“OUR GREAT GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS” Ps. 102:1-17
INTRO – There is a desperate need in our day for urgent, fervent, consistent, & persistent prayer. Do you believe that?
- There is a desperate need in our day for passionate, compassionate, dedicated, & consecrated prayer warriors.
- There is a desperate need in our day for churches that will pray in faith, pray in unity, pray in power, & pray in the Spirit.
- There is a desperate need in our day for Christ-followers who will learn more about how to pray so that they can pray more effectively, more intentionally, more biblically, & more powerfully.
Prayer is a great weapon – Neil Anderson: “Prayer is a primary weapon in combating spiritual blindness.” It’s an offensive weapon mentioned in Eph. 6 where Paul writes about the armor of God. It and the Word of God are the 2 offensive weapons that the Lord has given to us to take our stand against all the attacks that Satan throws at us. The enemy can’t stand it when God’s people use God’s Word & when they pray! Anderson wrote about a man who used to be a high priest in Satanism. After the man came to Christ, Anderson asked him “Based on your experience on ‘the other side,’ what is the Christian’s first line of defense against demonic influence?” He answered forcefully, “Prayer! And when you pray, mean it! Fervent prayer thwarts Satan’s activity like nothing else” (Neil Anderson, Bondage Breaker, p. 102).
Prayer is a great work – Oswald Chambers: “Prayer does not equip us for greater works; prayer IS the greater work.”
Prayer is a great walk – John Sammis – Presbyterian minister in mid-1800’s. Friend of his went to hear DL Moody preach in an evangelistic meeting. At end of mtg, a young man who had just gotten saved stood to share testimony. Obvious that he didn’t know much about the Bible or Christian doctrine. But ended his testimony by saying, “I’m not quite sure. But I’m going to trust, & I’m going to obey. Sammis’ friend wrote those words down & gave them to him, & he wrote these words: “When we walk w/ the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. While we do His good will, He abides w/ us still, And w/ all who will trust & obey.” An integral part of our walking w/ the Lord, doing His will, & abiding w/ Him is the life of prayer that we have.
Prayer is a great way – It’s a great way for us to hear from God, to grow in our love for God, & to impact the lives of others all around the world. It’s truly amazing to KNOW that right now, we can be an important part of impacting lives on the other side of the world when we pray for missionaries, for unreached people groups, & for our involvement in the fulfillment of the Great Commission!
And the greatest thing about prayer is that OUR GREAT GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS! Say that w/ me: OUR GREAT GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS!
Let’s look at Ps. 102 where we will find 3 facets of prayer that will challenge us to call out to our Great God more & more in these trying days:
The Urgency of Our Cry – v. 1-2 – Notice the title over this Psalm: In the NIV it says, “A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint & pours out his lament before the Lord.” The NLT: “A prayer of one overwhelmed w/ trouble, pouring out his problems before the Lord.”
The psalmist was in trouble. He was distressed & desperate for the Lord to intervene in His life. This is no empty, vain, half-hearted prayer. This is a heart-cry from one who finds himself in great need. This is some serious praying. He is fearful. He is in real need of God’s help & he cried out for it. In fact, the Hebrew word for “cry for help” actually means “scream.” He is desperate for God to move!
In the darkness & the distress of this moment in his life, he felt like God had hidden His face from him. He pours out his plea to God to turn to him, hear him, & answer him.
How many of us have been in a situation where we felt overwhelmed like the psalmist? How many of us are in this condition today? Some of these prayer requests on this altar today are from some overwhelmed people in this place today. There are many laments in these requests on these cards, many desperate needs, many sorrowful needs, many afflicted needs.
The psalmist boldly brought his urgent needs before the Lord. And we, too, are invited & encouraged to bring ours. And why do we bring them to Him? B/c He is our great God. The urgency of our needs drive us to cry out to Him!
The Difficulty of Our Condition – v. 3-11 – The psalmist continues his prayer as he outlines the difficulty of his condition. Nearly every word he uses to describe the depth of his plight shows that he feels that he is literally wasting & fading away.
- His days are vanishing like smoke – He is being consumed just as a fire consumes its fuel.
- His heart is withering like grass – It is drying up like the grass in our yards is drying up right now in this oppressive heat.
- He is physically suffering due to his difficult condition.
- He feels a deep loneliness – How lonely does a lone owl sound in the desert, or a single bird on a roof?
- He weeps as he feels like God must be angry w/ him.
There is such a heaviness in these verses, & yet, every one of us here today can identify w/ these verses in some way or another. We have all had those moments, days, even seasons in our lives where we felt a desolation & a despondency in our souls from the pain & struggles of life. But, once again, we need to let the difficulty of our condition drive us closer to the only one who can bring peace & direction back into our lives – our Great God!
The Strength of Our Confidence – v. 12-17 – Listen to these words: “But you, O Lord…” Do you hear it? Do you hear the change of focus, the change of tone?
- Do you hear the courage, rather than the confusion?
- Do you hear the strength, rather than the stress?
- Do you hear the power, rather than the pity?
In spite of the despair of his present condition, the psalmist knew where his strength would come from. He knew who had the answers for his pain & struggles. He moved his eyes off of his circumstances & put them on the One who would meet every need he had. He confidently proclaimed that Our Great God “will respond to the prayer of the destitute [poor, exhausted, impoverished, wiped out]; He will not despise [think lightly, neglect, undervalue] their plea.” THERE is the strength of our confidence! THERE is the reason that we know that OUR GREAT GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS!
So…LET’S PRAY TO OUR GREAT GOD WHO HEARS OUR PRAYERS!
James 5:16 – “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful & effective.” There are some biblical conditions that must be met for our prayers to be powerful & effective:
- Pray in Jesus’ Name – “The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16).
- Pray in faith – “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ & it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matt. 17:20).
- Pray in God’s will – “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
- Pray in righteousness – “…the prayer of a righteous person…” (James 5:16).
- Pray in unity – “So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and suddenly remember that a friend has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar and go and apologize and be reconciled to him, and then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matt. 5:23-24 TLB).
- Pray in sincerity – Elijah was as completely human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! (James 5:17).
- Pray in intensity – “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person…” (James 5:16 KJV).
- Pray in persistence – “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Lk. 11:9-10 NLT)