Confidence in Prayer (Hebrews #13)

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Text: Hebrews 4:16

Tonight I’d like to talk to you about the most powerful opportunity in creation.  And I’m not saying this to be dramatic.  You change your eternal destiny with a prayer.  Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Through your communication with God, by calling on him, the Lord responds and makes changes.

This is the third time in this chapter the Holy Spirit has used the words “Let us therefore…” (vs 1, 11, 16).  The first Let us therefore is based on chapter 3.  The second Let us therefore is based on 4:2-10.  And this third Let us therefore is based on 4:12-15.

I notice many men are not confident in prayer.  There are some that like to hear themselves talk, but I’m talking about men who will not pray.  Too shy.  Don’t know if they’re doing it right or not.  Don’t know if what they’re saying is right.  Bottom line is some men need to grow up regarding their prayer lives.  Women don’t seem to have the same problem.  So here is a instruction about being confident in your prayer life.

Confidence because of God’s knowledge

  • Nothing is hid from him (vss 12-13)
  • Now, your carnal mind takes that and makes it a curse.  Your carnal mind takes an all wise God and says, See, there’s no reason to pray.
  • The knowledge of God is an asset, not a deterrent.  We pervert the situation in our minds to think what’s the use of praying if God is all wise anyway?  Instead of thinking we have been invited to have access before an all wise God.  Don’t you want to talk to someone who has the right perspective on your problem, who knows a whole lot more about your problem than you do and has already said He is willing to intervene?
  • In prayer, I’m talking to someone who is well aware of events in my life and everyone else’s life.  I’m not talking to someone who has questions because He’s lacking information.
    • The Lord knows about unsaved family members.
    • People are God’s resources.  And God makes decisions about where resources go based on prayer.  Where is the cry coming from?  The Lord sends Peter to Cornelius.  The Lord sends Paul to Macedonia and he meets Lydia on the way.
  • Not only does He know you in and out, He still makes the offer to come before His throne!

Confidence because of guaranteed victory

  • The Lord has passed into the heavens.
  • We are not waiting to see how this is going to turn out.  Jesus Christ has won the victory in the flesh.
  • Prayer is not asking someone who is in the same position I’m in to help.  It’s not asking someone in the same mess I’m in for advice.  Prayer is getting a hold of a proven conqueror.
  • Moreso, the Lord Jesus Christ has paved the way to the throne room; he’s passed into the heavens.
  • His access before the Father’s throne IS my access.

Confidence because of God’s humanity

  • …in all points tempted like as we are…
    • God experienced life under the curse of flesh and blood in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He could have sinned, but never chose to.  He was tempted yet without sin.
    • The Lord understands the constraints of flesh and blood.
  • The question of whether or not Jesus Christ could sin has been a great one for armchair theologians.  He ‘was in all points tempted like as we are’ answers that question.  If he could not have sinned, he was never really tempted.
  • He had two natures at work.  He had the will of his own flesh in competition with the will of the Spirit of God.  Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
  • All points tempted
    • So you’ve never experienced temptation that Jesus Christ didn’t face.  You’ve never faced temptation to the extent Jesus Christ faced it.
    • Someone has complained that Jesus Christ never experienced marriage so he didn’t really experience all the temptations.  And you can bet that His temptations were far greater than you’ll ever experience.
      • 1 John 2:16 – Lust of flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life
      • Genesis 3:6 – good for food (lust of the flesh), pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), make one wise (pride of life)
      • Matthew 4:1-11 – stones to bread after fasting 40 days (lust of flesh), throw yourself off a pinnacle of the temple (pride of life), shown all the glory of the kingdoms of the world (lust of the eyes)
      • John 19 – How about at the crucifixion under more intense pressure than at anytime.  Sees his mother and knows he could instantly make it all better (lust of the eyes), his thirst from loss of blood and grueling 48 hour ordeal (lust of the flesh), accepting reproach, beating knowing he could call down angels and turn the Pharisees and scoffers into ash (pride of life)
  • All of this leads to the Lord being a sympathetic priest with a gentle nature.
  • If Jesus Christ put himself through hell so you can have open access to God’s throne and find help, what does it say about what the Lord did when you refuse to pray?

Confidence because grace defines the throne

  • …throne of grace…
  • You’re not going before a tyrant.
  • Serve a God who says, Call on me.
  • Luke 11:8 …importunity
    • Illustration of a friend bugging another friend
    • But God is not you or I trying to get sleep at night.  Importunity will get the unwilling to be willing.  But God is willing.
  • Or the illustration of evil parents even know how to give good gifts.  But God the Father is not an evil parent.  How much more does He know how to give good gifts?!

Confidence because God’s answer depends on it

  • …time of need…
  • God has obligated himself to do things as a result of men’s prayers that he would not otherwise do.
  • That means failure to obtain grace in time of need is a failure of your prayer life.