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2 Corinthians 1:11

The more we rely upon God, the more we will pray.  The more we rely on ourselves, the less we will pray.  Prayer is not about getting what we want from God as much as it is submitting our will to what God gives us that is always best for us.  In prayer God gives us everything we would have asked for if we knew everything He knows.

So far in 2 Cor we’ve found 3 reasons God causes events in Christian’s lives.  1st, For His glory.  2nd, So Christians can comfort others with the comfort God has given us (Those two were the 1st  message).  3rd, So that Christians rely only on God who raises the dead (last Sunday).

Now we come to 2 Cor 1:11.  Every so often we need be reminded of things we already believe so that our strength & faith is renewed.  That is certainly what we need regarding prayer & praying.

For us to renew our passion for prayer, I’ll deliver ONE message in three parts (God willing).  1st The Foundation Of Prayer before we look in detail at 2 Cor 1:11.  So please turn with me to Jn 14:6…

Jesus said, I am the way… the truth, & the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 Tim 2:5 There is one God, & there is one mediator between God & men, the man Christ Jesus

Heb 4:14 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy & find grace to help IN TIME OF NEED.

The foundation of being able to pray & GOD LISTEN TO US is Jesus.  People of many religions pray, but God only hears & listens to those who are His own… Christians.  Thus John 14:6.  No one has access to God except thru Jesus.  No one is saved except thru Christ.  God does not listen to any prayer except those prayed BY Christians in Jesus’ name (Comment… “In Jesus’ name”).

(1 Tim 2:5) Unless JESUS himself is a person’s savior, they do not have access to God.

(Heb 4:14-16) Jesus is the ONLY way to God because He lived a sinless, perfect life… died on the cross…was resurrected on the 3rd day… ascended to heaven… & who now
intercedes for Christians (Ro 8:34) AND THEREFORE God hears & listens to their prayer.

It is because Jesus did/does these things that Christians can stand before God Himself!  Because of Jesus, GOD gives the Christian HIS mercy & grace.  That means God DOES
hear C’ians pray… He DOES care about His children… & He DOES act for their GOOD every single time!

What does all this mean for us?  For God to hear & answer our prayers… we must be saved… a born again believer in Jesus Christ.  Otherwise prayer is futile.

Matthew 7:7-11 & Luke 11:9-13…

Ask, & it will be given to you; seek, & you will find; knock, & it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, & the one who seeks finds, & to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Lk 11:9 (Parallel passage) I tell you, ask, & it will be given to you; seek, & you will find; knock, & it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, & the one who seeks finds, & to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give THE HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask Him!

Let me suggest some thoughts on these passages… First is the command to ask.  Jesus says… ASK!  One reason don’t receive is because we don’t ASK God.  How simple can that be?  ASK (Pray)!

Second… the certainty of a reply.  Notice Jesus said in response to asking God WILL answer!  Not “might.”  Not “maybe.”  Not “It’s possible.”  God WILL answer & give in response to our asking.

Third… this one is important… God ALWAYS gives only GOOD things to those who ASK.  If human… flawed… sinful parents give their kids good things, HOW MUCH MORE will the perfect loving heavenly Father ONLY give GOOD THINGS to His children?  Answer?

Here’s what we must believe & trust about God.  No matter what we ask for… He ALWAYS gives us ONLY GOOD THINGS.  He NEVER EVER gives His children anything that is not good.

Think about that!  EVERY SINGLE TIME God answers the prayers His children pray.  And EVERY SINGLE TIME His answer is ONLY what is GOOD.  He NEVER gives them anything BUT good!  EVER!!!  Oh… as we’ve said before… since He’s God, HE defines
good.  Ro 8:31…

If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?

As we’ve said before… & it bears repeating… since God has already given us THE most precious thing He has (His Son Jesus)… there is nothing else that is good that He would withhold from us!  If it’s good… He gives it to us.  If it’s not good… He doesn’t!

There IS one thing God can give that is better than the something good of Himself. MORE of Himself!  Thus Lk 11:13.  Listen to it again… “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give THE HOLY SPIRIT (The ultimate good) to those who ask Him!”

I love MILD sausage balls!  Only one thing is better than a good tasting sausage ball.  TWO
good tasting MILD sausage balls.  Know what’s better than two MILD sausage balls?  THREE!  There’ve been times I have had so many good MILD sausage balls that I had to quit taking in what I considered “good.”

The BEST thing God can give us, he’s already given… His Son.  So now when we pray & ask for something… anything… He gives it IF it is good.  If what we’re asking for He doesn’t deem as good for us, He instead gives us MORE OF HIMSELF afresh & anew!   Listen to Philippians 3:8-10…

I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things & count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes thru faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know Him & the power of His resurrection…

Paul got it!  Paul understood!  I want to think, believe, & live like he did.  That would mean my priorities are what they should be!  That would mean that this world & everything it offers has lost it’s importance when compared to Christ!

Do you remember the title of the 2 Cor series?  It is… The God of Comfort.  What could be more comforting that to have ever increasing amounts of the knowledge… presence… & manifestation of GOD’S SPIRIT in us?!

Is health better than being filled with God’s Spirit?  What about gold… popularity… longevity… a bigger house… or anything else you can name this world offers?  THE best thing God gives is Himself!

When it comes to the world’s treasures, remember 1 Jn 2:17… “The world is passing away along with its desires…”  Then there is 2 Peter 3:10-13…

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, & then the heavens will pass away with a roar, & the heavenly bodies will be burned up & dissolved, & the earth & the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness &  godliness, 12 waiting for & hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire & dissolved, & the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

There is NOTHING in this world comparable to knowing God through Jesus. When we pray the goal is knowing Him better.  Once we have THAT in our mind as foremost as we pray, then we trust that WHATEVER God gives us IS GOOD… because we are gaining more of Him along the way.

So back to the foundation for prayer… knowing God through Jesus Christ. If you desire joy, peace, contentment, & happiness… it is only found in God thru Christ.  Repent of your sin today & ask God for forgiveness.  Ask God for the gift of Himself… and He WILL give to you!