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Do you believe in prayer?

Updated: Jan 22

God Answers Prayers

Sunday 01.19.2020 Teaching by Pastor Donnie Aldana from Luke 1:5-21

4 points from the text.

1. Being faithful pays off more than we can imagine.

2. We are meant to pray together.

3. God's got it, don’t question!

4. God’s timing is always the right timing.

Remember, as we discussed last week that Luke being a doctor, completed a written “autopsy” of the account of Jesus. HE took the time to investigate and talk to all the necessary people to find out the truth of Jesus, what he did, and what he was like. We know that his writing here is for us and we can trust this account to be accurate and full of great stories of Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 1:5-7

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

Zacharias and his wife were people who would be considered devout Christians today.

Elizabeth, his wife was in the direct family line of the family Aaron, the highly priestly reign during the time of Moses. Her name literally means “God is my oath”. To be a priest and married to a priest’s daughter was a double distinction much like a preacher married to a preacher’s daughter. This tells us that they would have a high understanding of the Pentateuch. (5 first books of the bible). They would have known the story of Abraham and Sarah. Father Abraham and his life would have been known.

Luke 1:2 notes that they were both righteous, both blameless, these people were awesome Christians. The Greek indicates that it’s in the present perfect tense. They were doing it.

This brings us to our first point.

1. Being faithful pays off more than we can imagine.

They were the real deal. Amazing loving people. People that we would probably we would want to emulate their life. Even more so after you read verse 3. Verse 3 is a big deal. In that culture to be barren was almost a shame. You were looked down upon and maybe looked at like something was wrong with you. Being barren in that culture was a big deal a much bigger deal than it is today.

William Barclay on barrenness says and I quote.. “The Jewish Rabbis said that seven people were excommunicated from God and the list began, "A Jew who has no wife, or a Jew who has a wife and who has no child." Childlessness was a valid grounds for divorce. Not unnaturally Zacharias, even on his great day, was thinking of his personal and domestic tragedy and was praying about it.

Luke 1:8-10

So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,

according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

Zacharias was going about his business of praying. The lot because he was a descendant of the royal priesthood allowed him to be chosen by lot to go and burn incense.

 BURNING INCENSE: ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY

According to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot - Beloved, you can stake your life on the truth that "God is behind the scenes and controls the scenes He is behind!" And so this was no accident but directed by the Providence of God. Proverb 16:33 says "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." While we cannot be absolutely certain, it is said that there were as many as 20,000 priests in the time of Jesus. The odds of 20,000 to 1 are nothing for God! Beloved, we need to remember the truth that God is in 100% control, 100% of the time, even when our life seems 100% out of control! 

So cool.. something else that is magnificent here and it brings us to or second point,

2. We are meant to pray together.

Outside, the pious Jewish worshipers and priests joined in prayer, the rising incense giving assurance that God was listening to them. Luke repeatedly emphasized the power of prayer and the need to learn to pray, and to pray together. A praying church finds God's power coming to work among them and accomplish the church's mission.

So, let’s develop this a bit

Praying together. Do you pray with anyone? Family, praying is such a cosmic collision of heaven and earth. Think about it. We can tell our loving Father anything through his Son Jesus Christ. What do you need prayer for?

Why don’t we pray together?

1. Maybe we think our prayers are not that big of a deal.

2. Maybe we don’t think we are worthy of prayers

3. Maybe we believe the lie that we can’t ask or pray for that.

Has anyone ever thought any of these things?

Guys, that’s not what God wants for us. God wants us to pray!

Praying Is therapeutic, its cleansing, its healing, its hopeful.

It allows us to love each other up. That’s why we at Refresh will always have the stations open for prayer. God wants to meet with you and comfort you.

Luke 1:11-21

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years. And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold you will be mute and not able to speak until the days these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.

Wow!

Guys to everyone who has seen angel, know this, fear and awe are always the first response. Many accounts in the Bible note that when you see an Angel, you’re scared into awe and respect and a sense of “oh my goodness, what’s going to happen to me or what’s going to happen”. It’s a big deal.

He met the arc angel Gabriel whose name means “strong man of God”. Interesting that an angel’s name is man of God…that’s another story. Another interesting note is that Zacchaeus’s name means “Jehovah remembers”. We will circle back to that.

400 years of silence is broken here.

And this is the first mention of the breaking of God's 400 years of silence since God had last spoken through His prophet Malachi. This is somewhat ironic for literally the last words in Malachi God predicted the coming of the forerunner John the Baptist (Malachi 4:5-6+,  Malachi 3:1+), the very one God's messenger was now announcing to Zacharias! God went silent after a prediction and 400 years later first speaks by describing the fulfillment of His prediction and then the one who hears (Zacharias) goes silent (for about 9 months)! Interesting!

God sends Angels to tell of his Son and tells even of his messenger. The Angel is not Jesus obviously. Jesus is Lord over the Angels. Angels bow at his name just like we do. Angels do his Bidding. Don’t forget our mighty king is king over all.

In addition. Gabriel is also so nice that he says your prayers have been answered. I am going to make it easy for you also. You don’t have to worry about the name either. I got that for you also. John = "Jehovah is a gracious giver”. It’s all wrapped up in nice little bow for you.

Remember Gabriel means “strong man of God” and Zachariah’s name means “God remembers” for Zacharias, Elizabeth means “Oath of God” and last John means “Jehovah is a gracious giver”. All their names together for bonus point mean..

The strong man of God knows that God remembers his oath and is a gracious giver.

God remembered his people who are devout and he remembered the prayers uttered by Zacchaeus. Church, God remembers his people. Don’t ever forget it.

But don’t forget this-Even the most Holy people have doubt.

Just because you’re devout doesn’t mean you don’t have doubt.

3. Gods got it, don’t question.

Think with me, if an angel tells me at 50 I am going to have a baby then by golly Coby, we are having a baby. But that’s not what we are praying for. But let’s develop that bit more.. Application nation at Refresh.

What am I and what are you praying for today? Are you praying for a baby? Remember Gods timing. Are you praying for a healing? God took the time for all this account to happen. So, we all get it.

I had an amazing wife that many people prayed for. Many people in this room. Even before she was diagnosed with cancer, she got a rock that said “live” on it. The rock was dropped by me accidently one night in the hospital and broke into 5-6 pieces. It broke my heart that this rock was broken. Susan at that time told me that the rock is Jesus and he was broken for us. Are we not willing to be broken either? We don’t hope in broken rocks, we hope in Jesus. Are you believing that?

4. Gods timing is right

John the Baptist has come. He was born to testify of the coming Jesus. All set forth in eternity past. He did not drink any Spirits but was full of the Holy Spirit from birth. The Angel Gabriel stood in front of God to bring that message to Zacharias and that story is now in front of us today being told some 2000 years later.

Just as Elijah’s job was to turn the fathers to the children and the disobedient hearts to wise, are you willing and able to say that you’re walking in Gods timing right now concerning this truth? We are full of the Spirit just as John the Baptist. We are witnesses of what God has done in our life. This message of God’s timing and these accounts of Jesus are meant to bring back to him always. God’s timing is right and I will say God’s timing is right now. It’s right now for whatever needs prayer. It’s right now for whatever you need to give up. It’s right now for whatever you need to have faith for.

The great warrior Synsu (in Art of War) would burn the boats behind when they landed on a new land. Cortez did the same thing when they came from discovering Mexico, there was no going back and running from Jesus and there’s no war in prayer he doesn’t want to fight with you. If you don’t know our King of whom I speak, then now is the time. If you need prayer or would like to know the God that longs to hear from us in prayer, contact one of our pastors!

Pastor Donnie, Pastor Eddie or Pastor Bob would love to hear from you and to pray with you!

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