Summary: Series nspired by a short book by E.W. Price Jr.
Sermon Series: “The A.C.T.S. of Prayer”
(Inspired by a short book by E.W. Price Jr.)
Sermon #3: “S – Seeking God’s Will”
Series Text: Acts 1:14
Today’s Text: Philippians 4:6-7
OPENING JOKE: “A prayer for patience from a new wife”
Lord, I pray for Wisdom – to understand my husband;
Love – to forgive him;
Patience – to survive his moods;
Because, Lord if I pray for Strength, I’ll beat him to death. Amen.
INTRODUCTION: This is the final week of our series entitled, “The ACTS of Prayer”. You will remember that the word ACTS is an acrostic, with each letter giving us a deeper insight into our devotional prayer life:
A – Affirmation of God’s Presence; Adoration of God’s Person
C – Confession
T – Thanksgiving
We have learned that it is by affirmation and adoration that we move into the presence of God – and by confession of sin and thanksgiving that we renew the bond of fellowship with Him.
This week we are going to finish the acrostic with the letter ‘S’ which stands for “Seeking God’s Will”.
Now for many, this part of prayer is greatly misunderstood.
Some think that prayer is all about asking God for what we desire, and the only time a prayer comes forth is when a need or want is not being met.
(Forget Adoration, Confession or Thanksgiving – they go right to Seeking… and then they don’t seek God’s will, but their own!)
And others think that God will always answer their requests in the ‘affirmative’ because they have taken a verse or two from scripture that seem to imply this and have not looked at the Bible as a whole to see how God answers prayer.
Now, I will admit that some Scripture seems to indicate that God always answers in the affirmative:
John 16:23 “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
But when we look at the Scripture as a whole we get the picture of what Jesus was saying here
1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
o Now I think this is the better understanding of what Christ said in John 16:23 – Jesus said “ask in my name” John said, “according to His will”
o I understand both to be saying that ultimately our desires shouldn’t contradict God’s desires and if they do we shouldn’t expect an affirmative response.
James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
o This basically tells us that when we ask and do not receive, it is because we are asking for the wrong thing
o This doesn’t mean that you are a terrible or selfish person; it just means that God is not going to grant you the request at that time because it does not line up with His ultimate will for you.
But what about the Psalm 37?
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
o Again I encourage you to look at the whole verse. It says to ‘delight yourself… in the Lord’
o Let me ask you: If you delight yourself in the Lord, will not the desire of your heart be His will carried out in your life?
REMEMBER: Even the Apostles did not get everything they asked for:
Mark 10:35-38 “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask. And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you? They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory. But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
o Jesus basically said, “you really don’t understand what you are asking for”
o Jesus didn’t answer in the affirmative because they were asking “amiss”
o The Apostles weren’t perfect, as we sometimes see them in our pictures and stained glass with halos
o I went by a church the other day called, “St. John the Divine”, and I thought, ‘John wasn’t divine’ he was a man – Christ was divine
o The apostles were regular men, with regular shortcomings, and they asked for regular things that did not always line up with God’s plan