****NOTE**** These notes and points are taken from the Sermon by David Platt – Desire – Do We Want Him – See sermon included at the end of this posting.
In the last post we went over the first two points that Pastor David Platt covered in his sermon about desiring God in Prayer. We saw that the ultimate goal of prayer is to mold out desires into those of God’s and to make our will and desires one with His. Before we continue I would like to again review the passage in Luke 11:2-4 so that the verses are fresh in your memory as we continue the following two points.
If for some reason you missed the first post, here is the link so that you can go back and read what was covered, because it is deep and extremely important :
“And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
‘Give us each day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
3. Ask God For His Grace – “Forgive Us Our Sins”
There is amazing truth in this point. We often read over this and think, “Yeah, yeah. God forgives my sins” and no one really considers the magnitude of that fact. We have a hearing with God – the Almighty God of the Universe, the One who holds the World in His hands and breathed life into man, we are able, as His Children, to go before Him and seek His grace and mercy. What an awesome thought!
The more we walk with God in prayer the more connected with God we become and the more real and literal this fact becomes to us as believers, as children of the Most High. The deeper we come into God, the more we realize our need for His grace as He exposes things in our lives that we never saw before. The awesome thing in all of this is, that as we become closer to Him and He reveals these sins and the wickedness in our lives the more we desire and long to get rid of it because we want to walk the Christ like life and want to be molded to be more like Him.
There are two points within this one that I would like to make as it regards the specific way we are to approach God as we seek His forgiveness for sin in our lives.
1.) We are to experience His grace continually
We are in constant need of forgiveness. There is not a day that goes by that we are not in need of the continual forgiveness of our Father. It is in this that we are shown that even our best works need to be washed in the blood of Christ because before a righteous King they are but mere filthy rags.
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
This is why we are to go before God over and over again, consistently and constantly, asking Him for His forgiveness. We are driven to go before Him because we realize that we are in such deep need to be washed clean by the blood of the lamb. There is no way we can exhaust the mercy of God by going to Him with our sins and failures, that is exactly what He desires in each of us, a humble and contrite spirit that looks to please Him.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
1 Chronicles 7:14
We can boldly approach the throne of grace, knowing that we have an audience with the King and that He offers a well of mercy and forgiveness that will never run dry.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
2.) We are to experience His grace and mercy specifically
It can be so easy to go before God in prayer, seeking His mercy, and rather than praying for specific sins we have in our lives, we want to generalize our sins and sum them all up without laying them out one by one before Him. We need to go before God and ask specific forgiveness for the sins that we are aware of as He brings them to our attention. We go before Him and we say the things that we would be horribly ashamed of anyone else to hear or to know, and yet He already does know, and desires that we come to Him and be specific about the sins we seek to have cast away.
When we first become regenerated in Christ, we experience the knowledge and freedom of knowing that we are completely forgiven and that all of our sins are cast as far as the east from the west and that God remembers them no more. In a sense, it is a general forgiveness. As we grow in grace though, God will begin to point out areas in our hearts and lives that are sinful and need to be changed, it is those thing that we need to be specific in seeking God about and asking Him to remove from our lives. We desire that God would wash the entire cup of it’s filth and not just the outside of the cup.
We need to go before God seeking Him and His forgiveness as a child before his father because God is there extending his forgiveness and mercy and compassion to us (thought that does not mean that there will not be discipline that may accompany sinful and wicked behaviors).
We also need to realize that unforgiveness is a sin in our hearts and if we cannot forgive those who have wronged us then we cannot truly be forgiven before God because even if we were to go and ask for forgiveness before God and yet still harbor bitterness in our hearts, it is as if we haven’t asked for forgiveness at all because there is still the root of sin in our lives that we are not willing to give up to God. Letting go of unforgiveness means letting go of all grudges, roots of bitterness and desires for revenge and instead seek to make peace and live a life that shines the light of Christ. If we remember how unworthy of forgiveness we were and yet Christ still died for us, then it may help keep our perspective on straight as we seek to kill all sin in our hearts, including that of unforgiveness because we were a million times less worthy of the forgiveness and blood of Christ than some other sinful human being is of our forgiveness.
So let me ask you, in what areas are you harboring bitterness ? Are there areas in your life where you may be keeping a grudge or anger towards another person who has wronged you ? What about retaliation and revenge ? Do you seek to cause another person harm and pain because you have been hurt by them ?
We are called to not only receive His forgiveness, but to radiate and show His forgiveness so much through ourselves that it makes no sense to the lost world around us. The only way to do this is to spend much time in prayer seeking Him, and much more time in confession before God, on our faces, seeking to have all sin destroyed in our hearts, minds and lives. This is a place that many of us need to spend more time camped out in, because this is an area that is so often neglected.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
(Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)
4. Ask God For His Guidance – “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
We are to come to God as a people who are prone to sin and prone to wander into temptation (as the hymn above states). We are those who are prone to get lost far from God and leave behind His love as we foolishly chase down false idols and temporal pleasures of this lost world.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
We see here in this last point that we are to pray because we need Him, we desperately need Him. We need Him to redirect us and to lead us in a way that honors and glorifies Him. We need to be shown the path of righteousness and Holiness and only God is able to do that, apart from Him we are powerless against temptation and we need the power of Christ to protect and guide us.
It is a hard reality in modern day America, yet one we need to come to admit, WE CANNOT OVERCOME TEMPTATION ON OUR OWN. It is as simple as that. The belief that we are able to overcome temptation on our own goes back to the self sustaining attitude that says “I won’t sin like that!” Whether because of the thinking that we are better or beyond that, or because of the belief that we are strong enough on our own to ward off temptation.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12
There are many who think that there is no harm in flirting around with sin. They play around with this sin and that sin, thinking that it will never go beyond where it is….not realizing the deadly danger that they are in and the urgent need that they have for the guidance of Christ.
It does not simply end though with our need for guidance throughout temptation, but our need for perseverance in the middle of trials. He is the sustenance needed to continue to seek Him in the midst of trials. It is the same power that gave Christ the strength in the garden of Gethsemane to say; “Not MY will but Yours be done” that will come to our aid and give us the strength to say the exact same thing.
It is easy to say that though, we have all been in the middle of those struggles and trials where we want to throw our hands up to God and ask Him “Why ?” There will be many times in the life of a believer where we will struggle with praying that prayer that says “Your will and not my own, Father.” The beautiful thing is that Christ understands and sympathizes with that. If we remember correctly, Christ too agonized in prayer.
The precious thing is that through prayer and seeking His face, God can lead us there, even when we feel like it is impossible. We can ask Him to take us to that place where we are able to say that and He will bring us to that point where we can truly and earnestly say (and mean) “Your Will Be done and NOT my own.” It is not in the triumph but in the trial where the beauty of God in prayer is so much more real and necessary in our lives. It is in those moments when we lean so deeply upon Him and rest in His grace that He begins to draw us closer and into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Himself, as we realize He is all we need truly, and that He is enough.
It is interesting if we take a look back at the Puritans during the 16th and 17th centuries how they had such a deep and profound trust in God. It was they that coined what is now known as the “Valley of Vision” prayers. They saw that it was in the middle of the valley that God gives the clearest picture of who He is and how He guides. Puritans are known in history for leavings some of the greatest legacies of prayer and devotion. I am convinced that it is because they were born in a time period in England where they were trying to bring the church back to what Scripture truly taught and the purity of the Word. Due to this, they were persecuted beyond measure, their homes burned down and their leaders tortured, even having their ears literally cut off. Yet in the middle of it all, they realized and knew what it was for God to lead and guide them, even in the middle of the valleys.
So what then, after reading through all 4 points, is our challenge ? What are we supposed to do with all of this information we have learned ? We as true believers in the body of Christ need to be done away with futile, empty senseless and affection less prayer. This means even at the dinner table! If you really take what you have learned in these two messages seriously, then you will know that this type of senselessness misses the very heart of prayer and what God intended it to be to us. Lets let the desire for what He desires be the secret for discovering what it truly means to pray and then – lets see what He does and how He works in our lives and the lives of those around us.