiah we can respond to God’s invitation to prayer.
I. PRAYER IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE
“Call to me.” The word “call” is also translated “cry” in other places. It could be translated, “Cry out to me.” Jeremiah was imprisoned and his people had been taken into captivity. Yet God invites him to “Call to me.”
God invites us to call on Him as well. There are many verses in the Bible that exhort us to call upon God. Let’s look at a few of them.
Psalm 50:15, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, "you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart"
Psalm 10:17 says, "You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,"
Isaiah 30:19 "O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.”
Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
James wrote, “you do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). Do you begin to get the idea that God wants us to cry out to Him?
II. PRAYER CARRIES GREAT PROMISES.
“Call to me, and I will answer you….”
James tells us, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). Let’s look at some examples of answered prayer from Scripture.
Hannah prayed, and God gave her a son, Samuel. Elijah prayed and it didn’t rain for 3 1/2 years. He prayed again and the rains returned. On another occasion, Elijah prayed and God consumed the sacrifice that had been drenched with water. Listen to 1 Kings 18:37-38. “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will kow that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.“ Elisha prayed and God gave life back to a dead child.
Samson prayed and God gave him back his strength. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God and the prison they were in was shaken and the jailer got saved! Jesus prayed a brief prayer, and Lazarus came back from the dead.
God still answers prayer today. Sometimes He says, “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” The key is that He always answers.
Prayer can move mountains. The disciples of Jesus could not deliver a boy from demons. Jesus drove the demon out of the boy. The disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus said, “Because, you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from hear to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:19-20).
III. PRAYER HAS GREAT POWER
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unreachable things you do not know.”
Once again, the context reminds us that Jeremiah was living in difficult times. Things looked hopeless of Judah. The people had refused Jeremiah’s message and were going into captivity. Jeremiah himself was a prisoner. Yet, God had not abandoned the prophet. Even within his prison walls, God gave Jeremiah a glimpse into the future. He was enabled to see a glorious future for captive Judah.
In Jeremiah 29:10-14a), we read. “This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. The you will call upon men and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.” Back to our key passage. God has wonderful things in store for the future. Only God knows the future. God shared with Jeremiah what He was going to do.