Against All Odds Week 12

Series: Against All Odds

May 30, 2021
Brandon Whitford

Episode Notes

Where Change is Made.

Mark 14:27-30
  27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the
shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before
you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will
not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows
twice, you will deny me three times. 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I
will not deny you.” And they all said the same.”

Verse 14:66-68
66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest
came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were
with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand
what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway [a] and the rooster crowed. [b]  

Mark 14:69-72
69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is
one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said
to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to
invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you
speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered
how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three
times.” And he broke down and wept.

Luke 22:61
61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the
Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three

The book of James Is about progress, not perfection.

James 5:13
Let’s read James 5:13-15

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray
over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save
the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will
be forgiven.

We need to change how we think about prayer and praise
I think the thing we miss most often is not the invitation to pray and praise but
the invitation to commune with the living God and to boldly approach the throne
of grace with confidence.
Colossians 3:4
“…When Christ who is your life appears…”
God is the page the list is written on.
the invitation is, come to Christ, commune with Christ, know God

Prayer is not just a duty; its a delight and a gift for the people of God to commune
with their adopting, loving, merciful, father.

It’s this: regardless of what’s going on, get in here!

So how should we think about prayer then?
The author, Bob Sorge says, “Prayer is the constant calibration of the soul.”
In his book, Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill says, “a sinning man will stop
praying, and a praying man will stop sinning. No man is greater than his prayer life. The
pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are
straying…Poverty stricken as the church is today in many things, she is most stricken
here, in the place of prayer. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players
and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers;
many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors;
many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere. The two prerequisites to
successful Christian living are vision and passion, both of which are born in and
maintained by prayer. The ministry of preaching is open to few; the ministry of prayer –
the highest ministry of all human offices – is open to all.
In his book, “Let Us Pray”, the missionary, Watchman Nee wrote, “Why do so many

Christians pray such tiny prayers when their God is so big?” He goes on to say, “prayer
is none other than the act of the believer working together with God. Prayer is the union
of the believer’s thought with the will of God. The prayer which a believer utters on earth
is but a voicing of the Lord’s will in heaven. Prayer is not the expressing of our wish for
God to yield to our petition and fill up our selfish desire. It is not a forcing of the Lord to
change His will and perform what He is unwilling to do. No, prayer is simply speaking
out the will of God through the mouth of the believer. Before God, the believer asks in
prayer for the Lord’s will to be done.”
It’s important to note that: It’s not prayer alone that moves God, it’s the prayer of
faith. My spiritual father, Pastor Randy Levens always says, “Prayer without faith
accomplishes nothing.”
And we see this in James 1:6-8 “But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who
doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not expect to
receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

How do I build a powerful prayer life?

The Secret of Praying is praying in secret. Matthew 6:6 says “But when you pray, go
into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your
Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Jesus is teaching us where to pray and he
ensures us that when we shut our door we are immediately in the presence of the
father. We don’t have to question whether or not he is there.
Prayer needs to be planned - Do you plan your workouts? Do you plan dates? Unless
you answer the question, “when am i going to do that” you’ll never do it. It doesn’t mean
there isn’t prayer and talking throughout the day, just like you text your boo throughout
the day and still have a time set aside to enjoy together.
Don’t wait until you feel it to do it. The spirit and flesh are opposing forces. If you’re
waiting for your emotion and feelings, to lead your devotion to God in prayer you’ll end
up only living a life of regret.First comes discipline birthed from a deep love for God,
then comes the fueling desire.
Adopt practical ways to impede mental drift. It’s very difficult to pray with your
iPhone in front of you and all your apps on. I think if we were really aware of the spiritual
war that’s raging around us we would be able to dial in a lot more. If we had any
concept of how violent and bloody things are in the spiritual realm we would be much
more apt to pray and than yield to the pull to check our twitter timeline, checking our
instagram. Also, if your mind keeps trying to drift to the worries of the day, write down
whatever keeps interrupting. This will free your mind to let go of those things.
In different times and in different seasons, seek out people to pray with. There are
certain people in my life that when we pray together, I pray more fervently. I feel
encouraged and spurred on to pray more.
Get around people who pray. If you don't know how to pray or want to learn how to
pray more - get around people who pray. Find a life group that prays together. Is this not
the way you learn everything else in life?

Develop a system for your prayer list. I said system and all The type A’s in the room
were like yay a system, and the others are like, I am never praying again, but that’s not
what i mean - I’m simply referring to a note card. I personally make notes in my notes
app during the day and transfer them to paper and write down specifically what I’m
praying for, my wife and kids for instance. Then you can share with them what youre
praying for them about. Here’s how daddy’s praying for you. Tell me this Does planning
a vacation with your wife sound like a chore?
Mingle praise, confession, and intercession and tie as much of it as you can back
to the scriptures.
Tim Keller, “ we would never produce the full range of biblical prayer if we were
initiating prayer according to our own inner needs and psychology. It can only be
produced if we are responding in prayer according to who God is as revealed in the
scripture. Some prayers in the Bible are like that of an intimate conversation with a
friend, others like an appeal to a great monarch, and others approximate a wrestling
match, we must not decide based on what types of prayer are most effective for
producing the experiences and feelings we want. We pray in response to God himself.”

Pray until you pray. Want to learn how to pray? Pray until you pray.
S.D Gordon said “You can do more than pray after you have prayed but you cannot
do more than pray until you have prayed.
10. True prayer is a two way communication.
Bob Sorge in his book , the secrets of the secret place writes, “My paradigm of
kingdom living was radically realigned because I was awakened to the fact that
everything changes when I hear from God and act upon that word. This is the wellspring
of eternal life; this is the fountainhead of kingdom powers and authority; this is the
source of wisdom, understanding, and life direction. Nothing can replace the confidence
and authority that comes from hearing God. For this reason, I strongly advocate for a
prayer life that is comprised mostly of silence. I’ve discovered that he has more
important things to say than I do. Things don’t change when I talk to God, things change
when God talks to me. So the power of prayer is found, not in convincing God of my
agenda, but in waiting upon Him to hear His agenda.
“Prayer does not alter that which God has determined. It never changes anything; it
merely achieves what He has already foreordained. Prayerlessness, though, does
effect a change, because God will let many of His resolutions go suspended due to lack
from His people of prayerful cooperation with Him.” – Watchman Nee
God’s not waiting for the world to stop sinning, He’s waiting for the church to
start praying!

Prayer doesn’t change things; it changes people and they change things.
Verse 13”…Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”
Singing digs deep roots.
Singing builds others up.
Singing strengthens us for trials.

V14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let
them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of
faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has
committed sins, he will be forgiven.
This is an act of faith on your behalf!

V16 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you
may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
How you come before God matters!
Righteousness is obedience to God by faith.
Obedience to God is greater than sacrifice.
Obedience starts not in doing good works but in sitting at the feet of Jesus and
hearing his word.
Obedience Is crucial to our prayers.
A.W. Tozer wrote, “ Prayer at its best is the expression of the total life. Certainly there
have been and will continue to be instances when an isolated prayer may be answered
even when one uttering it may not have been living an exemplary Christian life. But we
assume that most of those who read this page are not satisfied to get a prayer through
occasionally; they want to know a more satisfying prayer life, one that elevates and
purifies every act of body and mind and integrates the entire personality into a single
spiritual unit. Such prayer can only be the result of a life lived in the spirit.
All things else being equal, our prayers are only as powerful as our lives. In the
long haul we pray only as well as we live.

Psalm 32:3-4 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all
day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried
up [a] as by the heat of summer. Selah
“You have competing populations in your brain - one part that wants to tell something
and one part that doesn't. There is a real physiological battle going on in the brain. So
keeping certain behaviors secret, especially behavior that is seen or understood to be
“wrong” means continual struggle with yourself. The internal dissonance and lack of
sense of personal integrity aid draining. The struggle involved in keeping a secret is
stressful. This means that your brain will register the fact that there are increased levels
of stress hormones going through your bloodstream as a result of this struggle to keep
you secret. Your brain does not enjoy this stress. Those living duplicitous lives live with
the stress of keeping a whole section of their life secret from the people they see every
day and care about. The fact that their brains are marinated in stress hormones due to
keeping the secret, over and above the effects of the wrongdoing themselves, can
cause an impairment in the person’s ability to stay healthy and function well. – David
The only way to kill darkness is to drag it out into the light.

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain,
and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again,
and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” My brothers, if anyone among you
wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever
brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a
multitude of sins
James is showing us where we really need to be. Communing with God on high - That’s
prayer, that’s praise, that’s confession, that’s repentance. It’s where faith grows, its
where obedience begins, its where change is made.

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