TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: John 11
BOTTOM LINE: Our Prayer for Others isn’t to Inform God or Direct God, but to point Others Around Back to God! .
QUESTION: Has there ever been a time when you were burdened to pray for someone else?
There is just something about the gift of being able to pour out our hearts to God … remembering that the significance of our Prayer Time is not about impressing God w/ us … but us experiencing Him!
That it’s not about me bringing a List of my Needs and wants and desires to Him, as much as realizing I’m talking to the Creator of the Universe … and He knows my Name … and He hears my voice … and if I seek His will … I can rest in ALL THINGS, regardless of how they seem.
Today, we’re going to see Jesus once again immersed in Prayer, this time in John 11.
In this passage from John’s story of The Life of Jesus, Jesus is near the end of His earthly ministry. The conflict between Jesus and the Religious Leaders was elevating quickly, in fact, the last time Jesus had been in town He healed a man born blind from birth. However, it was on The Sabbath, which made it against the law, and the crazy thing was that those who were there when Jesus healed the man honestly weren’t sure … Is this a sign that Jesus IS the Son of God … or is He demon possessed?
Finally, the picked up some stones to kill Jesus, but He slid out amongst the crowd, and escaped across the Jordan River.
He hears about His good friend Lazarus getting sick, and He tells the people there listening that, this is all part of God’s Plan, and then Jesus intentionally waits before returning to Bethany.
After 2 days, Jesus tells the Disciples that Lazarus has died, and the time has come for Him to make the journey to be w/ Mary & Martha.
John 11:7-8 … “7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
Honestly, I’m thinking the guys were like, Bro, you’ve known this for 2 days … and now Lazarus is dead … and now you want to go? Seriously? I mean Jesus, do you remember what they tried to do to you last time we were there anyway?
… but they go with Him … probably a little hesitant … but they courageously go with Him.
ONE … Can you imagine what this all looked like thru Martha’s lens? Martha was Lazarus’s sister, and Jesus’s good friend.
TWO … Jesus does finally shows up and Prays a Prayer of Thanksgiving? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
And this is the ONLY place in all of the Gospel writings where Jesus PRAYS Before healing someone … BUT … this isn’t a Prayer of Intercession, where Jesus is praying on behalf of Lazarus … this is a Prayer of Thanksgiving.
MY PRAYERS: I’m learning more and more almost every week … sometimes even each day … how our Prayers are more than petitions, conversations, and communion w/ God … but they’re also a reflection of our relationship with Him!
Here’s what My Prayers Often Reflect:
- Me Informing God.
- Me Giving God Directions/Strategy.
- Me trying to Muscle Up on God to get my way.
Jesus wants us to understand that God is:
- All Knowing
- All Present
- All Loving
Jesus wants us to understand that God possesses both the Power & Compassion to sustain us through all of life’s challenges … and Jesus wants our Prayers to reflect THAT understanding of God … and we don’t need to use our Prayer Time … and our Energy … to give God a constant flow of information and directions … we can use that in more efficient and effective ways … just look at Jesus.
When Jesus sees someone in Need, He doesn’t retreat up a mountain, or fall down on His knees in Prayer. He ACTS … Everywhere in the Gospels … we see Jesus in Action.
- Jesus touches people … and their eyes … ears … withered limbs … rotting skin …
… and it’s almost as if Jesus is saying … When you see someone suffering, don’t leave to go ask God to do something for that person. Stay with your loved ones and let God use YOU to minister to those around You in His Name!
At Lazarus’s grave, Jesus does offer a PUBLIC PRAYER. It’s a powerful example for us to follow, and as we look at this Prayer quickly here.
Remember, as Jesus is Praying here, this Prayer is for the benefit of the crowd who were standing around. This was most likely the same group of people who just a few days earlier were surrounding Jesus there in Jerusalem, trying to decide whether or not Jesus was the Son of God … or the Son of Satan?
These were the people who had the Stones in their hands …And so Jesus’ Prayer here is really for their benefit.
In 2 quick sentences … Jesus literally points out 2 Truths concerning His relationship w/ God:
- He’s God’s Son.
- He’s been sent out by God on a Divine Mission.
Oh … Ok Jesus … well what’s the Mission? What did God send you in the world to do?
John 11:43 … “43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”
… and a dead man comes walking out of a tomb …
Jesus’ final Miracle illustrates His ultimate Mission … to bring life to ALL who will believe!
How do we PRAY for those who have Physical Needs? What do we Say?
2 significant things I take away here:
ONE … when I encounter someone w/ Physical Needs, I should PRAY out loud for the benefit of those standing around.
TWO … When I PRAY I have to fight the urge to give God Instructions … but to point people back to God!
SO … the next time someone with a Physical Need asks us to PRAY for them … let’s remember this PRAYER at Lazarus’s Grave …
- … let’s stop and PRAY outloud for the benefit of those around us!
- … we can do this in person … over the phone … in a note card … using Facetime …
And we fight the urge …
- … to Give God the Information
- … to Give God the Instructions & Strategy
- … to Give God the Full-Court Pressure like we can Bully Him
And instead …
- We PRAY pointing those we’re praying for back to God.
- Reminding them of God’s constant Love and Care …
And REMEMBER, it might even be that as we PRAY this way … that moves us to ACTION where we serve next as God’s Hands & Feet.
And then when we look in the Mirror, we see this reflection of our journey w/ God, and it looks a lot like Jesus!