Jeremiah 33:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
Excellence of the Restored Nation
33 Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2 “Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is His name)
3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
God's people give themselves to praise and prayer.
--The Prophet Jeremiah is an example of this grace.
--His name means "God will lift up," and God does.
--He was born a pries (1:1); called to preach (1:6).
--When disrespected he wanted to resign (20:9).
--God told him to keep preaching and praying, "Call to Me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things" (33:3). God is calling us, also.
Jeremiah risked his life to warn Israel of captivity.
--The nation would not heed. Cast him in prison.
--They kept on wicked ways, ignoring the Lord God.
--So Jerusalem fell, and its Temple; people deported.
--Not that prayer failed; they failed to truly pray.
"I don't believe in prayer anymore," a lady told me, "since God let my daughter die!" She was upset.
--The Lord had not answered her prayers as desired.
--I felt for her, and all those who feel that way.
--It gave me opportunity to comfort, and to counsel.
--God hears prayers, and answers, even if it hurts.
--So we should always pray for God's will, not ours.
--She listened to the Word of God, her attitude mellowed, and she began to understand and accept.
--We often visited; I was welcome to pray with her.
As children we never got from parents all our wants.
--Because our parents knew what was best for kids.
--So does our loving Heavenly Father for our prayers.
--You see God loves our loved ones more than we do!
--He says, "Call to Me .. I will answer you," not always as we pray, unless we pray "in God's will."
Those "born again" desire God's will more than ours.
--He pleads for prayer, "If My people will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways, seek .. I will hear .. forgive .. and heal their land" (II Chronicle 7:14). God calls our nation, today!
--Jesus said, "I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail" (Luke 22:32). Let's join Jesus.
--Prayer is meant as a way of life, not now and then.
--"We will give ourselves .. to prayer .." (Acts 6:4).
I. WE ALL NEED TO PRAY, BUT WHAT IS PRAYER?
--It is not a magic wand, to get what we want - but a humble, reverent request, to get what God wants.
--It is simply talking to God, as our Heavenly Father, honoring Him in love and praise, and telling Him what is on our heart as we seek what is on His.
--God's ways "are higher than our ways," for He sees the end from the beginning, and knows what's best.
--Talk to the Lord, as youo would a loved one.
It helps to know the Lord Jesus as our Savior, to be living close to Him; but God hears anyone.
--God even hears sinners - kneeling not necessary!
We ought to begin and end the day in prayer, and any time in between; with acceptance and access 24/7.
--I believe we can do nothing better than pray, and after we pray, we can do everything better!
If trouble drives you to prayer, if we look.
--God says, "Praying always" for all things, (Ephesians 6:18) Dozens and dozens of such requests.
--"Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).
--"Continue in prayer" (Colossians 4:12)
--Jesus said, "Watch .. and pray always" (Luke 21:36)
--Men and women of the Bible, and believers through the ages, give themselves to prayer; God blesses!
"Call to Me, I will answer you, and show you great things," (Jeremiah 33:3). What is God telling us?
--He tells us what - simply call, or pray, to Him.
--He tells to Whom - "To Me," the Living, True God.
--He tells us why - "I will answer, and show you.."
--God doesn't say He might answer, "I will answer."
--In His love, a way that is best, we can be sure.
--He will "show great and mighty things we know not."
A Christian editor, James Montgomery, has a hymn"
"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Unuttered, or expressed.
The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air.
His watchword at the gates of death,
He enters heaven, with prayer.
--God often calls us to prayer for it pays to pray.
II. WHEN SHOULD WE PRAY? AS THE SPIRIT LEADS.
--At certain times, at dawn or sundown, or anytime.
--Jesus often rose early to praise and pray for needs.
--He even spent all night in prayer choosing His Apostles. I pray momentarily .. as the Spirit leads.
The Jews had three set times each day to pray.
--"Evening and morning and at noon I will pray," we read in Psalm 55:17. How often do you pray?
--Jesus said, "Men always ought to pray" (Matthew 18:1).
--In other words prayer is appropriate any time.
--We can pray anywhere. About any, and every thing.
--God works miracles today, as we pray, God's way.
Hudson Taylor missionary to China was obedient to go.
--Because he believed in a prayer-answering God, Who would go before Him, and provide, and protect him.
--He wrote back, "Prayer power has never been tried, to a full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders wrought in the place of weakness, failure, or disappointment, God says, 'Call to Me, I will answer, and show you great and mighty things.'"
III. HOW SHOULD WE PRAY? PRAY AS JESUS TAUGHT US.
--Jesus is the best Teacher. As the Spirit leads us.
--The disciples asked Jesus, "Teach us to pray."
--Jesus gave them the Lord's Prayer, as a model.
--As we grow, pray in your own words, including praising God, adoration and Thanksgiving, confess sin, and then, thankfully, offer our petitions.
On my desk I have written, "By God's grace, always be ready to pray, preach, or pass away." My motto.
--For Peter prayed, "Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:30).
--And Jesus did. Lifted him out of water, in a boat.
--Always pray humbly. Reverently. In faith.
--From our heart. With pure motives. In God's will.
Remember Jesus asks us to pray "in Jesus' name."
--"Whatever you ask in My name .. anything in My name" (John 14:13, 14). Jesus is our Advocate!
--Praying in Jesus' name is vital - on His merit not ours, or any others - for His is superior to all.
The best way to remember all people - is in prayer.
On the Cross Jesus spoke seven sentences, four of the seven - or over half - were prayers! A soldier saved.
--Jesus' prayers - and self-sacrifice - changes us.
--Our praying should bring Jesus' presence with us.
IV. WHY SHOULD WE PRAY? THERE ARE MANY GOOD REASONS.
--First, for our good. Good of others. The world.
--We cannot be saved or forgiven, without prayer.
--God's guidance, grace, goodness, come with prayer.
--"We will give ourselves to prayer .. " (Acts 6:4).
--Life is too uncertain, complex, to neglect to pray.
--"Watch and pray, lest you enter temptation" (Mark 14).
Many of our hardships come by insufficient prayers.
--Prisons are full of those who neglected to pray.
We should pray because God asks us to - He instructs and even commands us - to "pray always" (Ephesians 6:18)
--"I should sin against the Lord, in ceasing to pray.
--Prayer is one way we can all imitate Jesus Christ.
Also we should pray, because our world sure needs it.
--Without some prayer, no one is saved or forgiven.
--The more believers intercede for God's Spiritual Awakening over the world, the more peace, godliness, and wisdom God will give us; and, world leaders!
--God says, "..prayers, intercessions, and thanks be made for all men, for kings, all in authority, that we may lead a quiet, peaceable life" (I Timothy 2).
V. WILL ALL OUR PRAYERS BE ANSWERED AS WE PRAY?
--No, not as we pray - unless we pray for God's will.
--Paul's prayers healed others, but "not his thorn."
--One prayer God answers, always, instantly is "Lord, save me." Have you, friend, prayed that prayer?
--It should be the beginning of all our praying.
--"Call to Me," God says.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 67