God’s Love That Drives Us Into the World of Prayer
(The Victory of a Prayer That Does Not Despair)
Daniel 9:1-19, Luke 18:1-8
If we all receive the authority and power of prayer, we can’t help but pray. It’s hard to pray, but because God loves me, I push myself into the world of prayer. That pushing is God’s love. Prayer should not be discouraged (Luke 18:1). Please believe that we will receive the same blessings of Abraham, according to our hearts’ desires, only if we pray without being discouraged.
I have come to realize that a prayer of faith is the key that opens the morning and the lock that closes up the night. Please don’t ever forget this. Many people are unable to unlock their mornings because they don’t pray to God with faith. You must first believe in the word of God in order to pray. You cannot pray without believing in God’s covenanted word, because everything else is all thoughts of the flesh (Rom 8:5). The thoughts of man are death. Having such thoughts will make you enemies with God; you won’t be able to do anything.
Our lives should be like the daytime. Nighttime is when it’s painful and dark. Jesus said in John 9:4, “Night is coming when no one can work.” If you believe in God’s Word and pray truthfully, you will never stumble around blindly throughout your life. If we as believers stop praying, then we have already spiritually encountered Noah’s flood and things will be beyond our control. Don’t accuse others of tricking you; we fall for things because we commit the sin of not praying. I may be just a pastor, but I’m speaking according to the Bible with a heart that believes in Jesus. The prophet Samuel did not commit the sin of ceasing to pray (1 Sam 12:23). Not praying is a sin, and a terrible sin at that. If you don’t pray, things won’t work out and you’ll feel trapped. Maybe you’re always trying to save money, but something happens and you have to spend it all, and it feels like always having a hole in your pocket (Hag 2). You wouldn’t even be able to check your own spiritual state. If something horrible happened right this moment, would you be able to immediately kneel down and pray? It’s hard to pray when you’re in great difficulty. That’s why the Apostle Paul said that prayer is like breathing, so it must be something we do without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). If you don’t breathe for too long you will die. You can still live without praying, but it would be no different from being a corpse.
A prayer of daylight must be earnest.
Dear saints, please listen carefully. It’s great to have a big vision, but it’s meaningless if you don’t keep the word and pray. Just as train cars are connected, we also need to be connected to God. However, we have broken this connection. We must engrave this thought into our minds: “Prayer is breathing. I will die if I don’t breathe. Likewise, I’m nothing but a walking corpse if I don’t pray.” If we just realize this, we can’t help but pray. Prayer must be ceaseless (Eph 6:18). We don’t need to set a time; day or night, wherever we are, we must pray. Ephesians 6:18 says, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” We must carefully consider what it means to “be alert”. Having no faith and simply uttering, “God, please give this to me,” is no better than sleep-talking. To receive something, you must desire it. Everything is clear in broad daylight. However, at night, you can’t tell things apart. Being awake is like broad daylight. It’s saying, “God, You must give it to me!” This is being awake and praying. You must not say, “God, if you want to, give it to me; if not, then don’t.” Don’t kids just beg? Jesus, using a fitting comparison, asks what parent when his child asks for a fish, would give him a snake? Then Jesus said, “…How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt 7:9-11) Now, everyone, think to yourself, “I am in the night” when you don’t pray. If you don’t have a prayer life, it’s not a golden bell but a sleeping bell (Exod 28:34). David said he had prayed and cried out to God (Ps 40:1). I prayed once, but there was no answer, so I tried twice and the answer came. What I realized was “one plus one!.” Please don’t forget the “plus one” prayer. This message is to tell you to add prayer on top of your prayers every day! It’s about always praying, continuing to pray, increasing our prayers, and marching on with prayer. It’s “March on!” Until when? Until you get a response. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask!” because God is saying, “I’ll give it to you,” “Seek! I will find it for you,” and “Knock! I will open the door.” This is the Word of God. It is a very precious Word.
Jesus made some messages easy to understand through parables and symbols (Luke 11:5-10). In one parable he said that suppose it’s late at night, when the whole neighborhood is quiet, and someone goes to his friend’s house, bangs the door loudly and asks for three loaves of bread. The Word of the Lord says that the friend doesn’t give because of the friendship, but because of that person’s “shamelessness.” The NIV translation has it as, “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” “Shamelessness” means not being shy, nor backing down. His friend who was sleeping in his bed keeps making excuses, but this guy doesn’t back down. Knocking on the door in the middle of the night is very inappropriate, but because the guy is persistently demanding, he gives it to him. Until we go to heaven, Pyungkang saints, please pray in this way when it comes to physical illnesses, personal problems, and unsettled debts: “God, I have to pay it all before I go to heaven. No matter what it takes, please grant me the blessing of wealth.” And I bless this upon you in the name of the Lord.
The members of Pyungkang Church are the nation’s defense and weaponry. We have received the blessings of Abraham who was blessed in all things. We have no worries about anything, nor do we have greed in our hearts. Whatever angle you look at us, we are orderly, smooth-running, and without any disturbances. It’s to the extent that others look up to and envy us. Just as it states in Deuteronomy chapter 28, we are the head, not the tail; even if we stay above, we do not fall below; even if we lend to others, we do not borrow. I pray that the living work of being blessed whether we are coming or going be upon all the saints and their families. This is what I believe in. How great is that?
Luke 18:1 tells us not to be discouraged, disappointed, nor anxious while praying. The poor widow suffered injustice and went to the bribe-loving judge. Since money didn’t seem to be involved, the judge couldn’t be bothered. Yet, because the widow visits him every morning, he’s on the verge of a breakdown. “Oh, she’s annoying! When she comes today, I’ll have to hear her grievances.” She asks for a few days, but because there is no answer and her family is in difficulty, she gives up. What did the Lord say about such a person? “Will the Son of Man find faith on this earth?” The Son of Man came to bring relief from the injustices of the world, but the widow did not constantly pray in faith. Instead, she only had the worldly thought of “If the judge resolves this, I will win the trial.” Prayer must be done in faith and with the belief and earnest heart that “It will surely be solved!” It’s not, “It may get resolved,” but rather, “It will be resolved!” The same goes for evangelism. You may say, “Wouldn’t it be a waste of time to go to that house? Even though I go, they won’t listen again.’” But that’s already judging from God’s judgment seat even before going. That’s because of a lack of prayer. Pray, “God, I’m going. Please be with me. I don’t have much to say, but when I preach the Word, I earnestly want the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and allow them to hear what I’m saying. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.” That’s all you have to do. God is a sovereign God. There is nothing He cannot do. The question, “In the last days, will the Son of Man find faith?” means there are few who are really praying in faith. With prayers of faith, great works and miracles arise.
Pray with the faith that “It will happen.”
Medicine and food have expiration dates. However, the effectiveness of prayer lasts until Jesus’ second coming. No, prayer is still effective even in heaven. Time does not end and I won’t be discouraged. If a leader does not have the belief and conviction of “It will happen,” he cannot lead the church. However, I am confident: Jesus’ prayer has never lied to us to this day. He never said that things wouldn’t go well. See how Jesus looked up the city of Jerusalem, praying with tears and lamenting (Luke 19:42-44; Heb 5:7). Please believe that Jesus is still praying for all the members of Pyungkang Church at the right hand of God (Heb 8:1-6; Rom 8:34). When I think about this, I can’t help but pray. Even after going to the throne of God, Jesus cannot rest and is praying. So, who am I to ignore the Word and not pray? That’s such a sorry and shameful thing. The reason that I sleep less is that I am praying for the nation, people, and church. Jesus prayed for us incessantly, earnestly, and with much effort, until the drops of sweat turned into blood (Luke 22:44). My heart hurts so much thinking about it. Before I was born on this earth, Jesus had already seen me and prayed. So how can I rest easy after knowing this? How do you sit up in your bed and pray in your underwear? Who goes to meet their in-laws only wearing their underwear? When we pray, an angel brings a golden censer, receives the prayer, goes up to God and pours it out. God already knows with what kind of faith and mindset you prayed. Prayers not prayed in faith are cast aside. You have to get along well with your teachers at school and the neighbors in your neighborhood. Going to the right churches and meeting the right pastors are required in our lives of faith. The Holy Spirit does not pray just regular prayers for us. The Spirit is aghast and says, “My goodness. It’s been over 20 years since this person has gone to church, but s/he still has not received the Holy Spirit, only read the Bible a handful of times, and committed the sin of not praying.” That is why he groans for us and weeps as though he has broken bones (Rom 8:26). When you pray, do not doubt, and lay down all of your heavy burdens. To your prayers, bind them all and send them away. Entrust all actions to Him. Leave all the worries and cares of “My son or daughter needs to get married,” or “The business I started needs to do well” (Psa 55:22; Prov 16:3; 1 Pet 5:7). Jesus promised the second coming, saying, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me…I am going there to prepare a place for you,” (John 14:1-2). Please believe this.
Job’s friend Eliphaz gave strong advice to Job, who was full of worry and anxiety. “But as for me, I would seek God, And I would make my plea before God,” [Job 5:8-9 (NIV): “But if I were you, I would appeal to God; He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted”]. At these words, Job came to his senses and his prayers did not cease throughout his life. Ultimately, he received a greater blessing than before. If there is someone in the same district who does not pray, don’t be offended and encourage that person to pray with you together. Please pray for each others’ families. When someone is discouraged, do not turn away, but encourage him/her saying, “Eldress, or Deacon, why is your strength failing? You can try it this way,” and I ask this of you in the name of the Lord. Apostle Paul said, “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (2 Tim 1:12, NIV). He was convinced that God would not turn away from him and that He would work through him to the end.
God drove Daniel into the world of prayer.
In today’s main scripture, we can see that the prophet Daniel, while reading the book of Jeremiah, realized that the Babylonian captivity was prophesied to last 70 years (Jer 25:11, 29:10). Since 68 years in captivity had already passed, two more years were left. Daniel also saw that his people had immersed themselves into Babylonian culture and that their national consciousness had faded. After realizing all of this, what do you think Daniel did? He prayed. He carried his nation and people on his shoulders. You have to read Daniel chapter 9 at least ten times in your life. Daniel took on all the transgressions of his ancestors, knelt in ashes, and fasted and prayed. Everytime he prayed, he stuck the ground, and the ashes on the ground flew up and covered his face with soot. “We have sinned and done wrong as we’ve turned aside from Your commandments and ordinances. We worshipped idols of false gods. God, please forgive our sins with Your mercy and compassion, hear my prayers and take action accordingly.” At that moment, God sent the archangel Gabriel and revealed to Daniel about the end of the world and the 70 weeks. The national problems were solved and national liberation was achieved. When national issues are solved, our own problems and the problems within our families will also be solved.
Daniel 9:1-3 records Daniel’s understanding and determination to pray, 9:4-10 records his prayer, and 9:20-27 records the answer to his prayer. We must not say, “I’ll just pray when I have time.” Instead, we must have a firm resolution to pray. I believe that when we do this, God’s great work will take place. At that time, Babylon had fallen and Daniel was serving as the commissioner in front of King Darius of the Persian Empire (Dan 6:1-2, 8:20). The world was so full of sin that even Sodom and Gomorrah was put to shame compared to the suffocating stench of evil that permeated the air during Daniel’s time. God graced Daniel with a heart full of concern for the future of the nation, which drove him into the world of prayer. And God didn’t leave Daniel to just sink into despair. Daniel’s prayer is the grace of God. Please believe that your prayers will also come true by the grace of God.
“God, please take action!”
Prayer must have a subject. It must have a clear topic, such as, “My eldest son is in this situation. My business is struggling right now.” State your topic and call out, “God! I ask You to take action! This cannot be done with the power of men. Please hear the content of my prayer and hold it dear to Your heart.” We cannot live without prayer in this sinful world. Please pray for yourself, your family, your business, your physical health, your future, and your nation. Prayer can only be done by those who understand God’s love and grace. We cannot pray with our own strength. The grace of God must come upon us and allow us to pray. Being able to eat is also a blessing from God. Those who don’t acknowledge His grace will eat like beggars nibbling at their sparse food. However, when we receive grace, we can eat pleasantly and deliciously with a grateful heart.
A prayer must have the conviction in faith that God will surely give and fulfill! (Matt 21:22; Mark 11:24; Matt 7:7; Luke 11:5-8). Do not doubt with thoughts like, “Does someone like me even have a right to pray?” Such a prayer is shameful before God. Those who discern time must pray at all times. Those who are aware that “the night is almost gone and the day is near” must pray (Rom 13:12). It is hard to pray when the night of difficult trials arise that affect individuals, businesses, and churches. Everybody is too busy gossiping, saying things like, “I knew this would happen to him/her. That person deserves all the trouble that comes their way.” However, the one who prays would say, “Lord! They didn’t know what they were doing. Please forgive them!” If we bear the problems of our neighbor’s family and offer up an intercessory prayer, then just like Daniel, we will be blessed. Even if the person you’re praying for doesn’t deserve your prayer, then that prayer will return back to you as a blessing. You have nothing to lose when you pray.
Prayer must be decisive.
Beloved saints. Prayer requires determination. It is about having a decisive heart. The decisions you make should be taken as heavily as if it’s your own life. Otherwise, you would easily stop praying because you’re busy, saying, “I’ll pray a few days later.” Prophet Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice of food or with the wine which he drank (Dan 1:8). From the first day that Daniel set his heart on understanding God and humbling himself before God, his words were heard (Dan 10:12). Ruth was also determined to follow her mother-in-law Naomi to the end, as she said, “For where you go, I will go, and your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” When she served and followed to the end, she was able, through Boaz, to give birth to Obed, David’s grandfather. Jesus came through this lineage. When you make a decision in faith, even though it may seem like nothing now, please believe that you will receive the blessing of great prosperity in your family. I believe in this. Look at the determinations of King Hezekiah (2 Chr 30:19) and Apostle Paul (Acts 21:13; 20:21-24). Paul was ready to not only be bound, but die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. Look at Jesus. He took the sins of mankind and took the lead without hesitation (Mark 10:32; Luke 19:28). While the disciples were hesitating by saying, “This may be our last trip. What should we do if we get caught on the way?” Jesus went on ahead. Then why haven’t we, who have received this Spirit of Jesus, make a great resolution of prayer? See how Abraham, the father of faith, prayed with determination when the city of Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed (Gen 18:22-33). He prayed, offering up his life as collateral. Moses, the great spiritual leader of the wilderness, also offered his life and prayed as he took the responsibility to save his people (Exod 14:21, 32:31-33); God heard his prayer and saved the nation of Israel. The motive of Jesus’ prayer is simple. He took the responsibility and gave himself as a sin offering for the sake of mankind.
Jesus’ prayer was an unswerving prayer (Matt 20:28). See how God, who exists from eternity to eternity, came as a man and prayed in firm determination in accordance to the word throughout His entire life. Please believe that you have received the same spirit. The forefathers of our faith are not some frivolous people. Look at Abraham, a great friend of God who was God’s favorite. Look at Isaac and Jacob. Look at all the various prophets. In the end, just as Romans 3:24 records, Jesus forgave all sins, gave His righteousness as a gift, sealed His people and called them “righteous,” and gave hope of the inheritance as he made them His heir in the kingdom of heaven. He was determined till the end for the sake of ours. He never ran away nor resented. “Father, forgive them for the things they’ve done to me as they do not know what they’re doing.” Jesus gave such a prayer while His body was beaten and crushed. We were granted with such love. There’s nothing that we cannot do or believe because God holds His ground to protect us. He recruits His angels to guard us (Heb 1:14; Psalm 34:7; Dan 6:22). When thousands of Armean armies invaded, didn’t Gehazi see that there were angels, horses of fire, and chariots of fire outnumbering the Armean armies to protect prophet Elisha? That God is our God. Please do not say helpless words like, “What can a prayer of some-one like me accomplish?” Please do not get discouraged but pray until the end! When God asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” May the saints of Pyungkang answer by saying, “Yes! We are here, praying with faith to the end.”
Don’t make excuses saying you’re too busy to pray.
Jesus’ life was a life of prayer. He began, proceeded, and concluded all things with prayer. He didn’t make excuses saying that he was busy; no matter how busy He was, at every opportunity He went up to the mountain, leaving thousands of people behind, and prayed (Matt 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). Jesus always prayed before any important event. Do not go around seeking solutions from people without praying first. Please get rid of those methods and thoughts. If you call yourselves children of God and truly believe in the Bible, you need to get down on your knees and pray before God first, and then meet people to take action. No matter how much you go around back and forth to find solutions, things won’t get solved if your prayers are thrown behind you. Jesus chose the twelve disciples after He prayed all night long (Luke 6:12-13; Mark 3:13-15). The disciples who did not have the ardor for prayer were left behind as Jesus only took Peter, John, and James to the Mount of Transfiguration. These disciples were those who were arguing for positions, saying, “I entered the discipleship earlier than you,” and followed Jesus in boastful attitudes. When people brought a child who was possessed by a demon to them, they weren’t able to cure him. When Jesus came back, He lamented about the unbelieving and perverted generation and cured the boy Himself (Matt 17). The disciples followed Jesus without saying a word, and when they reached the door of the next house, they asked, “Teacher, why could we not drive it out?” Jesus replied, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:17-29). Beloved saints, we do not even know what illness we have in our body. It is said that everyone has at least one physical illness. So we must leave it all to God. Nothing works without prayer. I pray in the name of the Lord that we will entrust our entire bodies, spiritually and physically, to God in prayer as we live our lives.
The cause of sin lies in departing from the word.
The posture of prayer must be earnest. You must struggle. Just as you see things with your own eyes, look within yourselves, see if there is faith in you, with the conviction that the content of your prayers will be solved. Jesus is the Lord of faith (Heb 12:2). If Jesus is not in me, I am a person forsaken. Jesus is faith itself and the Creator. Look at the genealogy of Jesus. All were born by faith. Paul realized the meaning of this and said, “Having begun by the Spirit, why are you now being perfected by the flesh?” When you start with faith, you must end with faith. When you start with prayer, you must end with prayer. Please receive my testimony. I believe that you will also receive answers. Go up to the mountains and pray all night. Pray earnestly. Confess your sins and repent thoroughly. Prophet Daniel mournfully prayed for the whole nation of Israel, bearing the sins of his unknown forefathers which were not even his own (Dan 9:5, 8, 11, 15). He realized that his nation was being punished for the sin of not listening to God’s word in faith, hearing His words inattentively, and not asking for God’s grace. So Daniel prayed before God. Beloved saints, what can be done if you come to church absentmindedly? You should never drown yourselves in vanity, selfishly carrying worries and concerns on yourselves. It will bring big trouble. Daniel 9:10-11 records of the sin of not hearing the word. We need to pray that our families will be united in grace. Are there any divisions in the family, the father siding with his son, and the mother with her daughter? I hope that our Pyungkang saints will hold only onto God’s word and pray. The cause of sin lies in departing from the word (Dan 9:5). When something doesn’t work out in your family, don’t blame your family members but realize that it is because of your own sin of not listening to the Word of God. Nations suffer and commit sin because they do not honor God’s word and refuse to listen (Daniel 9:6-10). Prophet Hosea said, “Take words with you and return to the Lord” (Hosea 14:2). Those who belong to God listen to the word of God (John 8:47), so if you are not listening to the Word, it means you do not belong to God. This is such a frightening message. The only way to achieve eternal holiness is through the word and prayer (John 15:3).
A prayer that glorifies God by confessing His righteousness
We must pray to glorify God, and pray for the glory of God. Daniel gave glory to God by confessing that their troubles were caused by not obeying God’s voice, and that all His deeds were just (Dan 9:13-14). He realized that God gives rewards and punishments, just and fair, and was not resentful about it. May we never forget this. Please do not say, “My father committed many sins and lived a blessed life, then why is my own in such a mess when I haven’t sinned?” In times when God unfolds and pours out the judgment for the accumulated sins of the ancestors, please believe that our God is just and do not be resentful. It is a great sin to ramble resentful words whenever troubles happen. One may say, “Why is God like this? My ancestors were believers and I made an offering when this church was built. I even visited all the prayer centers. Then why is He making my house suffer so much?” But thinking this way is a terrible sin. So instead of asking God to cover your troubles and worries and take them away, pray like Daniel. Daniel calmly confessed, “God! All things You do are just! Now that I have realized Your will, consider your servant and hear my prayers! May we no longer suffer from tribulation and carry worries in our families, please hear my prayer and take them away!” I hope that all of you will pray in this way. “God, open shame belongs to us because we have sinned. But listen to the prayer of Your servant who came to the understanding of Your will. Lord, forgive your people, listen and take action! My God, do not delay, answer my prayer and save Your people.” This was Daniel’s prayer! What a plaintive, earnest, and decisive prayer! How amazing is this insistent prayer! I pray in the name of the Lord that such prayers will never cease in our church, and may the same work of blessings given to Daniel come upon us all.
When we look at Daniel 9:15-19, we can see Daniel continuously calling on the name of the Lord: “O Lord our God; O Lord; O My God; O Lord; our Lord; O Lord.” May we offer up prayers just like Daniel’s: “O My God, all that You have done is just. I now realize this. Bearing the sins of my ancestors, I repent and pray in their stead. Please take this weight from me and forgive us. May we please live with the same blessings as Abraham from now on.” If you believe and pray, God’s great work will surely take place.
Rev. Abraham Park
June 18, 2006 (Sunday Afternoon Service)