Summary: (1) In prayer, we are engaging an active God who respond. (2) In prayer, do not limit the way God respond to you; and (3) in prayer, God converse with you as His friend.
[I’ve take most thoughts in this sermon from John White’s book People in Prayer.]
Last week we look at one of God’s promise when a person prays:
• Heb 11:6 “...anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
• God gives us a promise, that if we seek Him earnestly, we shall be rewarded. And we look at King Uzziah of Judah.
Today we are going to look at another promise –
• Ps 145:18 “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”
• We’re going to look at an encounter Abraham had.
Unlike many of us, Abraham had no problem making contact with heaven.
• He never needed to try. Throughout his long life it was God who made contact with him.
• We are not always told exactly how God did so. Often we read, “The Lord said to Abraham…” with no explanation whether God spoke in an audible voice or in the stillness of Abraham’s heart.
• One time God spoke in a vision (Gen 15:11); on another occasion he “appeared” to Abraham (Gen 17:1).
It is worthy to note that each time communion between the two is mentioned, God is the One who takes the initiative.
• God came to Abraham. God spoke and Abraham responded. How nice.
We may feel that our prayer lives will be much simpler if this is true for us.
• We feel sometimes, in prayer, that God is the passive One, usually quiet and almost indifferent, while we are crying out passionately over on this side.
• But this wasn’t really the picture we see, especially in the OT.
We see God taking the initiative to speak - to Abraham, to Moses, to the prophets – like Elijah, while running for his life; like Samuel in his sleep.
1. In prayer, we engage an active God, who is eager to respond.
• Jesus said (John 16:13-15): "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you."
John White says, “God is always speaking. To hear His voice is not usually a mystical experience. It consists merely of a willingness to pay heed to the God who lays a claim on our lives.”
• We just need to take note and listen.
• The word ‘hear’ in the Bible does not usually refer to an auditory experience.
• More often it means “to pay heed.” To take notice. To pay attention.
• What did I say? Did you obey?
Abraham then, was not unique. God approaches all of us in the same way.
• He speaks through countless means. You do not need special tools or medium to hear Him.
• In the past I use to say, we have to “tune in to the right frequency”, and as if there is only ONE right frequency and you have to find it. You find it, you will hear God.
• I realized that was not a good way to illustrate. Not accurate. Because the Bible shows us a God who wants to speak to us. He will speak at OUR FREQUENCY.
• He came looking for Abraham. He eventually became a man. Took on human form and spoke the human language.
Abraham had no knowledge of God from Scriptures – he had none.
• He had never read a chapter of the Bible. No instruction on how he can talk to God. God came near and spoke to Him.
• Understand this – God is not passive and indifferent. He is actively involved in your life, and constantly speaking (through the Holy Spirit, as Christ said.)
What is important is for us to have this RECOGNITION that God speaks, and it is our responsibility to take heed and respond.
• God does that sometimes through dramatic experiences, a near-death experience and you know that God saved you.
• At other times, it may be a totally unemotional thing – like reading a line out of a page in Our Daily Bread.
In the OT, God spoke through the burning bush (Moses), in a still small voice (Elijah), through visions and dreams (Daniel), through angels appearing as men (Abraham, Joshua when he saw the commander of the army of the Lord). God can even speak through a donkey (to Balaam).