Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival

Scripture: Matthew 7:11
Date: 07/13/2013 
Lesson: 2
Why is prayer so vital? The answer lies in understanding God's respect for our freedom of choice. God is doing everything He can for us before we pray but He is limited by our choices.
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We're so glad that you're tuning in. Whether this is your first time or you tune in every week it doesn't matter. We're just glad that you are ready to sing some songs with us here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church and it's exciting that we get so many requests. Today is no exception.

We're singing a favorite around the planet so pull out your hymnals, if you have those at home, and sing along with us. Our first request is 'in the garden' - #487 - and some of the people that requested this song are kenyon, felicia, linsay, cathy, max, kevin, megan, ilse, and Karen in australia. We have a lot of viewers in australia. Jim, chris and tim in California, camilo in colombia, betina in denmark, kadique and kamisha in jamaica, melvin in japan, maisie and karl in mauritius, clinton in nicaragua, Joel and eva in norway, rimo and kadianna in the united kingdom, and jim and chet in Washington. There were so many more - I'm sorry if I didn't read your name but we're going to sing your favorite song.

#487 - And we're going to do all three stanzas - 'in the garden'. I love it when handerson is here because he puts some umph into those songs and that's a good one. Usually you hear that one and you feel like going to sleep but that was wonderful. Thank you. If you have a favorite request that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's super simple.

All you have to do is go to our website at '', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in any request from the Adventist hymnal and we will do our best to sing that for you. And we are continuing to work our way through the hymnal singing every song that I don't know and today is no exception because nobody here had heard this song when we ran through it but now everybody here knows it and we're all ready to teach it to you - and that is #60 - 'Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word'. It's actually a very simple tune. It's very pretty and I am enjoying this and we're hearing from many of you that you are liking this as well - learning these new songs that you've never heard before. They're in here, we might as well learn them and sing them so that's what we're doing.

#60 - And this is from Joyce in Nairobi Kenya, Jamie, Jenny, Jared, Vern and Sandy in North Carolina. And we're going to sing all three stanzas of #60. Wasn't that pretty? I'm glad two of you knew this - or actually more of you - and you wrote in with that one. And next week we will continue so you can start learning them ahead of schedule. #61 Is next week's song.

At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much. We have so much to be thankful for and to praise you for and we just thank you for bringing us here today, for giving us life and health and strength. There are many that don't have that and I pray that you will be with them and help them to sense your spirit and your presence with them today. Be with our speaker as he brings us the lesson study and we just thank you so much for blessing us with the Sabbath.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor harold white. He is our administrative pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. Thank you debbie and musicians and good morning to everyone. Welcome to all of you who are joining us by live streaming and satellite, radio - wherever you're joining us today.

We're glad that you're all with us. We have a free offer to bring to your attention this morning and it's entitled 'teach us to pray' by none other than Doug Batchelor. It's offer #717 and you can go to - call 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966 and this little booklet will teach you a lot about prayer - what is the right spirit to have when we pray, understand what to avoid when praying - things like that. You'll want to get this little booklet for further study because that's our subject this morning. We're on the lesson quarterly 'revival and reformation' for this quarter.

We're in the second lesson today. 'Revival and reformation' - there was a song of yesteryear - before my time. I think it was like - people like frank sinatra and those sang this song. It went something like, love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage, you can't have one without the other. Well, it's the same thing with revival and reformation.

Revival and reformation go together like a horse and carriage. You can't have one, if it's genuine, without having the other one. And if you have reformation that doesn't lead to genuine revival, it tends to go in the direction of dogmatic legalism. That's - that doesn't sound good. And revival that doesn't lead to genuine reformation tends to be - tends to lead to kind of a liberal emotionalism and that's not good either.

So we want to avoid things like that. We need revival and reformation. #2 Entitled 'prayer, the heartbeat of revival'. If you would take your lesson quarterlies and read along with me - Matthew 7:11 - from the new king James version, I would appreciate your help. "If you then, being 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!" That's good, isn't it? 'The heartbeat of revival.

' That's the title - 'the heartbeat of revival'. Another place we have the terminology for prayer that says, 'prayer is the key that unlocks the storehouse of heaven.' Have you ever heard that? 'Prayer is the key that unlocks the storehouse of heaven.' If somebody handed you a key and said, 'this is to the building down at 2513 main street and you have full access to that building and you can go there once a week or five times a week or however many times you want to and anything in that house is all yours. One room is filled with gold bars, another room is filled with diamonds, another room is filled with rubies, another sapphires, another room is - all the walls are decked out with some of the most famous and ritzy paintings by the world's most famous artists.' And you say, 'no thank you. I don't want that key.' People would think you're nuts, right? Well, that's really a faint picture of what God has for us and it really comes through prayer. If it is the key that unlocks the storehouse of heaven, we should be anxious to learn all we can about prayer.

The opening page brings to our mind many prophets and patriarchs in the old testament and how prayer was so important to them and some of the amazing things that happened because they were praying men and women. Then, of course, it goes to the new testament and how the book of acts reveals an outpouring of God's Spirit in response to their prayers. Now, with all these examples before us, isn't it amazing that we do not pray more? Well, some of you might say, 'well, I do pray a lot.' Now, you don't need to give me a show of hands but I - if I ask the question, 'how many of you people - how many of us here this morning - think you pray enough?' Probably not a lot of hands would go up. I don't know, maybe hands - that would be good. If I asked how many of you think you pray too much, probably nobody would raise their hands.

If I asked how many of you think you don't pray enough, probably a lot of hands would go up. Why don't we pray? If it is the key that opens the storehouses of heavens, why don't we pray? Well, let's try to answer some of those questions this morning. The memory text is certainly much food for thought in regards to prayer as it talks about we humans who are evil and yet we know how to give good gifts to our children, think of how God, who isn't evil, longs to give us good gifts. But some of you may be thinking, 'I do ask. I ask and I ask and I ask and I don't get what I'm asking for.

' Well, there may be different reasons for that and we will no doubt get into some of them this morning. This little booklet, I'm sure, also answers things like that. Because I believe God's Word and I believe he wants to give us good things. Do you believe that? Now as we move to Sunday's lesson, I believe it is a wonderful place to begin for it is entitled, 'prayer and revival in acts'. The book of acts.

I've always said we could write our own book of acts here at central because there are a lot of wonderful things happening right here. The book of acts was all about the early church. No, we couldn't say that we baptized three thousand in a day so there's a little difference. And there was an amazing pouring out of God's Spirit back then but we have been told, as glorious as that was, the final outpouring of God's Spirit will even be what? More glorious - even greater. Wow, we should all be excited about that.

'Acts of the Apostles' page 55 says, "near the close of earth's harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of The Son of man. Now the lesson, it points out that in acts 2, 3,000 people were added to the church in one day. I would like to ask someone - I think there's someone sitting in our front row who wants to read a text this morning. I think that's you. Yes, right? I heard that you did.

Would you turn to acts 2, verse - we have a microphone someplace - who has the microphones? Okay, if you could bring that up to her and give it to her. Acts chapter 2 - and while she's looking that up, let me read acts 2:41 which says, "then they that gladly received His Word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." So this is the kind of thing that was going on in the early church and that's why we begin studying in this part of the Bible. So now we're ready for acts chapter 2 and verse 1. Go ahead. "And when the day of pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

" Now a quick excerpt from 'acts of the apostles' again page 36, "as the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief." Then it says, "the disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men and, in their daily intercourse, to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ." So these early prayer meetings of the early church were really quite unique compared to what maybe we may be thinking about - some of the prayer meetings of our day. There was an earnestness to put away all sin. That was the first thing they prayed for. The second thing: that God would help them with his spirit - give them a fitness to take this message to people out there in their every day living. So that's what we should be praying for.

Sometimes I think we pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and then we think, 'well, that means that somebody's going to finish the work.' You know, the evangelists and the pastors and the Bible workers - we pray for the outpouring of the Spirit and that's what's going to happen, but when we pray for the outpouring of the Spirit, we need to be ready to be recipients of the Holy Spirit and then God longs to use us, doesn't he? That's how the work is going to be finished, by God using all of us together. After Christ went back to heaven they obeyed him and gathered together to pray for the holy spirit as he had promised. It seems that they had just kind of dropped everything - all that they did - they stopped even being involved in what their livelihood was all about. Now I suspect they had the idea that since Christ died on the cross - he made that perfect sacrifice - since he arose from the grave and since they saw him going into heaven, they probably expected that Jesus would come back very soon. Because think about it, they had been with him every day and then they see him taken away and they believe now - really began believing His Words - that he would come again and they thought, 'oh, okay, he'll be coming again very soon.

' It wasn't until later - probably really until Paul - Paul began to kind of give us insights of the people back then - insights that it was going to take a little longer than they expected. Even the man of sin must be revealed before Jesus could come so there was much yet to take place. But there is an element in this time period, as there was an element in the beginning of our church, that we need to continually remind ourselves they believed in the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Should we be believing in the imminent return of Jesus Christ? More so than anyone has on the face of this earth we should be believing it because we are very near, are we not? I mean, we must believe that. So that should help us with our prayer life because if we believe that we certainly would spend more time in prayer.

Yes the world is different today. Everybody is working hard to put bread on their table and pay their mortgage and so forth. It is a different world no doubt. So I thought to myself one day in a former church, 'well, what I'm going to do - I'm going to publicize having a prayer meeting during the day.' Now, I know, everybody's working and they can't come but we have a lot of senior citizens in that particular church and they're always talking about well, they can't do what they used to. Well, they wish they could be more involved in church than they used to - they used to be really involved but now they can't be.

They can't go out to prayer meeting at night because they don't drive in the dark and things like that. Okay, so I gave them perfect excuse - no excuses - you can come to prayer meeting in the daytime and we'll just spend most of this time praying. Guess how many people came? Most of the time one. One! Oh, I was so disappointed. I'd really built it up too.

I thought, 'well, this gives them a chance.' What is it going to take for us to pray? Well, probably a little persecution. The early church had persecution, didn't they? Even our early church had persecution because a lot of people thought they were a bunch of fanatics. Since Jesus didn't come in 1844 you're a bunch of kooks. So persecution was present but they wanted the work to be finished. They wanted to be with Christ again.

They wanted that more than anything. Think about that. They wanted that more than anything. Can you say that you have ever been in that condition? Wanting Jesus to come more than anything else in the world? Wouldn't that be something if we all had that feeling? I want Jesus to come more than anything else in the world. Whew, wouldn't that turn us upside down if we really believed that? The lesson asks, 'are you too busy to pray?' Oh yes, we're busy people, but I venture to guess nobody in this sanctuary is too busy to pray because nobody in the sanctuary seems too busy to play.

We all have time to play, don't we? Just think, if you had four working hours - four waking hours in your life - after you got done with your work - and you just committed half of that to prayer, think of what would happen. Even if you committed one-fourth of that time to prayer, think of what would happen. Whew, I believe we would understand and appreciate things a little bit differently. So I don't think most of us can honestly say that we are too busy to pray. The better way to say it is we're too preoccupied to pray, right? Too preoccupied.

The disciples in the book of acts, especially there before pentecost, give tremendous support to the idea of the opposite of the concept 'little prayer, little power'. They had much prayer - did they have much power? Yes, they had much power - 3,000 souls baptized in one day. Wouldn't that be exciting here at central? We wouldn't have enough robes. We'd have to reuse them. One more thing before we leave Sunday.

The early church knew what to pray for. The depth of their prayers were important issues. Sometimes I think after we pray 'lord, bless us with enough money to get that car I really want' or 'bless me lord, help me with my test that's coming up' - if I'm a college student or whatever. After we pray for those things we kind of become lost for words, maybe - I'm not sure - I hope not. Their all-consuming need was that they be forgiven for sins and that they would have help from God to take the gospel message to those people in the world that needed it.

Now there are enough aspects to those kind of issues that would keep us on our knees for quite some time. Not to say that we have to be on our knees all the time when we pray, because we can go about praying without ceasing, can we not? Everywhere we go, everything we do. As we move on to Monday's lesson, it is entitled 'Jesus' prayer life'. If we could capture the prayer life of Jesus and make it - make ours much like his was, I think we would really have something. The opening comment from the lesson says, 'Christ was continually receiving from the father that he might communicate to us.

' Sometimes I think we think this about Jesus - that he was just automatically filled with all Godly wisdom because he had been God in heaven before he became human - but not so. He had to learn as a human being the things he knew. He learned them. God was especially his teacher, of course, but God wants to be especially our teacher too - just as much as he was with Jesus. He had such communication with his father, first of all, because he studied His Word a lot, but then also through prayer.

He talked to The Father, he listened to his father. And one comment we often read about Jesus in inspired writing is that divinity flashed through his humanity. Have you ever read that? 'Divinity flashed through his humanity.' I like that phrase. And one thing that's always kind of interested me is the stories in the Bible where people's faces lighted up so much - like Moses when he came down off the mountain - his face was so bright the people couldn't even look at it. None of you have seen my face that bright, have you? Unfortunately! Wouldn't it be a shocker if all of a sudden my face was that bright and you had to put a veil on my face just to hear my voice? Wow, you know we should be praying for that kind of thing to happen.

We should be praying for that kind of power to happen. That's what we need to be praying for, yes. So even the disciples coming down from the mount of transfiguration had faces lighted up from the glory of God. If we lock ourself in our closet and spend that time with Jesus, maybe our faces would lighten up a little bit too. I'm thinking about that.

Could we have the divinity flash through our humanity? Yes we can. God wants that. But the concept of heaven's unlimited help and power that Jesus relied upon is the same kind of help and power that we need to rely on today. Now, could we have - somebody look up Mark 1, verse 35 - somebody want to look that up for us this morning? Raise your hand if you want to read that for us. Mark 1, verse 35.

Somebody willing to do that? Okay, right here in front. And then somebody else read Luke 5:16. Somebody want to be willing to read that - raise your hand - Luke 5:16 - back there, okay. Right - we'll get that back to you right after this one. While they're looking up these texts we need to realize that these are very simple texts that tell us a great deal about the prayer life of Christ.

Okay, first of all, Mark 1:35. Mark 1:35, "now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, he went out and departed to a solitary place; and there he prayed." Thank you very much. Now if we could pass it back to - Luke chapter 5, verse 16 - you got that one for us? Okay, there's the microphone. Luke 5:16. "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

" Thank you very much. So these very short texts reminding us that Jesus did spend a lot of time in prayer. He spent a lot of time in prayer by himself with his father. Now you think about Jesus praying. Picture him in your mind.

I don't get the picture of him just doing all the talking, right? He listened to his father. Whether he heard his father's voice audibly very often I don't know. He did hear it a few times, you know, when The Father says, 'this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.' So he did hear his voice at times. But whether he heard his father's voice always - we knew - we know that he knew that his father was anxious to hear from him. Yeah, he was anxious for The Son to come and talk with him and he's just as anxious for us to come and talk with him.

I think that is the biggest lesson we could get out of meditating about the prayer life of Christ. God is ready to hear us. In fact Isaiah 65:24 says this, "...before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." For God is always ready to hear us. Jesus knew that and that's why he was anxious to go and talk with The Father. Jesus didn't go and pray because it was something he should do - because he said, 'okay, I need to set a time for prayer now.

This is something I should do every day. No, it's something he wanted to do very badly and that's what I want to pray for my own life. Lord, give me that desire that I want to talk with you at all times. When and where is the best time that you like to talk with God? For me, one of my favorite times is out on a walk in beautiful nature. I love going out and talking to God that way.

And I have composed hundreds of prayer songs while I go out and walk. Now, you wouldn't want to hear them because I don't - I'm not a singer. But I bet I've composed so many songs we could have a new church hymnal. But that's my favorite. You have your own favorite way to converse with God.

The important thing is that we do it. The Father is just as anxious to hear from us. A tale is told but the thing is we must believe it. And this is a little story - I think I've share this once before - maybe in a sermon, but this small town had been historically dry. That means, of course, that there was no liquor sold in this little town.

But then a local businessman decided to build a tavern. Well, a group of Christians, they didn't like that idea. They formed a local group there and it concerned - it planned an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene, right? They prayed all night, 'please intervene, God. Don't let this tavern be built.' It just so happened that shortly thereafter lightning struck the bar and it burned it to the ground. Well, the owner of the bar sued the church claiming that the prayers of the congregation were responsible.

But the church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they were not responsible. Well, the presiding judge, after his initial review of the case, stated that no matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear: the tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not.' Is that - sometimes we pray and then we don't believe what we pray. Was it because of their prayers that thing was burned to the ground? Absolutely! I believe that, but they didn't. Of course it would have cost them money. Jesus never did anything that was a waste of time, right? He knew - not only believed - he knew his father's presence was always there and he experienced his presence when he prayed.

Now one more thing I think we need to think about. When Christ prayed, we often think that his prayer life - and think that whenever he prayed only positive things happened. And that's, quite often the case, but remember him praying this prayer? 'Take this cup from me. Nevertheless thy will be done.' Was the cup taken from him? No. Did he pray for Judas? He prayed for Judas.

Did Judas convert? No. So not always good things happened when Jesus prayed. Not always good things - what we think are going to be good things, happen when we pray. That shouldn't stop us from praying, right? Let's move on to Tuesday's lesson entitled, 'praying together.' Someone read Matthew 18, verses 19 and 20. Who would like to read that? Matthew the 18th chapter - somebody want to read that this morning? Don't be bashful.

Okay, chapter 18, verses 19 and 20. We will find that it was Jesus speaking for it's the red letter - if you have the Bible it's in red lettering. Jesus was giving us some important advice in regards to praying in groups. Okay, please read that for us. "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in Heaven.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them." Okay, thank you. I think the quote that I've given there from central advance is important. It says, 'the promise is made on condition that the united prayers of God's people are offered and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes to answer to a private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another. That's interesting, isn't it? I thought - when I read that quote I thought of a rope - a big, big rope being pulled.

And it may be pulling a car or something very heavy and the more people that are pulling on that rope, the better - the more power you have, right? The more success you'll have - and I thought then, the rope is kind of like the unity that must exist between God's people when they pray because the rope is, you know, twined together, wound together and the more you wind it together the stronger it is. If a rope starts to come unraveled what happens? It gets weak, for one thing, and it could break. So a rope is a good example, there, for that. Then we need to move on to Wednesday entitled, 'our freedom'. Wednesday opens up with asking a couple questions.

Have you ever wondered why prayer is so vital? Why do we have to ask him for the Holy Spirit? Isn't he willing to give the Holy Spirit to us? Now these are good questions. The lesson gives us good responses by saying that the answer to these questions lies in the understanding of God's respect to our freedom of choice. And how true that is. Prayer is actually where the freedom of choice is played out, isn't it? At least to begin with. If you choose not to pray then you receive no help.

If you choose to pray or if we pray - choose to pray a faulty prayer, we still receive no help. But if we choose to pray rightly then we can begin to expect help. So it's - it begins with the power of choice - the freedom of choice. If we pray intelligently and honestly then we lay everything before God. The first thing we are laying before God is our complete inadequacy to answer our own prayers - to meet our own needs - we can't do it.

That's why we're asking him. We are telling him we cannot do it. We are inadequate and we admit that. That's what prayer admits to begin with. Prayer should remind us of that.

Also, prayer should remind us that it isn't even prayer - the power isn't in the prayer. No, it isn't in the prayer. I'm sure I've shared this little example with you before - maybe too - but if you had a little box here with some electrical wires running from it - a little switch inside - and the wires ran to outside or someplace else - to a block of dynamite - well, pushing the button is kind of like praying, but the real power is in the dynamite, isn't it? The recipient of our push. The electrical current goes through the wire to the dynamite and our prayer goes up to the real power. God is the real power.

The prayer isn't the power, God is the power. But he has unlimited power. Think about God, our creator, and his unlimited power. For example, a car traveling a hundred miles per hour would take more than 29 million years to reach the nearest star. And there are between 100 billion and 1 trillion stars in one single normal galaxy.

Those are the kinds of things we should think about when we think about who we're praying to. We're praying to somebody with unlimited power, are we not? Absolutely. Move on to Thursday's lesson. It's entitled 'effective prayer'. And this, perhaps, is the favorite part of my lesson in some respects because it reminds me of one of my favorite texts.

And somebody might read that for us if they're willing. James 5:16 - is somebody willing to read that for us? James 5:16 - somebody want to raise their hand - please read that for us? Okay, we'll read it - right here again. James 5:16 - especially the last part of this verse is a verse that I've always loved. James - I love the book of James in its entirety. In fact, James was such a practical man, giving us practical, logical advice and James 5:16 is no exception to this.

Okay mike. James 5:16, "confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." Okay, thank you very much. This text says so much with so few words it's amazing. And we will get to that in just a minute - why I believe it's such a great text - but we can consider some of the points, first of all, made in our lesson.

The lesson focuses on some of the different ways or methods that people have chosen to pray that brings them blessings. Some people, as it points out, like to open the Bible, read something, and then pray. And, of course, that should be a favorite way for most of us. We should include the Bible in our prayer life, don't you think? Because that's one way God will speak to us and, quite often he speaks to us and then we have - we certainly have something to pray about many times. 'Wow, that is amazing, lord, I've fallen short in that and I need your help, I need your grace, I need your forgiveness.

' So on and so forth. So that is certainly one of the most favorite ways people should pray. As I said, I enjoy walking and praying at the same time. You may have your very favorite places. Now, is it important for prayers to be effective to have those special places and methods? Well, I believe it is in some respects.

Remember the - it's the famous Psalms - psalm 46 - it says, 'be still and know that I am God'? So yes, we do need that special quiet place sometimes. We can pray in the busy traffic of this world. We can pray when we're all caught up in stressful situations, but some of our most important prayer times will be when we seek that exclusion and it's just God and us or a few people together praying for whatever we need to pray for. It isn't impossible to pray effective prayers amidst confusion. But for our spiritual growth we need those special times.

Another concept brought out by our lesson is the importance of adoration and praise when we pray. When we praise God and give him our adoration with a genuine heart, it tells him that we believe and we trust in him. All we know - we all know how important faith is to God. God - Jesus when he was here - he loved to point out how important faith was. One time he had this centurion that came to him and said, 'you know, you don't even have to come to my house.

Just speak but the word. I'm not worthy for you to come to my house. Speak the word and my servant will be healed.' And Jesus turned that roman centurion around to the people and said, 'I have not seen such great faith in all of Israel.' First of all, that's got to sting if you're a child of - part of the children of Israel. 'What do you mean a roman centurion has greater faith than me? I've been in the truth - I've been in the way all my life. And my faith is better than his, I'm sure.

' But Jesus loved that man's faith because he believed and that's what we need to do soon. First of all we need to believe. When we have a problem it is easy to concentrate on the problem, right? And go to God with the problem and skip the part of praise. But just think of it. If you went to God with praise first and then ended with praise again, you're telling God, 'now the stuff in the middle I really believe because I praised you before I began, I praised you at the end.

I really believe that you hear me and I really believe you want to answer, according to your will, that which is best. So praise is very important. It reminds us how merciful God has been to us. I read a quotation once that said, 'we should present to God some of the past mercies that he's shown us.' If we have a need of his present mercy, we should present some of those past mercies that he's shown us. Why? Well, I think it does more for us than it does for God.

Certainly he remembers them, but he brings to our minds how God was so merciful to us in the past that it helps us have faith and faith is very important for our prayers to be answered. So I think the reason for that is that very fact. Another quote says 'we have nothing to fear for the present as long as we don't forget how God has led us in the past.' There again creates in us amazing faith to think back on how God has led us in the past. Those are wonderful things to keep in mind when it comes to praising God. Now, getting back to our text in James 5 - the last sentence there - "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

" That's what we want, isn't it? We want much to avail. That means much good to happen. When you pray to God don't you want something good to happen? You want much good to happen. So that little sentence is like homilitations - beautiful text - homiletics is the art of preaching. I took a class in homiletics when I was in college and in that class elder floyd frazee was - he was here one Sabbath and preached to us and we all realized what a wonderful preacher he was - and he would teach us the art of preaching that we should have a theme.

You shouldn't just throw out buckshot because people go home wounded all over the place and they don't really know what they got. But we should have a theme and then we should have sections to back up that theme and support the theme and illustrate those points that we make and so forth. So he was telling - and this text is a theme in itself - the text itself. I'll give you a quick homiletic lesson, okay? 'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' Section 1 of this theme would have to do with - in order for prayer to be effective there are certain requirements. And you can go through all the requirements of prayer.

In other words, for example, psalm 66:28 says, "if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." Right? So in order to have an effective prayer, you better not be regarding iniquity in your heart. And you can go through different requirements of effective prayer in section #1. That's a section you can just go on and on with for quite some time. You give all kinds of examples as you preach the sermon that way. Now the second section of the sermon would be this: in order for prayer to be effective it must be a fervent prayer.

What does fervent mean? Fervent means to boil or to burn. It must come from deep within us. We must really mean what we are praying. We must believe it. We must mean it with all of our hearts.

We must really be into what we are praying about. That's fervent prayer. Fervent prayer is not - does not mean eloquent prayer. In fact, we have been told that sometimes eloquent prayer is out of place. For us to try to be eloquent with our prayers is not the same as being fervent with our prayers.

If you're going down the road and your car is sliding out of control and you cry out 'lord save us!' That's a fervent prayer and he can hear that prayer and many times he has saved - I've heard hundreds and thousands of stories probably of people who have been saved with just those simple kind of prayers because they were fervent. And when we pray in our daily life they should be fervent - filled with feeling and emotion - really meaning what we're praying for. The third section would be something like this: on availing much prayer must come from a righteous man. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' This is where people say, 'well, that leaves me out because I know I'm not righteous.' But this is the perfect section that you can lay out the concept of righteousness by faith. Righteousness by faith.

We are righteous only by faith in Christ who is our righteousness. He longs to cover us with his righteousness. Ladies, it's just as simple as a gentleman helping you with your coat on because Jesus wants to cover us with his cloak - robe of righteousness. That's how simple it is and we must believe that. Our righteousness becomes his righteousness and we can pray, then, with all faith that he hears our prayers because he's living in us.

It's his righteousness that comes through. Now sometimes we kind of waiver back and forth on that point because we read other sections of the Bible that says, you know, 'in order to be saved Christians you need to feed the hungry, go visit the sick, go over to the prisons and visit people in prison. You say, man, I'm not doing that - I don't think there's any hope for me.' So sometimes we don't live up to all that we know we should be living up to but we keep striving to do the best we can. He - we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins - we keep growing in grace. We can claim his righteousness.

We can't be like the lady that went to visit her friend and she took along her electric heater and she left the heater in the car. After a few days, the lady she was visiting said, 'well, why did you bring this heater?' She said, 'well, it's the only way I could know that I hadn't left it plugged in.' Sometimes I don't know - I think we don't know whether we're plugged in or not. 'Well, you know, I've sinned and I'm not living up to...' No, if you confess your sins you can know that you're plugged in again to Jesus and his righteousness. We must know that. Before you begin to pray you must know that or your prayers will be a waste of time.

If you don't believe that you're praying the prayer of a righteous man because of the righteousness of Christ covering you, then don't even pray because it would be a waste. So that's the third section. Isaiah 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness." In order to have a good prayer life that will bring about revival and reformation, which is this lesson's - quarterly - what it's all about, we have to have a worthwhile mission, okay? We have to have a worthwhile mission. Let me give you an example of what I mean by this. Back in 1993 Missouri and Mississippi had great floods.

It was - it rained and rained like some of the floods we see in different places today - flood, flood, water going everywhere. So the volunteers worked around the clock to try and bring the sandbags to shore up the levees there and in one area they were joined by a group of convicts from a boot camp prison program. So these prisoners were sent out to help with the sandbagging. The prisoners were there and if they understood - they understood that if all their work, along with the volunteers failed, the nearby little town would be swept away to destruction. Well, the criminals worked with furious passion and energy.

They actually refused to sleep. You know, 'you need to go take a break.' 'No, we've got to stay here. We've got to save this town.' They worked and they worked bringing those sandbag brigades. They even wouldn't take enough time to eat hardly. But the levee went ahead and gave way and the town with its homes was swept away.

Well, these convicts, they wept openly. They wept and wept with frustration and compassion. Why? These men who had dealt in drugs and violence and destruction, they had been given a mission and once - maybe some of them - it had been the first time they'd ever had a mission in life - and they had this mission in life and they put themselves fully into it and I thought to myself, 'that's how we need to be.' Do we not have a mission? We have the greatest mission in all the earth - to take the last message of salvation to a dying world. And so, in order to pray fervently and effectively and claiming Christ's righteousness, we need to realize we have a mission. We have a mission.

I just received, yesterday, the latest ministry magazine, but there was a little thing - a little excerpt in here about the power of united prayer. I thought, 'wow, how applicable to what we're talking about this morning.' Listen to what it says, 'we are seeing the young and old falling in love with prayer and experiencing revival as they experience united prayer at our arme Bible camps.' - You've heard of arme? They're young people that are really in love with the Lord. These are young people that believe in the three angels' message. You've heard of arme camp? There are a lot of wonderful young people out there that are involved in these. They're not the young people that are going around on campus raising their hands and jumping to these flash dances, you know, to rap music.

Well, I never call it rap music, I call it rap noise, I don't think it's real music. But anyway, it's not those kind of young people. 'We have often seen young people coming back to the prayer meeting room saying, 'I can't stay away. I'm addicted to this place.' Alison, a 14-year-old visitor to the prayer room one day, then she came back the next day and spent hours there. This is her testimony.

'I was raised a seventh day adventist and I've always attended meetings and Bible camps. I grew up knowing our doctrines and professing to have a relationship with God; however, something was always missing. It was never real for me. After coming to the prayer meeting room, I realized why I had no power in my life. I was missing prayer.

I was missing a genuine and powerful prayer life.' In another prayer meeting room an individual anonymously left a watch and a note behind that read, 'this watch is not considered lost but surrendered. I should not have purchased it and I confess it has become an idol to me. I knew better than to have bought it when I did and I no longer can keep it. God has revealed to me that it is only one layer between him and me and now I have one layer less.' Isn't that amazing? People are experiencing revival and reformation through the power of united prayer. That's what it closes with.

That is our lesson this morning, isn't it? Revival and reformation through the power of prayer. Do you think we should be praying people? Amen! Alright. Well, thank you for joining us this morning, you who have shown up here in Sacramento sanctuary and all of you who have joined us from wherever you have joined us. Many of you I have had the privilege of connecting with you over the internet and telephone and so forth. Thank you for joining us.

If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at ''. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities. Throughout recorded history, tales of ghosts and spirits could be found in folklore in nearly every country and culture. Egyptians built pyramids to help guide the Spirits of their leaders. Rome sanctioned holidays to honor and appease the Spirits of their dead. Even the Bible tells of a king that used a witch to contact the spirit of a deceased prophet.

Today, ancient folklore of spirits and apparitions have gone from mere superstitions to mainstream entertainment and reality. Scientific organizations investigate stories of hauntings and sightings trying to prove, once and for all, the existence of ghosts. Even with all the new-found technology and centuries of stories all over the world, there is still no clear-cut answer. So how do we know what's true? Why do these stories persist? Does it even matter? We invite you to look inside and find out for yourself. Visit ''.

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