“Service was awesome this week! The worship was amazing, and the message was exactly what I needed to hear today!”
How many times have I said that? Many, many times. My church home is RockChurch, in East Peoria, IL., where we are blessed with great people – which include (among others) a strong and faithful group of volunteers, an amazing worship team, and a fantastic Senior Pastor, Chuck Tate.
So I am blessed with a great service, week in and week out… But unfortunately I have a problem.
Although the message usually hits me right where I need it, it usually doesn’t take long before I forget all about it! (Just a thought here, but in our Attention Deficit Disorder culture, I know I’m not alone!)
Hence, this new feature on my blog called RC Recap. My hope is twofold. First I hope that by reviewing the past weekend’s message I will more strongly internalize the truths taught so that I can more readily apply them to my life. And second, that the review will bless you, the reader. That God will minister to you personally, and that you would get at least one nugget that can help you in your faith life.
With that in view, this week I am looking at the first message in our current series, Flip the Switch, which can be viewed here.
Flip the Switch is a series that is based on a book by Author/Pastor Mark Batterson, called The Circle Maker. In it we are introduced to a guy named Honi, who is used by God to pray for rain during a time of intense drought. By faith he draws a circle around himself and prays and believes God for the miraculous rain his nation so desperately needs. (Watch the 3 minute video below for the full story.)
“God is not offended by our bold prayers. He is offended by anything less.” ~Mark Batterson
It’s important to note that this story is not part of Scripture, nor is it ever implied to be so. It is just an illustration the author uses to introduce the concept of praying while believing that God is still in the business of answering prayers.
Seven takeaways from Flip The Switch, Part 1
Too many times prayer is our last resort, when it should be our first response. The application here is for me to be more intentional when I am facing a challenging problem, or hear about an impossible situation somebody else finds themselves in (friend has cancer, child is rebelling and out of control, etc…) to immediately bring it to my Father, in prayer.
2. Mix your prayers with faith.
3. Delay is not denial.
In the book of Daniel, chapter 10 we see Daniel fasting and praying for 21 days. We find out later that his prayer was heard on day 1. If Daniel would have given up, he would have not received God’s dramatic answer, delivered by an angelic visitor. So my application point, (Queue Journey), “Don’t Stop Believing”!
4. There’s more going on here than meets the eye
The angel told Daniel that his prayer was heard on day one but he was resisted by the prince of Persia 21 days. Apparently, this high ranking and powerful fallen angel was very committed to prevent Daniel’s prayers from being answered. In the same way, when we pray for loved ones to get to know Christ, or for somebody in dire need to receive a miracle we shouldn’t be surprised if the forces of darkness resist. The last thing they want is God to receive glory for intervening in one of his beloved people’s life.
5. God’s view of us is positive!
We all, to one degree or another, have an invisible recording that seems to tell us over and over again that we are “less than”, that we are worthless. This happens even though the witness of Scripture tells us that once we have received Christ, we have literally become a new creation and now are one of God’s masterpieces. Much like a beautiful painting that has been damaged and marred but then beautifully restored, we are in God’s sight, a thing of beauty. Application is simply that I need to remember how God views me when I pray, not how I may view myself at that particular moment. In other words, if I’m going to pray big prayers I need to be confident that God is for me!
6. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. (Queue Garth Brooks)
Sometimes God says yes. Sometimes he says no. Sometimes he says yes, but not yet. Scripture will show us what God’s will is and as long as our request is in line with the Bible we can feel confident to pray with faith about it. However, sometimes we may not seem to receive what we are asking for. The application? Relax. God knows what he’s doing and we can trust that all things are going to work out for our good.
7. There are things that hinder prayers
Blatant sin, unbelief, bitterness, unforgiveness, failing to pray with faith, and how you treat others (especially your spouse!) can all hinder prayer. Application: Ask God to search me and identify things in my life that aren’t pleasing in his sight. He is always faithful to do so, and when he does I need to follow the steps of forgiveness which are – Admit it (confess my sin), quit it (turn from my sin by taking concrete action), and forget it (move on – God is not holding my sin against me – neither should I…and neither should you!)
That’s it for part one. A lot of great truth here for me to chew on. Hope it helps you as well!