Summary: This messages focuses on the Lament Prayers and aims at helping God’s people use this unique prayer.
LEARNING to CRY BEFORE GOD (STUDY OF LAMENT PRAYER)
CHRISTLIKE IN PRAYER
Big Idea: Our personal relationship with God will deepen when we are willing to be honest about our questions.
Good morning church. I am going back to the curriculum of prayer. This is the fifth message on prayer including what brother Val shared a few weeks ago. Lord willing I might be gone this week to attend the Church of God’s General Assembly, so Brother Val will be preaching next week. I plan to be gone for about 10 days only since I also need to visit my family in the Philippines in August – hopefully for a few days. My eldest sister is not about 80 and every year we want to at least see each other each year. We have a big family in Mindanao, and each year we celebrate what God is doing in our lives.
First, we learned that prayer connects us to God. Prayer is a gift of God to His children. Yes everyone or almost everyone prays, but only the children of God pray to their heavenly Father. We saw in our first message that Jesus prayed – He valued prayer as a coming to His Father. Jesus on purpose left the crowd and people and ministry to spend time with his Father in prayer. In prayer He was refreshed by His Father; he received His Father’s instruction; The Father acted in response to His prayer. PRAYER AND OUR LIFE WITH GOD ARE INTERCONNECTED.
Second, we learned that prayer is an invaluable tool for our loved ones. We look at how Jesus prayed for His loved ones. We saw that Jesus took seriously the threat of an enemy who will stop at nothing to destroy his loved ones – his friends, his disciples. He saw a malevolent – evil – wicked – diabolical enemy who sought to destroy those whom Jesus loved. We saw how Jesus, in and through prayer, counteracted, every move of the enemy. He fought the enemy by calling on His Father in behalf of his loved ones. It is quite interesting that we have no record of Jesus praying for Judas. But he prayed for Peter. He prayed that his faith will remain intact – even after his fall.
Our third message on Christlike in Prayer is about praying in Crisis. How do you pray in crisis like Jesus? We saw first that Jesus saw crisis as falling under the sovereignty of God. God has full control over every crisis of our lives. In the example of Jesus we saw how he faced crisis: (a) with his real friends (he did not face his crisis alone); (b) with emotional honesty (he did not hide his emotions – he cried and described his sorrow, his pain, his fear, his sense of the coming of death, he prayed with so much pressure; (c) he prayed trusting his Father. Jesus’ example shows us that prayer in crisis is not an attempt to change the mind of God about something he planned, but instead, an aligning of oneself, a submission, a full surrender, an entrusting of self and life completely into the hands of His Father.
Brother Val shared on the Prayer of Jesus for his disciples who were described as OUT OF THIS WORLD: God to Protect us; God to Sanctify Us; and God to Send Us.
TODAY I WANT US TO LEARN TOGETHER HOW TO CRY BEFORE GOD. The Bible calls this “Lament Prayers.” An entire book in the OT is called Lamentation, a book written by Jeremiah, the weeping prophet who cried to God for his incurable wound/pain. He aches and cries for Israel who has crossed the line – God called him to declare the coming judgment against his own people. His mission was not to call them to repentance but to declare God’s judgment. He cries to God and for the people. The carries the pain in his heart for years.
I am leading this church in reclaiming the LAMENT PSALM. As your pastor and elder we are now laying hold of this truth – long suppressed, ignored, unused by the Body of Christ. WE WILL LEARN TO LAMENT IN A BIBLICAL WAY. There is a wrong way and insufficient way to cry. Judas cried, Esau cried, and their crying just made them worst! They say that crying is good – it gives you a release; but biblical crying is better – as we will see.
Gospel accommodation and consumer mentality. We’re so focused on providing people with a positive, uplifting experience, that we’ve forgotten what it means to be human. Consider the following wisdom, recently offered by Sally Morgenthaler:
"Let’s admit it. We all have days, weeks, months, and -- in some cases, years -- when the hand of God seems far from us. We struggle with doubt, depression, and emptiness. Our questions and prayers linger, seemingly unanswered. Ironically, Jesus joins us in our pain. I sometimes feel that our songs make people push the delete button on their inner life. Sad is only permissible for one measure. And, perish the thought, it’s never OK to be angry or to doubt God’s goodness or sovereignty. That would be blasphemous. So we don’t sing about such feelings. Which is interesting, because the Psalmist...certainly sang about them. But the Christian subculture in North America is, if anything, repressive. So, in keeping with our penchant for emotional editing and denial, we compose song lyrics only from psalm verses that we deem positive, excising nearly every expression of doubt, confusion, struggle, and lament (Worship Leader, March/April 2004, p. 14)."