Summary: The necessity of prayer is examined in the light of two decisions God made about man at creation. (1) He made man in His own image with freewill capacity for moral choice (2) He gave man dominion over the earth.
Praying God’s Will to Be Done
In Dan 9:13 we have an amazing comment about the nation of Israel, “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.” We learned in our study of James that trouble is a call to prayer. “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray” (James 5:13 NIV). That’s a fairly simple instruction. If you’re having troubles, what should you do? You should pray; talk to God about it. Find out from Him what’s going on. Is He trying to get your attention? Are you headed in the wrong direction and need a course adjustment? Is there spiritual opposition that needs to be resisted and overcome? Is anyone experiencing troubles?
The nation of Israel was experiencing a lot of trouble. Nothing was going right. But here is the amazing thing. Even with all the trouble, they still didn’t pray. They just kept trying to solve one problem after another as they sunk deeper and deeper into their difficulties. “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.”
That comment could easily be said about our nation. Eight years ago we experienced our first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. For half a century God had kept a protective wall around our mainland. Then the shocking events of 9/11 occurred. This week many of us relived some of the tragedy of September 11, 2001 as we watched the memorial service held in New York City. The History Channel had a series of documentaries about the event. I got a chance to watch some of those. 9/11 was a huge wake up call for our nation. Statistically there was an upturn in church attendance right after the attacks. But that didn’t last long. The war in Afghanistan continues. More troops are being sent there; in fact Briana will be deployed there in a couple of months. About a year ago some more trouble hit our nation. The economic bust of 2008 witnessed the fall of giant corporations and massive government bailouts—debts that our children may never be able to pay. We have an official 9.7 unemployment rate; but that statistic does not account for those whose unemployment benefits have run out and those who are underemployed. I am mediating cases where people who were making $ 60,000 a year are now making $ 13,000 a year. Why am I sharing all this? To simply say, we’ve got troubles! Yet, is there a massive movement toward prayer? Is that even happening in the churches? No, we just keep arguing over how we can solve our problems. We keep leaning on our own understanding instead of seeking God. The nation is doing that. That’s the way many Christian families are responding as well. “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.”
“Pastor, why do you keep preaching on prayer?” “I see no other answer!” The greatest problem this country is facing is not democrat and it’s not republican. It’s not essentially political. It’s spiritual. The greatest problem this nation has is a prayerless church! The solution to your personal problems is prayer. The solution to this nation’s problems is prayer.
I. Prayer is an essential dynamic in bringing God’s will to pass on earth.
A. Remember last week when we talked about the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us to prayer, “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Why would He teach us to pray that way?
1. If God is omnipotent, isn’t His will always done? No, the earth is full of violations of God’s will. It’s not God’s will that a man commit adultery and destroy his family. It’s not God’s will that a serial killer abduct innocent little children. It’s not God’s will that thousands of souls slip into an eternal hell everyday. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” How many recognize that all kinds of things are going on that are not God’s will? We do not hold to some fatalistic doctrine that says everything is God’s will.
2. But if God is omnipotent, why isn’t His will being done in these instances? The answer to that lies in the first chapter of the Bible. Gen 1:26-28 “Then God said,’Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” So to whom did God give dominion over the earth? He created man with the capacity to execute His will in the earth. He created man in His own image and then told him to “...fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion”.